Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Grange Park Opera travels to America

The Italian censors forced Giuseppe Verdi and his librettist Antonio Somma to relocate their operatic drama of the murder of the Swedish King Gustav III to Boston, demote the monarch to state governor and rename him Riccardo, and for their production of Un ballo in maschera at Grange Park Opera, director Stephen Medcalf and designer Jamie Vartan have left the ‘ruler’ in his censorial exile.

Puccini’s La bohème at The Royal Opera House

When I reviewed Covent Garden’s Tosca back in January, I came very close to suggesting that we might be entering a period of crisis in casting the great Puccini operas. Fast forward six months, and what a world of difference!

Na’ama Zisser's Mamzer Bastard (world premiere)

Let me begin, like an undergraduate unsure quite what to say at the beginning of an essay: there were many reasons to admire the first performance of Na’ama Zisser’s opera, Mamzer Bastard, a co-commission from the Royal Opera and the Guildhall.

Les Arts Florissants : An English Garden, Barbican London

At the Barbican, London, Les Arts Florissants conducted by Paul Agnew, with soloists of Le Jardin de Voix in "An English Garden" a semi-staged programme of English baroque.

Die Walküre in San Francisco

The hero Siegfried in utero, Siegmund dead, Wotan humiliated, Brünnhilde asleep, San Francisco’s Ring ripped relentlessly into the shredded emotional lives of its gods and mortals. Conductor Donald Runnicles laid bare Richard Wagner’s score in its most heroic and in its most personal revelations, in their intimacy and in their exploding release.

Das Rheingold in San Francisco

Alberich’s ring forged, the gods moved into Valhalla, Loge’s Bic flicked, Wagner’s cumbersome nineteenth century mythology began unfolding last night here in Bayreuth-by-the-Bay.

ENO's Acis and Galatea at Lilian Baylis House

The shepherds and nymphs are at play! It’s end-of-the-year office-party time in Elysium. The bean-bags, balloons and banners - ‘Work Hard, Play Harder’ - invite the weary workers of Mountain Media to let their hair down, and enter the ‘Groves of Delights and Crystal Fountains’.

Lohengrin at the Royal Opera House

Since returning to London in January, I have been heartened by much of what I have seen - and indeed heard - from the Royal Opera.

Stéphane Degout and Simon Lepper

Another wonderful Wigmore song recital: this time from Stéphane Degout – recently shining in George Benjamin's new operatic masterpiece,

An excellent La finta semplice from Classical Opera

‘How beautiful it is to love! But even more beautiful is freedom!’ The opening lines of the libretto of Mozart’s La finta semplice are as contradictory as the unfolding tale is ridiculous. Either that master of comedy, Carlo Goldoni, was having an off-day when he penned the text - which was performed during the Carnival of 1764 in the Teatro Giustiniani di S. Moisè in Venice with music by Salvatore Perillo - or Marco Coltellini, the poeta cesareo who was entertaining the Viennese aristocracy in 1768, took unfortunate liberties with poetry and plot.

Whatever Love Is: The Prince Consort at Wigmore Hall

‘We love singing songs, telling stories …’ profess The Prince Consort on their website, and this carefully curated programme at Wigmore Hall perfectly embodied this passion, as Artistic Director and pianist Alisdair Hogarth was joined by tenor Andrew Staples (the Consort’s Creative Director), Verity Wingate (soprano) and poet Laura Mucha to reflect on ‘whatever love is’.

Bryn Terfel's magnetic Mephisto in Amsterdam

It had been a while since Bryn Terfel sang a complete opera role in Amsterdam. Back in 2002 his larger-than-life Doctor Dulcamara hijacked the stage of what was then De Nederlandse Opera, now Dutch National Opera.

A volcanic Elektra by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic

“There are no gods in heaven!” sings Elektra just before her brother Orest kills their mother. In the Greek plays about the cursed House of Atreus the Olympian gods command the banished Orestes to return home and avenge his father Agamemnon’s murder at the hands of his wife Clytemnestra. He dispatches both her and her lover Aegisthus.

A culinary coupling from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

What a treat the London Music Conservatoires serve up for opera-goers each season. After the Royal Academy’s Bizet double-bill of Le docteur Miracle and La tragédie de Carmen, and in advance of the Royal College’s forthcoming pairing of Huw Watkins’ new opera, In the Locked Room, based on a short story by Thomas Hardy, and The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama have delivered a culinary coupling of Paul Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner and Sir Lennox Berkeley’s The Dinner Engagement which the Conservatoire last presented for our delectation in November 2006.

Così fan tutte: Opera Holland Park

Absence makes the heart grow fonder; or does it? In Così fan tutte, who knows? Or rather, what could such a question even mean?

The poignancy of triviality: Garsington Opera's Capriccio

“Wort oder Ton?” asks Richard Strauss’s final opera, Capriccio. The Countess answers with a question of her own, at the close of this self-consciously self-reflective Konversationstück für Musik: “Gibt es einen, der nicht trivail ist?” (“Is there any ending that isn’t trivial?”)

Netia Jones' new Die Zauberflöte opens Garsington Opera's 2018 season

“These portals, these columns prove/that wisdom, industry and art reside here.” So says Tamino, as he gazes up at the three imposing doors in the centre of Netia Jones’ replica of the 18th-century Wormsley Park House - in the grounds of which Garsington Opera’s ‘floating’ Pavilion makes its home each summer.

Feverish love at Opera Holland Park: a fine La traviata opens the 2018 season

If there were any doubts that it was soon to be curtains for Verdi’s titular, tubercular heroine then the tortured gasps of laboured, languishing breath which preceded Rodula Gaitanou’s new production of La traviata for Opera Holland Park would have swiftly served to dispel them.

Iestyn Davies and Fretwork bring about a meeting of the baroque and the modern

‘Music for a while/Shall all your cares beguile’. Standing in shadow, encircled by the five players of the viol consort Fretwork, as the summer storm raged outside Milton Court Concert Hall countertenor Iestyn Davies offered mesmeric reassurance to the capacity audience during this intriguing meeting of the baroque and the modern.

Works by Beethoven and Gerald Barry

As a whole, this concert proved a curious affair. It probably made more sense in the context of Thomas Adès’s series of Beethoven and Barry concerts with the Britten Sinfonia. The idea of a night off from the symphonic Beethoven to turn to chamber works was, in principle, a good one, but the sole Gerald Barry piece here seemed oddly out of place – and not in a productive, provocative way. Even the Beethoven pieces did not really seem to fit together especially well. A lovely performance of the op.16 Quintet nevertheless made the evening worthwhile.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

30 Sep 2004

Le Figaro on Charpentier Festival

FESTIVAL Marc-Antoine Charpentier à Ambronay Triomphe de la jeunesse Gérard Corneloup [30 septembre 2004] En cette année du bicentenaire de la mort de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, occasion unique de le sortir de l'ombre que lui fait encore Lully, le festival d'Ambronay...

FESTIVAL Marc-Antoine Charpentier à Ambronay

Triomphe de la jeunesse

Gérard Corneloup
[30 septembre 2004]

En cette année du bicentenaire de la mort de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, occasion unique de le sortir de l'ombre que lui fait encore Lully, le festival d'Ambronay et son Académie baroque européenne ne pouvaient pas rester en dehors du mouvement. Ils y participent brillamment avec deux petits ouvrages pleins de charme - Actéon et Les Arts florissants - confiés aux 52 jeunes artistes, chanteurs, instrumentistes et danseurs recrutés pour moitié en France et dans la Communauté européenne, mais aussi en Russie, au Brésil et en Corée. Le maître d'oeuvre en est Christophe Rousset, grand spécialiste de la chose baroque, et le cadre idéal en a été le théâtre de Bourg-en-Bresse.

Le résultat dépasse encore les qualités qu'on avait remarquées lors des dix précédentes éditions, en particulier avec le superbe Cadmus et Hermione de Lully présenté il y a deux ans. Frappé au sceau de la jeunesse et de la justesse, le cru 2004 se révèle un modèle en la matière, à partir de deux composantes solidement bâties : osmose parfaite entre la partie musicale et la partie visuelle, d'une part, cohésion vivifiante entre le chant et la partie instrumentale, d'autre part.

Les Arts Florissants sont une allégorie plaisante chantant la place des Arts dans le monde... et accessoirement la gloire du Roi-Soleil. Actéon est un divertissement mythologique doux-amer puisé chez Ovide. Avec beaucoup d'à-propos, surtout pour le second ouvrage, le metteur en scène Ludovic Lagarde divise l'espace en deux zones, l'une, largement ouverte sur le proscenium, l'autre en fond de scène avec un grand cube clos, délimitant ainsi deux mondes, celui des dieux et celui des mortels.

Les costumes de Jean-Jacques et Virginie Weil, montrant une nudité feinte des nymphes de Diane plus vraie que nature, les éclairages bien maîtrisés de Sébastien Michaud et les sobres décors d'Antoine Vasseur, sans oublier une chorégraphie d'Odile Duboc très en situation, scellent un travail d'équipe particulièrement réussi.

La meme cohésion triomphe parmi les jeunes chanteurs possédant parfaitement le style baroque. Choristes ou solistes, tous seraient à citer tandis que la fosse résonne de sonorités riches et fluides sous la direction à la fois précise et lyrique de Christophe Rousset qui a l'oeil à tout. Avec une telle jeunesse, le baroque a encore de beaux jours devant lui !

Calendrier de la tournée : Chambéry le 30 septembre, Vichy le 2 octobre, Versailles le 5 octobre, Villefranche- sur-Saone le 9 octobre, Rennes les 12, 14 et 15 octobre, Besançon le 17 octobre, Reims le 19 octobre, Metz le 21 octobre, Roanne le 23 octobre.

Recommended recording:

cover

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):