Recently in Performances
‘Mack does bad things.’ The tabloid headline that convinces Rory
Kinnear’s surly, sharp-suited Macheath that it might be time to take a
short holiday epitomizes the cold, understated menace of Rufus Norris’s
production of Simon Stephens’ new adaptation of The Threepenny
Opera at the Olivier Theatre.
On May 25, 2016, Los Angeles Opera presented a revival of the Herbert Ross production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera, La bohème. Stage director, Peter Kazaras, made use of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s wide stage by setting some scenes usually seen inside the garret on the surrounding roof instead.
On May 21, 2016, Ars Minerva presented The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles (Le Amazzoni nelle Isole Fortunate), an opera consisting of a prologue and three acts by seventeenth century Venetian composer Carlo Pallavicino.
While Pegida anti-refugee demonstrations have been taking place for a while
now in Dresden, there was something noble about the Semperoper with its banners
declaring all are welcome, listing Othello, the Turk, and the hedon Papageno as
Opera houses’ neglect of Leoš Janáček remains one
of the most baffling of the many baffling aspects of the
‘repertoire’. At least three of the composer’s operas
would be perfect introductions to the art form: Jenůfa,
Katya Kabanova, or The Cunning Little Vixen would surely
hook most for life.
It’s not easy for critics to hit the right note when they write about musical collaborations between students and professionals. We have to allow for inevitable lack of polish and inexperience while maintaining an overall high standard of judgment.
Die Meistersinger at the theatre in which it was premiered, on
Wagner’s birthday: an inviting prospect by any standards, still more so
given the director, conductor, and cast, still more so given the opportunity to
see three different productions within little more than a couple of
Director Annabel Arden believes that Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia is ‘all about playfulness, theatricality, light and movement’. It’s certainly ‘about’ those things and they are, as Arden suggests, ‘based in the music’.
George Enescu’s Oedipe was premiered in Paris 1936 but it has taken 80 years for the opera to reach the stage of Covent Garden. This production by Àlex Ollé (a member of the Catalan theatrical group, La Fura Dels Baus) and Valentina Carrasco, which arrives in London via La Monnaie where it was presented in 2011, was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint.
Lyric Opera of Chicago staged Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette as the last opera in its current subscription season.
‘The plot is perhaps the least moral in all opera; wrong triumphs in the name of love and we are not expected to mind.’
Anthony Minghella’s production of Madame Butterfly for ENO is
wearing well. First seen in 2005, it is now being aired for the sixth time and is still, as I observed in 2013, ‘a breath-taking visual banquet’.
This concert version of La straniera felt like a compulsory musicology field trip, but it had enough vocal flashes to lobby for more frequent performances of this midway Bellini.
As poetry is the harmony of words, so music is that of notes; and as poetry is a rise above prose and oratory, so is music the exaltation of poetry.
From experiments with musique concrète in the 1940s, to the
Minimalists’ explorations into tape-loop effects in the 1960s, via the
appearance of hip-hop in the 1970s and its subsequent influence on electronic
dance music in the 1980s, to digital production methods today,
‘sampling’ techniques have been employed by musicians working in
genres as diverse as jazz fusion, psychedelic rock and classical music.
On May 7, 2016, San Diego Opera presented the West Coast premiere of Great Scott, an opera by Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie. McNally’s original libretto pokes fun at everything from football to bel canto period opera. It includes snippets of nineteenth century tunes as well as Heggie's own bel canto writing.
A foiled abduction, a castle-threatening inferno, romantic infatuation, guilt-laden near-suicide, gun-shots and knife-blows: Andrea Leone Tottola’s libretto for Vincenzo Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, certainly does not lack dramatic incident.
Opera as an art form has never shied away from the grittier shadows of life. Nor has Manitoba Opera, with its recent past productions dealing with torture, incest, murder and desperate political prisoners still so tragically relevant today.
Published in 1855 as an entertainment for his two daughters, William Makepeace Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring is a burlesque fairy-tale whose plot — to the author’s wilful delight, perhaps — defies summation and elucidation.
What more fitting memorial for composer Peter Maxwell Davies (d. 03/14/2016) than a splendid performance of The Lighthouse, the third of his eight works for the stage.
27 Nov 2004
LA Opera Presents Vanessa
A fully American grand opera Los Angeles Opera stages the seldom-produced "Vanessa" By John Farrell Special to U-Entertainment Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Los Angeles Opera has been steering its productions the last few months right down the middle of...
A fully American grand opera
Los Angeles Opera stages the seldom-produced "Vanessa"
By John Farrell
Special to U-Entertainment
Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Los Angeles Opera has been steering its productions the last few months right down the middle of the operatic road.
With productions of Bizet's "Carmen' last month and Puccini's "La Boheme," which opened last weekend, the company has been reaching for an audience which knows what it wants, and what it wants isn't anything new and different.
On Saturday, however, when the company opens its first-ever production of Samuel Barber's 1958 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera "Vanessa," with superstar Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in the title role, it veers far from the norm.
"Vanessa' was a big hit when it premiered at the Metropolitan Opera, earned the Pulitzer and was revived for several seasons at the Met. It was also the first American opera to be performed at the Salzburg Festival. Gian Carlo Menotti, one of the 20th century's most successful opera composers (his opera "The Saint of Bleecker Street' won the Pulitzer in 1954), wrote the libretto for "Vanessa."
But after that original notice, it hasn't been heard from often. One reason lies in what Dimitri Mitropoulos, who conducted the premiere of the opera, said: "At last, a fully American grand opera!'
And that it is. The scale of "Vanessa," with an on-stage orchestra as well as that in the pit, and an unseen chorus, makes the work difficult and expensive to perform.
[Click here for remainder of article.]
Kiri Te Kanawa — VANESSA
Lucy Schaufer — ERIKA
Rosalind Elias — BARONESS
John Matz — ANATOL
David Evitts — DOCTOR
David Babinet — NICHOLAS, THE MAJOR-DOMO
Peter Nathan Foltz — A FOOTMAN
Synopsis of Vanessa