Recently in Performances
Most opera professionals, including the individuals who do the casting for
major houses, despair of finding performers who can match historical standards
of singing in operas such as Aïda. Yet a concert performance in Aspen
gives a glimmer of hope. It was led by four younger singers who may be part of
the future of Verdi singing in America and the world.
One might have been forgiven for thinking that both biology and chronology had gone askew at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday evening.
Three years ago I made what may have been my single worst decision in a half
century of attending opera. I wasn’t paying close attention when some
conference organizers in Aix-en-Provence offered me two tickets to the premiere
of a new opera. I opted instead for what seemed like a sure thing:
William Christie conducting some Charpentier.
Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World,
La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima
(Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the
The 36th Rossini Opera Festival in Rossini’s Pesaro! La gazza ladra (1817), La gazzetta (1816) and L'inganno felice (1812) — the little opera that made Rossini famous.
Unlike the brush fire in a distant neighborhood of the John Crosby Theatre, Santa Fe Opera’s Salome stubbornly failed to ignite.
As part of a concerted effort to incorporate local color and resonance into its annual festival, Glimmerglass has re-imagined The Magic Flute in a transformative woodland setting.
Bravura singing and vibrant instrumental playing were on ample display in Glimmerglass Festival’s riveting Cato in Utica.
Bernstein’s Candide seems to have more performance versions than Tales of Hoffmann.
That’s The Conquest of Mexico, an historical music drama composed in 1991 by German composer Wolfgang Rihm (b. 1952). But wait. Wolfgang Rihm construed a few sentences of Artaud’s La Conquête du Mexique (1932) mixed up with bits of Aztec chant and bits of poem(s) by Mexico’s Octavio Paz (d. 1998) to make a libretto.
Glimmerglass is celebrating its 40th Festival season with a stylish new production of Verdi’s Macbeth.
This Salzburg Norma is not new news. This superb production was first seen at the Salzburg Festival’s springtime Whitsun Festival in 2013 with this same cast. It will now travel to a few major European cities.
John Eliot Gardiner conducted a much anticipated performance of Monteverdi’s first opera L’Orfeo at the BBC Proms on 4 August 2015, with his own Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists.
On August 1, 2015, Santa Fe Opera presented the world premiere of Cold Mountain, a brand new opera composed by Pulizer Prize and Grammy winner Jennifer Higdon.
Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich. Some will scream in rage but in its austerity it reaches to the heart of the opera.
It might seem churlish to complain about the BBC Proms coverage of Pierre
Boulez’s 90th anniversary. After all, there are a few performances
dotted around — although some seem rather oddly programmed, as if embarrassed
at the presence of new or newish music. (That could certainly not be claimed in
the present case.)
I recently spent four days in St. Petersburg, timed to coincide with the
annual Stars of the White Nights Festival. Yet the most memorable singing I
heard was neither at the Mariinsky Theater nor any other performance hall. It
was in the small, nearly empty church built for the last Tsar, Nicholas II, at
As I walked up Exhibition Road on my way to the Royal Albert Hall, I passed a busking tuba player whose fairground ditties were enlivened by bursts of flame which shot skyward from the bell of his instrument, to the amusement and bemusement of a rapidly gathering pavement audience.
A brilliant theatrical event, bringing Handel’s theatre of the mind to
life on stage
‘Here, thanks be to God, my opera is praised to the skies and there is nothing in it which does not please greatly.’ So wrote Antonio Vivaldi to Marchese Guido Bentivoglio d’Aragona in Ferrara in 1737.
19 Nov 2004
Tosca at Graz
Boris Trajanov, Evan Bowers and Marquita Lister Opernhaus Graz's new production of Tosca is a hit. According to Larry Lash of the Financial Times, A stage direction in my score of Tosca has Scarpia making a cup of coffee...
Boris Trajanov, Evan Bowers and Marquita Lister
Opernhaus Graz's new production of Tosca is a hit. According to Larry Lash of the Financial Times,
A stage direction in my score of Tosca has Scarpia making a cup of coffee during the heroine's big number, "Vissi d'arte". In Dietmar Pflegerl's updated staging, Scarpia, a pony-tailed metrosexual, skips the cappuccino: he puts down his crystal rioja goblet, tends to some silver candlesticks, dims the lights in his elegantly minimalist office and spreads a fur in front of the fireplace in anticipation of doing the nasty, as the diva pours out her heart to her punishing God. Things in Rome sure have changed since 1800.
Pflegerl's genius lies in such moments when he pointedly illuminates characters' emotions. Whether it be Cavaradossi hugging a quivering political prisoner, Scarpia enjoying a manicure or Tosca groping her lover and then shimmying out of the church, these simple gestures contrast with the big shockers in perhaps the least subtle opera ever written.
Marquita Lister as Tosca "has a voice like a cup of rich, hot cocoa: luscious, dark, thick and bittersweet. . . . Evan Bowers's velvet trumpet tenor, meltingly gorgeous with tender phrasing, perfectly fitted his heroic, nice-guy Cavaradossi. Complex, seductive and sardonic, Boris Trajanov brought unexpected nuances to Scarpia, unleashing tones as dark as a bottomless pit and blazing top notes."
Floria Tosca — Marquita Lister
Mario Cavaradossi — Evan Bowers
Baron Scarpia — Boris Trajanov; Egils Silins
Cesare Angelotti — Wilfried Zelinka
Spoletta — Manuel von Senden; Andries Cloete
Der Messner — David McShane
Sciarrone — Shavleg Macharashvili; István Szecsi
Ein Kerkermeister — Konstantin Sfiris; Shavleg Macharashvili
Ein Hirte — Grazer Kapellknabe
Click here for scheduling information and production photos.