Recently in Performances
For its annual visit to the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, Glyndebourne brought its new production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, an opera which premiered 200 years ago.
‘A caprice written with the point of a needle’: so Berlioz described his opera Béatrice and Bénédict, which pares down Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing to its comic quintessence, shorn of the sub-plots, destroyed reputations and near-bloodshed of Shakespeare’s original.
‘This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.’ It is, perhaps, a line quoted too often; yet, even though it may not have been entirely accurate on this occasion, it came to my mind. Its accuracy might be questioned in several respects.
Central City Opera celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Ballad of Baby Doe with a hip, canny, multi-faceted new production.
Someone forgot to tell Central City Opera that it would be difficult to fit Puccini’s (usually) architecturally large Tosca on their small stage.
A cast worthy of Bayreuth made for an unforgettable Wagnerian experience at
the Sommer Festspiele in Baden-Baden.
Loving attention to the highest quality was everywhere evident in Des Moines Metro Opera’s Manon.
Des Moines Metro Opera had (almost) all the laughs in the right places, and certainly had all the right singers in these meaty roles to make for an enjoyable outing with Verdi’s masterpiece
With the thermometers reaching boiling point, there’s no doubt that summer has finally arrived in London. But, the sun seems to have been shining over the large marquee in Holland Park all summer.
J.S. Bach’s cerebral Art of the Fugue in Aix, Verdi’s massive Requiem in Orange, Ibn al-Muqaffa’ ‘s fable of the camel, jackal, wolf and crow, Sophocles’ blind Oedipus Rex and the Bible’s triumphant Psalm No. 150 in Aix.
The champagne corks popped at the close of this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at the Royal Opera House, with Prince Orlofsky’s celebratory toast forming a fitting conclusion to some superb singing.
Bryn Terfel is making a habit of performing Russian patriarchs at the Proms.
What happens when just everything about an operatic performance goes joyously right?
Two years ago, the well-established Des Moines Metro Opera experimented with a 2nd Stages program, with performances programmed outside of their home stage at Simpson College.
What to make of the unannounced decision to open this concert with the Marseillaise? I am sure it was well intended, and perhaps should leave it at that.
In a fairy-tale, it can sometimes feel as if one is living a dream but on the verge of being awoken to a shock. Such is life in these dark and uncertain days.
The tense, three hour knock-down-drag-out seduction of Beauty by Pleasure consumed our souls in this triumphal evening. Forget Time and Disillusion as destructors, they were the very constructors of the beauty and pleasure found in this miniature oratorio.
Three parallel universes (before losing count) — the ephemeral Debussy/Maeterlinck masterpiece, the Debussy symphonic tone poem, and the twisted intricacies of a moldy, parochially English country estate.
This, alas, was where I had to sign off. A weekend conference on Parsifal (including, on the Saturday, a showing of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal film) mean that I missed Götterdämmerung, skipping straight to the sequel.
The culmination of Opera North’s “Ring for Everyone”, this Götterdämmerung showed the power of the condensed movement so necessary in a staged performance - each gesture of each character was perfectly judged - as well as the visceral power of having Wagner’s huge orchestra on stage as opposed to the pit.
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.