Recently in Performances
On Thursday evening October 13, Los Angeles Opera transmitted Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, in the center of the city, to a pier in Santa Monica and to South Gate Park in Southeastern Los Angeles County. My companion and I saw the opera in High Definition on a twenty-five foot high screen at the park.
Director Richard Jones never met an opera he couldn’t ‘change,’ and Canadian Opera Company’s sumptuously sung Ariodante was a case in point.
I’m at the Wigmore Hall!” American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton’s exuberant excitement at finding herself performing in the world’s premier lieder venue was delightful and infectious. With accompanist James Baillieu, Barton presented what she termed a “love-fest” of some of the duo’s favourite art songs. The programme - Turina, Brahms, Dvořák, Ives, Sibelius - was also surely designed to show-case Barton’s sumptuous and balmy tone, stamina, range and sheer charisma; that is, the qualities which won her the First and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Canadian Opera Company has assembled a commendable Norma that is long on ritual imagery and war machinery.
“If I lacked ears, it would be bad, but still more bearable; but lacking a nose, a man is devil knows what: not a bird, not a citizen—just take and chuck him out the window!”
A fixation on death at San Francisco Opera. A 337 year-old woman gave it all up just now after only six years since she last gave it all up on the War Memorial stage.
Penny Woolcock's 2010 production of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers returned to English National Opera (ENO) for its second revival on 19 October 2018. Designed by Dick Bird (sets) and Kevin Pollard (costumes) the production remains as spectacular as ever, and ENO fielded a promising young cast with Claudia Boyle as Leila, Robert McPherson as Nadir and Jacques Imbrailo as Zurga, plus James Creswell as Nourabad, conducted by Roland Böer.
At the end of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theseus delivers a speech which returns to the play’s central themes: illusion, art and the creative imagination. The sceptical king dismisses ‘The poet’s vision - his ‘eye, in a fine frenzy rolling’ - which ‘gives to airy nothing/ A local habitation and a name’; such art, and theatre, is a psychological deception brought about by an excessive, uncontrolled imagination.
Following the success of previous ‘mini-festivals’ at St John’s Smith Square devoted to Schubert and Schumann, last weekend pianist Anna Tilbrook curated a three-day exploration of the work of Ralph Vaughan Williams and his contemporaries. The music performed in these six concerts was chosen to reflect the changing contexts in which it was composed and to reveal the vast changes in society, politics and culture which occurred during Vaughan Williams’ long life-time (1872-1958) and which shaped his life and creative output.
Trying to work around Manon Lescaut’s episodic structure,
this new production presents the plot as the dying protagonist’s feverish
hallucinations. The result is a frosty retelling of what is arguably
Puccini’s most hot-blooded opera. Musically, the performance also left
much to be desired.
It is Herodotus who tells us that when Xerxes was marching through Asia to invade Greece, he passed through the town of Kallatebos and saw by the roadside a magnificent plane-tree which, struck by its great beauty, he adorned with golden ornaments, and ordered that a man should remain beside the tree as its eternal guardian.
Poor Puccini. He is far too often treated as a ‘box-office hit’ by our ‘major’ opera houses, at least in Anglophone countries. For so consummate a musical dramatist, that is something beyond a pity. Here in London, one is far better advised to go to Holland Park for interesting, intelligent productions, although ENO’s offerings have often had something to be said for them.
With only four singers and a short-story-like plot Don Pasquale is an ideal chamber opera. That chamber just now was the 3200 seat War Memorial Opera House where this not always charming opera buffa is an infrequent visitor (post WWII twice in the 1980’s after twice in the 40’s).
“Yang sementara tak akan menahan bintang hilang di bimasakti; Yang
bergetar akan terhapus.” (“The transient cannot hold on to stars
lost in the Milky Way; that which quivers will be erased.”) As soprano
Tony Arnold sang these words of Tony Prabowo’s chamber opera
Pastoral, with astonishingly crisp Indonesian diction, the first night
of the second annual Momenta Festival approached its end.
Some operas seemed designed and destined to raise questions and debates - sometimes unanswerable and irresolvable, and often contentious. Termed a dramma giocoso, Mozart’s Don Giovanni has, historically, trodden a movable line between seria and buffa.
Péter Eötvös’ The Sirens Cycle received its world premiere at the Wigmore Hall, London, on Saturday night with Piia Komsi and the Calder Quartet. An exceptionally interesting new work, which even on first hearing intrigues: imagine studying the score! For The Sirens Cycle is elegantly structured, so intricate and so complex that it will no doubt reveal even greater riches the more familiar it becomes. It works so well because it combines the breadth of vision of an opera, yet is as concise as a chamber miniature. It's exquisite, and could take its place as one of Eötvös's finest works.
Manitoba Underground Opera took audiences on a journey — literally and
figuratively — as it presented its latest installment of repertory opera
between August 19–26.
On a recent weekend Lyric Opera of Chicago gave its annual concert at Millennium Park during which the coming season and its performers are variously showcased. Several of the performers, who were featured at this “Stars of Lyric Opera” event, are scheduled to make their debuts in Lyric Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold beginning on 1 October.
Desire and deception; Amor and artifice. In Jan Philipp Gloger’s new production of Così van tutte at the Royal Opera House, the artifice is of the theatrical, rather than the human, kind. And, an opera whose charm surely lies in its characters’ amiable artfulness seems more concerned to underline the depressing reality of our own deluded faith in human fidelity and integrity.
On September 22, 2016, Los Angeles Opera presented Darko Tresnjak’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Macbeth. Verdi and Francesco Maria Piave based their opera on Shakespeare’s play of the same name.
10 Dec 2004
Don Carlo at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
With all of the festivities surrounding the reopening of La Scala, the production of Don Carlo at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was left in the shadows. The company is producing both the four-act and five-act editions, the latter being...
With all of the festivities surrounding the reopening of La Scala, the production of Don Carlo at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was left in the shadows. The company is producing both the four-act and five-act editions, the latter being in the original French language. The following is a report by Elisabetta Torselli of Il giornale della musica:
Si dà a Firenze un bel Don Carlo che recupera le celebri messinscene di Visconti, qui riprese da Joseph Franconi Lee: spettacolo di affascinante inattualità, oramai fissato e forse irrigidito in una serie di magnifici e foschi quadri spagnoleschi, alcuni dei quali peraltro molto ben resistono all'usura del tempo (e inattesa e ben orchestrata citazione dal viscontiano "Senso" quando il pubblico, parte del quale aveva male accolto la lettura di un comunicato dei lavoratori del Teatro del Maggio, è stato poi sommerso da una pioggia di volantini bianchi, rossi e verdi, Viva Verdi ossia Vogliamo una Economia di Rilancio Delle Istituzioni liriche). Lo si dà in due versioni alternate in cinque e in quattro atti: è sostanzialmente l'edizione di Modena del 1886 che reintegra l'atto di Fontainebleau (ma con altre significative aggiunte dalla versione parigina 1867); per cui l'edizione in quattro atti non è affatto la ben nota versione milanese, bensì Modena senza Fontainebleau. Mehta si gode questa partitura straordinaria in tutti i suoi aspetti, quello disinibitamente Grand-Opéra e quello dei colori crepuscolari, luttuosi (impressionante il preludio del quinto atto), arditissimi, con sonorità come sempre sontuose e calde, talora, come nella scena Filippo-Grande Inquisitore, quasi sublimando in lenta e metafisica delibazione le vibrazioni del dramma. Con i suoi centri rigidi e inamabili Fabio Armiliato è purtroppo un Carlo esposto alle contestazioni del pubblico; Barbara Frittoli è un'Elisabetta nobile e struggente ma di talora insufficiente peso drammatico, al contrario della potente Eboli di Violeta Urmana, trionfatrice della prima; Roberto Scandiuzzi, Carlo Guelfi, Paata Burchuladze e Ayk Martirossian si spendono con partecipazione nei ruoli di Filippo, Rodrigo, del Grande Inquisitore e del Frate. Successo vivissimo.
Filippo II — Roberto Scandiuzzi / René Pape [5, 10, 14, 18]
Don Carlo — Fabio Armiliato / Marcus Haddock [5, 10, 14, 18]
Rodrigo, Marchese di Posa — Carlo Guelfi / Lucio Gallo [5, 10, 14, 18]
l Grande Inquisitore — Paata Burchuladze / Ayk Martirossian 
Un frate — Ayk Martirossian / Enrico Turco [10, 14, 18]
Elisabetta di Valois — Barbara Frittoli / Adrianne Pieczonka [5, 10, 14, 18]
La Principessa Eboli — Violeta Urmana / Dolora Zajick [10, 14, 18]
Tebaldo — Gemma Bertagnolli
Il Conte di Lerma — Enrico Cossutta
Un araldo reale — Carlo Bosi
Voce dal cielo — Alessandra Marianelli
Deputati fiamminghi — Franco Boscolo, Alessandro Calamai, Calogero Andolina, Joseph Song Chi, Jin Hwan Hyun, Sungil Kim, Evgeny Stavinskiy
Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Direttore — Zubin Mehta
Regia — Alberto Fassini
Scene e costumi — Luchino Visconti
Edition in five acts:
03-12-2004, h 19
07-12-2004, h 19
12-12-2004, h 15.30
16-12-2004, h 19
Edition in four acts:
05-12-2004, h 15.30
10-12-2004, h 19
14-12-2004, h 19
18-12-2004, h 19
Don Carlo will be broadcast by Radio 3 on 16 December at 1800 GMT. Click here for details.