Recently in Performances
Bruckner, Bruckner, wherever one goes; From Salzburg to London, he is with us, he is with us indeed, and will be next week too. (I shall even be given the Third Symphony another try, on my birthday: the things I do for Daniel Barenboim
) Still, at least it seems to mean that fewer unnecessary Mahler-as-showpiece performances are being foisted upon us. Moreover, in this case, it was good, indeed great Bruckner, rather than one of the interminable number of ‘versions’ of interminable earlier works.
Thomas Larcher’s Second Symphony (written 2015-16) here received its United Kingdom premiere, its first performance having been given by the Vienna Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov in June this year. A commission from the Austrian National Bank for its bicentenary, it is nevertheless not a celebratory work, instead commemorating those refugees who have met their deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, ‘expressing grief over those who have died and outrage at the misanthropy at home in Austria and elsewhere’.
One of the initiatives for the community at the Lucerne Festival is the
‘40 min’ series. A free concert given before the evening’s main event that ranges from chamber
music to orchestral rehearsals.
The mysteries and myths surrounding Mozart’s Requiem Mass - left unfinished at his death and completed by his pupil, Franz Xaver Süssmayr - abide, reinvigorated and prolonged by Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus as directed on film by Miloš Forman. The origins of the work’s commission and composition remain unknown but in our collective cultural and musical consciousness the Requiem has come to assume an autobiographical role: as if Mozart was composing a mass for his own presaged death.
I saw two operas consecutively at Oper Koln. First, the utterly
bewildering Lucia di Lammermoor; then Thilo Reinhardt’s
thrilling Tosca. His staging was pure operatic joy with some
Bernard Haitink’s monumental Bruckner and Mahler performances with
the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) got me hooked on classical music.
His legendary performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in
C-minor, where in the Finale loosened plaster fell from the
Concertgebouw ceiling, is still recounted in Amsterdam.
Karita Mattila was born to sing Emilia Marty, the diva around whom revolves Leoš Janáček's The Makropulos Affair (Věc Makropulos). At Prom 45, she shone all the more because she was conducted by Jirí Belohlávek and performed alongside a superb cast from the National Theatre, Prague, probably the finest and most idiomatic exponents of this repertoire.
‘Two outrageous operas in one crazy evening,’ reads the bill. Hyperbole? Certainly not when the operas are two of Jacques Offenbach’s more off-the-wall bouffoneries and when the company is Opera della Luna whose artistic director, Jeff Clarke, is blessed with the comic imagination and theatrical nous to turn even the most vacuous trivia into a sharp and sassy riotous romp.
This performance of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Glyndebourne was so good that it was the highlight of the whole season, making the term ‘revival’ utterly irrelevant. Jakub Hrůša is always stimulating, but on this occasion, his conducting was so inspired that I found myself closing my eyes in order to concentrate on what he revealed in Britten's quirky but brilliant score. Eyes closed in this famous production by Peter Hall, first seen in 1981?
A staged piano recital and an opera as a concert. Pianist András Schiff accompanied the Salzburg Marionette Theater at the Mozarteum Grosser Saal and Anna Netrebko sang Manon Lescaut at the Grosses Festspielhaus.
On August 4, 2016, soprano Leah Crocetto and accompanist Tamara Sanikidze gave a recital at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe New Mexico. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Contest, this year Crocetto was singing Donna Anna in Santa Fe Opera’s excellent Don Giovanni.
On July 31, 2016, against the ethereal beauty of the main hall in the Scottish Rite Center, soprano Angela Meade and pianist Joe Illick gave a recital offering both opera and art songs ranging in origin from early nineteenth century Europe to mid twentieth century America. Many in the audience probably remembered Meade’s recent excellent portrayal of Norma at Los Angeles Opera.
When more is definitely more, and less would indeed be less. Two of the biggest names in Italian theater art collide in an eponymous theater.
It was the fifth Proms Chamber Music concert at Cadogan Hall this season, and we were celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th. And, given the extent and range of the composers and artists, and the diversity and profundity of the musical achievement inspired by the Bard, we could probably keep celebrating in this fashion ad infinitum.
Each August the bleak and leaky, 12,000 seat Arena Adriatica (home of the famed Pesaro basketball team) magically transforms itself into an improvised opera house that boasts the ultimate in opera chic — exemplary Rossini production standards for its now twelve hundred seats.
This highly enjoyable Prom, part of 2016’s ‘Proms at
’ mini-series, took as its guiding concept the reopening of London’s theatres following the Restoration, focusing in particular upon musical and dramatic responses to Shakespeare. Purcell, rightly, loomed large, with John Blow and Matthew Locke joining him. Receiving their Proms premieres were the excerpts from Timon of Athens and those from Locke’s The Tempest.
With all the bombast of the presidential campaigns rattling in our heads, with invectives being exchanged and measured discussion all but absent, how utterly lovely to retreat and relax into the harmonious soundscape and well-reasoned debate posed in Strauss’ Capriccio, on magnificent display at Santa Fe Opera.
When we entered the Crosby Theatre for Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette the stage was surprisingly dominated by a somber, semi-circular black mausoleum, many chambers inscribed with scrambled names of US Civil War era dead.
Molten passions were seething just below the icy Nordic exterior of Santa Fe
Opera’s wholly masterful production of Barber’s Vanessa.
Farce is probably the most difficult of dramatic comedy sub-genres to put across. A farce got up in the stately robes of opera sets its presenters an even higher bar. Presenting an operatic farce on a notoriously chilly and cavernous auditorium is to risk catastrophe.
08 Dec 2004
Handel in Paris: A Review of Hercules
Paris Palais Garnier 12/04/2004 - et 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19, 22, 27 décembre 2004 Georg Friedrich Haendel : Hercules Joyce DiDonato (Dejanira), William Shimell (Hercules), Malena Ernman (Lichas), Toby Spence (Hyllus), Indela Bohlin (Iole), Simon Kirkbridge (Pretre de...
12/04/2004 - et 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19, 22, 27 décembre 2004
Georg Friedrich Haendel : Hercules
Joyce DiDonato (Dejanira), William Shimell (Hercules), Malena Ernman (Lichas), Toby Spence (Hyllus), Indela Bohlin (Iole), Simon Kirkbridge (Pretre de Jupiter)
Orchestre et Chœur des Arts Florissants, William Christie (direction)
Luc Bondy (mise en scène)
Parmi les nombreux opéras de Haendel, Hercules (1745) concentre le drame comme rarement. C'est la jalousie qui tient ici le premier role au long d'une intrigue très linéaire, la jalousie qui naît (acte I), ronge (acte II) et culmine dans la folie (acte III). Au retour de ses douze travaux, Hercules ramène en effet parmi ses captifs une princesse " à la beauté fatale ", Iole, dont son épouse, Déjanira, soupçonne qu'elle est son amante ; il faudra la mort du héros pour que, sombrant dans la folie, elle se rende compte de son erreur.
Figure centrale de l'opéra, le role de Déjanira nécessite des moyens vocaux et un investissement dramatique à la mesure des grandes héroïaut;nes lyriques (Traviata, Isolde, Elektra ...), pour notre plus grande satisfaction et la réussite de cette production (créée à Aix cet été), Joyce DiDonato se révèle parfaitement à la hauteur. Très convaincante dans les circonvolutions de l'écriture baroque, captivante dans la tragédie du doute affreux qui la ronge, la mezzo américaine signe ici une performance remarquable, on ne souhaite que la voir plus souvent à Paris ! Drame resserré sur six personnages, les autres roles sont également parfaitement tenus, des deux séduisantes suédoises Ingela Bohlin (soprano, Iole) et Malena Ernman (mezzo, Lichas) à l'anglais Simon Kirkbridge (baryton-basse, Pretre de Jupiter), qui tous les trois font leurs débuts à l'Opéra de Paris ; et l'on retrouve avec plaisir les deux anglais William Shimell (baryton, Hercules) et Toby Spence (ténor, Hyllus).
[Click here for remainder of article.]
[NB: Hercules (HWV 60) is classified as neither an opera nor as an oratorio. It is a drama that is performed in oratorio style. Click here for complete information.]