Recently in Performances
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.
I suspect that many of those at the Wigmore Hall for The King’s
Consort’s performance of the La Senna festeggiante (The
Rejoicing Seine) were lured by the cachet of ‘Antonio Vivaldi’ and
further enticed by the notion of a lover’s serenade at which the generic
term ‘serenata’ seems to hint.
Having enjoyed superb singing by a young cast of soloists in Classical
Opera’s UK premiere of Jommelli’s Il Vogoleso the
previous evening, I was delighted that the 2016 Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final
at the Wigmore Hall confirmed the strength and depth of talent possessed by the
young singers studying in and emerging from our academies and conservatoires.
On February 7, 1786, Emperor Joseph II of Austria had brand new one-act operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri performed in the Schönbrunn Palace’s Orangery.
Those poor opera lovers in Cologne have a never ending problem with the city’s opera house. Together with the rest of city, the construction of the new opera house is mired in political incompetence.
London remains starved of Wagner. This season, its major companies offer but two works, Tannhäuser from the Royal Opera and Tristan from ENO.
Dmitry Bertman’s hilarious staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s political sex-comedy The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf.
On April 16, 2016, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s sixth opera, Madama Butterfly, in an intriguing production by Garnett Bruce. Roberto Oswald’s scenery included the usual Japanese styled house with many sliding doors and walls. On either side, however, were blooming cherry trees with rough trunks and gnarled branches that looked as though they had been growing on the property for a hundred years.
New Co-Production Tristan und Isolde with Metropolitan: Simon
Rattle and Westbroek electrify Treliński’s Opera-Noir.
In an operatic world crowded with sure-fire bread and butter repertoire, Opera San Jose has boldly chosen to lavish a new production on a dark horse, Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
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).
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[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.]