Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Cold Mountain, Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia deserves congratulations on yet another coup. The company co-commissioned Cold Mountain, an opera by Jennifer Higdon based on Gene Scheer’s adaptation of Charles Frazier’s celebrated Civil War epic.

Christian Gerhaher Wolfgang Rihm Wigmore Hall

For their first of two recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber devised an interesting programme - popular Schubert mixed with songs by Wolfgang Rihm and by Huber himself.

Götterdämmerung in Palermo

There are not many opera productions that you would cross oceans to see. Graham Vick’s Götterdämmerung in Sicily however compelled such a voyage.

Emmanuel Chabrier L’Étoile — Royal Opera House London

Premièred in 1877 at Offenbach’s own Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Emmanuel Chabrier’s L’Étoile has a libretto, by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo, which stirs the blackly comic, the farcical and the bizarre into a surreal melange, blending contemporary satire with the frankly outlandish.

Robert Ashley’s Quicksand at the Kitchen

Robert Ashley’s opera-novel Quicksand makes for a novel experience

Premiere of Raskatov’s Green Mass

One of the leading Russian composers of his generation, Alexander Raskatov’s reputation in the UK and western Europe derives from several, recent large-scale compositions, such as his reconstruction of Alfred Schnittke’s Ninth Symphony from a barely legible manuscript (the work was first performed in 2007 in the Dresden Frauenkirche by the Dresden Philharmonic under Dennis Russell Davies), and his 2010 opera A Dog’s Heart, based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s satire (which was directed by Simon McBurney at English National Opera in 2010, following the opera’s premiere at Netherlands Opera earlier that year).

Orpheus in the Underworld, Opera Danube

I’m not sure that St John’s Smith Square was the most appropriate venue for Opera Danube’s latest production: Jacques Offenbach’s satirical frolic, Orpheus in the Underworld.

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in Lyon

This nasty little opera evening in Lyon lived up to the opera’s initial reputation as pure pornophony. This is the erotic Shostakovich of the D minor cello sonata, it is the sarcastic and complicated Shostakovich of The Nose . . .

Bel Canto: A World Premiere at Lyric Opera of Chicago

During December 2015 and presently in January Lyric Opera of Chicago has featured the world premiere of the opera Bel Canto, with music by Jimmy López and libretto by Nilo Cruz, based on the novel by Ann Patchett.

Tosca, Royal Opera

Christmas at the Royal Opera House is all about magic, mystery and miracles: as represented by the conjuror’s exploits in The Nutcracker — with its Kingdom of Sweets and Sugar Plum Fairy — or, as in the Linbury Theatre this year, the fantastical adventures of the Firework-Maker’s Daughter, Lila, and her companions — a lovesick elephant, swashbuckling pirates, tropical beasts and Fire-Fiends.

Lianna Haroutounian resplendent in Madama Butterfly at the Concertgebouw

The title role is a deciding factor in Madama Butterfly. Despite a last-minute conductor cancellation, last Saturday’s concert performance at the Concertgebouw was a resounding success, thanks to Lianna Haroutounian’s opulent, heart-stealing Cio-Cio-San.

Classical Opera: MOZART 250 — 1766: A Retrospective

With this performance of vocal and instrumental works composed by the 10-year-old Mozart and his contemporaries during 1766, Classical Opera entered the second year of their 27-year project, MOZART 250, which is designed to ‘contextualise the development and influences of [sic] the composer’s artistic personality’ and, more audaciously, to ‘follow the path that subsequently led to some of the greatest cornerstones of our civilisation’.

Benjamin Appl — Schubert, Wigmore Hall London

Luca Pisaroni and Wolfram Rieger were due to give the latest installment in the Wigmore Hall's complete Schubert songs series, but both had to cancel at short notice. Fortunately, the Wigmore Hall rises to such contingencies, and gave us Benjamin Appl and Jonathan Ware. Since there's a huge buzz about Appl, this was an opportunity to hear more of what he can do.

Ferrier Awards Winners’ Recital

The phrase ‘Sunday afternoon concert’ may suggest light, post-prandial entertainment, but soprano Gemma Lois Summerfield and her accompanist, Simon Lepper, swept away any such conceptions in this demanding programme at St. John’s Smith Square.

Pelléas et Mélisande at the Barbican

When, o when, will someone put Peter Sellars and his compendium of clichés out of our misery?

L'Arpeggiata: La dama d’Aragó, Wigmore Hall

Having recently followed some by-ways through the music of Purcell, Monteverdi and Cavalli, L’Arpeggiata turned the spotlight on traditional folk music in this characteristically vibrant and high-spirited performance at the Wigmore Hall.

Tippett : A Child of Our Time, London

Edward Gardner brought all his experience as a choral and opera conductor to bear in this stirring performance of Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at the Barbican Hall, with a fine cast of soloists, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus.

Taverner and Tavener, Fretwork, London

‘Apt for voices or viols’: eager to maximise sales among the domestic market in Elizabethan England, publishers emphasised that the music contained in collections such as Thomas Morley’s First Book of Madrigals to Four Voices of 1594 was suitable for performance by any combination of singers and players.

Fall of the House of Usher in San Francisco

It was a single title but a double bill and there was far more happening than Gordon Getty and Claude Debussy. Starting with Edgar Allen Poe.

The Merry Widow at Lyric Opera of Chicago

For its latest production of the current season Lyric Opera of Chicago is presenting Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe) featuring Renée Fleming /Nicole Cabell as the widow Hanna Glawari and Thomas Hampson as Count Danilo Danilovich.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

31 Dec 2004

La Cenerentola a Torino

Una piccola ma scelta rappresentanza di questo esimio consesso ha assistito ieri sera alla terzultima rappresentazione de La Cenerentola al Regio di Torino. In una sala strapiena di un pubblico festoso, reattivo e soprattutto devastato dalla bronchite (propongo per il...

Una piccola ma scelta rappresentanza di questo esimio consesso ha assistito ieri sera alla terzultima rappresentazione de La Cenerentola al Regio di Torino. In una sala strapiena di un pubblico festoso, reattivo e soprattutto devastato dalla bronchite (propongo per il futuro di posizionare nel foyer del teatro tinozze di caramelle alla codeina) e' stata rappresentata la nota produzione Ronconi/Palli, nata a Pesaro qualche anno fa. Quella della cicogna, per intenderci.

Salto a pie' pari le considerazioni sulla parte visiva, di cui parlero' a parte.

Appena entrati in teatro, ancora in coda al guardaroba, abbiamo avuto da fonte sicura la ferale notizia che Sonia Ganassi aveva la febbre ma era intenzionata a cantare. In sala, infatti, e' stato dato l'annuncio in forma ufficiale. Che dire? La Sonia stava male e si sentiva. La voce si arrochiva di frequente, in basso tendeva a parire, la coloratura era problematica. Succedeva poi una cosa strana, che non so fino a che punto sia da attribuire all'influenza. Alcuni passi di agilita', tutti quelli con passaggi o scale ascendenti, mettevano la Ganassi in evidente difficolta', ed erano eseguiti quasi a denti stretti e producendo un suono per nulla gradevole. Non so se fosse un tentativo per superare un problema vocale dovuto al malessere, mi piacerebbe sapere da chi ha visto le recite precedenti se ha notato una cosa del genere. Comunque, la Ganassi e' arrivata in fondo da seria professionista qual e' ed e' venuta a capo onorevolmente anche del rondo', seppure utilizzando per le variazioni finali una specie di falsetto che sapeva di forzato ripiego. Per la cronaca, il rondo' ha avuto comunque una discreta e affettuosa ovazione accompagnata da alcuni fischi francamente inopportuni, visto l'evidente stato di malessere in cui si trovava la cantante, che piu' di una volta durante l'opera ha girato la testa per tossire.

Ramiro era Antonio Siragusa, che ha fatto tutto bene e anche benissimo ma ha infilato nella grande aria del secondo atto una serie di acuti decisamente tirati. Lo so, da quando Florez e' sceso fra noi abbiamo avuto la prova evidente della perfezione vocale tenorile. Siragusa e' un ottimo cantante che non si merita un ingiusto paragone con Florez. Diciamo che, dimenticando Juan Diego, il suo e' probabilmente il miglior Ramiro in circolazione oggi.

Esecrabile il Dandini del sempre piu' insopportabile Roberto De Candia, trasandato vocalmente e scenicamente pieno delle solite mossette che rendono i suoi personaggi uno la fotocopia dell'altro. Non mi ha entusiasmato il Magnifico di Andrea Concetti, che ha grande presenza scenica e ottimo impatto nei recitativi, ma da un punto di vista puramente vocale e' un po' insipido. L'aria di entrata e' scivolata via quasi senza un applauso. Bravissimo invece Marco Vinco come Alidoro e, come dire?, simpatiche le due sorelle, di cui non ricordo i nomi. Vocalmente la soprano era a suo modo gradevole (anche se molto stile sopranino/cucu'), ed ha avuto anche l'aria prima del finale reintegrata. L'altra sorella era francamente problematica da ascoltare, ma nell'insieme il duo era molto divertente.

La direzione di Enrique Mazzola mi e' parsa piu' che buona, varia nei tempi e non troppo incline a certi manierismi che ormai sono entrati nella tradizione, come la stucchevole enfasi sulle erre nel concertato del nodo rintrecciato.

Riccardo Domenichini

[This review originally appeared at Opera Seria, a Yahoo group. It is reprinted with the permission of the author.]

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):