Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Fedora in Genoa

It is not an everyday opera. It is an opera that illuminates a larger verismo history.

The Marriage of Figaro, LA Opera

On March 26, 2015, Los Angeles Opera presented Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The Ian Judge production featured jewel-colored box sets by Tim Goodchild that threw the voices out into the hall. Only for the finale did the set open up on to a garden that filled the whole stage and at the very end featured actual fireworks.

The Tempest Songbook, Gotham Chamber Opera

Gotham Chamber Opera’s latest project, The Tempest Songbook, continues to explore the possibilities of unconventional spaces and unconventional programs that the company has made its hallmark. The results were musically and theatrically thought-provoking, and left me wanting more.

San Diego Opera presents Adams’ Riveting Nixon in China

Nixon in China is a three-act opera with a libretto by Alice Goodman and music by John Adams that was first seen at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987. It was the first of a notable line of operas by the composer.

Ars Minerva presents Castrovillari’s La Cleopatra in San Francisco

It is thanks to Céline Ricci, mezzo-soprano and director of Ars Minerva, that we have been able to again hear Daniele Castrovillari’s exquisite melodies because she is the musician who has brought his 1662 opera La Cleopatra to life.

An Ideal Cast in Chicago’s Tannhäuser

Lyric Opera of Chicago, in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has staged a production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser with an estimable cast.

Madame Butterfly, Royal Opera

Puccini and his fellow verismo-ists are commonly associated with explosions of unbridled human passion and raw, violent pain, but in this revival (by Justin Way) of Moshe Leiser’s and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madame Butterfly, directorial understatement together with ravishing scenic beauty are shown to be more potent ways of enabling the sung voice to reveal the emotional depths of human tragedy.

Tosca in Marseille

Rarely, very rarely does a Tosca come around that you can get excited about. Sure, sometimes there is good singing, less often good conducting but rarely is there a mise en scène that goes beyond stock opera vocabulary.

Poetry beyond words — Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall

The Nash Ensemble’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations at the Wigmore Hall were crowned by a recital that typifies the Nash’s visionary mission. Above, the dearly-loved founder, Amelia Freeman, a quietly revolutionary figure in her own way, who has immeasurably enriched the cultural life of this country.

Arizona Opera Presents Magritte Style Magic Flute

On March 7, 2015, Arizona Opera presented Dan Rigazzi’s production of Die Zauberflöte in Tucson. Inspired by the works of René Magritte, designer John Pollard filled the stage with various sizes of picture frames, windows, and portals from which he leads us into Mozart and Schikaneder’s dream world.

Henry Purcell: A Retrospective

There are some concert programmes which are not just wonderful in their execution but also delight and satisfy because of the ‘rightness’ of their composition. This Wigmore Hall recital by soprano Carolyn Sampson and three period-instrument experts of arias and instrumental pieces by Henry Purcell was one such occasion.

Die Meistersinger and The Indian Queen
at the ENO

It has been a cold and gray winter in the south of France (where I live) made splendid by some really good opera, followed just now by splendid sunshine at Trafalgar Square and two exquisite productions at English National Opera.

Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Royal Opera

At long last, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny has come to the Royal Opera House. Kurt Weill’s teacher, Busoni, remains scandalously ignored, but a season which includes house firsts both of this opera and Szymanowsi’s King Roger, cannot be all bad.

Unsuk Chin: Alice in Wonderland, Barbican, London

Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland returned to the Barbican, London, shape-shifted like one of Alice’s adventures. The BBC Symphony Orchestra was assembled en masse, almost teetering off stage, creating a sense of tension. “Eat me, Drink me”. Was Lewis Carroll on hallucinogens or just good at channeling the crazy world of the subconscious?

Welsh National Opera: The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel

Dominic Cooke’s 2005 staging of The Magic Flute and Richard Jones’s 1998 production of Hansel and Gretel have been brought together for Welsh National Opera’s spring tour under the unifying moniker, Spellbound.

Double bill at Guildhall

Gaetano Donizetti and Malcolm Arnold might seem odd operatic bedfellows, but this double bill by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama offered a pair of works characterised by ‘madness, misunderstandings and mistaken identity’ which proved witty, sparkling and imaginatively realised.

LA Opera: Barber of Seville

Saturday, February 28, 2015, was the first night for Los Angeles Opera’s revival of its 2009 presentation of The Barber of Seville, a production by Emilio Sagi, which comes originally from Teatro Real in Madrid in cooperation with Lisbon’s Teatro San Carlos. Sagi and onsite director, Trevor Ross, made comedy the focus of their production and provided myriad sight gags which kept the audience laughing.

Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Wigmore Hall

Commenting on her recent, highly acclaimed CD release of late-nineteenth-century song, Chansons Perpétuelles (Naive: V5355), Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux remarked ‘it’s that intimate side that interests me … I wanted to emphasise the genuinely embodied, physical side of the sensuality [in Fauré]’.

Eine florentinische Tragödie and I pagliacci in Monte-Carlo

An evening of strange-bedfellow one-acts in high-concept stagings, mindbogglingly delightful.

Carmen, Pacific Symphony

On February 19, 2015, Pacific Symphony presented its annual performance of a semi-staged opera. This year’s presentation at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, featured Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Director Dean Anthony used the front of the stage and a few solid set pieces by Scenic Designer Matt Scarpino to depict the opera’s various scenes.

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):