Recently in Performances
Káťa Kabanová is, they say, Janáček's first mature opera — it comes a mere 20 years after his masterpiece, Jenůfa.
Nice’s golden winter light is not that of England’s North Sea coast. Nonetheless the Opéra de Nice’s new production of Peter Grimes did much to take us there.
Peasants revolt in a sea of Maserati and Ferrari’s.
Figaro 90210 is Vid Guerrerio’s modern version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo DaPonte’s 1786 opera, The Marriage of Figaro.
David McVicar’s production of Wagner’s seminal music drama runs aground on the Cornish coast.
The coming of ‘Night’ brings darkness, shadows and mystery; sleep, dreams and nightmares; fancies, fantasies and passions.
Umberto’s Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, now at the Royal Opera House, is no more about history than Jesus Christ Superstar is about theology.
Mariusz Treliński’s staging of Tchaikovsky’s operatic masterpiece is visually fascinating but psychologically confusing
The regal trumpets and sackbuts sound their bold herald and, followed by admiring eyes, the powers of state and church begin their dignified procession along a sloping walkway to assume their lofty positions upon the central dais.
Vestiges of a momentous era . . .
There were hints that L’elisir is one of the great bel canto masterpieces.
Aron Stiehl’s production of this rare early Wagner opera cheerfully brings commedia dell’arte to La Cage aux Folles.
Stage director Pierre Audi is not one to be strictly representational in his story telling.
For the first time in its 42-year history, Manitoba Opera presented Beethoven’s mighty ode to freedom, Fidelio, with an extraordinary production that resonated as loudly as tolling bells of freedom.
Forty-one years is a long time for any partnership to be sustained and to flourish — be it musical, commercial or marital! And, given The Hilliard Ensemble’s ongoing reputation as one of the world’s finest a cappella groups, noted for their performances of works dating from the 11 th century to the present day, it must have been a tough decision to call an end to more than four decades of superlative music-making.
Daniel Barenboim makes a triumphant departure as direttore musicale del Teatro alla Scala with Beethoven’s operatic masterpiece.
Star singer and star composer, a combination guaranteed to bring in the fans. Christian Gerhaher sang Mahler at the Wigmore Hall with Gerold Huber. Gerhaher shot to fame when he sang Wolfram at the Royal Opera House Tannhäuser in 2010.
Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House — a masked ball in every sense, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Small country, small opera house — big ensemble spirit. Internationally acclaimed soprano Natalia Ushakova steps in for indisposed local Violetta with mixed results.
Bulgarian director Vera Nemirova’s production of Otello for the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest was certainly full of new ideas — unfortunately all bad.
15 Jan 2005
Parsifal at Wiener Staatsoper
VIENNA, Jan. 14 – Sir Simon Rattle, arguably the leading conductor in the world, had never conducted at the Vienna State Opera until Wednesday night, when he made his debut with a bang, and with Wagner’s five-hour “Parsifal.”
“Parsifal” is commonly labeled Wagner’s Christian opera. At the very least it is a tale about redemption, and many conductors limn it in hovering clouds of mysticism.
Wagner Demystified, With a Human Face
By ANNE MIDGETTE
VIENNA, Jan. 14 - Sir Simon Rattle, arguably the leading conductor in the world, had never conducted at the Vienna State Opera until Wednesday night, when he made his debut with a bang, and with Wagner's five-hour "Parsifal."
"Parsifal" is commonly labeled Wagner's Christian opera. At the very least it is a tale about redemption, and many conductors limn it in hovering clouds of mysticism.
But Sir Simon gave it a human face. His reading was anchored at every moment in what was happening on stage, aiming not for transcendence but for human emotions expressed in human terms. He drew lyrical passages of pure singing out of the score, as if even the orchestra were speaking with a human voice.
Another major factor in this humanity was the Amfortas of Thomas Quasthoff, who first did the role here when the production opened last April. Mr. Quasthoff, one of the most gifted singers alive, was born with physical deformities caused by the drug Thalidomide: around four feet tall, with hands growing almost directly out of his shoulders and no knee joints, he long avoided the opera stage in favor of concerts and recitals.
Sir Simon helped persuade him to take the plunge into opera, starting with the small role of Don Fernando in Beethoven's "Fidelio" at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2003. Amfortas is only his second opera role. He was brave to try it, and right to do so.
[Click here for remainder of article.]