Recently in Performances
‘A century after the Somme, who still stands with Britain?’ So read a headline in yesterday’s Evening Standard on the eve of the centenary of the first day of that battle which, 141 days later, would grind to a halt with 1,200,000 British, French, German and Allied soldiers dead or injured.
A day is now a very long time indeed in politics; would that it were otherwise. It certainly is in the Ring, as we move forward a generation to Die Walküre.
If composers had to be categorised as either conservatives or radicals, Christoph Willibald Gluck would undoubtedly be in the revolutionary camp, lauded for banishing display, artifice and incoherence from opera and restoring simplicity and dramatic naturalness in his ‘reform’ operas.
Das Rheingold is, of course, the reddest in tooth and claw of all Wagner’s dramas - which is saying something.
The Princeton Festival presents one opera annually, amidst other events. Its offerings usually alternate annually between 20th century and earlier operas. This year the Festival presented Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, now a classic work, in a very effective and moving production.
If you like your Ariadne on Naxos productions as playful as a box of puppies, then Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is the address for you.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis took forty years before attempting Verdi’s Macbeth but judging by the excellence of the current production, it was well worth the wait.
On June 16, 2016, Los Angeles Opera with Beth Morrison Projects presented the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang's Anatomy Theater at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT).
In its compact forty-year history, the ambitious Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has just triumphantly presented its twenty-fifth world premiere with Shalimar the Clown.
The sharp angles and oddly tilting perspectives of Charles Edwards’ set for David Alden’s production of Jenůfa at ENO suggest a community resting precariously on the security and certainty of its customs, soon to slide from this precipice into social and moral anarchy.
Last week an audience of 50 assembled in the kitchen of a luxurious West Village townhouse for a performance of Marriage of Figaro.
In a recent article in BBC Music Magazine tenor James Gilchrist reflected on the reason why early-nineteenth-century England produced no corpus of art song to match the German lieder of Schumann, Schubert and others, despite the great flowering of English Romantic poetry during this period.
With the New York Premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas, the New York City Opera Steps Out of the Shadows of the Past
Opportunities to see Idomeneo are not so frequent as they might be, certainly not so frequent as they should be.
Not merely Don Carlo, but the five-act Don Carlo in the 1886 Modena version! The welcomed esotericism of San Francisco Opera’s extraordinary spring season.
The early summer San Francisco Opera season has the feel of a classy festival. There is an introduction of Spanish director Calixto Bieito to American audiences, a five-act Don Carlo and two awaited, inevitable role debuts, Karita Mattila as Kostelnička and Malin Bystrom as Janacek's Jenůfa.
Now that the curtain has long fallen on the third and last performance of
the Ring cycle at the Washington National Opera (WNO), it is safe to
say that the long-anticipated production has been an unqualified success for
the company, director Francesca Zambello, and conductor Philippe Auguin.
Most of the attention during this revival of Daniele Abbado’s 2013 production of Nabucco has been directed at Plácido Domingo’s reprise of the title role, with the critical reception somewhat mixed.
Four years ago, almost to the day (13th to 12th), I saw Melly Still’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen during its first Glyndebourne run. I found
myself surprised how much more warmly I responded to it this time.
This recital celebrated both the work of the Park Lane Group, which has been
supporting the careers of outstanding young artists for 60 years, and the 90th
birthday of Joseph Horovitz, who was born in Vienna in 1926 and emigrated to
England aged 12.
21 Feb 2005
Wozzeck at WNO
FIRST nights of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck are not traditionally sellouts, but then this was anything but a traditional first night.
As the main event of Welsh National Opera’s inaugural weekend in its new home, the Wales Millennium Centre at Cardiff Bay, Saturday night’s performance sent out a volley of positive signals that will stand the company in good stead as it builds new audiences. There are more seats to fill than in WNO’s old house, but a strong forthcoming season combined with adventurous pricing policy should prolong the buzz.
John Allison at Wales Millenium Centre [Times Online, 21 Feb 05]
FIRST nights of Alban Berg's Wozzeck are not traditionally sellouts, but then this was anything but a traditional first night.
As the main event of Welsh National Opera's inaugural weekend in its new home, the Wales Millennium Centre at Cardiff Bay, Saturday night's performance sent out a volley of positive signals that will stand the company in good stead as it builds new audiences. There are more seats to fill than in WNO's old house, but a strong forthcoming season combined with adventurous pricing policy should prolong the buzz.
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A Dark Tale of Humanity in Waves of Pity and Terror
By PAUL GRIFFITHS [NY Times, 21 Feb 05]
CARDIFF, Wales, Feb. 20 - For most of its 59-year history, the Welsh National Opera has been looking forward to having a theater built for it here in the capital city of Wales. Now that hope has been fulfilled. On Saturday the company presented its first production made for its new home, the Wales Millennium Center: Alban Berg's "Wozzeck," in a performance that lived up to the occasion in every way. Whether the theater did so is less certain.
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Night at altar of popularity
By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 21 Feb 05]
With the first night of Welsh National Opera's new production of Wozzeck on Saturday, the final block in the edifice of Cardiff's #106m arts complex fell into place. The Wales Millennium Centre, which dominates a thriving business and leisure development at the seafront, is bright, spacious and flawlessly egalitarian. Covered by a bronze shell, clad in Welsh slate and commanding the eye with a massive inscription that reads "In these stones horizons sing", the building has succeeded since its official opening in November to be all things to all men.
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Crushed to death under a hill of beans
[Daily Telegraph, 21 Feb 05]
Rupert Christiansen reviews Wozzeck performed by the WNO at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Shocking the audience is an over-used tactic in the business of opera production, and one that pays swiftly diminishing returns - when Calixto Bieito grinds out his umpteenth coke-fuelled orgy, all we do is yawn.
But surprising the audience is a vital element of good theatre (at its most basic level, it's what keeps us awake), and one of the things I most deeply admire in Richard Jones's recent work is its arresting poetic strangeness: it's impossible to anticipate either its starting point or the journey it will take.
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