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The Barber of Seville, ENO London

This may be the twelfth revival of Jonathan Miller’s 1987 production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville for English National Opera, but the ready laughter from the auditorium and the fresh musical and dramatic responses from the stage suggest that it will continue to amuse audiences and serve the house well for some time to come.

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The third and final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s survey of Monteverdi’s operas at the Barbican began and ended in darkness; the red glow of the single candle was an apt visual frame for a performance which was dedicated to the memory of the late Andrew Porter, the music critic and writer whose learned, pertinent and eloquent words did so much to restore Monteverdi, Cavalli and other neglected music-dramatists to the operatic stage.

English Touring Opera - Debussy, Massenet and Offenbach

English Touring Opera’s recent programming has been ambitious and inventive, and the results have been rewarding. We had two little-known Donizetti operas, The Siege of Calais and The Wild Man of the West Indies, in spring 2015, while autumn 2014 saw the company stage comedy by Haydn (Il mondo della luna) and romantic history by Handel (Ottone).

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LA Opera got its season off to an auspicious beginning with starry revivals of Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci.

Viva Verdi at Opera Las Vegas

On September 9, 2015, Opera Las Vegas presented James Sohre’s production of Viva Verdi at the Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. It was a delightful evening of arias, duets and ensembles by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). The program included many of the composer’s blockbuster arias and scenes from famous operas such as Aida, La traviata, and Macbeth.

Barbera Sings a Fascinating Recital in San Diego

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Sweeney Todd at the San Francisco Opera

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Wigmore Hall Complete Schubert Song Series begins with Boesch and Johnson

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Luisa Miller in San Francisco

Luisa Miller sits on the fringes of the repertory, and since its introduction into the modern repertory in the 1970’s it comes around every 15 or so years. Unfortunately this 2015 San Francisco occasion has not bothered to rethink this remarkable opera.

Salieri: La grotta di Trofonio (Trofonio’s Cave)

Demonised by Pushkin and Peter Shaffer, Antonio Salieri lives in the public imagination as the embittered rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — whose genius he lamented and revered in equal measure, and against whom he schemed and plotted at the Emperor Joseph II’s Viennese court.

Chicago Lyric’s Stars Shine at Millennium Park

The annual concert given by Lyric Opera of Chicago as an outdoor event previewing the forthcoming season took place on 11 September 2015 at Millennium Park.

Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice

Orpheus — that Greek hero whose songs could enchant both deities and beasts, whose lyre has become a metaphor for the power of music itself, and whose journey to the Underworld to rescue his wife, Eurydice, kick-started the art of opera in Mantua in 1607 — has been travelling far and wide around the UK in 2015.

Vaughan Williams and Holst Double Bill

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Iestyn Davies at Wigmore Hall

Is there anything that countertenor Iestyn Davies cannot do with his voice?

Prom 75: The Dream of Gerontius

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Prom 65: Alice Coote sings Handel

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Santa Fe: Secondary Mozart in First Rate Staging

Impresario Boris Goldovsky famously referred to La finta giardiniera as The Phony Farmerette.

Regimented Daughter in Santa Fe

At Santa Fe Opera, Donizetti’s effervescent The Daughter of the Regiment can’t quite decide what it wants to be when it grows up.

Santa Fe’s Celebratory Jester

Santa Fe Opera noted a landmark two-thousandth performance in their distinguished history with a stylish new production of Rigoletto.



08 Mar 2005

Die Walküre at Covent Garden

Any production of Wagner’s Ring cycle needs some kind of coherence, so it is logical for a staging of Die Walküre to continue where the previous instalment, Das Rheingold, left off. In the case of the Royal Opera’s new production, though, that turns out to be not such a good thing at all.

Die Walküre

Royal Opera House, London

Andrew Clements [The Guardian, 7 Mar 05]

Any production of Wagner's Ring cycle needs some kind of coherence, so it is logical for a staging of Die Walküre to continue where the previous instalment, Das Rheingold, left off. In the case of the Royal Opera's new production, though, that turns out to be not such a good thing at all.

Click here for remainder of article.

Bryn Terfel's First Wotan as Horns and Hounds Bay

By PAUL GRIFFITHS [NY Times, 7 Mar 05]

LONDON, March 6 - The new Covent Garden production of Wagner's "Ring" revolved Saturday night into its second quadrant, with a performance of "Die Walküre" every bit as exciting as the "Rheingold" in December. Once again, the excitement was thoroughly and fundamentally musical, its dual sources in the singing and in the pit, where the company's music director, Antonio Pappano, made the score consistently intense and animated.

Click here for remainder of article.

Wo sich Wotan die Finger verbrennt

VON PETRA HAIDERER [Die Presse, 08 Mar 05]

Covent Garden präsentiert eine neue "Walküre" - Vorhang auf zum Sammelsurium lächerlicher Einfälle!

Der "erste Tag" von Wagners Büh nenfestspiel knüpft optisch direkt am "Vorabend" - Rheingold (Pre miere Dezember 2004) - an. Hunding hat offenbar den Göttern die Möbel abgekauft (Bühnenbild: Stefanos Lazaridis). Er ist bekanntlich ein rauer Bursche, die Ledersessel sind aufgeschlitzt, die raumhohe Terrassentür ist zerbrochen. Schmächtig statt "mächtig" haben die Wurzeln der Esche Platz. Den schönen Marmortisch der Götter hat der Haudegen unversehrt gelassen. Ein Glück, denn über den kullert Siegmund abgehetzt ins Zimmer. Sieglindes Gemach hängt schräg im Raum, einige Stufen führen hinauf. An der Decke surrt leise ein grosser silberner Ventilator.

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Royal season centrepiece leaves much to be desired

By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 7 Mar 05]

After a decade of famine, London is feasting on Richard Wagner's four-part epic Der Ring des Nibelungen.

The longest and most ambitious work ever completed for the opera stage is packing in the crowds not just at the Royal Opera House, where Die Walküre opened on Saturday, but at the Coliseum, where The Twilight of the Gods will next month complete English National Opera's long-gestated Ring.

Click here for remainder of article (subscription to Financial Times online required).

Amid the nonsense, a towering Terfel fulfils his destiny

[Daily Telegraph, 8 Mar 05]

Rupert Christiansen reviews Die Walküre at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden

No opera begins with more tense expectancy than Die Walküre, as Wagner's orchestra depicts the fugitive Siegmund running desperately through a storm.

Illustrating this breathtakingly dramatic music with strobe lighting is the first of many shallow theatrical clichés that mar Keith Warner's new staging - an infuriating mixture of the corny and chic, littered with gimmicky special effects (some of which went horribly wrong) to the detriment of grandeur and credibility.

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