Recently in Performances
‘A caprice written with the point of a needle’: so Berlioz described his opera Béatrice and Bénédict, which pares down Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing to its comic quintessence, shorn of the sub-plots, destroyed reputations and near-bloodshed of Shakespeare’s original.
‘This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.’ It is, perhaps, a line quoted too often; yet, even though it may not have been entirely accurate on this occasion, it came to my mind. Its accuracy might be questioned in several respects.
Central City Opera celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Ballad of Baby Doe with a hip, canny, multi-faceted new production.
Someone forgot to tell Central City Opera that it would be difficult to fit Puccini’s (usually) architecturally large Tosca on their small stage.
A cast worthy of Bayreuth made for an unforgettable Wagnerian experience at
the Sommer Festspiele in Baden-Baden.
Loving attention to the highest quality was everywhere evident in Des Moines Metro Opera’s Manon.
Des Moines Metro Opera had (almost) all the laughs in the right places, and certainly had all the right singers in these meaty roles to make for an enjoyable outing with Verdi’s masterpiece
With the thermometers reaching boiling point, there’s no doubt that summer has finally arrived in London. But, the sun seems to have been shining over the large marquee in Holland Park all summer.
J.S. Bach’s cerebral Art of the Fugue in Aix, Verdi’s massive Requiem in Orange, Ibn al-Muqaffa’ ‘s fable of the camel, jackal, wolf and crow, Sophocles’ blind Oedipus Rex and the Bible’s triumphant Psalm No. 150 in Aix.
The champagne corks popped at the close of this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at the Royal Opera House, with Prince Orlofsky’s celebratory toast forming a fitting conclusion to some superb singing.
Bryn Terfel is making a habit of performing Russian patriarchs at the Proms.
What happens when just everything about an operatic performance goes joyously right?
Two years ago, the well-established Des Moines Metro Opera experimented with a 2nd Stages program, with performances programmed outside of their home stage at Simpson College.
What to make of the unannounced decision to open this concert with the Marseillaise? I am sure it was well intended, and perhaps should leave it at that.
In a fairy-tale, it can sometimes feel as if one is living a dream but on the verge of being awoken to a shock. Such is life in these dark and uncertain days.
The tense, three hour knock-down-drag-out seduction of Beauty by Pleasure consumed our souls in this triumphal evening. Forget Time and Disillusion as destructors, they were the very constructors of the beauty and pleasure found in this miniature oratorio.
Three parallel universes (before losing count) — the ephemeral Debussy/Maeterlinck masterpiece, the Debussy symphonic tone poem, and the twisted intricacies of a moldy, parochially English country estate.
This, alas, was where I had to sign off. A weekend conference on Parsifal (including, on the Saturday, a showing of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal film) mean that I missed Götterdämmerung, skipping straight to the sequel.
The culmination of Opera North’s “Ring for Everyone”, this Götterdämmerung showed the power of the condensed movement so necessary in a staged performance - each gesture of each character was perfectly judged - as well as the visceral power of having Wagner’s huge orchestra on stage as opposed to the pit.
Michael Grandage's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, which was new in 2012, returned to Glyndebourne on 3 July 2016 revived by Ian Rutherford.
10 May 2005
Tales of Hoffmann at Seattle
Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann” has to be one of the most problematic and untidy operas in the international repertory.
Nearly 125 years after its premiere at the Opera-Comique in Paris, the opera is still subject to alterations and adjustments of whatever impresario is producing the show. Different editions abound—since the score was unfinished at the time of the composer’s death—as well as different opinions, almost by definition, about what should and should not be included in any performing edition.
Under the illusion of rose-colored glasses, a love-struck Hoffmann (John Uhlenhopp) woos the affections of Olympia (Julianne Gearhart), unaware that she is, in fact, a doll. (Rozarii Lynch Photo)
For Seattle Opera, 'Hoffmann' is a tale of triumph
By R.M. CAMPBELL [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9 May 05]
Jacques Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" has to be one of the most problematic and untidy operas in the international repertory.
Nearly 125 years after its premiere at the Opera-Comique in Paris, the opera is still subject to alterations and adjustments of whatever impresario is producing the show. Different editions abound -- since the score was unfinished at the time of the composer's death -- as well as different opinions, almost by definition, about what should and should not be included in any performing edition.
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Alternate "Hoffman" cast features new singers, different vibes
By Melinda Bargreen [Seattle Times, 10 May 05]
It's always a revelation to see how different an opera production looks and sounds when new leading singers step in. Saturday's opening performance of "The Tales of Hoffmann," the exciting new production at Seattle Opera, featured such a terrific ensemble cast that Sunday's alternate cast (introducing five new singers) had very big shoes to fill. But Sunday afternoon's first performance, a completely new show, generally worked well on its own terms.
First of all, tenor John Uhlenhopp makes a commendable Hoffmann, with a bright timbre, good high notes and strong dramatic skills. He clearly connects with his inamoratas. Linda Pavelka, as his Muse and constant companion, gave all her scenes a dramatic urgency, showing a real command of the role's vocal requirements.
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