14 Jan 2006
The Guardian on Dmitri Shostakovich
In from the cold
Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.
It would seem a logical step for the mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey to take on the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.
“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.
When I spoke with Zandra Rhodes, she was in her large San Diego workspace, which she described as having walls decorated with her own huge black and white drawings.
Palm Beach audiences are famous for their glamour, but in recent years a special star has sparkled amid the jewels, sequins, feathers and furs (whatever the weather).
When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.
On Wednesday evening, February 20, Los Angeles Opera gave a press conference at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion featuring Music Director James Conlon.
It is another “What Could Have Been” moment. The debut of Brokeback Mountain by Charles Wuorinen is part of Madridʼs Teatro Real coming season.
Plans for July’s Aix-en-Provence Festival were announced and opera is, of course, at the center of the program with a particularly noteworthy Richard Strauss production.
Amsterdam enjoys a rare visit from Moscow’s Stanislavski Opera at the landmark Koninklijk Carre Theater, for three performances of Tchaikovski’s Eugene Onegin and a Sunday morning opera concert, on February 1st-3rd.
A new festival hall has been inaugurated in the small town of Erl in the Tyrolean mountains.
Yesterday, Conductor Riccardo Muti opened the Rome Opera, where he is “honorary conductor for life,” with a gala presentation of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.
When tenor Michael Spyres takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on December 5th, he will be in heady company.
One of the most noteworthy and controversial productions in recent memory arrived in Belgium with hurricane force as Director Terry Gilliam’s inaugural opera, an inspired interpretation of Hector Berlioz’s Le Damnation de Faust, blasted into Ghent, followed by a run in Antwerp.
Florian Boesch is singing Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Oxford Lieder Festival on Sunday 14th October. This won’t be routine. Radically challenging conventional interpretation, Boesch says “I don’t believe it ends in suicide”
Exciting developments at Glyndebourne ! Many new initiatives which could transform Glyndebourne from a summer festival to a truly international, year-round opera experience.
The recently released numbers for the past season at Barcelona’s opera Liceu gives some hope for the future.
A record 278,978 people attended events of the 2012 edition of the famed Salzburg Festival in Austria, the largest number since its founding 92 years ago.
Just after things were settling after the scandal of baritone Evgeny Nitikin supposed swastika tattoo at the Bayreuth Festival, another one seems likely to take its place.
Three quarters of the way through this discussion, a question that inhabits the mind of anyone putting any thought to the subject — but no one dare ask — was rhetoricised, “what is opera?”
In from the cold
A hundred years after his birth, Shostakovich is still vehemently dividing critics
Gerard McBurney [The Guardian, 14 January 2006]
The 25th anniversary of the death of Dmitri Shostakovich coincided with the millennium, and had its own share of celebrations with a wealth of concerts, festivals, broadcasts and books. Now along comes the centenary of his birth in 1906; Manchester and London mark the occasion with two complete cycles of his 15 symphonies given by six different orchestras, there are swathes of chamber music, plenty of new recordings and, on the way, a revised and expanded version of Elizabeth Wilson's indispensible study, Shostakovich: A Life Remembered.