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Recently in Performances

Guillaume Tell, Covent Garden

It is twenty-three years since Rossini’s opera of cultural oppression, inspiring heroism and tender pathos was last seen on the Covent Garden stage, but this eagerly awaited new production of Guillaume Tell by Italian director Damiano Micheletto will be remembered more for the audience outrage and vociferous mid-performance booing that it provoked — the most persistent and strident that I have heard in this house — than for its dramatic, visual or musical impact.

Aida, Opera Holland Park

With its outrageous staging demands, you sometimes wonder why opera companies want to produce Verdi’s Aida. But the piece is about far more than pharaohs, pyramids and camels.

Death in Venice, Garsington Opera

Given the enduring resonance and impact of the magnificent visual aesthetic of Visconti’s 1971 film of Thomas Mann’s novella, opera directors might be forgiven for concluding that Britten’s Death in Venice does not warrant experimentation with period and design, and for playing safe with Edwardian elegance, sweeping Venetian vistas and stylised seascapes.

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Two Women in San Francisco

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Opera Las Vegas Presents Exquisite Madama Butterfly

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Opera Philadelphia is a very well-managed opera company with a great vision. Every year it presents a number of well-known “warhorse” operas, usually in the venerable Academy of Music, and a few more adventurous productions, usually in a chamber opera format suited to the smaller Pearlman Theater.

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Princeton Festival: Le Nozze di Figaro

The Princeton Festival has established a reputation for high-quality summer opera. In recent years works by Handel, Britten, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Wagner and Gershwin have been performed at Matthews Theater on Princeton University campus: a 1100-seat auditorium with good sight-lines though a somewhat dry and uneven acoustic.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail,
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Die Entführung aus dem Serail was Mozart’s first great public success in Vienna, and it became the composer’s most oft performed opera during his lifetime.

German Lieder Is Given a Dramatic Twist by The Ensemble for the Romantic Century

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Hans Werner Henze: Ein Landarzt and Phaedra

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Dido and Aeneas, Spitalfields Festival

High brick walls, a cavernous space, entered via a narrow passage just off a London thoroughfare: Village Underground in Shoreditch is probably not that far removed from the venue in which Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas was first performed — whether that was Josiah Priest’s girl’s school in Chelsea or the court of Charles II or James II.

Intermezzo, Garsington Opera

Hats off to Garsington for championing once again some criminally neglected Strauss. I overheard someone there opine, ‘Of course, you can understand why it isn’t done very often.’

Cosi fan tutte, Garsington Opera

Mozart and Da Ponte’s Cosi fan tutte provides little in the way of background or back story for the plot, thus allowing directors to set the piece in a variety settings.

The Queen of Spades, ENO

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OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799)
04 Feb 2006

Le Nozze di Figaro at ROH — Four Reviews

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE: "To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Royal Opera mounts a new production of his setting of the second of Beaumarchais' domestic but politically charged 'Figaro' comedies, as adapted by librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. "

Le Nozze di Figaro

Richard Morrison at Covent Garden [Times Online, 2 February 2006]

Few of the trillion Mozart celebrations this year will match David McVicar’s new Royal Opera staging of Figaro for insight or passion. It isn’t a perfect show. Act IV sags, and seems untidily staged in comparison with the meticulously observed domestic warfare that has gone before. Dorothea Röschmann sings the Countess’s despairing arias with touching intensity, but also intermittent waywardness.

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Cleverness with a hole in it

By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 2 February 2006]

No one could possibly object. The Royal Opera's new Figaro, directed by David McVicar, looks good and sounds good. The set-changes are breathtakingly clever. The costumes seem vaguely in period (1820s actually). The conducting is fluent, the casting strong. Everyone can go home satisfied, then, can't they? Not really. There is a hole at the heart of this Figaro, a gaping void of ideas, a mentality that puts surface-dressing above interpretation. We get no flavour of why the work had such incendiary implications for its day, or what it might say to us now. What Covent Garden is marketing here is reproduction opera.

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Le Nozze di Figaro

Tim Ashley [The Guardian, 2 February 2006]

David McVicar's new production transposes Mozart's comedy from its usual 18th century setting to a French chateau on the eve of the July 1830 revolution that saw the restored Bourbon monarchy replaced by the liberal bourgeois era of Louis Philippe. The events of that summer were famously commemorated by Delacroix in Liberty Leading the People. The production charts the transformation of Figaro, gloriously incarnated by Erwin Schrott, from naive, liveried flunky to a politically engaged figure who belongs on Delacroix's barricades.

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For Better or Worse, a Bourgeois 'Figaro' in London

By DANIEL J. WAKIN [NY Times, 4 February 2006]

LONDON, Feb. 3 — In this European musical capital, the highest-profile homage to Mozart during his anniversary year came about with surprising casualness.

"We have strong productions of 'Così Fan Tutte,' 'Don Giovanni,' " said Antonio Pappano, the music director of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, "as well as 'The Magic Flute.' " But the existing version of "Le Nozze di Figaro" had been put to rest, and it was time to bring the opera back.

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