Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

J. C. Bach: Adriano in Siria

At this start of the year, Classical Opera embarked upon an ambitious project. MOZART 250 will see the company devote part of its programme each season during the next 27 years to exploring the music by Mozart and his contemporaries which was being written and performed exactly 250 years previously.

Bethan Langford, Wigmore Hall

The Concordia Foundation was founded in the early 1990s by international singer and broadcaster Gillian Humphreys, out of her ‘real concern for building bridges of friendship and excellence through music and the arts’.

Tansy Davies: Between Worlds (world premiere)

An opera dealing with — or at least claiming to deal with — the events of 11 September 2001? I suppose it had to come, but that does not necessarily make it any more necessary.

Arizona Opera Ends Season in Fine Style with Fille du Régiment

On April 10, 2015, Arizona Opera ended its season with La Fille du Régiment at Phoenix Symphony Hall. A passionate Marie, Susannah Biller was a veritable energizer bunny onstage. Her voice is bright and flexible with a good bloom on top and a tiny bit of steel in it. Having created an exciting character, she sang with agility as well as passion.

Il turco in Italia, Royal Opera

This second revival of Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser’s 2005 production of Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia seems to have every going for it: excellent principals comprising experienced old-hands and exciting new voices, infinite gags and japes, and the visual éclat of Agostino Cavalca’s colour-bursting costumes and Christian Fenouillat’s sunny sets which evoke the style, glamour and ease of La Dolce Vita.

The Siege of Calais
——
The Wild Man of the West Indies

English Touring Opera’s 2015 Spring Tour is audacious and thought-provoking. Alongside La Bohème the company have programmed a revival of their acclaimed 2013 production of Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais) and the composer’s equally rare The Wild Man of the West Indies (Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo).

The Met’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Mary Zimmerman’s still-fresh production is made fresher still by Shagimuratova’s glimmering voice, but the acting disappoints

Voices, voices in space, and spaces: Thoughts on 50 years of Meredith Monk

When WNYC’s John Schaefer introduced Meredith Monk’s beloved Panda Chant II, which concluded the four-and-a-half hour Meredith Monk & Friends celebration at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, he described it as “an expression of joy and musicality” before lamenting the fact that playing it on his radio show could never quite compete with a live performance.

St. John Passion by Soli Deo Gloria, Chicago

This year’s concert of the Chicago Bach Project, under the aegis of the Soli Deo Gloria Music Foundation, was a presentation of the St. John Passion (BWV 245) at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Fedora in Genoa

It is not an everyday opera. It is an opera that illuminates a larger verismo history.

The Marriage of Figaro, LA Opera

On March 26, 2015, Los Angeles Opera presented Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The Ian Judge production featured jewel-colored box sets by Tim Goodchild that threw the voices out into the hall. Only for the finale did the set open up on to a garden that filled the whole stage and at the very end featured actual fireworks.

The Tempest Songbook, Gotham Chamber Opera

Gotham Chamber Opera’s latest project, The Tempest Songbook, continues to explore the possibilities of unconventional spaces and unconventional programs that the company has made its hallmark. The results were musically and theatrically thought-provoking, and left me wanting more.

San Diego Opera presents Adams’ Riveting Nixon in China

Nixon in China is a three-act opera with a libretto by Alice Goodman and music by John Adams that was first seen at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987. It was the first of a notable line of operas by the composer.

Ars Minerva presents Castrovillari’s La Cleopatra in San Francisco

It is thanks to Céline Ricci, mezzo-soprano and director of Ars Minerva, that we have been able to again hear Daniele Castrovillari’s exquisite melodies because she is the musician who has brought his 1662 opera La Cleopatra to life.

An Ideal Cast in Chicago’s Tannhäuser

Lyric Opera of Chicago, in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has staged a production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser with an estimable cast.

Madame Butterfly, Royal Opera

Puccini and his fellow verismo-ists are commonly associated with explosions of unbridled human passion and raw, violent pain, but in this revival (by Justin Way) of Moshe Leiser’s and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madame Butterfly, directorial understatement together with ravishing scenic beauty are shown to be more potent ways of enabling the sung voice to reveal the emotional depths of human tragedy.

Tosca in Marseille

Rarely, very rarely does a Tosca come around that you can get excited about. Sure, sometimes there is good singing, less often good conducting but rarely is there a mise en scène that goes beyond stock opera vocabulary.

Poetry beyond words — Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall

The Nash Ensemble’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations at the Wigmore Hall were crowned by a recital that typifies the Nash’s visionary mission. Above, the dearly-loved founder, Amelia Freeman, a quietly revolutionary figure in her own way, who has immeasurably enriched the cultural life of this country.

Arizona Opera Presents Magritte Style Magic Flute

On March 7, 2015, Arizona Opera presented Dan Rigazzi’s production of Die Zauberflöte in Tucson. Inspired by the works of René Magritte, designer John Pollard filled the stage with various sizes of picture frames, windows, and portals from which he leads us into Mozart and Schikaneder’s dream world.

Henry Purcell: A Retrospective

There are some concert programmes which are not just wonderful in their execution but also delight and satisfy because of the ‘rightness’ of their composition. This Wigmore Hall recital by soprano Carolyn Sampson and three period-instrument experts of arias and instrumental pieces by Henry Purcell was one such occasion.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Angela Gheorghiu
19 Mar 2007

Angela Gheorghiu, Los Angeles

A near-capacity audience, expectant and enthusiastic, streamed into the Dorothy Chandler for an old-fashioned evening of operatic glamour, as Angela Gheorghiu, with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra in support, flew into town for a one night concert.

Angela Gheorghiu in Recital

Los Angeles, 17 March 2007

 

The soprano delivered on the glamour big-time, with three gowns, glittering jewelry, and a happy, even flirty manner. She sang beautifully too, if without the total captivation of her physical presence.

French music comprised the first half of the evening, with Eugene Kohn leading the orchestra in a bumptious “Rakoczy March” from Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust. The musicians seemed to need more warming up than the vocalist; the horns in particular struggled, possibly due to their recent exertions with the LAO’s run of Tannhäuser.

Gheorghiu swept on in flaming red, and the ovation that greeted her spoke to the impression she made with local audiences in her previous appearances with the company, as Nedda and Mimi. She launched into the so-called “Jewel song” from Faust, a number that spotlights her easy, bright top. Next was the program’s one rarity, “Pleurez, pleurez, mes Yeux,” from Massenet’s El Cid. Though not the composer’s most memorable tune, the piece has enough dramatic crescendos and darker passages to contrast well with the Gounod aria. After a gown change and the orchestra’s tepid run-through of the Béatrice et Bénédict overture, Ms. Gheorghiu reappeared and sang a tender “Adieu, notre petite table.” The first half ended with Ms. Gheoghiu’s somewhat controversial essay into Carmen, but for a recital, her “Habañera” succeeded wonderfully. She took a light-hearted approach, playful more than siren-ish, and the aria’s range seemed to suit her well.

The second half went to Italian composers, with Kohn choosing the Mascagni overture to Le Maschere, an unsubtle but fun piece. Gheorghiu’s Puccini Manon had a real poignance in “In quelle trine morbide.” Then she offered one of her specialities, “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta,” another opportunity to display her lovely top notes. She left for another gown change, and Kohn led the orchestra, finally sounding like the excellent group that has played for James Conlon recently, in Verdi’s overture to Les Vêpres Siciliennes. Now clad in glamorous black, with a sort of spider web motif, Gheorghiu sang Forza’s “Pace, pace, mio dio” and closed the second half with “Un bel di.”

These last two pointed up the relatively soft volume of Gheorghiu’s middle voice. She can be heard, even in a larger hall such as the Chandler, but it is not until the vocal line takes her higher that the voice has real force. Nevertheless, this listener would not trade the warm textures of her middle voice for a pushed sound.

So a rapturous audience called Ms. Gheorghiu back for several encores. Ironically, it was in the Lerner-Loewe “I Could have Danced All Night” that Ms Gheorghiu’s softer approach teased the ears a bit too much, but her irresistible delight in performing the song could not be denied. She treated the crowd as well to a Romanian song, to “Granada” and Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro,” and finally to “Non ti scordar di me.” She then grasped the first violinist by the hand, and led the musicians off the stage.

A delightful evening, but one that might have left some listeners eager for some heavier fare. Perhaps on her next visit, Ms. Gheorghiu will offer a program of more challenge. And one gown will do fine.

Chris Mullins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):