Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Samling Showcase, Wigmore Hall

Founded in 1996, Samling describes itself as a charity which ‘inspires musical excellence in young people’.

La cenerentola in San Francisco

The good news is that you don’t have to go all the way to Pesaro for great Rossini.

Rameau : Maître à danser - William Christie, Barbican London

Maître à danser: William Christie and Les Arts Florissants at the Barbican, London, presented a defining moment in Rameau performance practice, choreographed with a team of dancers. Maître à danser, not master of the dance but a master to be danced to: there's a difference. Rameau's music takes its very pulse from dance. Hearing it choreographed connects the movement in the music to the exuberant physical expressiveness that is dance.

Le Nozze di Figaro — or Sex on the Beach?

The most memorable thing (and definitely not in a good way) about this performance of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Serbian National Theatre in Belgrade was the self-serving, infantile, offensive and just plain wrong production by celebrated Serbian theatre director Jagoš Marković.

The Met mounts a well sung but dramatically unconvincing ‘Carmen’

Should looks matter when casting the role of the iconic temptress for HD simulcast?

Maurice Greene’s Jephtha

Maurice Greene (1696-1755) had a highly successful musical career. Organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a position to which he was elected when he was just 22 years-old, he later became organist of the Chapel Royal, Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge and, from 1735, Master of the King’s Music.

Tosca in San Francisco

Yet another Tosca is hardly exciting news, if news at all. The current five performances have come just two years after SFO alternated divas Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette in the title role.

Antonin Dvořák: The Cunning Peasant (Šelma Sedlák)

What an enjoyable opportunity to encounter Dvořák’s sixth opera, Šelma Sedlák¸or The Cunning Peasant!

Idomeneo, Royal Opera

Whether biblical parable or mythological moralising, it’s all the same really: human hubris, humility, sacrifice and redemption.

Donizetti’s Les Martyrs — Opera Rara, London

Opera Rara brought a rare performance of Donizetti’s first opera for the Paris Opera to the Royal Festival Hall on 4 November 2014, following recording sessions for the opera.

Luca Pisaroni in San Diego

Bass baritone, Luca Pisaroni, known to opera lovers throughout the world for his excellence in Mozart roles, offered San Diego vocal aficionados a double treat on October 28th: his mellifluous voice, and a recital of German songs.

La bohème, ENO

Jonathan Miller’s production of La bohème for ENO, shared with Cincinnati Opera, sits uneasily, at least as revived by Natascha Metherell, between comedy and tragedy.

Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall - Liszt, Strauss and Schubert

Any Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau performance is superb, but this Wigmore Hall recital surprised, too. Boesch's Schubert is wonderful, but this time, it was his Liszt and Strauss songs which stood out. This year at the Wigmore Hall, we've heard a lot of Liszt and a lot of Richard Strauss everywhere, establishing high standards, but this was special.

Wexford Festival 2014

The weather was auspicious for Wexford Festival Opera’s first-night firework display — mild, clear and calm. But, as the rainbow rockets exploded over the River Slaney, even bigger bangs were being made down at the quayside.

The Met’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ a happy marriage of ensemble singing and acting

The cast of supporting roles was especially strong in the company’s new production of Mozart’s matchless masterpiece

Syracuse Opera’s ‘Die Fledermaus’ bubbles over with fun, laughter and irresistible music

The company uncorks its 40th Anniversary season with a visually and musically satisfying production of Johann Strauss Jr.’s farcical operetta

Capriccio at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Although performances of Richard Strauss’s last opera Capriccio have increased in recent time, Lyric Opera of Chicago has not experienced the “Konversationsstück für Musik” during the past twenty odd years.

Anna Netrebko, now a dramatic soprano, shines in the Met’s dark and murky ‘Macbeth’

The former lyric soprano holds up well — and survives the intrusive close-up camerawork of the ‘Live in HD’ transmission

Arizona Opera Presents First Mariachi Opera

Houston Grand Opera commissioned Cruzar la Cara de la Luna from composer José “Pepe” Martínez, music director of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, who wrote the text together with Broadway and opera director Leonard Foglia. The work had its world premier in 2010. Since then, it has traveled to several cities including Paris, Chicago, and San Diego.

Plácido Domingo: I due Foscari, London

“Why should I go to hear Plácido Domingo” someone said when Verdi’s I due Foscari was announced by the Royal Opera House. There are very good reasons for doing so.

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):