Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Commentary

Unknown, Remembered: in conversation with Shiva Feshareki

It sounds like a question from a BBC Radio 4 quiz show: what links Handel’s cantata for solo contralto, La Lucrezia, Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, and the post-punk band Joy Division?

Bampton Classical Opera to perform Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors

Gian Carlo Menotti’s much-loved Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors was commissioned in America by the National Broadcasting Company and was broadcast in 1951 - the first-ever opera composed specifically for television. Menotti said that it “is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood”.

Kings College, Cambridge launches as curator on Apple Music

November 5, 2018, Los Angeles, CA: Today, King’s College Cambridge announces the launch of the College as a curator on Apple Music.

Royal Opera House’s Music Director Sir Antonio Pappano extends tenure to 2023

Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, has confirmed that he will remain in position until at least the end of the 2022/23 Season.

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera to Present Caccini’s Alcina

The GRAMMY-Winning Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series presents Francesca Caccini’s Alcina on Thanksgiving weekend – November 24 & 25 in Boston and November 26 & 27 in New York City

The Royal Opera House lets everyone in on the act

The Royal Opera House today opens the doors to its transformed new home, following an extensive three-year construction project.

Two of Garsington Opera's 2018 productions to reach a wider audience

Garsington Opera is delighted to announce that on Saturday 6 October, BBC Radio 3’s ‘Opera on 3’, will broadcast the production of its first festival world premiere - The Skating Rink by David Sawer set to a libretto by Rory Mullarkey based on a novel by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño.

Remembering and Representing Dido, Queen of Carthage: an interview with Thomas Guthrie

The first two instalments of the Academy of Ancient Music’s ‘Purcell trilogy’ at the Barbican Hall have posed plentiful questions - creative, cultural and political.

Bampton Classical Opera Goes to the Ball

I wonder if Cinderella realised that when she found her Prince she would also find international fame, becoming not just a Princess but also a global celebrity and icon. The glass slipper, placed loving on her shapely foot, has graced theatres, variety halls, cinema screens and opera houses - even postage stamps - and the perennial popularity of this rags-to-riches fairy-tale, in which innocence and goodness triumph over injustice and oppression, shows no signs of waning.

Glyndebourne announces new Artistic Director

Stephen Langridge has been appointed Artistic Director of Glyndebourne. Stephen is currently Director for Opera and Drama at Gothenburg Opera, Sweden, a role he has occupied for five years. He will take up his new role at Glyndebourne in spring 2019.

Beyond Gilbert and Sullivan: Edward Loder’s Raymond and Agnes and the Apotheosis of English Romantic Opera

Mention ‘nineteenth-century English opera’ to most people, and they will immediately think ‘Gilbert and Sullivan’. If they really know their Gilbert and Sullivan, they’ll probably remember that Sullivan always wanted to compose more serious operas, but that Gilbert resisted this, believing they should ‘stick to their last’: light, comic, tuneful satire.

Mascagni's Isabeau at Opera Holland Park: in conversation with David Butt Philip

Opera directors are used to thinking their way out of theatrical, dramaturgical and musico-dramatic conundrums, but one of the more unusual challenges must be how to stage the spectacle of a young princess’s naked horseback-ride through the streets of a city.

The Moderate Soprano : Q&A with Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam

Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam play Audrey Mildmay and John Christie in David Hare’s play The Moderate Soprano which is currently at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London.

Soprano Nadine Sierra Wins the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award

Soprano Nadine Sierra has been named the winner of the 13 th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera.

The Grand Tour: A European Journey in Song

The seventeenth Oxford Lieder Festival (12-27 October 2018) will celebrate a rich tapestry of music, words and performance in European song and will showcase the pinnacles of the repertoire while exploring wider cultural influences.

An Interview with Soprano Lisette Oropesa

Lisette Oropesa sings Eurydice in Los Angeles Opera’s French version of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice that can currently be seen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Opera in Amsterdam in 2018-2019

The operatic tradition is not as old in the Netherlands as in other European countries, yet opera is a vital part of the Dutch classical landscape. Both Dutch National Opera & Ballet and the Concertgebouw are in Amsterdam, so the capital gets the lion’s share of the opera on offer.

Lyric Opera of Chicago to Premiere Fellow Travelers—A Preview

On 17 March 2018 Lyric Opera of Chicago will premiere the 2016 opera Fellow Travelers by Gregory Spears (with a libretto by Greg Pierce, based on the novel by Thomas Mallon. Mallon’s 2007 novel offered fresh perspectives on the paranoiac investigations of McCarthy-era Washington, DC, through the lens of a gay relationship.

A newly discovered song by Alma Mahler

It is well known that in addition to the fourteen songs by Alma Mahler published in her lifetime, several dozen more - perhaps as many as one hundred - were written and have been lost or destroyed.

Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018: semi-finalists announced

The semi-finalists for the first Glyndebourne Opera Cup have been announced. Following a worldwide search that attracted nearly 200 entries, and preliminary rounds in Berlin, London and Philadelphia, 23 singers aged 21-28 have been chosen to compete in the semi-final at Glyndebourne on 22 March.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Emmanuel Villaume (Photo: William Struhs)
25 May 2007

Opera on the move at Spoleto USA

Charleston, S.C. — For over 20 years it was two operas a season here at Spoleto USA, the all-arts festival brought to this cultural capital of the Old South by Gian Carlo Menotti in 1977.

The Christel DeHaan Music Director for Opera & Orchestra Emmanuel Villaume will lead the Ginn Resorts Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in two orchestral concerts and the opera production Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny during the 2007 Spoleto Festival USA, May 25 - June 10.
Photo by: William Struhs.

 

Backbone of the program were then the twice-daily chamber music concerts hosted by venerable Charles Wadsworth in the Dock Street Theatre, an intimate venue that in various incarnations dates back to Mozart’s youth. Diverse programs in dance and theater and in orchestral, choral music and jazz filled the rest of the day - along with the two operas, a blockbuster in the cavernous Gailliard Auditorium and a more modest work - Baroque or modern - in the Dock Street.

Opera at Spoleto took on new life with the arrival of Emmanuel Villaume as music director of opera and orchestra events seven seasons ago. In a dynamic re-thinking of the role of opera at the festival French-born Villaume has increased the number of production from two to three and he has abandoned the Gailliard in favor of more hospitable venues.

 “Opera buffs will not come to Charleston for only two operas,” Villaume says. “We need three to make this a destination city — and festival — for them. “And we program them so that visitors can see all three on a single weekend.” Those changes, however, involve only externals. More crucial is the energy and the spirit of adventure that Villaume has brought to Spoleto in a choice of operas that would astonish — and challenge — audiences elsewhere in this country.

He opens the 2007 season that opens on May 25 and runs for 17 days with Weill’s 1930 “Mahagonny” and then moves on to the American premieres of Gluck’s 18th-century “L’ile du Merlin (ou le monde renversé” and “Faustus, the Last Night” by Pascal Dusapin, premiered at Berlin’s Staatsoper only months ago. Diverse and distant from each other in time as the trio of works on stage this season might seem, Villaume points to common ground. “Take ‘Magahonny,’ the work that took music in a new direction,” he says. “it’s about the building of a city and its decline. “But at its center is the meaning of community — of how people can work together.” And although this in no ways defines a theme that runs through the three works, each reflects on this subject. “They are all concerned with the definition of values — not just political values, but ethical values as well. “They are works of incredible power, and each enriches the experience of the other two.”

Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier serve a co-directors of “Mahagonny,” to which — Villaume points out — there is much more than the “Alabama Song,” recorded both by David Bowie and the rock group The Doors. The text for “Mahagonny,” of course, is by Bert Brecht, now celebrated as the top German dramatist of the 20th century.

When Villaume, now at home in the world’s leading opera houses, began his search for an opera for the 500-seat Dock Street, he not only did not know “Merlin”; he did not even know that Gluck had written a comic opera. “It’s a perfect counterpart of ‘Mahagonny,’” he says. “Pierrot and Scapin, shipwrecked on Merlin’s island, ask themselves what a society ought to be. “It’s a strong work — and highly ironic.” The fact that there was no video or even a recording of the work enhanced its appeal, for Villaume realized that an adaption of the score — indeed, a total reconstruction of it — would be necessary.

“I didn’t know whether I could find someone willing to do it,” he says. “And then I thought of Baroque specialist Harry Bicket. “He’s come up with a very modern and witty ‘take’ on the work, which we’ll sing in the original French.” Bicket conducts “Merlin.” Christopher Alden directs the staging.

For his new opera on one of the oldest themes in European literature French composer Dusapin turned to Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” written two centuries before Goethe’s classic drama on the man who made a contract with the Devil. In his last night Faust — somewhere between memory and forgetfulness, between dream and reality — seeks answers from a mocking Mephisto and an angel who is blind. Dusapin wrote his own libretto for a score described by critics as “dark and somber,” as “a great lament” and rich in “sweet angular melodies.” And Villaume points out that here too the question of community is central.

Director of “Faustus” is David Herskovits; Dusapin will be present for its American premiere.

Ticket sales for all three works are robust, for, as Villaume points out, “we have won the trust of our audience — both those at home in Charleston and those who come from elsewhere. “They have learned to like what we do.”

For information on the Spoleto USA season and for tickets, call 843-579-3100 or visit www.spoletousa.org.

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):