Recently in Commentary
I met with the embattled artistic director of the Opéra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.
Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.
Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80
Matthew Polenzani reprises the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in Jules Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. “I love coming back to London”, he says, “It’s a very good house and they take care of you as a singer. And the level of music making is unbelievably high”.
On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).
The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.
The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global
following with its cinema broadcasts.
On a personal level, I feel that Dolores is almost like Emmeline grown up. Their circumstances are not exactly parallel, but they are both women at very different points in their lives whose stories involve dilemmas with life-changing outcomes.
With the help of Andrew Welch, a London theatrical producer who had adapted several of King’s works for the stage, including this one, I got the rights to both Dolores Claiborne and Misery.
On September 18, 2013, San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera, Dolores Claiborne, which has a libretto by J. D. McClatchy based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.
Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.
What do you get if you cross Benjamin Britten, ‘one-page scores’, an innovative performing ensemble and ‘Wigmore Learning’ — the Wigmore Hall’s imaginative outreach programme which aims to provide access to chamber music and song through innovative creative programmes, online resources and events?
Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).
Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has
conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.
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.
17 Jun 2007
New Frocks for Old – Cardiff Singer of the World, 2007
Back in the early 1980’s two good ideas came to fruition: the much-needed new concert hall for Cardiff, capital city of Wales, and plans to hold within it the first “Singer of the World” competition.
When one looks back at early videos of the first competition in 1983 and compares
with today’s slick production several things become evident. In 2007 there is a far larger
geographical spread of contestants and there is now remarkable vocal quality-in-depth. On a
more frivolous front, and perhaps indicative of current obsessions with image in the world of
opera, the frocks on display have also become extremely sexy and chic compared to their
distinctly dowdy predecessors. The men’s tailoring has changed rather less, it must be said,
although it is obvious that they, too, are now more aware of their presentation on stage – one
Finalist this year, countertenor David DQ Lee, looking particularly stylish.
Since that first competition (which, incidentally, Karita Mattila won) there have been many
exciting, memorable performances and vocal trials of strength. Who can forget the 1989 “battle
of the baritones” between Bryn Terrell and Dmitri Hvorostovsky? This bi-annual contest has
grown steadily in size and stature over the years, and it is now regarded as one of the premier
singing competitions in the world. Certainly recent Winners and Finalists of both the Main Prize
and the Lieder Prize read like a contemporary hall of fame: Nicole Cabell, Ailish Tynan, Katarina
Karnéus, Lisa Gasteen, Marius Brenciu, Christopher Maltman and Andrew Kennedy, to name
just a few.
This year’s competition will have been hard-fought and exhausting for both juries and
contestants – over 1000 people applied to take part, 677 from 64 countries took part in auditions
held in 44 locations around the globe, and the final 25 singers who have survived the selection
process so far arrived in Cardiff this week. Although the two Prizes are valuable in monetary
terms - £15,000 and £5,000 for Singer of the World and the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize
respectively with £2,500 for each of this year’s other four finalists – it is the world media
exposure that is often the key to future success for these young performers. Cardiff is a shop
window, par excellence.
One very famous face who is there to welcome them is the competition’s Patron, Dame Joan
Sutherland who said “the competition is always a wonderful experience for not only the St.
David’s Hall audience and multimedia audiences across the world, but is also a delight for every
competitor taking part.” Today, Cardiff Singer of the World is very much a global
entertainment, with a TV, radio and online audience of eight million able to watch, listen and
download information on the wealth of young vocal talent on display, not forgetting, of course,
The competition is now under way with the two Finals being decided on Friday and Sunday
nights. Details of timings, tickets, master classes and contestants are available online at
Sue Loder © 2007