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 Performances

ETO Autumn 2020 Season Announcement: Lyric Solitude

English Touring Opera are delighted to announce a season of lyric monodramas to tour nationally from October to December. The season features music for solo singer and piano by Argento, Britten, Tippett and Shostakovich with a bold and inventive approach to making opera during social distancing.

Love, always: Chanticleer, Live from London … via San Francisco

This tenth of ten Live from London concerts was in fact a recorded live performance from California. It was no less enjoyable for that, and it was also uplifting to learn that this wasn’t in fact the ‘last’ LfL event that we will be able to enjoy, courtesy of VOCES8 and their fellow vocal ensembles (more below …).

Dreams and delusions from Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper at Wigmore Hall

Ever since Wigmore Hall announced their superb series of autumn concerts, all streamed live and available free of charge, I’d been looking forward to this song recital by Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper.

Treasures of the English Renaissance: Stile Antico, Live from London

Although Stile Antico’s programme article for their Live from London recital introduced their selection from the many treasures of the English Renaissance in the context of the theological debates and upheavals of the Tudor and Elizabethan years, their performance was more evocative of private chamber music than of public liturgy.

A wonderful Wigmore Hall debut by Elizabeth Llewellyn

Evidently, face masks don’t stifle appreciative “Bravo!”s. And, reducing audience numbers doesn’t lower the volume of such acclamations. For, the audience at Wigmore Hall gave soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and pianist Simon Lepper a greatly deserved warm reception and hearty response following this lunchtime recital of late-Romantic song.

The Sixteen: Music for Reflection, live from Kings Place

For this week’s Live from London vocal recital we moved from the home of VOCES8, St Anne and St Agnes in the City of London, to Kings Place, where The Sixteen - who have been associate artists at the venue for some time - presented a programme of music and words bound together by the theme of ‘reflection’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny explore Dowland's directness and darkness at Hatfield House

'Such is your divine Disposation that both you excellently understand, and royally entertaine the Exercise of Musicke.’

Paradise Lost: Tête-à-Tête 2020

‘And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven … that old serpent … Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.’

Joyce DiDonato: Met Stars Live in Concert

There was never any doubt that the fifth of the twelve Met Stars Live in Concert broadcasts was going to be a palpably intense and vivid event, as well as a musically stunning and theatrically enervating experience.

‘Where All Roses Go’: Apollo5, Live from London

‘Love’ was the theme for this Live from London performance by Apollo5. Given the complexity and diversity of that human emotion, and Apollo5’s reputation for versatility and diverse repertoire, ranging from Renaissance choral music to jazz, from contemporary classical works to popular song, it was no surprise that their programme spanned 500 years and several musical styles.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields 're-connect'

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields have titled their autumn series of eight concerts - which are taking place at 5pm and 7.30pm on two Saturdays each month at their home venue in Trafalgar Square, and being filmed for streaming the following Thursday - ‘re:connect’.

Lucy Crowe and Allan Clayton join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO at St Luke's

The London Symphony Orchestra opened their Autumn 2020 season with a homage to Oliver Knussen, who died at the age of 66 in July 2018. The programme traced a national musical lineage through the twentieth century, from Britten to Knussen, on to Mark-Anthony Turnage, and entwining the LSO and Rattle too.

Choral Dances: VOCES8, Live from London

With the Live from London digital vocal festival entering the second half of the series, the festival’s host, VOCES8, returned to their home at St Annes and St Agnes in the City of London to present a sequence of ‘Choral Dances’ - vocal music inspired by dance, embracing diverse genres from the Renaissance madrigal to swing jazz.

Royal Opera House Gala Concert

Just a few unison string wriggles from the opening of Mozart’s overture to Le nozze di Figaro are enough to make any opera-lover perch on the edge of their seat, in excited anticipation of the drama in music to come, so there could be no other curtain-raiser for this Gala Concert at the Royal Opera House, the latest instalment from ‘their House’ to ‘our houses’.

Fading: The Gesualdo Six at Live from London

"Before the ending of the day, creator of all things, we pray that, with your accustomed mercy, you may watch over us."

Met Stars Live in Concert: Lise Davidsen at the Oscarshall Palace in Oslo

The doors at The Metropolitan Opera will not open to live audiences until 2021 at the earliest, and the likelihood of normal operatic life resuming in cities around the world looks but a distant dream at present. But, while we may not be invited from our homes into the opera house for some time yet, with its free daily screenings of past productions and its pay-per-view Met Stars Live in Concert series, the Met continues to bring opera into our homes.

Precipice: The Grange Festival

Music-making at this year’s Grange Festival Opera may have fallen silent in June and July, but the country house and extensive grounds of The Grange provided an ideal setting for a weekend of twelve specially conceived ‘promenade’ performances encompassing music and dance.

Monteverdi: The Ache of Love - Live from London

There’s a “slide of harmony” and “all the bones leave your body at that moment and you collapse to the floor, it’s so extraordinary.”

Music for a While: Rowan Pierce and Christopher Glynn at Ryedale Online

“Music for a while, shall all your cares beguile.”

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Macbeth in Istanbul
14 Nov 2007

Macbeth in Istanbul

Attending the opera may not be the first thing you think of when visiting Istanbul, but opera is to be found (if less well advertised than the local Bach Festival) at the Ataturk Cultural Center on Taksim Square, the heart of modern Istanbul.

Giuseppe Verdi: Macbeth
Istanbul State Opera and Ballet, Ataturk Center, 23 October 2007

Perihan Nayır Artan (Lady), Murat Güney (Macbeth), Hüseyin Likos (Macduff), Gökhan Ürben (Banquo). Conducted by Markus Baisch. Production by Yekta Kara.

 

Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, loved opera, ballet and theater and recommended them strongly – along with such Western artifacts as the Roman alphabet, the panama hat, and votes – and scarfless hair – for women. He saw the theater as a key to entering the modern world – and isn’t it?

You will know you have come to the right place on Taksim because colorful posters for the opera season cover the wall to the left of the Ataturk Center. (Tickets are sold at a kiosk to the right of the building.) The Center was built in 1969 and is sedately modern, neither flamboyant nor hideous – 1969 was a dull time for international architecture from New York to New Delhi. The auditorium is comfortable and of a comfortable size.

A Turkish friend who sings himself spoke unkindly of opera in his native land, but I thought, if their Macbeth is as good as the Forza del Destino (or Moč Sudbine) I heard in Zagreb seven years ago – honest, idiomatic, provincial Verdi starring the stoutest woman in Croatia, lovely voice, no top notes, and only the basso embarrassing – then I’ll enjoy myself. It was my last night in Istanbul, and much as I delight in Turkish folk music, I longed for an evening free of the Middle Eastern wail. To my great pleasure, what I got was honest, idiomatic, provincial Verdi, in a production set on telling the story, not some director’s interpretation of the story, with an all-Turkish cast who knew how to sing Italian opera and did so, led by a soprano with a lovely voice (including the top) who was easily the stoutest woman I saw in Turkey.

Perihan Nayır Artan knew her business. Passionate in her entrance without fudging the coloratura, keyed up during the duet, her pretty voice abruptly hard at such moments as “Dammi al ferro,” when she demands Macbeth give her the bloody daggers, and convincingly lost in an inner hell during the sleepwalk, when the voice floated, contradicting the horrors she sang of. I’d like to hear her Aida someday. Murat Güney gracefully sang a somewhat distanced Macbeth, regretful but not exactly tormented as his world falls apart, still a warrior despite an aluminum sword that bent at the first blow. Tenor Hüseyin Likos, Macduff, seemed ready for Verdi’s shriller leading roles like Radames and Manrico. After a few rough spots in the overture, Markus Baisch kept the orchestra pumping if not exactly eldritch in this score’s often highly original use of winds and strings to produce uncanny – in 1847, unprecedented – effects.

Yekta Kara’s production was basic but not risible. (From house photos, I gather the real money is saved to dazzle in Arabian Nights operas like Mozart’s Sihirli Flüt and S. Ada’s Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. They also give Mozart’s Seraglio every summer – in the Topkapi seraglio.) Special effects were minimal, but the story was clearly and effectively told. The witches wore white – appearing to be surgical nurses, with bloody aprons they lent to Banquo’s murderers. The men were in black and only Lady M got to wear a color – guess which. The direction rather privileged the witches, who were shown manipulating all the other characters, even in scenes where they do not usually appear (Lady M’s cabaletta invoking “ye spirits that tend on mortal thoughts” and also, their fingers dripping blood down a wall, during “Le luce langue”). The witches handed Macbeth paper and pen to write home, delivered the letter, rescued Fleance, undermined victorious Malcolm, and sang the lines behind the apparitions in the cauldron scene – forces of chaos, enemies to all human effort. This, I think, gives them too much power and takes it from Macbeth – in Shakespeare, he is clearly the author of his own misfortunes, committing his crimes though imaginatively aware of how how disastrous this choice will be. In Kara’s production, he has an alibi – the devil makes him do it – and thus his own character becomes less interesting.

The words were easily comprehensible to anyone familiar with opera Italian, but there were no surtitles – which may be why the story was so clearly told. There was also no prompter’s box – instead lines were hissed from stage right. This would annoy hell out of me in Wagner or Mozart, but in a creep show like Macbeth, it rather added to the atmosphere.

John Yohalem

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):