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 Reviews

Katia Kabanova in Toulon

Káťa Kabanová is, they say, Janáček's first mature opera — it comes a mere 20 years after his masterpiece, Jenůfa.

Peter Grimes in Nice

Nice’s golden winter light is not that of England’s North Sea coast. Nonetheless the Opéra de Nice’s new production of Peter Grimes did much to take us there.

Guillaume Tell in Monaco

Peasants revolt in a sea of Maserati and Ferrari’s.

LA Opera Presents Figaro 90210

Figaro 90210 is Vid Guerrerio’s modern version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo DaPonte’s 1786 opera, The Marriage of Figaro.

Tristan und Isolde at the Wiener Staatsoper

David McVicar’s production of Wagner’s seminal music drama runs aground on the Cornish coast.

Songs of Night and Travel, Wigmore Hall

The coming of ‘Night’ brings darkness, shadows and mystery; sleep, dreams and nightmares; fancies, fantasies and passions.

Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera

Umberto’s Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, now at the Royal Opera House, is no more about history than Jesus Christ Superstar is about theology.

Yevgeny Onegin in Warsaw

Mariusz Treliński’s staging of Tchaikovsky’s operatic masterpiece is visually fascinating but psychologically confusing

Orfeo at the Roundhouse, Royal Opera

The regal trumpets and sackbuts sound their bold herald and, followed by admiring eyes, the powers of state and church begin their dignified procession along a sloping walkway to assume their lofty positions upon the central dais.

Idomeneo in Montpellier

Vestiges of a momentous era . . .

L’elisir d’amore in Marseille

There were hints that L’elisir is one of the great bel canto masterpieces.

Das Liebesverbot opens the new season at Teatro Verdi in Trieste

Aron Stiehl’s production of this rare early Wagner opera cheerfully brings commedia dell’arte to La Cage aux Folles.

Amsterdam: Lohengrin Lite

Stage director Pierre Audi is not one to be strictly representational in his story telling.

Fidelio, Manitoba Opera

For the first time in its 42-year history, Manitoba Opera presented Beethoven’s mighty ode to freedom, Fidelio, with an extraordinary production that resonated as loudly as tolling bells of freedom.

The Hilliard Ensemble: Farewell Concert at Wigmore Hall

Forty-one years is a long time for any partnership to be sustained and to flourish — be it musical, commercial or marital! And, given The Hilliard Ensemble’s ongoing reputation as one of the world’s finest a cappella groups, noted for their performances of works dating from the 11 th century to the present day, it must have been a tough decision to call an end to more than four decades of superlative music-making.

Fidelio opens new season at La Scala

Daniel Barenboim makes a triumphant departure as direttore musicale del Teatro alla Scala with Beethoven’s operatic masterpiece.

Mahler Songs: Christian Gerhaher, Wigmore Hall

Star singer and star composer, a combination guaranteed to bring in the fans. Christian Gerhaher sang Mahler at the Wigmore Hall with Gerold Huber. Gerhaher shot to fame when he sang Wolfram at the Royal Opera House Tannhäuser in 2010.

Modernity vanquished? Verdi Un ballo in maschera, Royal Opera House, London

Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House — a masked ball in every sense, where nothing is quite what it seems.

La Traviata in Ljubljana Slovenia

Small country, small opera house — big ensemble spirit. Internationally acclaimed soprano Natalia Ushakova steps in for indisposed local Violetta with mixed results.

Otello in Bucharest — Moor’s the pity

Bulgarian director Vera Nemirova’s production of Otello for the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest was certainly full of new ideas — unfortunately all bad.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Best of Neujahrskonzert
22 Dec 2008

Best of Neujahrskonzert

An annual event televised around the world, the Vienna Philharmonic's Neujahrskonzert has become a classical music institution, and as such is impervious to criticism. But not beyond it.

Best of Neujahrskonzert

Wiener Philharmoniker. Willi Boskovsky, Mariss Jansons, Carlos Kleiber, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa

Deutsche Grammophon 073 4422 [DVD]

$27.98  Click to buy

Resolutely unchanging, year after year a conductor of note puts on an impish smile and bounces on his heels a bit as he leads the orchestra in music of the elder and younger Johann Strauss, with an occasional nod to other contemporaries of the waltz genre. A well-behaved audience of hoity-toities stays in their seats, though they may break into some energetic clapping along if encouraged. For variety’s sake, the TV director cuts away sometimes to filmed sequences, such as elegant dancing featuring impeccably coiffed and dressed slim pretty things, some of them definitively female, who glide around the gold-gilt halls of some palatial estate or other. And then there’s the horses…

So popular are these concerts that each new year Deutsche Grammophon puts out the CD release seemingly hours after the actual broadcast, and DVDs follow as well. Now DG releases a disc of “highlights from nine New Year’s concerts given between 1975 and 2007.” The booklet contains no other information, nor any rationale for the particular selection offered. If any viewers do not keep a visual memory of the more famous conductors in their heads, they will have to resort to the booklet, as the DVD itself only identifies the composer and composition. Carlos Kleiber is evidently DG’s favorite conductor, for he gets 6 of 17 total selections, including first and last. Indeed, his touch is light and joyful, and his stage manner appropriately light-hearted. Next in frequency comes Lorin Maazel, who tries to smile but whose face tends to settle back into a restrained scowl. He does pick up a violin for a nice solo in “Tales from the Vienna Woods.” Only one sequence features Willie Boskovsky, one of the great hosts of the event. Zubin Mehta conducts joyfully in his two selections. Not much personality emanates, however, from Seiji Ozawa, Mariss Jansons, or Ricardo Muti.

So as DVD sets go, this is a bare-bones affair, but if one wants a reminder of these particular new year’s festivities in any month of the year, pop the disc in and glide around the palatial halls of your own estate.

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):