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 Reviews

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.

Philip Glass’s The Trial

Music Theatre Wales presented the world premiere of Philip Glass’s The Trial (Kafka) last night at the Linbury, Royal Opera House. Music Theatre Wales started doing Glass in 1989. Their production of Glass’s In the Penal Colony in 2010 was such a success that Glass conceived The Trial specially for the company.

Joyce DiDonato: Alcina, Barbican, London

To say that the English Concert’s performance of Handel’s Alcina at the Barbican on 10 October 2014 was hotly anticipated would be an understatement. Sold out for weeks, the performance capitalised on the draw of its two principals Joyce DiDonato and Alice Coote and generated the sort of buzz which the work did at its premiere.

Un ballo in maschera in San Francisco

The subject is regicide, a hot topic during the Italian risorgimento when the Italian peninsula was in the grip of the Hapsburgs, the Bourbons, the House of Savoy and the Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

A New Don Giovanni and Anniversary at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago opened its sixtieth anniversary season with a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni directed by Artistic Director of the Goodman Theater, Robert Falls.

Grande messe des morts, LSO

It was a little over two years ago that I heard Sir Colin Davis conduct the Berlioz Requiem in St Paul’s Cathedral; it was the last time I heard — or indeed saw — him conduct his beloved and loving London Symphony Orchestra.

Guillaume Tell, Welsh National Opera

Part of their Liberty or Death season along with Rossini’s Mose in Egitto and Bizet’s Carmen, Welsh National Opera performed David Pountney’s new production of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell (seen 4 October 2014).

Mose in Egitto, Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera’s production of Rossini’s Mose in Egitto was the second of two Rossini operas (the other is Guillaume Tell) performed in tandem for their autumn tour.

L’incoronazione di Poppea, Barbican Hall

In Monteverdi’s first Venetian opera, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse (1641), Penelope’s patient devotion as she waits for the return of her beloved Ulysses culminates in the triumph of love and faithfulness; in contrast, in L’incoronazione di Poppea it is the eponymous Queen’s lust, passion and ambition that prevail.

Rameau’s Les Paladins, Wigmore Hall

After the triumphs of love, the surprises: Les Paladins, under their director Jérôme Correas, and soprano Sandrine Piau are following their tour of material from their 2011 CD, ‘Le Triomphe de L’amour’, with a new amatory arrangement.

Puccini : The Girl of the Golden West, ENO London

At the ENO, Puccini's La fanciulla del West becomes The Girl of the Golden West. Hearing this opera in English instead of Italian has its advantages, While we can still hear the exotic, Italianate Madama Butterfly fantasies in the orchestra, in English, we're closer to the original pot-boiler melodrama. Madama Biutterfly is premier cru: The Girl of the Golden West veers closer, at times, to hokum. The new ENO production gets round the implausibility of the plot by engaging with its natural innocence.

Anna Caterina Antonacci, Wigmore Hall, London

Presenting a well-structured and characterful programme, Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci demonstrated her prowess in both soprano and mezzo repertoire in this Wigmore Hall recital, performing European works from the early years of the twentieth century. Assuredly accompanied by her regular pianist Donald Sulzen, Antonacci was self-composed and calm of manner, but also evinced a warmly engaging stage presence throughout.

Il barbiere di Siviglia, Royal Opera

Bold, bright and brash, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s Il barbiere di Siviglia tells its story clearly in complementary primary colours.

Gluck and Bertoni at Bampton

Bampton Classical Opera’s 2014 double bill neatly balanced drollery and gravity. Rectifying the apparent prevailing indifference to the 300th centenary of Christoph Willibald Gluck birth, Bampton offered a sharp, witty production of the composer’s Il Parnaso confuso, pairing this ‘festa teatrale’ with Ferdinando Bertoni’s more sombre Orfeo.

Purcell: A Retrospective

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra launched the Wigmore Hall’s two-year series, ‘Purcell: A Retrospective’, in splendid style. Flexibility, buoyancy and transparency were the watchwords.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

W. A. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro
07 Jan 2009

Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

This performance of Le Nozze di Figaro, recorded live at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in June 2004, prompts much admiration for René Jacobs, its conductor.

W. A. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

Pietro Spagnoli (Count), Annette Dash (Countess), Rosemary Joshua (Susanna), Luca Pisaroni (Figaro), Angelika Kirchschlager (Cherubino), Sophie Pondjiclis (Marcellina), Alessandro Svab (Antonio), Antonio Abete (Bartolo), Enrico Facini (Don Basilio), Paulette Courtin (Barbarina) & Serge Goubioud (Don Curzio). Concerto Köln & Choeur du Théâtre des Champs Elysées, René Jacobs (cond.)

Bel Air Classiques BAC017 [2DVDs]

$48.99  Click to buy

His CD sets of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas earned widespread admiration on their release, and the fresh, energetic approach on those recordings can be heard here as well. Furthermore, his booklet essay is a model combination of fascinating detail about his conducting choices and stylish writing.

In the end, however, a DVD has to be judged in its entirety, and when the dull set (there's only one, really) and mostly routine singing are taken into account, only the most devoted fans of conductor Jacobs would find this particular Nozze of much appeal.

Stage director Jean-Louis Martinoty claims to be working (according to an occasionally incomprehensible booklet note translated by John Tittensor) "in an «artificially» realistic world." Working with the sets of Hans Schavernoch and costumes of Sylvie De Segonzac, Martinoty presents a Nozze in familiar dress and typical stage movement, staged before a bewildering series of art reproductions, framed and tilted this way and that. The result has neither the familiar tug of realism nor the insightful edge of artifice. Instead, it simply seems as if funds for a real set could not be found.

Jacobs' cast has one familiar assumption, that of Angelika Kirchschlager's Cherubino. Your reviewer dislikes to be ungentlemanly, but Ms. Kirchschlager no longer has the advantage of youth in adopting an adolescent male persona. Thankfully, her voice retains its appeal. Pietro Spagnoli's Count remains a cold, arrogant lout even in his plea for forgiveness, making one wonder why Annete Dasch's Countess fights so hard to win back his love. Spagnoli's voice at least has an appropriately self-satisfied fullness. Dasch's intonation slackens a bit too often to make her Countess a success. She and Rosemary Joshua's Susanna offer a muted letter duet, but maybe Jacob's relatively swift tempo also takes some of the beauty from the music. Luca Pisaroni's Figaro comes off best; a big, handsome voice and an easy-going natural manner make him an attractive stage figure. The minor characters are adequately performed in this full version of the opera (which makes for a very long act four). If only director Martinoty hadn't asked Don Curzio (Serge Goubiboud) to affect an exaggerated stutter, to little comic effect.

To hear Jacobs' take on Mozart's great score, the CD, better sung, earns a stronger recommendation than this visually and vocally bland DVD.

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):