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 Performances

Will Don Quichotte Be the Last Production at San Diego Opera?

This quotation from Cervantes was displayed before the opening of the opera’s final scene:

“The greatest madness a man can commit in this life is to let himself die, just like that, without anybody killing him or any other hands ending his life except those of melancholy.”

Gound Faust - Calleja and Terfel, Royal Opera House London

Gounod's Faust makes a much welcomed return to the Royal Opera House. With each new cast, the dynamic changes as the balance between singers shifts and brings out new insights. In that sense, every revival is an opportunity to revisit from new perspectives. This time Bryn Terfel sang Méphistophélès, with Joseph Calleja as Faust - stars whose allure certainly helped fill the hall to capacity. And the audience enjoyed a very good show.

Syracuse Opera’s Porgy and Bess
Got Plenty O’ Plenty

The company ends its 2013-14 season on a high note with a staged performance of Gershwin’s theatrical masterpiece

A New Rusalka in Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Antonin Dvorak’s Rusalka is visually impressive and fulfills all possible expectations musically with unquestioned excitement.

Karlsruhe’s Mixed Blessing Ballo

The reliable Badisches Staatstheater has assembled plenty of talent for its new Un Ballo in Maschera.

Louise Alder, Wigmore Hall

This varied, demanding programme indisputably marked soprano Louise Alder as a name to watch.

Luke Bedford: Through His Teeth, Linbury, Royal Opera House

Can this be the best British opera in years? Luke Bedford’s Through His Teeth at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre is exceptional. Drop everything and go.

Powder Her Face, ENO

As one descends the steel steps into the cavernous bunker of Ambika P3, one seems about to enter rather insalubrious realms — just right one might imagine, then, for an opera which delves into the depths of the seedier side of celebrity life.

Iphigénie Fascinates in the Pfalz

Kaiserslautern’s Pfalztheater has produced a tantalizing realization of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, characterized by intriguing staging, appealing designs, and best of all, superlative musical standards.

ROH presents Cavalli’s L’Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Never thought I’d say it but......

Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Wigmore Hall, London

Celebrating the 80th birthday of one of the UK's greatest composers (if not the greatest), this concert was an intriguing, and not always stimulating, mix. Birtwistle with Carter makes sense, but Birtwistle with Adams does not - or at least only within the remit of the concert series. The concert was actually entitled “Nash Inventions: American and British Masterworks, including an 80th Birthday Tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle” and was the final concert in the “Inventions” series.

Requiem for a Lost Opera Company

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, General Director Ian Campbell of San Diego Opera announced that the company would go out of business at the end of this season. The next day the company performed their long-planned Verdi Requiem with a stellar cast including soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Piotr Beczala, and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.

The Met’s Werther a tasty mix of singing, staging, acting and orchestral splendor

Visual elements in Richard Eyre’s striking production offset Massenet’s melodic shortcomings

Chicago’s New Barber of Seville

New productions of repertoire staples such as Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia bear much anticipation for both performers and staging.

Lucia in LA: A Performance to Remember

On March 15, 2014, Los Angeles Opera presented Elkhanah Pulitzer’s production of the opera, which she set in 1885 when women were beginning to be recognized as persons separate from their fathers, brothers and husbands. At that time many European countries were beginning to allow women to own property, obtain higher education, and choose their husbands.

San Diego Opera Presents an All Star Ballo in Maschera

On March 11, 2014, San Diego Opera presented Verdi’s A Masked Ball in a traditional production by Leslie Koenig. Metropolitan Opera star tenor Piotr Beczala was Gustav III, the king of Sweden, and Krassimira Stoyanova gave an insightful portrayal of Amelia, his troubled but innocent love interest.

Anne Schwanewilms, Wigmore Hall

From the moment she walked, resplendent in red, onto the Wigmore Hall platform, Anne Schwanewilms radiated a captivating presence — one that kept the audience enthralled throughout this magnificent programme of Romantic song.

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera

Magnificent! Following the first night of this new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, I quipped that I could forgive an opera house anything for musical performance at this level, whether orchestral, vocal, or, in this case, both.

La Fille du regiment, Royal Opera

Donizetti’s opera comique La Fille du regiment returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for its third revival.

Schoenberg and company

With Schoenberg, I tend to take every opportunity I can — at least since my first visit to the Salzburg Festival, when understandably I chose to see Figaro over Boulez conducting Moses und Aron, though I have rued the loss ever since.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Deborah Voigt as Senta [Photo by Cory Weaver courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera]
26 Apr 2010

Der Fliegende Holländer, New York

Pick the word: soupçon? snippet? tidbit? quark? to describe the infinitesimal bite of Wagner bestowed upon us by the Met this year — and we had to wait till the end of April, to boot!

Richard Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer

Senta: Deborah Voigt; Dutchman: Juha Uusitalo; Daland: Hans-Peter König; Erik: Stephen Gould; Steersman: Russell Thomas. Metropolitan Opera chorus and orchestra conducted by Kazushi Ono. Performance of April 23.

Above: Deborah Voigt as Senta

All photos by Cory Weaver courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera

 

We must be grateful for what we can scrounge, and Der Fliegende Holländer, Wagner’s Weber-like romantic fable of the vampire-like sea captain doomed to sail till he meets the woman faithful to death, in August Everding’s outsize production, provides some sumptuous music-making. Holländer, indeed, has grown sufficiently unfamiliar to New Yorkers that many members of the audience were outraged to find they were expected to sit still for two and a half hours without intermission (though you’d have to go back nearly forty years to find a Met production of the opera that did include intermissions), and several of them walked out during the second scene-changing entr’acte.

HOLLANDER_Gould_as_Erik_850.gifStephen Gould as Erik

The vocal standard of the evening was impressively high. Finnish bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo, who has been singing Wotan around Europe, gave us a suave, passionate Dutchman with a smooth, even, grateful sound. A tall man and a fine actor, he was got up to look pale, raven-haired, huge of eye and lofty of brow, rather like Wagner’s friend, King Ludwig of Bavaria — appropriately; the king drowned.

Uusitalo would have been the star of the evening had not Hans-Peter König been singing the bumptious Daland. König has one of those godlike basses (think Matti Salminen or Kurt Moll), clear and even from top to bottom, enormous but graciously so, never oppressive, never bellowed, as gently nuanced as if he were singing lieder. You will think: if there’s a God, he sounds like this. It was the A-list performance of the night.

Stephen Gould, an American tenor who has been singing Siegfried in Vienna to great acclaim, made his Met debut as Erik. An enormous figure on stage, Gould has a voice as sturdy as his linebacker build and a clarion delivery, but has a tendency to hurl it out brusquely when romantic gentility seems called for, especially in this dreamy role. His bark was not harsh but it was unfinished — which seems right for the half-savage Siegfried but not for Erik. When he sang, one pricked up one’s ears — but when Mr. König sang, pricking up of ears wasn’t necessary — the voice came out into the theater and seduced us. Russell Thomas provided an energetic Steersman, seeming a bit small-scale in such company.

HOLLANDER_Uusitalo_and_Voig.gif Deborah Voigt as Senta and Juha Uusitalo as the Dutchman

Deborah Voigt sang her first staged Senta. She looked good and hurled herself ardently about the room — at one point bringing the house to giggles, unintentionally one supposes: As Erik described his dream of the arrival of the Dutchman, she abruptly “assumed the position,” head back, legs spread, in anticipation. Her voice, though, was not in happy estate, stringy and unattractive for much of the night and occasionally flat. She nailed the “treu” on her final “treue als dem Tod,” but it was a bit late in the evening to rescue this heroic figure. Senta is a young girl with an earth mother coiled audibly within her, bursting out into thrilling cries. Senta — indeed Wagner — is not a good choice for Voigt’s instrument these days.

HOLLANDER_Thomas_and_Konig_.gifHans-Peter König as Daland and Russell Thomas as the Steersman

In the pit, Kazushi Ono, undeterred by occasional intrusive applause and the departure of those unwilling to do without intermissions, kept the oceanic rhythms of this nautical ghost story in driving motion. The only sounds one regretted were not in his department at all — the squeak of the metal gangway as it descended to the stage in Act I. It has indeed been years since its last use (seven by the story, ten at the Met), and we had an undesired squealing obbligato. This however had been oiled away by the final scene — good catch, Met crew!

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):