Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

Bartoli a dream Cenerentola in Amsterdam

With her irresistible cocktail of spontaneity and virtuosity, Cecilia Bartoli is a beloved favourite of Amsterdam audiences. In triple celebratory mode, the Italian mezzo-soprano chose Rossini’s La Cenerentola, whose bicentenary is this year, to mark twenty years of performing at the Concertgebouw, and her twenty-fifth performance at its Main Hall.

Winterreise : a parallel journey

Matthew Rose and Gary Matthewman Winterreise: a Parallel Journey at the Wigmore Hall, a recital with extras. Schubert's winter journey reflects the poetry of Wilhelm Müller, where images act as signposts mapping the protagonist's psychological journey.

Anna Bolena in Lisbon

Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, composed in 1830, didn’t make it to Lisbon until 1843 when there were 14 performances at its magnificent Teatro São Carlos (opened 1793), and there were 17 more performances spread over the next two decades. The entire twentieth century saw but three (3) performances in this European capital.

Oh, What a Night in San Jose

It is difficult to know where to begin to praise the stunning achievement of Opera San Jose’s West Coast premiere of Silent Night.

Billy Budd in Madrid

Like Carmen, Billy Budd is an operatic personage of such breadth and depth that he becomes unique to everyone. This signals that there is no Billy Budd (or Carmen) who will satisfy everyone. And like Carmen, Billy Budd may be indestructible because the opera will always mean something to someone.

A riveting Nixon in China at the Concertgebouw

American composer John Adams turns 70 this year. By way of celebration no less than seven concerts in this season’s NTR ZaterdagMatinee series feature works by Adams, including this concert version of his first opera, Nixon in China.

English song: shadows and reflections

Despite the freshness, passion and directness, and occasional wry quirkiness, of many of the works which formed this lunchtime recital at the Wigmore Hall - given by mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, pianist James Baillieu and viola player Guy Pomeroy - a shadow lingered over the quiet nostalgia and pastoral eloquence of the quintessentially ‘English’ works performed.

A charming Pirates of Penzance revival at ENO

'Nobody does Gilbert and Sullivan anymore.’ This was the comment from many of my friends when I mentioned the revival of Mike Leigh's 2015 production of The Pirates of Penzance at English National Opera (ENO). Whilst not completely true (English Touring Opera is doing Patience next month), this reflects the way performances of G&S have rather dropped out of the mainstream. That Leigh's production takes the opera on its own terms and does not try to send it up, made it doubly welcome.

A Relevant Madama Butterfly

On Feb 3, 2017, Arizona Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic opera Madama Butterfly. Sandra Lopez was the naive fifteen-year-old who falls hopelessly in love with the American Naval Officer.

Johan Reuter sings Brahms with Wiener Philharmoniker

In the last of my three day adventure, I headed to Vienna for the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein (my first time!) for Mahler and Brahms.

Gatti and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Head to Asia

In Amsterdam legend Janine Jansen and the seventh Principal Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw, Daniele Gatti, came together for their first engagement in a ravishing performance of Berg’s Violin Concerto.

Verdi’s Requiem with the Berliner Philharmoniker

I extravagantly scheduled hearing the Berliner, Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Wiener Philharmoniker, to hear these three top orchestra perform their series programmes opening the New Year.

Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher in Lyon

There is no bigger or more prestigious name in avant-garde French theater than Romeo Castellucci (b. 1960), the Italian metteur en scène of this revival of Arthur Honegger’s mystère lyrique, Joan of Arc at the Stake (1938) at the Opéra Nouvel in Lyon.

A New Look at Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio

On January 28, 2017, Los Angeles Opera premiered James Robinson’s nineteen twenties production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, which places the story on the Orient Express. Since Abduction is a work with spoken dialogue like The Magic Flute, the cast sang their music in German and spoke their lines in English.

Giasone in Geneva

Fecund Jason, father of his wife Isifile’s twins and as well father of his seductress Medea’s twins, does indeed have a problem — he prefers to sleep with and wed Medea. In this resurrection of the most famous opera of the seventeenth century he evidently also sleeps with Hercules.

Falstaff in Genoa

A Falstaff that raised-the-bar ever higher, this was a posthumous resurrection of Luca Ronconi’s masterful staging of Verdi’s last opera, the third from last of the 83 operas Ronconi staged during his lifetime (1933-2015). And his third staging of Falstaff following Salzburg in 1993 and Florence in 2006.

Traviata in Seattle

One of Aidan Lang’s first initiatives as artistic director of Seattle Opera was to encourage his board to formulate a “mission statement” for the fifty-year old company. The document produced was clear, simple, and anodyne. Seattle Opera would aim above all to create work appealing both to the emotions and reason of the audience.

Wagner at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Part II: Kasper Holten’s angelic Lohengrin

Contrary to Stolzi’s multidimensional Parsifal, Holten’s simple setting of Lohengrin felt timeless with its focus on the drama between characters. Premiering in 2012, nothing too flashy and with a clever twist,

Wagner at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Part I: Stölzl’s Psychedelic Parsifal

Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB) consistently serves up superlatively sung Wagner productions. This Fall, its productions of Philipp Stölzl's Parsifal and Kasper Holten's Lohengrin offered intoxicating musical affairs. Annette Dasch, Klaus Florian Vogt, and Peter Seiffert reached for the stars. Even when it comes down to last minute replacements, the casting is topnotch.

Donna abbandonata: Temple Song Series

Donna abbandonata would have been a good title for the first concert of Temple Music’s 2017 Song Series. Indeed, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice seems to be making a habit of playing abandoned women.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse with Paul Groves as Hoffmann in the background [Photo by Ken Howard courtesy of Santa Fe Opera]
15 Aug 2010

Tales of Hoffmann at Santa Fe

The performances of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann at Santa Fe Opera this summer are based on Michael Kaye’s edition of the score.

Jacques Offenbach: Tales of Hoffmann

Stella / Olympia: Erin Wall; Antonia / Giulietta: Erin Wall; Nicklausse: Kate Lindsey; Voice of Antonia's Mother: Jill Grove; Hoffmann: Paul Groves; Spalanzani: Mark Schowalter; Lindorf / Coppelius: Wayne Tigges; Dr. Miracle / Dapertutto: Wayne Tigges; Andres / Cochenille: David Cangelosi; Frantz / Pittichinaccio: David Cangelosi; Crespel / Luther: Harold Wilson. Conductor: Stephen Lord. Director: Christopher Alden. Scenic Designer: Allen Moyer. Costume Designer: Constance Hoffman. Lighting Designer: Pat Collins.

Above: Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse with Paul Groves as Hoffmann in the background [Photo by Ken Howard courtesy of Santa Fe Opera]

 

Since the composer died on October 5, 1880, some four months before the premiere of his opera, the score was assembled by Ernest Guiraud who paid more attention to the needs and desires of theater presenters than to the presumed wishes of the dead composer.

In 1976, French conductor Antonio DeAlmeida, the leading expert in modern Offenbach studies, discovered more than 1,250 pages of the opera’s earliest manuscripts at the home of the composer’s relatives. The new pages were mostly music for voice and piano dating from a period when Offenbach was composing the title role for a baritone. Based on his extensive knowledge of Offenbach’s life and works, DeAlmeida was able to authenticate them. Since musicologist Michael Kaye assisted him on the preparation of his thematic catalogue of all of Offenbach’s compositions, both he and Kaye had unlimited access to many sources of the composer’s work.

DeAlmeida arranged for Kaye to meet the heirs of Jacques Offenbach, who permitted him to have copies of all of the Tales of Hoffmann manuscripts in their possession. In 1986, three hundred and fifty previously unknown, fully orchestrated pages came to light. Kaye received permission to publish them for the first time and started compiling a performing edition that would be as close to Offenbach’s intentions as possible. He wanted it to be a faithful reflection of the composer’s achievements as realized in his posthumous masterpiece. Kaye’s goal was to reunite all the pages of the various manuscripts that were found in public and private collections and produce one definitive edition.

There have been several phases of Kaye’s Tales of Hoffmann Publication Project. There are provisional scores for opera companies. The original dialogues have been located. Guiraud’s recitatives have been made compatible with the recovered Offenbach music and the original dramaturgy. That, of course, has generated various performing versions with dialogues and recitatives. There have also been additional discoveries, including the authentic final scene of the Giulietta Act. One of these discoveries was that the role of Giulietta, often given to mezzo-sopranos, contained high C’s, D’s and E-flats, which could only be sung by a soprano. Another find contained music for Stella to sing in the last act. These and other changes were brought to life in the new edition performed on August third.

On August 3, the Kaye edition of The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach was presented at Santa Fe Opera. The imaginative production by Christopher Alden with scenery by Allen Moyer and attractive costumes by Constance Hoffmann underscored the dream element of the original E.T.A. Hoffmann stories. Hoffmann was portrayed by the dependable Paul Groves who colored his robust voice to fit each situation. Unfortunately, the soprano who sang his love interests, Erin Wall, had noticeable difficulty negotiating her coloratura.

Kate Lindsey interpreted the extensive role of The Muse/Nicklausse with a clear, rich, lyric mezzo sound. Her ‘Violin Aria’ was particularly affecting. Wayne Tigges was an evil villain who sang with incisive dark tonal colors. As the servants, David Cangelosi proved to be fascinating as both acrobat and vocalist. Surprisingly, leading mezzo Jill Groves sat in the beer hall for ages before she finally sang the lines of Antonia’s Mother. All the smaller parts were well sung and the orchestra, expansively conducted by Stephen Lord, underscored the enduring delight of the French composer’s music. It was a truly fascinating evening.

Maria Nockin

Click here for a contrary opinion.

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):