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

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.

Mahler: Symphony no.3 — Prom 73

It would be unfair, but one could summarise this concert with the words, ‘Senator, you’re no Leonard Bernstein.’

Los Angeles Opera Opens with La traviata

On September 13, Los Angeles Opera opened its 2014-2015 season with a revival of Marta Domingo’s updated, Art Deco staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata. It starred Nino Machaidze as Violetta, Arturo Chácon-Cruz as Alfredo, and Plácido Domingo as Giorgio Germont. The conductor was Music Director James Conlon.

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, 2014

In its annual concert previewing the forthcoming season Lyric Opera of Chicago presented its “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” during the past weekend to a large audience of enthusiastic listeners.

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):