Recently in Commentary
I met with the embattled artistic director of the Opéra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.
Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.
Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80
Matthew Polenzani reprises the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in Jules Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. “I love coming back to London”, he says, “It’s a very good house and they take care of you as a singer. And the level of music making is unbelievably high”.
On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).
The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.
The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global
following with its cinema broadcasts.
On a personal level, I feel that Dolores is almost like Emmeline grown up. Their circumstances are not exactly parallel, but they are both women at very different points in their lives whose stories involve dilemmas with life-changing outcomes.
With the help of Andrew Welch, a London theatrical producer who had adapted several of King’s works for the stage, including this one, I got the rights to both Dolores Claiborne and Misery.
On September 18, 2013, San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera, Dolores Claiborne, which has a libretto by J. D. McClatchy based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.
Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.
What do you get if you cross Benjamin Britten, ‘one-page scores’, an innovative performing ensemble and ‘Wigmore Learning’ — the Wigmore Hall’s imaginative outreach programme which aims to provide access to chamber music and song through innovative creative programmes, online resources and events?
Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).
Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has
conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.
Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.
It would seem a logical step for the mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey to take on
the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.
“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.
When I spoke with Zandra Rhodes, she was in her large San Diego workspace, which she described as having walls decorated with her own huge black and white drawings.
Palm Beach audiences are famous for their glamour, but in recent years a special star has sparkled amid the jewels, sequins, feathers and furs (whatever the weather).
When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.
03 Nov 2010
Overture to London’s Handel Festival 2011
The small but perfectly formed Grosvenor Chapel in London’s exclusive Mayfair was the venue last Monday night for a programme of Handel vocal and instrumental music of considerable quality — if minimal quantity.
hour-long concert, catchily entitled “Castrati to Countertenors”,
preceded the now-annual benefit Dinner which helps fund the following
year’s London Handel Festival. As hors d’oeuvres, it must have been
ideal — piquant orchestral playing combined with some fuller vocal
flavours courtesy of the excellent London Handel Players (is there a finer
small baroque band in this city?) and young countertenor Christopher Lowrey who
deservedly won the Festival’s Michael Oliver Prize in 2010.
The programme consisted of the overtures to and well-known airs and arias
from Saul and Rodelinda: “O Lord, whose mercies
numberless”, “Impious wretch”, “Dove Sei, amato
bene”, and “Vivi, tiranno!”, together with a scintillating
performance of the meatier Concerto Grosso, Op. 3 No. 5 in D Minor (HWV 316),
which showed off this small band’s command of colour, dynamic and
pinpoint accents. The Players were led with real joie de vivre and musicality
by their Musical Director Laurence Cummings from the harpsichord/keyboard.
Young Lowrey, we were warned, was suffering from a chest infection but there
was little sign of this (apart perhaps from some short-breathed lines and
restrained ornamentation) in his performance as he offered some real drama
combined with concise, accurate coloratura. He seemed most at home with the
material from Rodelinda and this confirmed the promise he showed in
2009 at the Festival/Britten International Opera School production of
Alessandro. He is an undoubted talent in the ever-increasing pool of excellent
young countertenors graduating now.
The concert series continues this Autumn with the traditional Christmas-time
Messiah on the 2nd December at St. George’s Hanover Square and
in 2011 we can look forward to performances of Rodelinda (fully
staged), Saul, the St Matthew Passion, Comus, the
Magnificat and many other concerts and recitals — not forgetting
the increasingly important Singing Competition Final in April. Full details can
be found at the LHF’s web site.
Sue Loder © 2010