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

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.

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.

Susannah in San Francisco

Come to think of it the 1950‘s were operatically rich years in America compared to other decades in the recent past. Just now the San Francisco Opera laid bare an example, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Krassimira Stoyanova
11 Dec 2010

La Bohème, New York

Perhaps the most unexpected occurrence of the evening was the malfunction of the Act I-Act II set change.

Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème

Mimi: Krassimira Stoyanova; Musetta: Ellie Dehn; Rodolfo: Joseph Calleja; Marcello: Fabio Capitanucci; Colline: Günther Groissböck; Schaunard: Dimitris Tiliakos. Metropolitan Opera. Conducted by Roberto Rizzi Brignoli. Performance of December 1.

Above: Krassimira Stoyanova

 

The Met threw in another intermission, but did not distribute free Champagne. Perhaps the Zeffirelli production is becoming arthritic, or did the donkey or the horse (it is Zeffirelli; you get both in his Act II) throw the sort of tantrum singers never risk nowadays? Alcindoro’s re-entrance with the shoes (Paul Plishka, as inevitably as the snow in Act III) has somehow got lost in the mayhem, and you are free to regret this if you like. I also missed Marcello’s “Crossing of the Red Sea” painting, which is supposed to be hanging outside the snowy inn in Act III.

For me, though, what made the whole thing worth seeing was Krassimira Stoyanova’s first Mimi in New York, especially the moment when, wandering around the boys’ studio, plainly never having seen such a place (Rodolfo is on the balcony telling his pals downstairs to get lost), takes up Marcello’s paintbrush, waving it in the air, unable to imagine what on earth it is. One is grateful for any spontaneity in this ancient staging.

Stoyanova is perhaps the world’s foremost lyric-spinto today, but the Met hardly takes her seriously as she is not a glamour girl. Mimi is her only assignment there this season, though New Yorkers can catch her internationally admired Desdemona when the Chicago Symphony performs Otello here in April. Her acting in Bohème’s impossibly cluttered attic is impeccable, though she has trouble getting around all the furniture (“Why don’t they burn a few of those picture frames instead of Rodolfo’s manuscript?” grumbles a friend) and is happier when there is merely snow to dodge in Act III. Her voice is of exceptional sweetness, kept deceptively small (it is not a small voice) when portraying the consumptive seamstress. On the first night of the run, there were a few mildly disconcerting moments of awkward pitch; I’d rather have heard her later in the run. The live broadcast from Vienna last fall was ideal, unearthly, recalling the young Freni.

Her Rodolfo was Joseph Calleja, a burly, bearded fellow with an easy smile and a smiling voice—marred for some hearers, perhaps, by an old-fashioned vibrato that reminded me of Alessandro Bonci. Fabio Capitanucci, who is actually stout, sang a perfect Marcello with an ingratiatingly suave baritone one is eager to hear again. Debutantes filled out the Bohemian quartet: Günther Groissböck (Colline) and Dimitris Tiliakos (Schaunard) revealed fine, well-produced, Met-sized voices if not yet much individuality of character. Ellie Dehn, who was so lovely in the Met’s Satyagraha, sang Musetta’s music well but acted like a village schoolmarm drafted at the last minute and against all inclination to play the vamp. She’s no vamp, and displayed no sexual magnetism at all. We’re not interested in your petticoats, dear—where’s that ankle?

Roberto Rizzi Brignoli did not seem ideally in sync with his singers; one recalls more bounce in the scenes of Bohemian shenanigans. This group of newcomers seemed not quite ready to let themselves go. But the Met orchestra can play this music to perfection in its sleep, and did not sound asleep at all.

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):