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 Performances

Pacific Opera Project Recreates Mozart and Salieri Contest

On February 7, 1786, Emperor Joseph II of Austria had brand new one-act operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri performed in the Schönbrunn Palace’s Orangery.

Powerful chemistry in La Cenerentola in Cologne

Those poor opera lovers in Cologne have a never ending problem with the city’s opera house. Together with the rest of city, the construction of the new opera house is mired in political incompetence.

Tannhäuser: Royal Opera House, London

London remains starved of Wagner. This season, its major companies offer but two works, Tannhäuser from the Royal Opera and Tristan from ENO.

The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf

Dmitry Bertman’s hilarious staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s political sex-comedy The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf.

San Diego Opera Presents a Tragic Madama Butterfly

On April 16, 2016, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s sixth opera, Madama Butterfly, in an intriguing production by Garnett Bruce. Roberto Oswald’s scenery included the usual Japanese styled house with many sliding doors and walls. On either side, however, were blooming cherry trees with rough trunks and gnarled branches that looked as though they had been growing on the property for a hundred years.

Simon Rattle conducts Tristan und Isolde

New Co-Production Tristan und Isolde with Metropolitan: Simon Rattle and Westbroek electrify Treliński’s Opera-Noir.

San Jose’s Smooth Streetcar Ride

In an operatic world crowded with sure-fire bread and butter repertoire, Opera San Jose has boldly chosen to lavish a new production on a dark horse, Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

Roméo et Juliette: Dutch National Opera and Ballet seal merger with leaden Berlioz

Choral symphony, oratorio, symphonic poem — Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette does not fit into any mould. It has the potential to work as an opera-ballet, but incoherent storytelling and uninspired conducting undermined this production.

Donizetti : Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera House

When Kasper Holten took the precaution of pre-warning ticket-holders that the Royal Opera House’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor featured scene portraying ‘sexual acts’ and ‘violence’, one assumed that he was aiming to avert a re-run of the jeering and hectoring that accompanied last season’s Guillaume Tell. He even went so far as to offer concerned patrons a refund.

Five Reviews of Regina at Maryland Opera Studio

These are five very different reviews by students at the University of Maryland on its Opera Studio production of Regina — an interesting, informative and entertaining read . . .

Three Cheers for the English Touring Opera

‘Remember me, the one who is Pia;/ Siena made me, Maremma undid me.’ The speaker is Pia de’ Tolomei. She appears in a brief episode of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Purgatorio V, 130-136) which was the source for Gaetano Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei - by way of Bartolomeo Sestini’s verse-novella of 1825.

Andriessen's De Materie at the Park Avenue Armory

"The large measure of formalism which forms the basis of De Materie does not in itself offer any guarantee that the work will be beautiful," says Dutch composer Louis Andriessen of his four-movement opera.

Falstaff Makes a Big Splash in Phoenix

On April 1, 2016, Arizona Opera presented Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) in Phoenix. Although Boito based most of his libretto on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, he used material from Henry IV as well. Verdi wrote the music when he was close to the age of eighty. He was concerned about his ability at that advanced age, but he was immensely pleased with Boito’s text and decided to compose his second comedy, despite the fact that his first, Un giorno di regno, had not been successful.

Svadba in San Francisco

The brand new SF Opera Lab opened last month with artist William Kentridge’s staged Schubert Winterreise. Its second production just now, Svadba-Wedding — an a cappella opera for six female voices — unabashedly exposes the space in a different, non-theatrical configuration.

Benvenuto Cellini in Rome

One may think of Tosca as the most Roman of all operas, after all it has been performed at the Teatro Costanzi (Rome’s opera house) well over a thousand times since 1900. Though equally, maybe even more Roman is Hector Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini that has had only a dozen or so performances in Rome since 1838.

Handel : Elpidia - Opera Settecento

Roll up! A new opera by Handel is to be performed, L’Elpidia overo li rivali generosi. It is based upon a libretto by Apostolo Zeno with music by Leonardo Vinci - excepting a couple of arias by Giuseppe Orlandini and, additionally, two from Antonio Lotti’s Teofane (which the star bass, Giuseppe Maria Boschi , on bringing with him from the Dresden production of 1719).

Roberto Devereux in Genova

Radvanovsky in New York, Devia in Genoa — Donizetti queens are indeed in the news! Just now in Genoa Mariella Devia was the Elizabeth I for her beloved Roberto Devereux in a new trilogy of Donizetti queens (Maria Stuarda and Anne Bolena) directed by baritone Alfonso Antoniozzi.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Royal Opera

‘All men become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.’ ‘Is that clever?’ ‘It is perfectly phrased!’

Mahler’s Third, Concertgebouw

Evolving in Mahler’s Third: Dudamel and L.A. Philharmonic’s impressive adaption to the Concertgebouw

La Juive in Lyon

Though all big opera is called grand opera, French grand opera itself is a very specific genre. It is an ephemeral style not at all easy to bring to life. For example . . .

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Mark Rucker as Nabucco [Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Opera]
24 Jan 2011

Nabucco, Palm Beach Opera

Appearing on Palm Beach Opera’s website video player General Director Daniel Biaggi points out among the reasons to attend the first show of the company’s 2010-2011 season, “fantastic artists whose voices will blow you away.”

Giuseppe Verdi: Nabucco

Nabucco: Mark Rucker (12/10 & 12/12) / Sebastian Catana (12/11 & 12/13); Abigaille: Paoletta Marrocu (12/10 & 12/12) / Csilla Boross (12/11 & 12/13) ; Zaccaria: Dmitry Belosselskiy; Fenena: Laura Vlasak Nolen; Ismaele: Adam Diegel; High Priest of Baal: Harold Wilson; Abdallo: Evanivaldo Correa Serrano. Conductor: Bruno Aprea. Director: Guy Montavon. Set: Opéra de Montréal. Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Above: Mark Rucker as Nabucco

All photos courtesy of Palm Beach Opera

 

Biaggi’s claim is no folderol; each principal in PBO’s Nabucco (seen opening night December 10) offered a performance of individual value, with the balance of the night’s success tipping aptly on Mark Rucker’s Nabucco and on the playing of the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra with principal conductor and artistic director Bruno Aprea on the podium.

Mark Rucker presented fluent Verdi style, adding — of late — further finesse to a cantabile line that already made him a notable exponent of the style and period. The power-addled king’s delusions of Acts II and III were conveyed in Rucker’s singing — fashioned with portamento and diminuendos; he hit his stride vocally and dramatically with a ‘Dio di Giuda’ both meditative and conciliatory. This night’s Abigaille, Paoletta Marrocu, in her moments on vocal spotlight made most of an impression with an often rich middle register — mellifluously delivered in the more lyrical passages of ‘Anch'io dischiuso un giorno.’ In between some hard, go-for-broke, high notes and her seemingly unabashed use of discernible register breaks for dramatic effect, Ms. Marrocu spun accurately articulated scales and rapped out the text with biting authority.

Showing off an even bel canto line — that touched the F sharp in his cabaletta — and a sizable, fleet instrument was bass Dmitry Belosselskliy (Zaccaria). Laura Vlasak Nolen (Fenena) displayed fine stage sense in the final act prayer, where she and Aprea collaborated with Verdian strokes of refined rubato. Adam Diegel owns a large instrument with lyric attributes that made short work of Ismaele’s lines. As the High Priest of Baal, Harold Wilson brought a knowing gait and a fine bass. Palm Beach Young Artists Evanivaldo Correa and Alison Bates did right by the roles of Abdallo and Anna.

Grave majesty was missing from the opening of Nabucco’s overture; once to the livelier section though, the playing of the orchestra turned altogether superlative. Aprea’s conducting strikes as being attentive and open to various facets of artistic nuance. In the overture, there was a cohesive vitality that held through bouncy and bold and light and lyrical passages with well-executed string and woodwind playing. Verdi’s markings were honored to the end; and, in the manner of, Aprea was keen to push on or allow singers rhythmic room as necessary. Both the orchestra and the Palm Beach Opera Chorus reached a level of musical gravitas in ‘Immenso Jeovha.’

PaolettaMarrocu.gifPaoletta Marrocu as Abigaille

Stage director Guy Montavon and chorus were doubtless challenged by set pieces (credit given to Opera de Montreal) with compact stage space. Though conceptually beautiful, the Temple — swept in purifying soft shades of blue, a motif for the sets — seemed randomly besieged by congregants. To Montavon’s credit, the varying presence of Doric columns on a stage-wide platform with stairs leading to two landings left little room downstage and only a few feet from the pit to work with. Of “special mention” quality is the lighting of David Gano — faintly fading across wide gulfs of the color spectrum is analogous to mystifying and winding dramaturgical currents in Act II.

Robert Carreras

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):