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

A Donizetti world premiere: Opera Rara at the Royal Opera House

There may be sixty or so operas by Donizetti to choose from, but if you’ve put together the remnants of another one, why not give everyone a chance to hear it? And so, Opera Rara brought L’Ange de Nisida to the concert stage last night, 180 years after it was composed for the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris, conductor Sir Mark Elder leading a team of bel canto soloists and the Choir and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a committed and at times stirring performance.

A stellar Ariadne auf Naxos at Investec Opera Holland Park

Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is a strange operatic beast. Originally a Molière-Hofmannsthal-Strauss hybrid, the 1916 version presented in Vienna ditched Le bourgeois gentilhomme, which had preceded an operatic telling of the Greek myth of Ariadne and Theseus, and replaced it with a Prologue in which buffa met seria as competing factions prepared to present an entertainment for ‘the richest man in Vienna’. He’s a man who has ordered two entertainments, to follow an epicurean feast, and he wants these dramatic digestifs served simultaneously.

PROM 5: Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

Stefan Herheim’s production of Debussy’s magnificent 1902 opera for Glyndebourne has not been universally acclaimed. The Royal Albert Hall brought with it, in this semi-staged production, a different set of problems - and even imitated some of the production’s original ones, notably the vast shadow of the organ which somewhat replicates Glyndebourne’s 1920’s Organ Room, and by a huge stretch of the imagination the forest in which so much of the opera’s action is set.

Thought-Provoking Concert in Honor of Bastille Day

Sopranos Elise Brancheau and Shannon Jones, along with pianists Martin Néron and Keith Chambers, presented a thrilling evening of French-themed music in an evening entitled: “Salut à la France,” at the South Oxford Space in Brooklyn this past Saturday, July 14th.

Dido in Deptford: Blackheath Halls Community Opera

Polly Graham’s vision of Dido and Aeneas is earthy, vigorous and gritty. The artistic director of Longborough Festival Opera has overseen a production which brings together professional soloists, students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and a cast of more than 80 south-east London adults and children for this, the 12th, annual Blackheath Halls Community Opera.

Summer madness and madcap high jinxs from the Jette Parker Young Artists

The operatic extracts which comprised this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance seemed to be joined by a connecting thread - madness: whether that was the mischievousness of Zerbinetta’s comedy troupe, the insanity of Tom Rakewell, the metaphysical distress of Hamlet, or the mayhem prompted by Isabella’s arrival at Mustafà’s Ottoman palace, the ‘insanity’ was equally compelling.

Mefistofele at Orange’s Chorégies

This is the one where a very personable devil tells God that mankind is so far gone it isn’t worth his time to bother corrupting it further.

Mascagni's Isabeau rides again at Investec Opera Holland Park

There seemed to me to be something distinctly Chaucerian about Martin Lloyd-Evans’ new production of Mascagni’s Isabeau (the first UK production of the opera) for Investec Opera Holland Park.

The 2018 BBC Proms opens in flamboyant fashion

Anniversaries and commemorations will, as usual, feature significantly during the 2018 BBC Proms, with the works of Leonard Bernstein, Claude Debussy and Lili Boulanger all prominently programmed during the season’s myriad orchestral, vocal and chamber concerts.

Banff’s Hell of an Orphée+

Against the Grain Theatre brought its award winning adaptation of Gluck’s opera to the Banff Festival billed as “an electronic baroque burlesque descent into hell.”

A Choral Trilogy at the Aix Festival

What Seven Stones (the amazing accentus / axe 21), and Dido and Aeneas (the splendid Ensemble Pygmalion) and Orfeo & Majnun (the ensemble [too many to count] of eleven local amateur choruses) share, and virtually nothing else, is spectacular use of chorus.

Vintage Audi — Parsifal, Kaufmann, Pape

From the Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich, Wagner Parsifal with a dream cast - René Pape, Jonas Kaufmann and Nina Stemme, Christian Gerhaher and Wolfgang Koch, conducted by Kirill Petrenko, directed by Pierre Audi. The production is vintage Audi - stylized, austere, but solidly thought-through.

Flight Soars High in Des Moines

Jonathan Dove’s innovative opera Flight is being lavished with an absolutely riveting new production at Des Moines Metro Opera’s resoundingly successful 2018 Festival.

Fledermaus Pops the Cork in Iowa

Like a fizzy bottle of champagne, Des Moines Metro Opera uncorked a zesty tasting of Johan Strauss’s vintage Die Fledermaus (The Bat).

A spritely summer revival of Falstaff at the ROH

Robert Carson’s 2012 ROH Falstaff is a bit of a hotchpotch, but delightful nevertheless. The panelled oak, exuding Elizabethan ambience, of the first Act’s gravy-stained country club reeks of the Wodehouse-ian 1930s, but has also has to serve as the final Act’s grubby stable and the Forest of Windsor, while the central Act is firmly situated in the domestic perfection of Alice Ford’s 1950s kitchen.

Down on the Farm with Des Moines’ Copland

Ingenious Des Moines Metro Opera continued its string of site-specific hits with an endearing production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land on the grounds of the Maytag Dairy farm.

Des Moines’ Ravishing Rusalka

Let me get right to the point: This is the Rusalka I have been waiting for all my life.

L'Ange de feu (The Fiery Angel)
in Aix

Prokofiev’s Fiery Angel is rarely performed. This new Aix Festival production to be shared with Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki exemplifies why.

Ariane à Naxos (Ariadne auf Naxos) in Aix

Yes, of course British stage director Katie Mitchell served up Richard Strauss’ uber tragic Ariadne on Naxos at a dinner table. Over the past few years Mme. Mitchell has staged quite a few household tragedies at the Aix Festival, mostly at dinner tables, though some on doorsteps.

The Skating Rink: Garsington Opera premiere

Having premiered Roxanna Panufnik’s opera Silver Birch in 2017 as part of its work with local community groups, Garsington Opera’s 2018 season included its first commission for the main opera season. David Sawer's The Skating Rink premiered at Garsington Opera this week; the opera is based on the novel by Chilean writer Roberto Bolano with a libretto by playwright Rory Mullarkey.

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):