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

40 minutes with Barbara Hannigan...in rehearsal

One of the initiatives for the community at the Lucerne Festival is the ‘40 min’ series. A free concert given before the evening’s main event that ranges from chamber music to orchestral rehearsals.

Prom 54 - Mozart's Last Year with the Budapest Festival Orchestra

The mysteries and myths surrounding Mozart’s Requiem Mass - left unfinished at his death and completed by his pupil, Franz Xaver Süssmayr - abide, reinvigorated and prolonged by Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus as directed on film by Miloš Forman. The origins of the work’s commission and composition remain unknown but in our collective cultural and musical consciousness the Requiem has come to assume an autobiographical role: as if Mozart was composing a mass for his own presaged death.

High Voltage Tosca in Cologne

I saw two operas consecutively at Oper Koln. First, the utterly bewildering Lucia di Lammermoor; then Thilo Reinhardt’s thrilling Tosca. His staging was pure operatic joy with some Hitchcockian provocations.

Haitink at the Lucerne Festival

Bernard Haitink’s monumental Bruckner and Mahler performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) got me hooked on classical music. His legendary performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C-minor, where in the Finale loosened plaster fell from the Concertgebouw ceiling, is still recounted in Amsterdam.

BBC Prom 45 - Janáček: The Makropulos Affair

Karita Mattila was born to sing Emilia Marty, the diva around whom revolves Leoš Janáček's The Makropulos Affair (Věc Makropulos). At Prom 45, she shone all the more because she was conducted by Jirí Belohlávek and performed alongside a superb cast from the National Theatre, Prague, probably the finest and most idiomatic exponents of this repertoire.

Two Tales of Offenbach: Opera della Luna at Wilton's Music Hall

‘Two outrageous operas in one crazy evening,’ reads the bill. Hyperbole? Certainly not when the operas are two of Jacques Offenbach’s more off-the-wall bouffoneries and when the company is Opera della Luna whose artistic director, Jeff Clarke, is blessed with the comic imagination and theatrical nous to turn even the most vacuous trivia into a sharp and sassy riotous romp.

Britten Untamed! Glyndebourne: A Midsummer Night's Dream

This performance of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Glyndebourne was so good that it was the highlight of the whole season, making the term ‘revival’ utterly irrelevant. Jakub Hrůša is always stimulating, but on this occasion, his conducting was so inspired that I found myself closing my eyes in order to concentrate on what he revealed in Britten's quirky but brilliant score. Eyes closed in this famous production by Peter Hall, first seen in 1981?

Salzburg encores

A staged piano recital and an opera as a concert.  Pianist András Schiff accompanied the Salzburg Marionette Theater at the Mozarteum Grosser Saal and Anna Netrebko sang Manon Lescaut at the Grosses Festspielhaus.

Leah Crocetto at Santa Fe

On August 4, 2016, soprano Leah Crocetto and accompanist Tamara Sanikidze gave a recital at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe New Mexico. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Contest, this year Crocetto was singing Donna Anna in Santa Fe Opera’s excellent Don Giovanni.

Angela Meade at Sante Fe

On July 31, 2016, against the ethereal beauty of the main hall in the Scottish Rite Center, soprano Angela Meade and pianist Joe Illick gave a recital offering both opera and art songs ranging in origin from early nineteenth century Europe to mid twentieth century America. Many in the audience probably remembered Meade’s recent excellent portrayal of Norma at Los Angeles Opera.

Turco in Italia in Pesaro

When more is definitely more, and less would indeed be less. Two of the biggest names in Italian theater art collide in an eponymous theater.

Proms Chamber Music 5: Shakespeare at 400

It was the fifth Proms Chamber Music concert at Cadogan Hall this season, and we were celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th. And, given the extent and range of the composers and artists, and the diversity and profundity of the musical achievement inspired by the Bard, we could probably keep celebrating in this fashion ad infinitum.

La donna del lago in Pesaro

Each August the bleak and leaky, 12,000 seat Arena Adriatica (home of the famed Pesaro basketball team) magically transforms itself into an improvised opera house that boasts the ultimate in opera chic — exemplary Rossini production standards for its now twelve hundred seats.

Proms at … Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

This highly enjoyable Prom, part of 2016’s ‘Proms at …’ mini-series, took as its guiding concept the reopening of London’s theatres following the Restoration, focusing in particular upon musical and dramatic responses to Shakespeare. Purcell, rightly, loomed large, with John Blow and Matthew Locke joining him. Receiving their Proms premieres were the excerpts from Timon of Athens and those from Locke’s The Tempest.

Santa Fe: Straussian Sweet Nothings

With all the bombast of the presidential campaigns rattling in our heads, with invectives being exchanged and measured discussion all but absent, how utterly lovely to retreat and relax into the harmonious soundscape and well-reasoned debate posed in Strauss’ Capriccio, on magnificent display at Santa Fe Opera.

Santa Fe’s Civil War Gounod

When we entered the Crosby Theatre for Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette the stage was surprisingly dominated by a somber, semi-circular black mausoleum, many chambers inscribed with scrambled names of US Civil War era dead.

Coolly Elegant Vanessa in the Desert

Molten passions were seething just below the icy Nordic exterior of Santa Fe Opera’s wholly masterful production of Barber’s Vanessa.

Le Comte Ory, Seattle

Farce is probably the most difficult of dramatic comedy sub-genres to put across. A farce got up in the stately robes of opera sets its presenters an even higher bar. Presenting an operatic farce on a notoriously chilly and cavernous auditorium is to risk catastrophe.

Racette’s Golden Girl in New Mexico

Fan interest began raging when Santa Fe Opera engaged venerable artist Patricia Racette to make her role debut as Minnie in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.

Santa Fe’s Mozart Cast Sweeps All Before It

A funny thing happened on the way to Andalusia.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Lise Lindstrom as Turandot [Photo by Gaston De Cardenas courtesy of Florida Grand Opera]
07 Feb 2011

Turandot, Florida Grand Opera

In 2010, Florida Grand Opera held a gala to honor Robert Heuer on his 25th anniversary as general director.

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot

Turandot: Lise Lindstrom; Calaf: Frank Porretta; Liù: Elizabeth Caballero; Timur: Kevin Langan. Conductor: Ramon Tebar. Stage Director: Bliss Hebert. Set and Costume Designer: Allen Charles Klein. Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes.

Above: Lise Lindstrom as Turandot

All photos by Gaston De Cardenas courtesy of Florida Grand Opera

 

On hand to join in the festivities was the great American baritone Sherrill Milnes who named Florida Grand Opera among the nation’s top regional companies. Compliment or challenge? The ultimate challenge for FGO in this, its 70th season may be to maximize efficiency without sacrificing quality. Dusting off thirty-year-old Turandot sets for the season opener (seen November 13th) speaks to the former and maintains a streak begun in 2009 of presenting productions designed and created for FGO.

Two features were immediately identifiable on curtain: a stage-covering set, the aft section of which molds the Forbidden City into a dragon, and the plush atmosphere that are quintessential Bliss Hebert (Staging) and Allen Charles Klein (Sets, costumes and lighting). A flash point in this scene is a sharpening wheel setting off sparks as the many executioners run swords across it. Act Three brings a particularly dark and dank garden, as Calaf and townspeople contemplate a sleepless night. Fine points in the work of Klein and Michelle Diamantides (Wigs and Makeup) include Ping, Pang and Pong wearing Kabuki face paint, and a wide palette of costume variations (Sumo gear on executioners, Samurai outfits on soldiers, and Sages of caricatured pre-frontal cortexes).

Familiarity was also supplied by the musical direction of Ramon Tebar, wielding baton here again, having led FGO’s Lucia last season. Tebar seems to prefer slow, deliberate beats that were quite successful in this Turandot, if taxing on some singers. The orchestra met crucial moments head on, playing chords strongly — with powerful horns and hammered, note-perfect percussions; the Riddle Scene simmered in mystery. Less successful was the over-bright harp playing following Turandot’s lines and a general slackening of musical structure in Act Two.

Lise Lindstrom is in exclusive company: singers that can easily clear the steep crests of Turandot. Her voice is penetrating and interesting, warming to the ears as the night progressed. Lindstrom excelled in Alfano’s passages, possibliy presaging a move into Wagner. In currying the Emperor’s sympathy and hinting at curiosity over Liu’s devotion, Lindstrom delved into La Principessa’s internal struggles. Where Lindstrom’s voice is pointed in focus, Frank Porretta’s is spread, making for shaky balancing with the orchestra. Still, Porretta’s Calaf stayed the course with well-taken but inconsistent legato and game attempts at varying expressiveness.

FGOLiutCalafTimur.gifFrank Porretta as Calaf, Elizabeth Caballero as Liu and Kevin Langan as Timur

Elizabeth Caballero’s vocal glamour is well-known to audiences here and on that reputation she did not renege as Liu. Refined musical accents abounded — pianissimo in the correct places and generous outpourings of sound from notes in the meat of her voice. Kevin Langan’s Timur - fragile, sincere and strong of heart - was perhaps the most complete characterization of the evening. Robert Dundas is a youthful voiced Emperor of noble spirit. All supporting parts came off aptly, with a vote of vocal promise for the second handmaiden Emilia Acon, a distinctly rich sound. Hebert’s blocking and Rosa Mercedes’ fine and uniform choreography cushion production elements that verge on excessive. In Puccini’s final work, impact rests greatly on the chorus and FGO’s group is polished and disciplined under the direction of John Keene; Timothy A. Sharp drew a solid performance from Miami Children’s Chorus.

Robert Carreras

FGOTurandotCalaf.gifLise Lindstrom as Turandot and Frank Porretta as Calaf

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):