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 Commentary

Jean-Paul Scarpitta in Montpellier

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.

Interview: Tenor Saimir Pirgu — From Albania to Italy to LA

Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.

Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor, dies aged 80

Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80

Matthew Polenzani — Des Grieux, Manon, Royal Opera House

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”.

Season 2014 at San Diego Opera

On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).

Maestro Joseph Rescigno Discusses The Flying Dutchman

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.

Royal Opera House Announces Digital Theatre

The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global following with its cinema broadcasts.

Patricia Racette on Dolores Claiborne

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.

Tobias Picker Talks About His New Opera Dolores Claiborne

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.

Dolora Zajick on New Opera Written for Her

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 — Singing and Character

Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.

Ignite at Wigmore Hall

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, Capital of European Culture

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).

Rossini Maometto Secondo at Garsington Opera - David Parry speaks

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.

Michele Mariotti conducts La donna del lago

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.

Kate Lindsey at Glyndebourne

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.

Douglas Boyd on Garsington Opera at Wormsley

“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.

A Chat with Aida Designer Zandra Rhodes

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.

An Interview with Virginia Zeani

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).

Bel Canto Queen Jessica Pratt

When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Dame Emma Kirkby [Photo courtesy of London Handel Festival]
03 Oct 2011

The Inaugural Cambridge Handel Festival: a rosy dawn?

The haughty beauties that are the ancient colleges of Cambridge were definitely feeling the heat this past weekend, and not even the cooling streams of the Cam and its tributaries could assuage the heat of an Indian summer in the Fens of Eastern England.

The Inaugural Cambridge Handel Festival: a rosy dawn?

By Sue Loder

Above: Dame Emma Kirkby [Photo courtesy of London Handel Festival]

 

Luckily, there was an alternative to the sweltering pavements and swirling crowds of Freshers Week: the inaugural Cambridge Handel Festival announced its arrival on the period music scene with a weekend of the coolest venues and the most exciting music-making. There is already a well-established Handel “hard core” living in and around the city — the Cambridge Handel Opera Group is well regarded — but it was something of an act of faith on the part of the organisers (Cambridge Early Music) to devote an entire weekend to all things Handelian. It was only towards the end of the two days, after a scintillating final concert of the Violin Sonatas by Adrian Butterfield, that it became obvious that the Festival had not only been an artistic success but had also, most importantly, just about broken-even financially. In this age of straitened budgets, this is no mean feat.

London_Handel_Players-NCEM.gifLondon Handel Players [Photo courtesy of NCEM]

The Festival was an innovative mix of events: a guided walk, talks by Handel experts, specific church services with a Handelian slant, an organ recital by the hugely talented Mark Williams in the chastely-elegant confines of Wren’s Pembroke College Chapel, and both instrumental and vocal concerts which delighted both enthusiasts and casual ticket-buyers alike. The backbone of the Festival was, one would have to say, Laurence Cummings and his London Handel Players who featured not only the deeply satisfying playing of both Adrian Butterfield (violin) and Rachel Brown (flute/recorder) but also accompanied the evergreen Emma Kirkby with great finesse and sympathetic musicianship. This latter concert highlighted arias written for soprano Cecilia Young (later Mrs Arne) by her husband, Lampe and Handel himself and we were treated to some songs rarely heard before: “Pretty Warblers” and “By the rushy-fringed bank” were delightful curiosities, delightfully sung.

Speaking with various other visitors to this Festival it was obvious that the variety of events had been a success, as had been the many interesting and unusual venues. There was a well-produced and informative programme book which both enlightened the newcomer but also informed the confirmed Handelian — for instance, the Fitzwilliam Museum in the heart of the city keeps some manuscript music by the great man which was put on show (with explanatory notes) especially to coincide with the weekend’s events. One can only hope that this most lovely of cities will once again feature the works of Handel and his contemporaries in another such festival: the foundations have certainly been well-laid.

Sue Loder

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):