Recently in Commentary
This is a revised version of my review of the Sept 5th
1991American premiere of The Death of Klinghoffer, at the
Brooklyn Academy of Music. The opera was first performed at Brussels’ La
Monnaie the previous spring.
"Although there are now more people on this planet than there have ever been before, there are fewer dramatic voices. Something is wrong with that equation. I thought there needs to be some sort of helping hand so that dramatic voices don’t fall through the cracks in the system as they advance through their various stages of development."
Anna Prohaska sings Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues des
Carmélites at the Royal Opera House. In the same month, she’s also in
London to sing a recital with Eric Schneider at the Wigmore Hall, and to sing
Henze with Sir Simon Rattle at the Barbican Hall.
Garsington Opera celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Baritone Brandon Coleman’s mother, Linda, knew that 3-year old Brandon
would be a great singer when a stranger who had heard him, predicted it.
Professional opera returns to the Las Vegas Valley June 6th and 8th with performances of one of the best-known comic operas of all time, Gioachino Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
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.
Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.
Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80
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”.
On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).
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.
The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global
following with its cinema broadcasts.
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.
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.
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 caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.
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 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).
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.
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
London 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,
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.