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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.
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.
“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.
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.
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).
When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.
On Wednesday evening, February 20, Los Angeles Opera gave a press conference at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion featuring Music Director James Conlon.
It is another “What Could Have Been” moment. The debut of Brokeback
Mountain by Charles Wuorinen is part of Madridʼs Teatro Real coming
Plans for July’s Aix-en-Provence Festival were announced and opera is, of course, at the center of the program with a particularly noteworthy Richard Strauss production.
Amsterdam enjoys a rare visit from Moscow’s Stanislavski Opera at the landmark Koninklijk Carre Theater, for three performances of Tchaikovski’s Eugene Onegin and a Sunday morning opera concert, on February 1st-3rd.
A new festival hall has been inaugurated in the small town of Erl in the Tyrolean mountains.
Yesterday, Conductor Riccardo Muti opened the Rome Opera, where he is “honorary conductor for life,” with a gala presentation of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.
When tenor Michael Spyres takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on December 5th, he will be in heady company.
One of the most noteworthy and controversial productions in recent memory
arrived in Belgium with hurricane force as Director Terry Gilliam’s inaugural
opera, an inspired interpretation of Hector Berlioz’s Le Damnation de
Faust, blasted into Ghent, followed by a run in Antwerp.
Florian Boesch is singing Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Oxford Lieder Festival on Sunday 14th October. This won’t be routine. Radically challenging conventional interpretation, Boesch says “I don’t believe it ends in suicide”
Exciting developments at Glyndebourne ! Many new initiatives which could transform Glyndebourne from a summer festival to a truly international, year-round opera experience.
The recently released numbers for the past season at Barcelona’s opera Liceu gives some hope for the future.
A record 278,978 people attended events of the 2012 edition of the famed Salzburg Festival in Austria, the largest number since its founding 92 years ago.
Just after things were settling after the scandal of baritone Evgeny Nitikin supposed swastika tattoo at the Bayreuth Festival, another one seems likely to take its place.
Three quarters of the way through this discussion, a question that inhabits the mind of anyone putting any thought to the subject — but no one dare ask — was rhetoricised, “what is opera?”
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.