Recently in Commentary
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).
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.
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.
21 Feb 2012
Victoires de la Musique Classique 2012
Last night’s French classical music awards show, the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2012, awarded the “Best Composer of the Year” honors to Philippe Manoury, 59, for his opera, “La Nuit de Gutenberg” (“The Night of Gutenberg”).
Manoury, also on the faculty at the University of California,
San Diego, was influenced by Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen and is one
of France’s most respected composers.
The opera’s world premiere, on September 24 at the Opera National du Rhin
in Strasbourg, was well received by the audience and critics. It is a story of
an old derelict who lives on the streets of modern day Strasbourg and calls
himself Gutenberg. Could he be the same Johannes Gutenberg whose invention of
movable type changed the world more than 500 years earlier in this very same
This writer was also there that evening and can report that the opera is
based on late 20th Century composition techniques but always includes emotion,
elegance and momentum. A young people’s chorus, with kids listening, talking
or texting with their phones, was only one of the musical highlights. With
flashbacks, it told the story of Gutenberg and his struggles in life. The opera
was at once engaging as storytelling and powerful as music. Staged sparsely and
effectively by Yoshi Oida and conducted by Daniel Klajner it was an evening of
splendid vocal accomplishment. Bass Nicolas Cavallier sang the title role with
Eve-Maud Hubeaux as his new friend and the fine coloratura of Mélanie Boisvert
as the provocative “Hostess” of an internet cafe. Click
here for a report (in French) on television channel Arte gives samples of the
The Victoires de la Musique Classique, an awards show similar to the
Classical Grammy Awards, features Renée Fleming as honored guest and
spotlighted such singers as soprano Natalie Dessay, countertenor Philippe
Jaroussky, soprano Nathalie Manfrino, contralto Nathalie Stutzmann, soprano
Julia Lezhneva along with other classical artists. It is
available for internet viewing this week here.