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

Proms Saturday Matinée 1

It might seem churlish to complain about the BBC Proms coverage of Pierre Boulez’s 90th anniversary. After all, there are a few performances dotted around — although some seem rather oddly programmed, as if embarrassed at the presence of new or newish music. (That could certainly not be claimed in the present case.)

The Maid of Pskov (Pskovityanka) , St. Petersburg

I recently spent four days in St. Petersburg, timed to coincide with the annual Stars of the White Nights Festival. Yet the most memorable singing I heard was neither at the Mariinsky Theater nor any other performance hall. It was in the small, nearly empty church built for the last Tsar, Nicholas II, at Tsarskoye Selo.

Prom 11 — Grange Park Opera: Fiddler on the Roof

As I walked up Exhibition Road on my way to the Royal Albert Hall, I passed a busking tuba player whose fairground ditties were enlivened by bursts of flame which shot skyward from the bell of his instrument, to the amusement and bemusement of a rapidly gathering pavement audience.

Saul, Glyndebourne

A brilliant theatrical event, bringing Handel’s theatre of the mind to life on stage

Roberta Invernizzi, Wigmore Hall

‘Here, thanks be to God, my opera is praised to the skies and there is nothing in it which does not please greatly.’ So wrote Antonio Vivaldi to Marchese Guido Bentivoglio d’Aragona in Ferrara in 1737.

Montemezzi: L’amore dei tre Re

Asphyxiations, atrophy by poison, assassination: in Italo Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre Re (The Love of the Three Kings, 1913) foul deed follows foul deed until the corpses are piled high. 

Prom 4: Andris Nelsons

The precision of attack in the opening to Beethoven’s Creatures of Prometheus Overture signalled thoroughgoing excellence in the contribution of the CBSO to this concert.

BBC Proms: The Cardinall’s Musick

When he was skilfully negotiating the not inconsiderable complexities, upheavals and strife of musical and religious life at the English royal court during the Reformation, Thomas Tallis (c.1505-85) could hardly have imagined that more than 450 years later people would be queuing round the block for the opportunity spend their lunch-hour listening to the music that he composed in service of his God and his monarch.

Oberon, Persephone and Iolanta at the Aix Festival

Two of the important late twentieth century stage directors, Robert Carsen and Peter Sellars, returned to the Aix Festival this summer. Carsen’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a masterpiece, Sellars’ strange Tchaikovsky/Stravinsky double bill is simply bizarre.

Betrothal and Betrayal : JPYA at the ROH

The annual celebration of young talent at the Royal Opera House is a magnificent showcase, and it was good to see such a healthy audience turnout.

Jenůfa Packs a Wallop at DMMO

There are few operas that can rival the visceral impact of a well-staged Jenůfa and Des Moines Metro Opera has emphatically delivered the goods.

Des Moines Fanciulla a Minnie-Triumph

The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) often gets eclipsed when compared to the rest of the mature Puccini canon.

First Night of the BBC Proms 2015

First Night of the BBC Proms 2015 with Sakari Oramo in exuberant form, pulling off William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the theatrical flair it deserves.

Monsters and Marriage at the Aix Festival

Plus an evening by the superb Modigliani Quartet that complimented the brief (55 minutes) a cappella opera for six female voices Svadba (2013) by Serbian composer Ana Sokolovic (b. 1968). She lives in Canada.

Des Moines: A Whole Other Secret Garden

With its revelatory production of Rappaccini’s Daughter performed outdoors in the city’s refurbished Botanical Gardens, Des Moines Metro Opera has unlocked the gate to a mysterious, challenging landscape of musical delights.

Seductive Abduction in Iowa

Des Moines Metro Opera has quite a crowd-pleasing production of The Abduction from the Seraglio on its hands.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Garsington Opera

Even by Shakespeare’s standards A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of his earlier plays, boasts a particularly fantastical plot involving a bunch of aristocrats (the Athenian Court of Theseus), feuding gods and goddesses (Oberon and Titania), ‘Rude Mechanicals’ (Bottom, Quince et al) and assorted faeries and spirits (such as Puck).

Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

What do we call Tristan und Isolde? That may seem a silly question. Tristan und Isolde, surely, and Tristan for short, although already we come to the exquisite difficulty, as Tristan and Isolde themselves partly seem (though do they only seem?) to recognise of that celebrated ‘und’.

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

So this was it, the Pelléas which had apparently repelled critics and other members of the audience on the opening night. Perhaps that had been exaggeration; I avoided reading anything substantive — and still have yet to do so.

Richard Strauss: Arabella

I had last seen Arabella as part of the Munich Opera Festival’s Richard Strauss Week in 2008. It is not, I am afraid, my favourite Strauss opera; in fact, it is probably my least favourite. However, I am always willing to be convinced.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Joyce El-Khoury as Violetta and Georgy Vasiliev Alfredo Germont [Photo by Palm Beach Opera]
11 Feb 2013

Palm Beach Opera Celebrates New Season

Palm Beach Opera opened its new season with the opera that began it all, La Traviata.

Palm Beach Opera Celebrates 50 Years

A review by Ariane Csonka

Above: Joyce El-Khoury as Violetta and Georgy Vasiliev Alfredo Germont

Photos by Palm Beach Opera

 

Despite the typical tribulations that have beset opera companies since the art form began, General Director Daniel Biaggi preceded the performance with his customary Swiss aplomb and elegance, thanking major sponsors and expressing both pride in the past and optimism for the future.

The premiere’s Violetta, Joyce El Khoury, faced special challenges. Not only was the stage director Renata Scotto famous for the role, but in the audience was the legendary Virginia Zeani, who sang it 600 times, plus Finnish soprano Rikka Hakala, whose resume lists a mere 200 performances. Add to that Palm Beach resident Frayda Lindemann, sponsor of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists program of which 27-year-old El Khoury is a graduate, and it was understandable that her first act showed signs of nerves.

PBO_Traviata_02.gifJoyce El-Khoury as Violetta and Georgy Vasiliev Alfredo Germont

However, as the evening progressed, she began to float pianissimo high notes with a precision of attack and security that was dazzling. By the time the duet with Germont Pere rolled around, the way in which she used her technique for emotional expression approached Albanese standards. The audience loved her.

Many in that audience were distressed by the departure of the charismatic PBO Music Director Bruno Aprea. The first in a series of replacement conductors was Case Scaglione, who turned in a workmanlike reading. Both the beautiful production, from Utah, and Mme. Scotto’s staging were to Palm Beach’s taste for tradition and extravagance, although one could wish she had invented some variety of movement for Georgy Vasiliev’s Alfredo, who appeared to support his stalwart, pleasing tenor by keeping his hands in his pockets.

Papa Germont is always a favorite with the public, and Michael Chioldi deserved his ovation with a warm, full baritone and sympathetic presence. The comprimarios are always good, most of them coming from the PBO Young Artists program. Shirin Eskandani was noteworthy as a flirtatious Flora, while 7-foot-plus tall Peter Tomaszewski certainly stood out as Doctor Grenvil. The chorus, directed by Greg Ritchey, provided fine back-up, and even danced well.

Ariane Csonka

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):