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 Reviews

Bartoli a dream Cenerentola in Amsterdam

With her irresistible cocktail of spontaneity and virtuosity, Cecilia Bartoli is a beloved favourite of Amsterdam audiences. In triple celebratory mode, the Italian mezzo-soprano chose Rossini’s La Cenerentola, whose bicentenary is this year, to mark twenty years of performing at the Concertgebouw, and her twenty-fifth performance at its Main Hall.

Winterreise : a parallel journey

Matthew Rose and Gary Matthewman Winterreise: a Parallel Journey at the Wigmore Hall, a recital with extras. Schubert's winter journey reflects the poetry of Wilhelm Müller, where images act as signposts mapping the protagonist's psychological journey.

Anna Bolena in Lisbon

Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, composed in 1830, didn’t make it to Lisbon until 1843 when there were 14 performances at its magnificent Teatro São Carlos (opened 1793), and there were 17 more performances spread over the next two decades. The entire twentieth century saw but three (3) performances in this European capital.

Oh, What a Night in San Jose

It is difficult to know where to begin to praise the stunning achievement of Opera San Jose’s West Coast premiere of Silent Night.

Billy Budd in Madrid

Like Carmen, Billy Budd is an operatic personage of such breadth and depth that he becomes unique to everyone. This signals that there is no Billy Budd (or Carmen) who will satisfy everyone. And like Carmen, Billy Budd may be indestructible because the opera will always mean something to someone.

A riveting Nixon in China at the Concertgebouw

American composer John Adams turns 70 this year. By way of celebration no less than seven concerts in this season’s NTR ZaterdagMatinee series feature works by Adams, including this concert version of his first opera, Nixon in China.

English song: shadows and reflections

Despite the freshness, passion and directness, and occasional wry quirkiness, of many of the works which formed this lunchtime recital at the Wigmore Hall - given by mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, pianist James Baillieu and viola player Guy Pomeroy - a shadow lingered over the quiet nostalgia and pastoral eloquence of the quintessentially ‘English’ works performed.

A charming Pirates of Penzance revival at ENO

'Nobody does Gilbert and Sullivan anymore.’ This was the comment from many of my friends when I mentioned the revival of Mike Leigh's 2015 production of The Pirates of Penzance at English National Opera (ENO). Whilst not completely true (English Touring Opera is doing Patience next month), this reflects the way performances of G&S have rather dropped out of the mainstream. That Leigh's production takes the opera on its own terms and does not try to send it up, made it doubly welcome.

A Relevant Madama Butterfly

On Feb 3, 2017, Arizona Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic opera Madama Butterfly. Sandra Lopez was the naive fifteen-year-old who falls hopelessly in love with the American Naval Officer.

Johan Reuter sings Brahms with Wiener Philharmoniker

In the last of my three day adventure, I headed to Vienna for the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein (my first time!) for Mahler and Brahms.

Gatti and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Head to Asia

In Amsterdam legend Janine Jansen and the seventh Principal Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw, Daniele Gatti, came together for their first engagement in a ravishing performance of Berg’s Violin Concerto.

Verdi’s Requiem with the Berliner Philharmoniker

I extravagantly scheduled hearing the Berliner, Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Wiener Philharmoniker, to hear these three top orchestra perform their series programmes opening the New Year.

Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher in Lyon

There is no bigger or more prestigious name in avant-garde French theater than Romeo Castellucci (b. 1960), the Italian metteur en scène of this revival of Arthur Honegger’s mystère lyrique, Joan of Arc at the Stake (1938) at the Opéra Nouvel in Lyon.

A New Look at Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio

On January 28, 2017, Los Angeles Opera premiered James Robinson’s nineteen twenties production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, which places the story on the Orient Express. Since Abduction is a work with spoken dialogue like The Magic Flute, the cast sang their music in German and spoke their lines in English.

Giasone in Geneva

Fecund Jason, father of his wife Isifile’s twins and as well father of his seductress Medea’s twins, does indeed have a problem — he prefers to sleep with and wed Medea. In this resurrection of the most famous opera of the seventeenth century he evidently also sleeps with Hercules.

Falstaff in Genoa

A Falstaff that raised-the-bar ever higher, this was a posthumous resurrection of Luca Ronconi’s masterful staging of Verdi’s last opera, the third from last of the 83 operas Ronconi staged during his lifetime (1933-2015). And his third staging of Falstaff following Salzburg in 1993 and Florence in 2006.

Traviata in Seattle

One of Aidan Lang’s first initiatives as artistic director of Seattle Opera was to encourage his board to formulate a “mission statement” for the fifty-year old company. The document produced was clear, simple, and anodyne. Seattle Opera would aim above all to create work appealing both to the emotions and reason of the audience.

Wagner at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Part II: Kasper Holten’s angelic Lohengrin

Contrary to Stolzi’s multidimensional Parsifal, Holten’s simple setting of Lohengrin felt timeless with its focus on the drama between characters. Premiering in 2012, nothing too flashy and with a clever twist,

Wagner at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Part I: Stölzl’s Psychedelic Parsifal

Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB) consistently serves up superlatively sung Wagner productions. This Fall, its productions of Philipp Stölzl's Parsifal and Kasper Holten's Lohengrin offered intoxicating musical affairs. Annette Dasch, Klaus Florian Vogt, and Peter Seiffert reached for the stars. Even when it comes down to last minute replacements, the casting is topnotch.

Donna abbandonata: Temple Song Series

Donna abbandonata would have been a good title for the first concert of Temple Music’s 2017 Song Series. Indeed, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice seems to be making a habit of playing abandoned women.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Joyce DiDonato as Elena [Photo © 2013 Ken Howard]
13 Aug 2013

La Donna del Lago at Santa Fe

Based on Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem “The Lady of the Lake,” the opera by Rossini and librettist Andrea Leone Tottola was first seen in 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

La Donna del Lago at Santa Fe

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Joyce DiDonato as Elena

Photos © 2013 Ken Howard

 

DDL_0706.gifJoyce DiDonato as Elena and Marianna Pizzolato as Malcolm

It tells of James V of Scotland (1512 - 1542), the father of Mary Queen of Scots, and his relationship with the family of his estranged tutor, Duglas of Angus. The Lady of the Lake was Duglas’s daughter, Elena, who often enjoyed boating on Loch Katrine.

Not many United States operagoers have seen Gioachino Rossini’s 1819 opera, La Donna del Lago. Thus, when performances were announced at Santa Fe Opera, all six were sold out before opening night. As a result, the company added a performance at the end of the season. Based on Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem The Lady of the Lake, the opera by Rossini and librettist Andrea Leone Tottola was first seen in 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. It tells of James V of Scotland (1512 - 1542), the father of Mary Queen of Scots, and his relationship with the family of his estranged tutor, Duglas of Angus. The Lady of the Lake was Duglas’s daughter, Elena, who often enjoyed boating on Loch Katrine.

Director Paul Curran described the work as a medieval story based in Arthurian legend but seen through nineteenth century eyes. He told the story in realistic terms without any updating. Kevin Knight’s scenery was plain, but evocative of the ambience of the heather-strewn Scottish countryside. His costumes set the action in the unrest of the sixteenth century. Lighting is always of optimum importance in this open-sided theater and Duane Schuler’s designs added much to the visual quality of the piece.

Santa Fe Opera’s production featured an all-star cast in which coloratura mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato and Marianna Pizzolato sang with agile-voiced tenors Lawrence Brownlee and René Barbera. DiDonato was a tall, elegant Elena, who rendered the most difficult coloratura with exquisite taste and beauty of tone. Brownlee was brilliant as Uberto, the disguised King James V. The flexibility of his voice is truly amazing, but even though he was a ruler, he did not get the girl! Neither did Barbera as Rodrigo di Dhu, whom Duglas had chosen to be Elena's husband. While Brownlee’s voice is smooth and his tones burnished, Barbera’s is light and bright. The suitor who finally wins Elena is Malcolm, a pants-role character. Pizzolato sang the part with smooth tones and wonderful vocal flexibility.

DDL_3144.gifRene Barbera as Rodrigo, Joyce DiDonato as Elena, and Lawrence Brownlee as Uberto

Duglas, portrayed by Wayne Tigges, was the main villain in the piece. He sang with dark menacing tones and commanded the stage while keeping his daughter apart from her true love. Three apprentices acquitted themselves well in this performance. Lucy Sauter was a sweet-sounding Albina, while Joshua Dennis and David Blalock were effective in their roles as servants. Every year Susanne Sheston makes a first class opera chorus out of the diverse group of apprentices who come to Santa Fe for the summer. This year she has succeeded beyond all expectations. Although the work was new to them, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra conducted by Stephen Lord played Rossini’s difficult score in exquisite bel canto style. There were many solos, particularly for wind instruments and all of them were perfectly rendered. With Rossini’s fabulous music and this wonderful cast, perhaps we will be able to become more familiar with this beautiful opera and hear it in other settings.

by Maria Nockin


Cast and production Information:

Elena, Joyce DiDonato; Uberto (James V in disguise), Lawrence Brownlee; Albina, Lucy Sauter; Serano, Joshua Dennis; Malcolm, Marianna Pizzolato; Duglas, Wayne Tigges; Rodrigo, René Barbera; Bertram, David Blalock; Director, Paul Curran; Design, Kevin Knight; Lighting, Duane Schuler; Chorus Master, Susanne Sheston; Conductor, Stephen Lord.

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):