Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

ETO Autumn 2020 Season Announcement: Lyric Solitude

English Touring Opera are delighted to announce a season of lyric monodramas to tour nationally from October to December. The season features music for solo singer and piano by Argento, Britten, Tippett and Shostakovich with a bold and inventive approach to making opera during social distancing.

Love, always: Chanticleer, Live from London … via San Francisco

This tenth of ten Live from London concerts was in fact a recorded live performance from California. It was no less enjoyable for that, and it was also uplifting to learn that this wasn’t in fact the ‘last’ LfL event that we will be able to enjoy, courtesy of VOCES8 and their fellow vocal ensembles (more below …).

Dreams and delusions from Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper at Wigmore Hall

Ever since Wigmore Hall announced their superb series of autumn concerts, all streamed live and available free of charge, I’d been looking forward to this song recital by Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper.

Treasures of the English Renaissance: Stile Antico, Live from London

Although Stile Antico’s programme article for their Live from London recital introduced their selection from the many treasures of the English Renaissance in the context of the theological debates and upheavals of the Tudor and Elizabethan years, their performance was more evocative of private chamber music than of public liturgy.

A wonderful Wigmore Hall debut by Elizabeth Llewellyn

Evidently, face masks don’t stifle appreciative “Bravo!”s. And, reducing audience numbers doesn’t lower the volume of such acclamations. For, the audience at Wigmore Hall gave soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and pianist Simon Lepper a greatly deserved warm reception and hearty response following this lunchtime recital of late-Romantic song.

The Sixteen: Music for Reflection, live from Kings Place

For this week’s Live from London vocal recital we moved from the home of VOCES8, St Anne and St Agnes in the City of London, to Kings Place, where The Sixteen - who have been associate artists at the venue for some time - presented a programme of music and words bound together by the theme of ‘reflection’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny explore Dowland's directness and darkness at Hatfield House

'Such is your divine Disposation that both you excellently understand, and royally entertaine the Exercise of Musicke.’

Paradise Lost: Tête-à-Tête 2020

‘And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven … that old serpent … Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.’

Joyce DiDonato: Met Stars Live in Concert

There was never any doubt that the fifth of the twelve Met Stars Live in Concert broadcasts was going to be a palpably intense and vivid event, as well as a musically stunning and theatrically enervating experience.

‘Where All Roses Go’: Apollo5, Live from London

‘Love’ was the theme for this Live from London performance by Apollo5. Given the complexity and diversity of that human emotion, and Apollo5’s reputation for versatility and diverse repertoire, ranging from Renaissance choral music to jazz, from contemporary classical works to popular song, it was no surprise that their programme spanned 500 years and several musical styles.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields 're-connect'

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields have titled their autumn series of eight concerts - which are taking place at 5pm and 7.30pm on two Saturdays each month at their home venue in Trafalgar Square, and being filmed for streaming the following Thursday - ‘re:connect’.

Lucy Crowe and Allan Clayton join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO at St Luke's

The London Symphony Orchestra opened their Autumn 2020 season with a homage to Oliver Knussen, who died at the age of 66 in July 2018. The programme traced a national musical lineage through the twentieth century, from Britten to Knussen, on to Mark-Anthony Turnage, and entwining the LSO and Rattle too.

Choral Dances: VOCES8, Live from London

With the Live from London digital vocal festival entering the second half of the series, the festival’s host, VOCES8, returned to their home at St Annes and St Agnes in the City of London to present a sequence of ‘Choral Dances’ - vocal music inspired by dance, embracing diverse genres from the Renaissance madrigal to swing jazz.

Royal Opera House Gala Concert

Just a few unison string wriggles from the opening of Mozart’s overture to Le nozze di Figaro are enough to make any opera-lover perch on the edge of their seat, in excited anticipation of the drama in music to come, so there could be no other curtain-raiser for this Gala Concert at the Royal Opera House, the latest instalment from ‘their House’ to ‘our houses’.

Fading: The Gesualdo Six at Live from London

"Before the ending of the day, creator of all things, we pray that, with your accustomed mercy, you may watch over us."

Met Stars Live in Concert: Lise Davidsen at the Oscarshall Palace in Oslo

The doors at The Metropolitan Opera will not open to live audiences until 2021 at the earliest, and the likelihood of normal operatic life resuming in cities around the world looks but a distant dream at present. But, while we may not be invited from our homes into the opera house for some time yet, with its free daily screenings of past productions and its pay-per-view Met Stars Live in Concert series, the Met continues to bring opera into our homes.

Precipice: The Grange Festival

Music-making at this year’s Grange Festival Opera may have fallen silent in June and July, but the country house and extensive grounds of The Grange provided an ideal setting for a weekend of twelve specially conceived ‘promenade’ performances encompassing music and dance.

Monteverdi: The Ache of Love - Live from London

There’s a “slide of harmony” and “all the bones leave your body at that moment and you collapse to the floor, it’s so extraordinary.”

Music for a While: Rowan Pierce and Christopher Glynn at Ryedale Online

“Music for a while, shall all your cares beguile.”

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Photo by Robert Kusel
29 Sep 2013

Lyric Opera of Chicago Introduces its Season

In its annual concert presented to the city at Millennium Park, Lyric Opera of Chicago introduced its 2013-14 season on a recent weekend evening with a program of selections featuring several present, past, and future stars of the company.

Lyric Opera of Chicago Introduces its Season

A review by Salvatore Calomino

Above photo by Robert Kusel

 

In this year’s concert the Lyric Opera Chorus was featured in a variety of pieces under the direction of its new permanent chorus master, Michael Black. After a prefatory address delivered by the company’s General Manager Anthony Freud the evening’s performance was conducted by Ward Stare.

As a start to the program Mr. Stare led the Lyric Opera Orchestra in a spirited performance of the overture to Béatrice et Bénédict by Hector Berlioz. Tempos were appropriately brisk in the opening section, while Mr. Stare showed a nice attention to legato playing in the subsequent, slower section. Flute and horn passages were especially well controlled in passages that led the orchestra back to its opening tempos and to an energetic and effective conclusion.

The remainder of the first part of the concert was devoted to excerpts from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which will be featured with two casts in the upcoming season at Lyric Opera. Ana María Martínez and James Valenti sang the parts of Cio-Cio-San and Pinkerton. As the geisha Cio-Cio-San muses while alone on the anticipated return of her beloved Pinkerton, she imagines first the sight of his ship on the horizon. As Ms. Martínez intoned the start of her aria “Un bel dì” (“One fine day”) expectation built noticeably on a rising vocal line until she declared “romba il suo salute” (“will thunder its salute”) with an impressive forte pitch. Martínez expressed Cio-Cio-San’s determination with her middle range focused on “non mi pesa” (“will not weary me”), until she envisioned the approach of Pinkerton from afar, starting as “un picciol punto” (“a tiny speck”) in an appropriately piano vision. Hints of later tragedy were expressed with touching innocence, as the words “celia” and “morire” (“to tease”… “to die”) were interwoven vocally. As she identified with her character’s unflagging faith, Martínez concluded this committed performance with a valiant top note on “l’aspetto” (“I shall await him”). Mr. Valenti’s aria from the final act of the opera, “Addio fiorito asil” (“Farewell, flowery refuge”), was performed with good attention to line, a technique which emphasized the haunting memories that would continue to plague him. Valenti’s lower register was somewhat underused yet his high notes in the conclusion of this brief scene (“ah, son vil” [“Oh, I am despicable!”]) were exemplary.

The Lyric Opera Chorus performed the “Humming Chorus” from Act III of Madama Butterfly as a fitting contribution to this first part of the concert. The final piece from Puccini’s opera featured Martínez and Valenti in the extended love scene from the conclusion of Act I (‘Bimba, bimba, non piangere” [“My child, do not cry”]). Laura Wilde sang the role of Suzuki, Cio-Cio-San’s confidante, in the opening of the scene. Once the couple is left alone by Suzuki, the lovers’ passion seems to bloom. Perhaps because of the distance implied in the initially shy or awkward dialogue of the characters, the soloists here sang a convincingly emotional line toward the close of their duet. With Valenti proclaiming at the close “Ah! Vien, sei mia!” [“Ah, come you are mine!”]), there was no doubt that love had indeed been awakened.

In the second part of the concert the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra performed highlights from Lohengrin, Verdi’s Otello, and Il Trovatore. Mr. Black has clearly worked with his forces to achieve a well-prepared ensemble. The varying ranges and effects in the Act III Prelude and Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin were distinct yet well integrated. Tempos were restrained in the Verdian choruses with attention to specific orchestral details magnifying the overall impression.

The final excerpt presented was Act III, Scene 2 of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Again the chorus was given the opportunity to set the tone of ephemeral happiness, here as the guests celebrated with vocal delights the wedding of Lucia. At the height of this joy Raimondo interrupts the ospiti to reveal the tragedy of the bridal chamber: Lucia has stabbed the husband she was forced to marry and lost her reason. Albina Shagimuratova shared the stage with Evan Boyer as Lucia and Raimondo, tutor of the young woman, with Anthony Clark Evans performing the role of Enrico, Lucia’s brother. Mr. Boyer made a strong impression as the initial soloist. He drew on a fully developed palette of vocal colors in order to express the conflicting emotions in Raimondo’s mix of horror and sympathy over Lucia’s actions. “Dalle stanze” (“From the apartments”) showed a smooth lyrical delivery with judicious application of vibrato. Boyer’s chilling enunciation of “insanguinato” (“blood-stained”) made of his voice a convincing witness to the aftermath of the murderous deed. Boyer’s sense of decoration was evident on telling lines, e.g., rising pitches on “l’ira no chiami su noi del ciel” (“may it not call down upon us the wrath of heaven”). At Lucia’s entrance Shagimuratova communicated immediately the sense of a woman unhinged. Notes sung piano and diminuendo as a means to delineate character were in evidence from the start , as she recalled hearing the voice of her true beloved Edgardo (“nel cor discesa!” [“won my heart!”]). Seeming happiness was declaimed on “lieto giorno” (“happy day”), just as Shagimuratova indulged in melismatic richness on the line “A me ti dona un dio” (“God has given you to me”). As she descended further into a mad reverie, Shagimuratova became more ambitious in the insertion of trills and well-chosen decoration. The conclusion was an exciting cap to the evening with a season of vocal drama still awaiting.

Salvatore Calomino

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):