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

Arabella in San Francisco

A great big guy in a great big fur coat falls in love with the photo of the worldly daughter of a compulsive gambler. A great big conductor promotes the maelstrom of great big music that shepherds all this to ecstatic conclusion.

Two falls out of three for Britten in Seattle Screw

The miasma of doom that pervades the air of the great house of Bly seems to seep slowly into the auditorium, dulling the senses, weighing down the mind. What evil lurks here? Can these people be saved? Do we care?

Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ten years ago, I saw one of the first performances of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Now, Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales give the opera its first United Kingdom production - in an English translation by Amanda Holden from the original Italian: the first time, I believe, that a Dusapin opera has been performed in translation. (I shall admit to a slight disappointment that it was not in Welsh: maybe next time.)

Tosca in San Francisco

The story was bigger than its actors, the Tosca ritual was ignored. It wasn’t a Tosca for the ages though maybe it was (San Francisco’s previous Tosca production hung around for 95 years). P.S. It was an evening of powerful theater, and incidentally it was really good opera.

Fine performances in uneven War Requiem at the Concertgebouw

At the very least, that vehement, pacifist indictment against militarism, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, should leave the audience shaking a little. This performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra only partially succeeded in doing so. The cast credits raised the highest expectations, but Gianandrea Noseda, stepping in for an ailing Mariss Jansons and conducting the RCO for the first time, did not bring out the full potential at his disposal.

The Tallis Scholars at Cadogan Hall

In their typical non-emphatic way, the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips presented here a selection of English sacred music from the Eton Choirbook to Tallis. There was little to ruffle anyone’s feathers here, little in the way of overt ‘interpretation’ – certainly in a modern sense – but ample opportunity to appreciate the mastery on offer in this music, its remoteness from many of our present concerns, and some fine singing.

Dido and Aeneas: Academy of Ancient Music

“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.” Well, the spectral Queen of Carthage atop the poppy-strewn sarcophagus wasn’t quite yet “laid in earth”, but the act of remembering, and remembrance, duly began during the first part of this final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s Purcell trilogy at the Barbican Hall.

Poignantly human – Die Zauberflöte, La Monnaie

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at La Monnaie /De Munt, Brussels, conducted by Antonello Manacorda, directed by Romeo Castellucci. Part allegory, part Singspeile, and very much a morality play, Die Zauberflöte is not conventional opera in the late 19th century style. Naturalist realism is not what it's meant to be. Cryptic is closer to what it might mean.

Covent Garden: Wagner’s Siegfried, magnificent but elusive

How do you begin to assess Covent Garden’s Siegfried? From a purely vocal point of view, this was a magnificent evening; it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this was as fine a cast as you are likely to hear anywhere today.

Powerful Monodramas: Zender, Manoury and Schoenberg

The concept of the monologue in opera has existed since the birth of opera itself, but when we come to monodramas - with the exception of Rousseau’s Pygmalion (1762) - we are looking at something that originated at the beginning of the twentieth century.

ENO's Salome both intrigues and bewilders

Femme fatale, femme nouvelle, she-devil: the personification of patriarchal castration-anxiety and misogynistic terror of female desire.

In the Company of Heaven: The Cardinall's Musick at Wigmore Hall

Palestrina led from the front, literally and figuratively, in this performance at Wigmore Hall which placed devotion to the saints at its heart, with Saints Peter, Paul, Catherine of Alexandria, Bartholomew and the Virgin Mary all musically honoured by The Cardinall’s Musick and their director Andrew Carwood.

Roberto Devereux in San Francisco

Opera’s triple crown, Donizetti’s tragic queens — Anna Bolena who was beheaded by her husband Henry VIII, their daughter Elizabeth I who beheaded her rival Mary, Queen of Scots and who executed her lover Roberto Devereux.

O18: Queens Tries Royally Hard

Opera Philadelphia is lightening up the fare at its annual festival with a three evening cabaret series in the Theatre of Living Arts, Queens of the Night.

O18 Magical Mystery Tour: Glass Handel

How to begin to quantify the wonderment stirred in my soul by Opera Philadelphia’s sensational achievement that is Glass Handel?

A lunchtime feast of English song: Lucy Crowe and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

The September sunshine that warmed Wigmore Street during Monday’s lunch-hour created the perfect ambience for this thoughtfully compiled programme of seventeenth- and twentieth-century English song presented by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall.

O18: Mad About Lucia

Opera Philadelphia has mounted as gripping and musically ravishing an account of Lucia di Lammermoor as is imaginable.

O18 Poulenc Evening: Moins C’est Plus

In Opera Philadelphia’s re-imagined La voix humaine, diva Patricia Racette had a tough “act” to follow ...

O18: Unsettling, Riveting Sky on Swings

Opera Philadelphia’s annual festival set the bar very high even by its own gold standard, with a troubling but mesmerizing world premiere, Sky on Wings.

Simon Rattle — Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, and Britten

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra marked the opening of the 2018-2019 season with a blast. Literally, for Sir Harrison Birtwistle's new piece Donum Simoni MMXVIII was an explosion of brass — four trumpets, trombones, horns and tuba, bursting into the Barbican Hall. When Sir Harry makes a statement, he makes it big and bold !

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

08 Aug 2014

Santa Fe Opera Presents The Impresario and Le Rossignol

On August 7, 2014, the Santa Fe Opera presented a double bill of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Impresario and Igor Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol (The Nightingale). The Impresario deals with the casting of an opera and Le Rossignol tells the well-known fairy tale about the plain gray bird with an exquisite song.

Fidelio in Santa Fe

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Erin Morley as the Nightingale, the figure of Death, and Anthony Michaels-Moore (right) as the Emperor of China [Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Opera]

 

On August 7, 2014, the Santa Fe Opera presented a double bill of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Impresario and Igor Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol (The Nightingale). The Impresario deals with the casting of an opera and Le Rossignol tells the well-known fairy tale about the plain gray bird with an exquisite song. Since the same cast sang both operas, it could be inferred that Yussupovich, the impresario, is casting the second opera. Santa Fe’s version of The Impressario is a pastiche that uses other Mozart vocal works to replace dramatic material of the composer’s time that would be meaningless to today’s audience. Included were: K 541, Un bacio di mano; K 256, Clarice cara; K 539, Ein deutsches Kriegslied; the “Champagne Aria” from K 527, Don Giovanni; K351, Komm lieber Zither; K419, No, che non sei capace; and K561, the scatological canon, Bona Nox.

Penny Black translated Gottlieb Stephanie’s original text and Ranjit Bolt added the English words sung to the vocal music listed above. Thanks to the imaginative lighting of Christopher Akerlind and the effective projections of Andrzej Goulding, James Macnamara’s practical set with piano and desk could be used for both operas. Fabio Toblini’s costumes emphasized the caricatures created in the libretto. Director Michael Gieleta had his managers plan covert actions and his artists plant their feet and sing while ballerina Xiaoxiao Wang and five limber male dancers performed Seán Curran’s engaging choreography around them.

As impresario Yuri Yssupovich and manager Otto van der Puff, Anthony Michaels-Moore and Kevin Burdette sang with aplomb as they tried to envision a financially viable opera company. They needed money from Eiler, the unscrupulous banker sung by David Govertson, to get the show on stage. In his aria set to the music of Ein deutsches Kriegslied, Govertson’s patter was perfectly synchronized with the orchestra and he did not miss a single syllable. Meredith Arwady was a thoroughly amusing Chlotichilda Krone but her low notes did not carry as well as the rest of her range. Brenda Rae and Bruce Sledge were Gieleta’s version of an opera “love couple.” They sang wonderfully as individual artists, but in the long run they could not help competing with each other.

The star of the evening in both The Impresario and Le Rossignol was coloratura soprano Erin Morley. She made us laugh as Adellina Vocedoro-Gambalunghi and brought tears to our eyes as the once banished nightingale that returned to sing because the emperor longed for her presence. In both operas, her singing was pure silver as her voice rose to rarely heard heights. With magical projections and lighting effects, the Impresario’s piano turned into a boat from which the Rossignol fisherman, Bruce Sledge, sang with warm tones as he plied his trade.

Brenda Rae was an attentive Cook and Kevin Burdette an officious Chamberlain. Until the end of the story, Anthony Michaels-Moore was an uncomprehending Emperor but his tears finally brought the bird back to sing above the fantastic decor of his early twentieth century palace. Kenneth Montgomery led the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra in exquisite renditions of both of these disparate pieces. His Impresario was elegant and precise while his Rossignol was sensitive and impressionistic. He brought out the essence of each piece and his translucent approach let the audience hear the sonorous beauty of each orchestration. The entire evening was thoroughly delightful.

Maria Nockin
_______________________________________________

Cast and production information:

Conductor, Kenneth Montgomery; Director, Michael Gieleta; Scenic Design, James Macnamara; Costume Design, Fabio Toblini; Lighting Design, Christopher Akerlund; Projection Design, Andrzej Goulding; Choreographer, Seán Curran; Chorus Master Susanne Sheston; Yuri Yussupovich/Emperor, Anthony Michaels-Moore; Otto van der Puff/Chamberlain, Kevin Burdette; Heinrich Eiler/Bonze, David Govertsen; Chlotichilda Krone/Death, Meredith Arwady; Vlada Vladimirescu/Cook, Brenda Rae; Adellina Vocedoro-Gambalunghi/Nightingale, Erin Morley; Vladimir Vladimirescu/Fisherman, Bruce Sledge; Dancers: Anthony Bocconi, Jesse Campbell, Reed Luplau, Shane Rutkowski, Ziaoxiao Wang, Jonathan Royse Windham.

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):