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

Prom 1: Karina Canellakis makes history on the opening night of the Proms 2019

The young American conductor Karina Canellakis made history as the first woman to conduct the First Night of the Proms last night (19 July 2019) as she conducted the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall with soloists Asmik Grigorian (soprano), Jennifer Johnston (mezzo-soprano), Ladislav Elgr (tenor), Jan Martiník (bass) and Peter Holder (organ) in Zosha Di Castri's Long is the Journey, Short Is the Memory (the world premiere of a BBC commission), Antonin Dvořák’s The Golden Spinning Wheel and Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass.

Barbe & Doucet's new production of Die Zauberflöte at Glyndebourne

No one would pretend that Emanuel Schikaneder’s libretto for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte would go down well with the #MeToo generation. Or with first, second or third wave feminists for that matter.

Three Chamber Operas at the Aix Festival

Along with the celestial Mozart Requiem, a doomed Tosca and a gloriously witty Mahagonny the Aix Festival’s new artistic director Pierre Audi regaled us with three chamber operas — the premiere of a brilliant Les Mille Endormis, the technically playful Blank Out (on a turgid subject), and a heavy-duty Jakob Lenz.

Laurent Pelly's production of La Fille du régiment returns to Covent Garden

French soprano Sabine Devieilhe seems to find feisty adolescence a neat fit. I first encountered her when she assumed the role of a pill-popping nightclubbing ‘Beauty’ - raced from ecstasy-induced wonder to emergency ward - when I reviewed the DVD of Krzysztof Warlikowski’s production of Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno at Aix-en-Provence in 2016.

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Aix

Make no mistake, this is about you! Jim laid-out dead on the stage floor, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen brought his very loud orchestra (London’s Philharmonia) to an abrupt halt. Black out. The maestro then turned his spotlighted face to confront us and he held his stare. There was no mistake, the music was about us.

Mozart's Travels: Classical Opera and The Mozartists at Wigmore Hall

There was a full house at Wigmore Hall for Classical Opera’s/The Mozartists’ final concert of the 2018-19 season: a musical paysage which chartered, largely chronologically, Mozart’s youthful travels from London to The Hague, on to Paris, then Rome, concluding - following stop-overs in European cultural cities such as Munich and Vienna - with an arrival at his final destination, Prague.

Tosca in Aix

From the sublime — the Mozart Requiem — to the ridiculous, namely stage director Christophe Honoré's Tosca. A ridiculous waste of operatic resources.

A terrific, and terrifying, The Turn of the Screw at Garsington

One might describe Christopher Oram’s set for Louisa Muller’s new production of The Turn of the Screw at Garsington as ‘shabby chic’ … if it wasn’t so sinister.

Mozart Requiem in Aix

Pierre Audi, now the directeur général of the Festival d’Aix as well as the artistic director of New York City’s Park Avenue Armory opens a new era for this distinguished opera festival in the south of France with a new work by the Festival’s signature composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A Rachmaninov Drama at Middle Temple Hall

It is Rachmaninov’s major works for orchestra - the Second and Third Piano Concertos, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Symphonic Dances - alongside the All-Night Vespers and the music for solo piano, which have earned the composer a permanent place in the concert repertoire today.

Fun, Frothy, and Frivolous: L’elisir d’amore at Las Vegas

There are a dizzying array of choices for music entertainment in Las Vegas ranging from Celine Dion and Cher to Paul McCartney and Aerosmith. Admittedly, these performers are a far cry from opera, but the point is that Las Vegas residents have many options when it comes to live music.

McVicar's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro returns to the Royal Opera House

David McVicar's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has been a remarkable success since it debuted in 2006. Set with the Count of Almaviva's fearfully grand household in 1830, McVicar's trick is to surround the principals by servants in a supra-naturalistic production which emphasises how privacy is at a premium.

The Cunning Little Vixen at the Barbican Hall

The presence of a large cast of ‘animals’ in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen can encourage directors and designers to create costume-confections ranging from Disney-esque schmaltz to grim naturalism.

Barbe-Bleue in Lyon

Stage director Laurent Pelly is famed for his Offenbach stagings, above all others his masterful rendering of Les Contes d’Hoffmann as a nightmare. Mr. Pelly has staged eleven of Offenbach’s ninety-nine operettas over the years (coincidently this production of Barbe-Bleue is Mr. Pelly’s ninety-eighth opera staging).

The Princeton Festival Presents Nixon in China

The Princeton Festival has adopted a successful and sophisticated operatic programming strategy, whereby the annual opera alternates between a standard warhorse and a less known, more challenging work. Last year Princeton presented Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This year the choice is Nixon in China by modern American composer John Adams, which opened before a nearly full house of appreciative listeners.

Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at Grange Park Opera

When Engelbert Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette, wrote the libretto to Hansel and Gretel the idea of a poor family living in a hut near the woods, on the bread-line, would have had an element of realism to it despite the sentimental layers which Wette adds to the tale.

Handel’s Belshazzar at The Grange Festival

What a treat to see members of The Sixteen letting their hair down. This was no strait-laced post-concert knees-up, but a full on, drunken orgy at the court of the most hedonistic ruler in the Old Testament.

Don Giovanni in Paris

A brutalist Don Giovanni at the Palais Garnier, Belgian set designer Jan Versweyveld installed three huge, a vista raw cement towers that overwhelmed the Opéra Garnier’s Second Empire opulence. The eight principals faced off in a battle royale instigated by stage director Ivo van Hove. Conductor Philippe Jordan thrust the Mozart score into the depths of expressionistic conflict.

A riveting Rake’s Progress from Snape Maltings at the Aldeburgh Festival

Based on Hogarth’s 18th-century morality tale in eight paintings and with a pithy libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, Stravinsky’s operatic farewell to Neo-classicism charts Tom Rakewell’s ironic ‘progress’ from blissful ignorance to Bedlam.

The Gardeners: a new opera by Robert Hugill

‘When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot,/ Of many a pilgrimage will be the end,/ And flowers will shine in this now barren plot/ And fame upon it through the years descend:/ But many a heart upon each simple cross/ Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.’

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):