Recently in Performances
Written at a time when both his theatrical business and physical health were in a bad way, Handel’s Faramondo was premiered at the King’s Theatre in January 1738, fared badly and sank rapidly into obscurity where it languished until the late-twentieth century.
Fabio Luisi conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in Brahms A German Requiem op 45 and Schubert, Symphony no 8 in B minor D759 ("Unfinished").at the Barbican Hall, London.
The atmosphere was a bit electric on February 25 for the opening night of
Leoš Janàček’s 1921 domestic tragedy, and not entirely in a
Each March France's splendid Opéra de Lyon mounts a cycle of operas that speak to a chosen theme. Just now the theme is Mémoires -- mythic productions of famed, now dead, late 20th century stage directors. These directors are Klaus Michael Grüber (1941-2008), Ruth Berghaus (1927-1996), and Heiner Müller (1929-1995).
The latest instalment of Wigmore Hall’s ambitious two-year project, ‘Schubert: The Complete Songs’, was presented by German tenor Christoph Prégardien and pianist Julius Drake.
On March 10, 2017, San Diego Opera presented an unusual version of Georges Bizet’s Carmen called La Tragédie de Carmen (The Tragedy of Carmen).
For his farewell production as director of opera at the Royal Opera House, Kasper Holten has chosen Wagner’s only ‘comedy’, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: an opera about the very medium in which it is written.
The dramatic strength that Stage Director Michael Scarola drew from his Pagliacci cast was absolutely amazing. He gave us a sizzling rendition of the libretto, pointing out every bit of foreshadowing built into the plot.
On February 25, 2017, in Tucson and on the following March 3 in Phoenix, Arizona Opera presented its first world premiere, Craig Bohmler and Steven Mark Kohn’s Riders of the Purple Sage.
During the past few seasons, English Touring Opera has confirmed its triple-value: it takes opera to the parts of the UK that other companies frequently fail to reach; its inventive, often theme-based, programming and willingness to take risks shine a light on unfamiliar repertory which invariably offers unanticipated pleasures; the company provides a platform for young British singers who are easing their way into the ‘industry’, assuming a role that latterly ENO might have been expected to fulfil.
A song cycle within a song symphony - Matthias Goerne's intriuging approach to Mahler song, with Marcus Hinterhäuser, at the Wigmore Hall, London. Mahler's entire output can be described as one vast symphony, spanning an arc that stretches from his earliest songs to the sketches for what would have been his tenth symphony. Song was integral to Mahler's compositional process, germinating ideas that could be used even in symphonies which don't employ conventional singing.
On February 21, 2017, San Diego Opera presented Giuseppe Verdi’s last composition, Falstaff, at the Civic Theater. Although this was the second performance in the run and the 21st was a Tuesday, there were no empty seats to be seen. General Director David Bennett assembled a stellar international cast that included baritone Roberto de Candia in the title role and mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti singing her first Mistress Quickly.
In Neil Armfield’s new production of Die Zauberflöte at Lyric Opera of Chicago the work is performed as entertainment on a summer’s night staged by neighborhood children in a suburban setting. The action takes place in the backyard of a traditional house, talented performers collaborate with neighborhood denizens, and the concept of an onstage audience watching this play yields a fresh perspective on staging Mozart’s opera.
Patricia Racette’s Salome is an impetuous teenage princess who interrupts the royal routine on a cloudy night by demanding to see her stepfather’s famous prisoner. Racette’s interpretation makes her Salome younger than the characters portrayed by many of her famous colleagues of the past. This princess plays mental games with Jochanaan and with Herod. Later, she plays a physical game with the gruesome, natural-looking head of the prophet.
On February 17, 2017 Pacific Opera Project performed Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Ebell Club in Los Angeles. After that night, it can be said that neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night can stay this company from putting on a fine show. Earlier in the day the Los Angeles area was deluged with heavy rain that dropped up to an inch of water per hour. That evening, because of a blown transformer, there was no electricity in the Ebell Club area.
There has been much reconstruction of Marseille’s magnificent Opera Municipal since it opened in 1787. Most recently a huge fire in 1919 provoked a major, five-year renovation of the hall and stage that reopened in 1924.
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.
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.
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.
It is difficult to know where to begin to praise the stunning achievement of Opera San Jose’s West Coast premiere of Silent Night.
01 May 2015
San Diego Opera Celebrates 50 Years of Great Singing
San Diego Opera, the company that General Manager Ian Campbell had scheduled for demolition, proved that it is alive and singing as beautifully as ever. Its 2015 season was cut back slightly and management has become a bit leaner, but the company celebrated its fiftieth season in fine style with a concert that included many of the greatest arias ever written.
Guest conductor Karen Kamensek and members of the San Diego Symphony opened the program with a fervent rendition of Verdi’s overture to La Forza del Destino. Clad in a form-fitting black gown, soprano Lise Lindstrom welcomed the audience with a spirited version of “Dich teure Halle” (“You, Dear Hall”) from Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Lindstrom, who sang four selections, was to become the star diva of the evening as she sang with a bright sound that had just the right amount of burnished steel in it. Her Turandot aria, “In questa reggia” (“In this Palace”) was commanding, while her interpretation of Ariadne’s “Es gibt ein Reich” (“There is a Realm”) transported the audience to a place of exquisite beauty. In the last aria on the program, the “Liebestod” (“Love Death”) from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, she sang with sweet, plaintive tones that easily rode over the complex orchestration. I, for one, want to see her perform Isolde in the complete opera.
René Barbera is a most talented lyric tenor who can sing legato music with smooth, resonant tones and florid music with technical brilliance. He and baritone Stephen Powell sang a rousing rendition of “Au Fond du Temple Saint” (“At the Back of the Holy Temple”) from Bizet’s The Pearlfishers. In a second duet, “All’ idea di’ quel metallo” (“At the Idea of that Metal”) from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, they combined fine singing with expert comic timing. High notes present no danger for Barbera and he sang the aria “Ah, mes Amis, quel Jour de Fêtes.” (“Ah, my Friends, this Festive Day”) from Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, as thought it was an easy tune. Powell, accompanied by bass-baritone Scott Sikon as the Sacristan and the San Diego Opera Chorus, also sang a soaring, powerful interpretation of the Te Deum from Puccini’s Tosca.
Mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti can do wonders with intricate coloratura and her Veil Song from Verdi’s Don Carlo was one of the major delights of the evening. Soprano Emily Magee sang Tosca’s “Vissi d’arte” (“I Lived for Art”) straight from her heart and captured the audience with her first few notes. Later she recaptured the mood with her impressive interpretation of Marietta’s plaintive song from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt (The Dead City). Bass Reinhard Hagen sang a delightful rendition of Prince Gremin’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and concluded his appearance with the powerful low notes of Sarastro’s “In diesen heil’gen Hallen” (“in these Hallowed Halls”) from Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
The San Diego Opera Chorus, led by Charles Prestinari, delivered musically excellent performances with secure harmonic balances and rhythmic precision. The Triumphal March from Verdi's Aida was particularly stirring. Karen Kamensek, music director of the Hannover Staatsoper, is an excellent opera conductor who handled this combination of musical styles from various cultures and historical periods with ease. From Mozart to Tchaikovsky and bel canto to verismo, she created the essence of each piece so that the whole program became a crown of gloriously colored individual jewels. San Diego Opera will be back in February 2016 with Puccini’s Tosca. This operagoer will be waiting for its opening with bated breath.
Artists and program:
Overture to La Forza del Destino, San Diego Symphony; "Dich teure Halle," Lise Lindstrom; Entrance of the Guests from Tannhäuser, San Diego Opera Chorus; Prince Gremin's Aria, Reinhard Hagen; "Au Fond du Temple Saint," René Barbera and Stephen Powell; "Mon Coeur s'Ouvre à ta Voix," Marianne Cornetti; "Ah, mes Amis," René Barbera, Scott Sikon and Chorus; "In questa reggia," Lise Lindstrom, Chorus; "Vissi d'arte," Emily Magee; Te Deum, Stephen Powell, Scott Sikon, Chorus; "Va pensiero," San Diego Opera Chorus; "Es gibt ein Reich," Lise Lindstrom; "Non piu andrai," Scott Sikon; "In diesen heil'gen Hallen," Reinhard Hagen; Marietta's Lied, Emily Magee; Veil Song, Marianne Cornetti; Liebestod, Lise Lindstrom; Triumphal March, from Aida, San Diego Opera Chorus, Conductor, Karen Kamensek; Chorus Master, Charles Prestinari.