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

Natalya Romaniw - Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul

Sailing home to Corinth, bearing treasures won in a music competition, the mythic Greek bard, Arion, found his golden prize coveted by pirates and his life in danger.

Purcell’s The Indian Queen from Lille

Among the few compensations opera lovers have had from the COVID crisis is the abundance – alas, plethora – of streamed opera productions we might never have seen or even known of without it.

Philip Venables' Denis & Katya: teenage suicide and audience complicity

As an opera composer, Philip Venables writes works quite unlike those of many of his contemporaries. They may not even be operas at all, at least in the conventional sense - and Denis & Katya, the most recent of his two operas, moves even further away from this standard. But what Denis & Katya and his earlier work, 4.48 Psychosis, have in common is that they are both small, compact forces which spiral into extraordinarily powerful and explosive events.

A new, blank-canvas Figaro at English National Opera

Making his main stage debut at ENO with this new production of The Marriage of Figaro, theatre director Joe Hill-Gibbins professes to have found it difficult to ‘develop a conceptual framework for the production to inhabit’.

Massenet’s Chérubin charms at Royal Academy Opera

“Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio … Now I’m fire, now I’m ice, any woman makes me change colour, any woman makes me quiver.”

Bluebeard’s Castle, Munich

Last year the world’s opera companies presented only nine staged runs of Béla Bartòk’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

The Queen of Spades at Lyric Opera of Chicago

If obsession is key to understanding the dramatic and musical fabric of Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, the current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago succeeds admirably in portraying such aspects of the human psyche.

WNO revival of Carmen in Cardiff

Unveiled by Welsh National Opera last autumn, this Carmen is now in its first revival. Original director Jo Davies has abandoned picture postcard Spain and sun-drenched vistas for images of grey, urban squalor somewhere in modern-day Latin America.

Lise Davidsen 'rescues' Tobias Kratzer's Fidelio at the Royal Opera House

Making Fidelio - Beethoven’s paean to liberty, constancy and fidelity - an emblem of the republican spirit of the French Revolution is unproblematic, despite the opera's censor-driven ‘Spanish’ setting.

A sunny, insouciant Così from English Touring Opera

Beach balls and parasols. Strolls along the strand. Cocktails on the terrace. Laura Attridge’s new production of Così fan tutte which opened English Touring Opera’s 2020 spring tour at the Hackney Empire, is a sunny, insouciant and often downright silly affair.

A wonderful role debut for Natalya Romaniw in ENO's revival of Minghella's Madama Butterfly

The visual beauty of Anthony Minghella’s 2005 production of Madama Butterfly, now returning to the Coliseum stage for its seventh revival, still takes one’s breath away.

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle

It appears that Charlie Parker’s Yardbird has reached the end of its road in Seattle. Since it opened in 2015 at Opera Philadelphia it has played Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and the English National Opera.

La Périchole in Marseille

The most notable of all Péricholes of Offenbach’s sentimental operetta is surely the legendary Hortense Schneider who created the role back in 1868 at Paris’ Théâtre des Varietés. Alas there is no digital record.

Three Centuries Collide: Widmann, Ravel and Beethoven

It’s very rare that you go to a concert and your expectation of it is completely turned on its head. This was one of those. Three works, each composed exactly a century apart, beginning and ending with performances of such clarity and brilliance.

Seventeenth-century rhetoric from The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall

‘Yes, in my opinion no rhetoric more persuadeth or hath greater power over the mind; hath not Musicke her figures, the same which Rhetorique? What is a but her Antistrophe? her reports, but sweet Anaphora's? her counterchange of points, Antimetabole's? her passionate Aires but Prosopopoea's? with infinite other of the same nature.’

Hrůša’s Mahler: A Resurrection from the Golden Age

Jakub Hrůša has an unusual gift for a conductor and that is to make the mightiest symphony sound uncommonly intimate. There were many moments during this performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony where he grappled with its monumental scale while reducing sections of it to chamber music; times when the power of his vision might crack the heavens apart and times when a velvet glove imposed the solitude of prayer.

Full-Throated Troubador Serenades San José

Verdi’s sublimely memorable melodies inform and redeem his setting of the dramatically muddled Il Trovatore, the most challenging piece to stage of his middle-period successes.

Opera North deliver a chilling Turn of the Screw

Storm Dennis posed no disruption to this revival of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, first unveiled at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2010, but there was plenty of emotional turbulence.

Luisa Miller at English National Opera

Verdi's Luisa Miller occupies an important position in the composer's operatic output. Written for Naples in 1849, the work's genesis was complex owing to problems with the theatre and the Neapolitan censors.

Eugène Onéguine in Marseille

A splendid 1997 provincial production of Tchaikovsky’s take on Pushkin’s Bryonic hero found its way onto a major Provençal stage just now. The historic Opéra Municipal de Marseille possesses a remarkable acoustic that allowed the Pushkin verses to flow magically through Tchaikovsky’s ebullient score.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Lise Lindstrom [Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera]
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.

San Diego Opera Celebrates 50 Years of Great Singing

By Maria Nockin

Above: Lise Lindstrom

Photos courtesy of San Diego Opera

 

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.

Kamensek_Karen.pngKaren Kamensek

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.

Rene-Barbera.pngRené Barbera

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.

Maria Nockin


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.

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):