Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Commentary

Bampton Classical Opera 2017

In 2015, Bampton Classical Opera’s production of Salieri’s La grotta di Trofonio - a UK premiere - received well-deserved accolades: ‘a revelation ... the music is magnificent’ (Seen and Heard International), ‘giddily exciting, propelled by wit, charm and bags of joy’ (The Spectator), ‘lively, inventive ... a joy from start to finish’ (The Oxford Times), ‘They have done Salieri proud’ (The Arts Desk) and ‘an enthusiastic performance of riotously spirited music’ (Opera Britannia) were just some of the superlative compliments festooned by the critical press.

The nature of narropera?

How many singers does it take to make an opera? There are single-role operas - Schönberg’s Erwartung (1924) and Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies (1969) spring immediately to mind - and there are operas that just require a pair of performers, such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart i Salieri (1897) or The Telephone by Menotti (1947).

Battles administration neglects FLO’s assets by defunding the program

The college administration and President Denise Battles’ recent decision to defund the Finger Lakes Opera came as a shock to many and a concern to more. This decision reflects the administration’s blatant disregard for the arts and reveals a mindset that is counterproductive to the mission of the college.

2017 Summer Festival at Lucerne

Lucerne Festival announces its 2017 Summer Festival.

BEMF Chamber Opera Series Presents Splendors of Versailles

The GRAMMY Award-winning BEMF Chamber Opera Series returns with an all-new production inspired by the splendor and music of the palace of Versailles. King Louis XIV transformed his father’s pastoral hunting lodge at Versailles into a lavish palace that served as the seat of government and culture in France.

Center for Contemporary Opera presents Jane Eyre (World Premiere)

Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre, a full-length opera in three acts with a libretto by Diane Osen based on Charlotte Bronte’s novel, will receive its world premiere at The Kaye Playhouse (Hunter College) on Thursday, October 20, 7:30pm with a second performance on Saturday, October 22, 8pm. Jane Eyre is Karchin’s second opera, composed in 2014, following his critically acclaimed one-act comic opera Romulus.

Boston Early Music Festival announces the appointment of Melinda Sullivan to the new position of the Lucy Graham Dance Director

Cambridge, MA–The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Melinda Sullivan to the new position of the Lucy Graham Dance Director.

2016 Elizabeth Connell Prize Winner Announced

Kseniia Muslanova from the Russian Federation has won the 3rd annual Elizabeth Connell Prize for aspiring dramatic sopranos held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney Australia on 3 September 2016.

A New Opera Company with a True Story of Forbidden Love

Victory Hall Opera is a new company making its debut in Charlottesville Virginia on August 14, 2016. Its first presentation will be Richard Strauss’s and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Der Rosenkavalier.

Interview with Star of Florencia en el Amazonas, Elizabeth Caballero

Lyric soprano Elizabeth Caballero’s signature role is Violetta in La traviata, which she portrays with a compelling interpretation, focused sound, and elegant coloratura that floats through the opera house as naturally as waves on the ocean.

A Chat With Baritone Brian Mulligan

Maria Nockin interviews baritone Brian Mulligan.

An interview with Tobias Ringborg

I arrive at the Jerwood Space, where rehearsals are underway for Garsington Opera’s forthcoming production of Idomeneo, to find that the afternoon rehearsal has finished a little early.

Opera Las Vegas Announces Full Production of Carmen

Tickets on Sale NOW for June 10 & 12 Performances at UNLV’s Performing Arts Center Box Office

Bampton Classical Opera 2016

A Double-Bill of Divine Comedies

A Conversation with Sir Nicholas Jackson

With its merry-go-round exchange of deluded and bewitched lovers, an orphan-turned-princess, a usurped prince, a jewel and a flower with magical properties, a march to the scaffold and a meddling ‘mistress-of-ceremonies’ who encourages the young lovers to disguise and deceive, William Makepeace Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring has all the ingredients of an opera buffa.

A Chat With Up-and-Coming Conductor Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen Kelly is an internationally renowned pianist, coach, conductor, and master teacher. She was the first woman and first American named Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera.

Atsuto Sawakami — Sponsor of Italian Opera in Japan

Atsuto Sawakami is a slightly built man in his late sixties with impeccable, gentlemanly manners. He communicates a certain restless energy and his piercingly bright eyes reveal an undimmed appetite for life.

Mark Stone — Oxford Lieder Festival

‘Lieder v. Opera’? At first glance it might seem to be a pointless or nonsensical question.

Rhymes With Opera Presents New Opera About Dolly Parton Fans

Extreme Dolly Parton fans may sound like unlikely subjects for an opera, but they are the major characters in Heartbreak Express, a collaboration of composer George Lam and librettist John Clum.

Oxford Lieder Festival 2015 - Sholto Kynoch interview

Last year's Oxford Lieder Festival made something of a splash when it encompassed all of Schubert's songs, performed in the space of three weeks. This year's festival, the 14th, which runs from 16 to 31 October 2015 has a rather different, yet still eye-catching theme; Singing Words: Poets and their Songs.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Wales Millennium Centre
26 Jun 2015

Press Release: Welsh National Opera explores Madness for autumn season

Madness descends upon Welsh National Opera for its autumn 2015 season, with three new productions that will explore human turmoil through some of the finest musical expressions of madness and the human condition.

Press Release: Welsh National Opera explores Madness for autumn season

Above: Wales Millennium Centre

 

The season launches WNO’s 70th birthday year which will see the company stage seven new productions over the course of the year — including two world premières — and a classic revival.

Opening the autumn season is a new production of Bellini’s I puritani; the composer’s final opera and widely regarded as a bel canto masterpiece. Following the season theme, the heroine Elvira’s descent into madness inspired Bellini to create one of the most exquisitely refined musical portraits of insanity in opera.

I puritani will be directed by former WNO staff director Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Den Jyske Opera/Danish National Opera who are also co-producers. Following critical acclaim for both William Tell and Moses in Egypt with WNO, Carlo Rizzi returns to conduct I puritani, and celebrated bel canto tenor Barry Banks returns to sing Arturo. Rising Italian lyric soprano Rosa Feola will sing Elvira in Cardiff, Southampton and Bristol, with Linda Richardson singing the role for the remainder of WNO’s UK tour. David Kempster will sing Riccardo Forth and Wojtek Gierlach, Giorgio.

One of Handel’s greatest operas — Orlando — comes to WNO in a production that originated at Scottish Opera in 2011. It provides a fascinating insight into musical virtuosity as a metaphor for insanity as Orlando’s vertiginous descent into madness at the end of Act II is sublimely depicted through Handel’s music, balancing his inner suffering with fevered anguish to immense effect. Directed by Harry Fehr, Orlando will be set in 1940s London during World War II, providing a fitting backdrop to heighten the emotional impact of the story against the devastation of the Blitz.

Baroque virtuoso, Rinaldo Alessandrini will conduct the impressive cast which includes international countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in the lead role; his debut performance as Orlando. WNO welcomes back internationally-acclaimed Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans to sing Angelica. Fflur Wyn also returns to WNO following her performance in Autumn 2014’s William Tell to sing Dorinda. Robin Blaze and Daniel Grice will sing Medoro and Zoroastro.

The season is completed with Sondheim’s musical masterpiece, Sweeney Todd, which explores not only the madness of the protagonist but of society as a whole. This production promises a musical with all the emotional impact of opera and will be a rare opportunity to hear Sweeney Todd with the celebrated WNO Chorus and Orchestra. This production is set in the late 1970s/early 1980s and provides a fresh take on the story with echoes of Thatcher’s Britain.

A co-production between Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Royal Exchange Theatre, Sweeney Todd will be directed by WYP Artistic Director James Brining and conducted by James Holmes in a staging adapted for WNO. This is the first time that WNO and Wales Millennium Centre have worked together as co-producers, and there will be an extra run of the production presented with Wales Millennium Centre following WNO’s autumn UK tour.

The cast will feature opera and musical theatre singers with German baritone David Arnsperger as Sweeney Todd and Scottish soprano Janis Kelly as Mrs Lovett. Anthony will be sung by Jamie Muscato, with Soraya Mafi singing Johanna. Welsh tenor Aled Hall will sing Beadle Bamford and Charlotte Page will sing Beggar Woman. Also joining the cast are Steven Page as Judge Turpin and George Ure as Tobias Ragg.

During the autumn season, WNO will be working with primary schools in Cardiff, Bristol, Oxford and Birmingham on The Sweeney Adventures. 330 pupils in total across the four cities will take place in workshops where they will use music and drama to explore the hardships faced in Victorian Britain for themselves; a key aspect of the KS2 history curriculum. The project is the third in a series of interactive adventures and follows on from the Tudors — Killing Cousins project in 2013 and My Perfect World in 2014.

Commenting on the season, WNO Artistic Director David Pountney says: “The paradox of music is that it is a highly rational means of expression, much more logically organised than the language of speech for instance, and yet it is at the same time the supreme means of expressing all kinds of extreme emotional states. Among these, madness has been a constant inspiration to composers eager to test the ability of music to penetrate the most radical states of mental disorder. Our season presents a fascinatingly wide range of musical expression dedicated to this phenomenon, from the virtuosic roulades of Handel, via the elegant refinement of Bellini to the raw craziness of Sondheim’s gruesome Barber.”

Wales Millennium Centre will also present WNO in a concert performance of Tosca on Monday 2 November featuring Bryn Terfel as Scarpia. Ainhoa Arteta will perform the title role with Teodor Ilincãi as Cavaradossi. The performance will form part of the finale of Wales Millennium Centre’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic and Creative Director at Wales Millennium Centre says: “Working collaboratively with our resident partners has always played a fundamental role in our vision to becoming a world class Centre for the arts, and the many successes the Centre has achieved in its first 10 years have been reached with the support and expertise of our residents. It is our ambition in the years to come to create new work of exceptional quality that delights, surprises and impresses. Developing partnerships, within Wales and internationally, is essential in fulfilling this ambition, and it’s a privilege to be collaborating with Welsh National Opera with their inimitable reputation for producing exciting and ambitious opera.”

David Pountney adds: “We are delighted to join with Wales Millennium Centre to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The Centre is one of the finest purpose built opera houses in Europe, and its presence in Cardiff has transformed opera making for us, and opera going for people from Wales and far beyond. As such, it is an invaluable asset to Wales’ cultural portfolio, and a symbol of its aspiration to the highest levels of artistic expression and achievement.”

Following the autumn tour, WNO will present two performances of A Christmas Carol at Wales Millennium Centre in December; Iain Bell’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas favourite. This seasonal show will be an opportunity to experience Bell’s work prior to the world première of In Parenthesis during WNO’s summer 2016 season. The one-man show will feature tenor Mark Le Brocq as Narrator alongside a chamber orchestra. Conducted by James Southall, the production will be directed by former WNO Genesis Assistant Director Polly Graham.

More information on WNO’s autumn 2015 season is available at wno.org.uk

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):