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 Performances

A Donizetti world premiere: Opera Rara at the Royal Opera House

There may be sixty or so operas by Donizetti to choose from, but if you’ve put together the remnants of another one, why not give everyone a chance to hear it? And so, Opera Rara brought L’Ange de Nisida to the concert stage last night, 180 years after it was composed for the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris, conductor Sir Mark Elder leading a team of bel canto soloists and the Choir and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a committed and at times stirring performance.

A stellar Ariadne auf Naxos at Investec Opera Holland Park

Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos is a strange operatic beast. Originally a Molière-Hofmannsthal-Strauss hybrid, the 1916 version presented in Vienna ditched Le bourgeois gentilhomme, which had preceded an operatic telling of the Greek myth of Ariadne and Theseus, and replaced it with a Prologue in which buffa met seria as competing factions prepared to present an entertainment for ‘the richest man in Vienna’. He’s a man who has ordered two entertainments, to follow an epicurean feast, and he wants these dramatic digestifs served simultaneously.

PROM 5: Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

Stefan Herheim’s production of Debussy’s magnificent 1902 opera for Glyndebourne has not been universally acclaimed. The Royal Albert Hall brought with it, in this semi-staged production, a different set of problems - and even imitated some of the production’s original ones, notably the vast shadow of the organ which somewhat replicates Glyndebourne’s 1920’s Organ Room, and by a huge stretch of the imagination the forest in which so much of the opera’s action is set.

Thought-Provoking Concert in Honor of Bastille Day

Sopranos Elise Brancheau and Shannon Jones, along with pianists Martin Néron and Keith Chambers, presented a thrilling evening of French-themed music in an evening entitled: “Salut à la France,” at the South Oxford Space in Brooklyn this past Saturday, July 14th.

Dido in Deptford: Blackheath Halls Community Opera

Polly Graham’s vision of Dido and Aeneas is earthy, vigorous and gritty. The artistic director of Longborough Festival Opera has overseen a production which brings together professional soloists, students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and a cast of more than 80 south-east London adults and children for this, the 12th, annual Blackheath Halls Community Opera.

Summer madness and madcap high jinxs from the Jette Parker Young Artists

The operatic extracts which comprised this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance seemed to be joined by a connecting thread - madness: whether that was the mischievousness of Zerbinetta’s comedy troupe, the insanity of Tom Rakewell, the metaphysical distress of Hamlet, or the mayhem prompted by Isabella’s arrival at Mustafà’s Ottoman palace, the ‘insanity’ was equally compelling.

Mefistofele at Orange’s Chorégies

This is the one where a very personable devil tells God that mankind is so far gone it isn’t worth his time to bother corrupting it further.

Mascagni's Isabeau rides again at Investec Opera Holland Park

There seemed to me to be something distinctly Chaucerian about Martin Lloyd-Evans’ new production of Mascagni’s Isabeau (the first UK production of the opera) for Investec Opera Holland Park.

The 2018 BBC Proms opens in flamboyant fashion

Anniversaries and commemorations will, as usual, feature significantly during the 2018 BBC Proms, with the works of Leonard Bernstein, Claude Debussy and Lili Boulanger all prominently programmed during the season’s myriad orchestral, vocal and chamber concerts.

Banff’s Hell of an Orphée+

Against the Grain Theatre brought its award winning adaptation of Gluck’s opera to the Banff Festival billed as “an electronic baroque burlesque descent into hell.”

A Choral Trilogy at the Aix Festival

What Seven Stones (the amazing accentus / axe 21), and Dido and Aeneas (the splendid Ensemble Pygmalion) and Orfeo & Majnun (the ensemble [too many to count] of eleven local amateur choruses) share, and virtually nothing else, is spectacular use of chorus.

Vintage Audi — Parsifal, Kaufmann, Pape

From the Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich, Wagner Parsifal with a dream cast - René Pape, Jonas Kaufmann and Nina Stemme, Christian Gerhaher and Wolfgang Koch, conducted by Kirill Petrenko, directed by Pierre Audi. The production is vintage Audi - stylized, austere, but solidly thought-through.

Flight Soars High in Des Moines

Jonathan Dove’s innovative opera Flight is being lavished with an absolutely riveting new production at Des Moines Metro Opera’s resoundingly successful 2018 Festival.

Fledermaus Pops the Cork in Iowa

Like a fizzy bottle of champagne, Des Moines Metro Opera uncorked a zesty tasting of Johan Strauss’s vintage Die Fledermaus (The Bat).

A spritely summer revival of Falstaff at the ROH

Robert Carson’s 2012 ROH Falstaff is a bit of a hotchpotch, but delightful nevertheless. The panelled oak, exuding Elizabethan ambience, of the first Act’s gravy-stained country club reeks of the Wodehouse-ian 1930s, but has also has to serve as the final Act’s grubby stable and the Forest of Windsor, while the central Act is firmly situated in the domestic perfection of Alice Ford’s 1950s kitchen.

Down on the Farm with Des Moines’ Copland

Ingenious Des Moines Metro Opera continued its string of site-specific hits with an endearing production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land on the grounds of the Maytag Dairy farm.

Des Moines’ Ravishing Rusalka

Let me get right to the point: This is the Rusalka I have been waiting for all my life.

L'Ange de feu (The Fiery Angel)
in Aix

Prokofiev’s Fiery Angel is rarely performed. This new Aix Festival production to be shared with Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki exemplifies why.

Ariane à Naxos (Ariadne auf Naxos) in Aix

Yes, of course British stage director Katie Mitchell served up Richard Strauss’ uber tragic Ariadne on Naxos at a dinner table. Over the past few years Mme. Mitchell has staged quite a few household tragedies at the Aix Festival, mostly at dinner tables, though some on doorsteps.

The Skating Rink: Garsington Opera premiere

Having premiered Roxanna Panufnik’s opera Silver Birch in 2017 as part of its work with local community groups, Garsington Opera’s 2018 season included its first commission for the main opera season. David Sawer's The Skating Rink premiered at Garsington Opera this week; the opera is based on the novel by Chilean writer Roberto Bolano with a libretto by playwright Rory Mullarkey.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Ferruccio Furlanetto [Photo by Igor Sakharov]
18 Mar 2016

Ferruccio Furlanetto at San Diego

On March 5, 2016, San Diego Opera presented it’s star bass, Ferruccio Furlanetto, in a concert of arias with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra at the orchestra’s home, Copley Symphony Hall.

Ferruccio Furlanetto at San Diego

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Ferruccio Furlanetto [Photo by Igor Sakharov]

 

For this event Emanuele Andrizzi, who heads the Orchestra Program at Roosevelt University conducted. He opened the program with a rousing version of the overture to Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco in which he alternated fast and slow tempi.

Furlanetto opened with Don Basilio’s comic aria from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, “La calunia” (“Slander is a gentle wind”), which he delivered with his usual artistic characterization and resonant tones. He followed it with an amusing version of Leporello’s Catalogue Aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and a virtuosic rendition of the Don’s “Finch’ an del vino” (“While their heads are still hot from the wine”). As the servant he had rustic manners; as the master, the attitude of nobility. Here was an artist who could create a complete character with body language and vocal acting. One of Furlanetto’s most memorable parts at San Diego Opera was the title role in Massenet’s Don Quichotte. Again, with no props, his superb impersonation of Cervantes’ Knight came alive across the footlights and took our hearts along as his spirit ascended to the stars.

It’s no longer a surprise when major artists include older Musical Theater songs on concert programs. Usually they are at the end of the evening, however. Furlanetto put them in the first half of his program shortly before the intermission. He included “Ol’ Man River” from Jerome Kern’s Show Boat along with “Some Enchanted Evening” and “This Nearly Was Mine” from Richard Rogers’ South Pacific. His “Ol’ Man River” was more lyrical than most, his “Some Enchanted Evening” was an absolute charmer and “This Nearly Was Mine” pulled at the heartstrings. Since these two works are currently seen at opera houses and not on Broadway, placing selections from them among arias has begun to make sense.

After the Intermission Maestro Andrizzi gave a lyrical interpretation of Modest Mussorgski’s Introduction and Polonaise from Boris Godunov. Again convincing the audience of his characterization, Furlanetto sang the powerful Death of Boris with vividly colored resounding tones that culminated in a moving pianissimo. The next aria, “I am he whom you called” from Russian composer Anton Rubenstein’s The Demon was far less familiar then anything that preceded it. The opera is based on a poem by Mikhail Lermontov and in 1875 the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg premiered it with Feodor Chaliapin. The aria did not have a striking melody, but it allowed Furlanetto to once more create an interesting character.

Again assuming the role of the devil, Furlanetto sang Mephistopheles’ serenade: “Vous qui faites l’endormie” (“You who pretend to sleep”) from Gounod’s Faust. A polished, urbane denizen of Hell, he created sarcasm with innuendo and magnificent vocal colors.

At this point, Maestro Andrizzi really came into his best material when he led the Intermezzo from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. That was a tearjerker, and so was the sad aria that followed: “Ella giammai m’amo” (She never loved me) from Verdi’s Don Carlo. As King Philip, Furlanetto varied the use of his expressive voice. Sometimes he emitted powerful ringing tones but as the end, when he sings that his young wife never loved him, he spun the finest of sad pianissimos.

The applause for this concert was long and loud. Only when the bass signaled that he would sing an encore did it cease. He announced the words: “Mentre gonfiarsi l'anima parea” and most of the audience did not recognize the title. It was the first line of Attila’s aria from Verdi’s ninth opera, Attila, which was first seen in 1846. Translation: (As my soul seemed to swell). Needless to say the applause of the San Diego audience again swelled when he finished. It was a fabulous concert that served to underline the vibrant life of both opera and symphony in San Diego.

Maria Nockin

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):