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

Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ten years ago, I saw one of the first performances of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Now, Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales give the opera its first United Kingdom production - in an English translation by Amanda Holden from the original Italian: the first time, I believe, that a Dusapin opera has been performed in translation. (I shall admit to a slight disappointment that it was not in Welsh: maybe next time.)

Tosca in San Francisco

The story was bigger than its actors, the Tosca ritual was ignored. It wasn’t a Tosca for the ages though maybe it was (San Francisco’s previous Tosca production hung around for 95 years). P.S. It was an evening of powerful theater, and incidentally it was really good opera.

Fine performances in uneven War Requiem at the Concertgebouw

At the very least, that vehement, pacifist indictment against militarism, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, should leave the audience shaking a little. This performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra only partially succeeded in doing so. The cast credits raised the highest expectations, but Gianandrea Noseda, stepping in for an ailing Mariss Jansons and conducting the RCO for the first time, did not bring out the full potential at his disposal.

The Tallis Scholars at Cadogan Hall

In their typical non-emphatic way, the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips presented here a selection of English sacred music from the Eton Choirbook to Tallis. There was little to ruffle anyone’s feathers here, little in the way of overt ‘interpretation’ – certainly in a modern sense – but ample opportunity to appreciate the mastery on offer in this music, its remoteness from many of our present concerns, and some fine singing.

Dido and Aeneas: Academy of Ancient Music

“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.” Well, the spectral Queen of Carthage atop the poppy-strewn sarcophagus wasn’t quite yet “laid in earth”, but the act of remembering, and remembrance, duly began during the first part of this final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s Purcell trilogy at the Barbican Hall.

Poignantly human – Die Zauberflöte, La Monnaie

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at La Monnaie /De Munt, Brussels, conducted by Antonello Manacorda, directed by Romeo Castellucci. Part allegory, part Singspeile, and very much a morality play, Die Zauberflöte is not conventional opera in the late 19th century style. Naturalist realism is not what it's meant to be. Cryptic is closer to what it might mean.

Covent Garden: Wagner’s Siegfried, magnificent but elusive

How do you begin to assess Covent Garden’s Siegfried? From a purely vocal point of view, this was a magnificent evening; it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this was as fine a cast as you are likely to hear anywhere today.

Powerful Monodramas: Zender, Manoury and Schoenberg

The concept of the monologue in opera has existed since the birth of opera itself, but when we come to monodramas - with the exception of Rousseau’s Pygmalion (1762) - we are looking at something that originated at the beginning of the twentieth century.

ENO's Salome both intrigues and bewilders

Femme fatale, femme nouvelle, she-devil: the personification of patriarchal castration-anxiety and misogynistic terror of female desire.

In the Company of Heaven: The Cardinall's Musick at Wigmore Hall

Palestrina led from the front, literally and figuratively, in this performance at Wigmore Hall which placed devotion to the saints at its heart, with Saints Peter, Paul, Catherine of Alexandria, Bartholomew and the Virgin Mary all musically honoured by The Cardinall’s Musick and their director Andrew Carwood.

Roberto Devereux in San Francisco

Opera’s triple crown, Donizetti’s tragic queens — Anna Bolena who was beheaded by her husband Henry VIII, their daughter Elizabeth I who beheaded her rival Mary, Queen of Scots and who executed her lover Roberto Devereux.

O18: Queens Tries Royally Hard

Opera Philadelphia is lightening up the fare at its annual festival with a three evening cabaret series in the Theatre of Living Arts, Queens of the Night.

O18 Magical Mystery Tour: Glass Handel

How to begin to quantify the wonderment stirred in my soul by Opera Philadelphia’s sensational achievement that is Glass Handel?

A lunchtime feast of English song: Lucy Crowe and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

The September sunshine that warmed Wigmore Street during Monday’s lunch-hour created the perfect ambience for this thoughtfully compiled programme of seventeenth- and twentieth-century English song presented by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall.

O18: Mad About Lucia

Opera Philadelphia has mounted as gripping and musically ravishing an account of Lucia di Lammermoor as is imaginable.

O18 Poulenc Evening: Moins C’est Plus

In Opera Philadelphia’s re-imagined La voix humaine, diva Patricia Racette had a tough “act” to follow ...

O18: Unsettling, Riveting Sky on Swings

Opera Philadelphia’s annual festival set the bar very high even by its own gold standard, with a troubling but mesmerizing world premiere, Sky on Wings.

Simon Rattle — Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, and Britten

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra marked the opening of the 2018-2019 season with a blast. Literally, for Sir Harrison Birtwistle's new piece Donum Simoni MMXVIII was an explosion of brass — four trumpets, trombones, horns and tuba, bursting into the Barbican Hall. When Sir Harry makes a statement, he makes it big and bold !

OSJ: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Harem

Opera San Jose kicked off its 35th anniversary season with a delectably effervescent production of their first-ever mounting of Mozart’s youthful opus, The Abduction from the Seraglio.

Isouard's Cinderella: Bampton Classical Opera at St John's Smith Square

A good fairy-tale sweeps us away on a magic carpet while never letting us forget that for all the enchanting transformations, beneath the sorcery lie essential truths.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Ekaterina Semenchuk as Lady Macbeth and Placido Domingo as Macbeth [Photo: Karen Almond / LA Opera]
26 Oct 2016

Macbeth, LA Opera

On Thursday evening October 13, Los Angeles Opera transmitted Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, in the center of the city, to a pier in Santa Monica and to South Gate Park in Southeastern Los Angeles County. My companion and I saw the opera in High Definition on a twenty-five foot high screen at the park.

Macbeth in Los Angeles’ South Gate Park

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Ekaterina Semenchuk as Lady Macbeth and Placido Domingo as Macbeth

Photos: Karen Almond / LA Opera

 

The Chandler audience saw the opera in the usual manner from across the orchestra pit to wherever they were seated. The park audience saw the singers so closely that they could observe their characterizations via the tiniest changes in facial expressions. Thus, the artists had to play to both the theater and HD audiences. They mingled large and small gestures so as to give each audience its due.

Opera is very different when audience members can look into a singer’s eyes and see what his character is contemplating. For opera singers and stage directors, high definition transmission is a new world. With Placido Domingo as Macbeth and Ekaterina Semenchuk as Lady Macbeth the HD audience could watch the characters’ mental machinations grow into actions. Domingo’s interpretation of the title character was as affecting as that of any fine Shakespearian actor. He was a pliable Macbeth who needed his wife to help him plan his path through life. In this production, he could even be considered her victim. For Domingo, Macbeth is a baritone role that rides comfortably on his voice and allows him to act the great Shakespearian role for which he is aptly suited. He goes from jubilant thane and insecure king to soulless death at the hand of Macduff after Lady Macbeth’s demise.

KA1_434 (1).jpgPlacido Domingo (center) as Macbeth and Ekaterina Semenchuk (left) as Lady Macbeth

Semenchuk has a huge voice with a beautiful timbre. Verdi said he wanted an ugly voice for Lady Macbeth, but her gorgeous tones were most welcome, especially since she bestowed her vocal jewels more freely at this performance than she did at the performance I reviewed for Opera Today on September 22nd. This Lady was a calculating courtier who had no qualms about murder and could inspire her husband to act the part of a host when all he saw was the ghost of the murdered Banquo. At the same time, she included all the bel canto coloratura and trills that the young Verdi wrote for this early opera. Both Domingo and Semenchuk gave us a fine combination of early seventeenth century acting and early nineteenth century singing.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo was a thought-provoking Banquo who sang with bronzed stentorian tones. Tenor Joshua Guerrero sang Macduff with the resonant golden notes that have made him an up-and-coming matinee idol. He has a sizeable voice and a secure technique so he is not restricted to light roles Having been raised in the South Gate area, he garnered wild applause from the park audience.

Although no tickets were required at South Gate Park, Los Angeles Opera personnel were at the entrance to greet opera goers and show them where to set up blankets, chairs, and picnic baskets. They even had blankets for anyone who needed them. There were food trucks in the area and a few ice cream vendors. Many families brought their children and I enjoyed watching the little girl in front of me introduce her Barbie Doll to opera. The mother of an older boy told me he had read the Macbeth Comic Book in preparation for the show.

Since most of the people in the South Gate area speak Spanish, the on-screen titles were in both Spanish and English. Perhaps we can have that at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion soon. It was a beautiful evening with a full moon and even the songs of night birds. Los Angeles Opera gave us magnificent show that I hope draws many new enthusiasts to the opera house.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Conductor, James Conlon; Director, Darko Tresnjak; Co-Scenic Designers, Darko Tresnjak and Colin McGurk; Costume Designer, Suttirat Anne Larlarb; Lighting Design, Matthew Richards; Projection Design, Sean Nieuwenhuis; Chorus Director Grant Gershon; Macbeth, Plácido Domingo; Lady Macbeth, Ekaterina Semenchuk; Banquo, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo; Macduff, Joshua Guerrero; Malcolm, Josh Wheeker; Lady-in-Waiting, Summer Hassan; Doctor / First Apparition, Theo Hoffman; Second Apparition, Liv Redpath; Third Apparition, Isaiah Morgan; Fight Director, Steve Rankin; Climbing Consultant, Daniel Lyons.

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):