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

ETO Autumn 2020 Season Announcement: Lyric Solitude

English Touring Opera are delighted to announce a season of lyric monodramas to tour nationally from October to December. The season features music for solo singer and piano by Argento, Britten, Tippett and Shostakovich with a bold and inventive approach to making opera during social distancing.

Love, always: Chanticleer, Live from London … via San Francisco

This tenth of ten Live from London concerts was in fact a recorded live performance from California. It was no less enjoyable for that, and it was also uplifting to learn that this wasn’t in fact the ‘last’ LfL event that we will be able to enjoy, courtesy of VOCES8 and their fellow vocal ensembles (more below …).

Dreams and delusions from Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper at Wigmore Hall

Ever since Wigmore Hall announced their superb series of autumn concerts, all streamed live and available free of charge, I’d been looking forward to this song recital by Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper.

Treasures of the English Renaissance: Stile Antico, Live from London

Although Stile Antico’s programme article for their Live from London recital introduced their selection from the many treasures of the English Renaissance in the context of the theological debates and upheavals of the Tudor and Elizabethan years, their performance was more evocative of private chamber music than of public liturgy.

A wonderful Wigmore Hall debut by Elizabeth Llewellyn

Evidently, face masks don’t stifle appreciative “Bravo!”s. And, reducing audience numbers doesn’t lower the volume of such acclamations. For, the audience at Wigmore Hall gave soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and pianist Simon Lepper a greatly deserved warm reception and hearty response following this lunchtime recital of late-Romantic song.

The Sixteen: Music for Reflection, live from Kings Place

For this week’s Live from London vocal recital we moved from the home of VOCES8, St Anne and St Agnes in the City of London, to Kings Place, where The Sixteen - who have been associate artists at the venue for some time - presented a programme of music and words bound together by the theme of ‘reflection’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny explore Dowland's directness and darkness at Hatfield House

'Such is your divine Disposation that both you excellently understand, and royally entertaine the Exercise of Musicke.’

Paradise Lost: Tête-à-Tête 2020

‘And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven … that old serpent … Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.’

Joyce DiDonato: Met Stars Live in Concert

There was never any doubt that the fifth of the twelve Met Stars Live in Concert broadcasts was going to be a palpably intense and vivid event, as well as a musically stunning and theatrically enervating experience.

‘Where All Roses Go’: Apollo5, Live from London

‘Love’ was the theme for this Live from London performance by Apollo5. Given the complexity and diversity of that human emotion, and Apollo5’s reputation for versatility and diverse repertoire, ranging from Renaissance choral music to jazz, from contemporary classical works to popular song, it was no surprise that their programme spanned 500 years and several musical styles.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields 're-connect'

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields have titled their autumn series of eight concerts - which are taking place at 5pm and 7.30pm on two Saturdays each month at their home venue in Trafalgar Square, and being filmed for streaming the following Thursday - ‘re:connect’.

Lucy Crowe and Allan Clayton join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO at St Luke's

The London Symphony Orchestra opened their Autumn 2020 season with a homage to Oliver Knussen, who died at the age of 66 in July 2018. The programme traced a national musical lineage through the twentieth century, from Britten to Knussen, on to Mark-Anthony Turnage, and entwining the LSO and Rattle too.

Choral Dances: VOCES8, Live from London

With the Live from London digital vocal festival entering the second half of the series, the festival’s host, VOCES8, returned to their home at St Annes and St Agnes in the City of London to present a sequence of ‘Choral Dances’ - vocal music inspired by dance, embracing diverse genres from the Renaissance madrigal to swing jazz.

Royal Opera House Gala Concert

Just a few unison string wriggles from the opening of Mozart’s overture to Le nozze di Figaro are enough to make any opera-lover perch on the edge of their seat, in excited anticipation of the drama in music to come, so there could be no other curtain-raiser for this Gala Concert at the Royal Opera House, the latest instalment from ‘their House’ to ‘our houses’.

Fading: The Gesualdo Six at Live from London

"Before the ending of the day, creator of all things, we pray that, with your accustomed mercy, you may watch over us."

Met Stars Live in Concert: Lise Davidsen at the Oscarshall Palace in Oslo

The doors at The Metropolitan Opera will not open to live audiences until 2021 at the earliest, and the likelihood of normal operatic life resuming in cities around the world looks but a distant dream at present. But, while we may not be invited from our homes into the opera house for some time yet, with its free daily screenings of past productions and its pay-per-view Met Stars Live in Concert series, the Met continues to bring opera into our homes.

Precipice: The Grange Festival

Music-making at this year’s Grange Festival Opera may have fallen silent in June and July, but the country house and extensive grounds of The Grange provided an ideal setting for a weekend of twelve specially conceived ‘promenade’ performances encompassing music and dance.

Monteverdi: The Ache of Love - Live from London

There’s a “slide of harmony” and “all the bones leave your body at that moment and you collapse to the floor, it’s so extraordinary.”

Music for a While: Rowan Pierce and Christopher Glynn at Ryedale Online

“Music for a while, shall all your cares beguile.”

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Front left to right: Queen Elizabeth I (Daire Halpin), Giordano Bruno (Morgan Crowley), Sir Francis Walsingham (Robert Crowe). Back left to right: Paparazzi, Jack Walsh, Caitríona O'Leary
08 Nov 2016

Heresy, Electronic Opera in Dublin About Giordano Bruno

Travellers to Rome may have noticed that in the middle of the vegetable market, the Campo Dei Fiori, there is a statue in memory of the Dominican friar, philosopher, scientist and poet, Giordano Bruno, who was tried as a heretic in 1593 and burned at the stake in 1600.

Heresy, Electronic Opera in Dublin About Giordano Bruno

A review by Stephen J Mudge

Above: Front left to right: Queen Elizabeth I (Daire Halpin), Giordano Bruno (Morgan Crowley), Sir Francis Walsingham (Robert Crowe). Back left to right: Paparazzi, Jack Walsh, Caitríona O’Leary

 

It was the tragic story of this martyr to science, which inspired the Irish composer Roger Doyle and the producer Eric Fraad to create the electronic opera Heresy performed in Dublin’s Project Arts Centre.

Bruno ran into trouble at an early stage of his celebrated career by challenging not only key catholic doctrines, but the whole cosmic system, proposing a revolutionary concept of infinity. Travelling through France and England, meeting all the major thinkers of the time, and while in London possibly spying on Catholic conspirators, under the pseudonym “Henry Fagot” for Sir Francis Walsingham, secretary of state for Queen Elizabeth, Bruno had a spectacular life. His fascination with memory and language have influenced and inspired artists such as James Joyce who enjoyed punning on the name of the Dublin publisher “Browne and Nolan”—incorporating the name of Bruno’s home town Nola. Joyce’s novel Finnegan’s Wake contains over four hundred references to Bruno. It was therefore particularly appropriate that this particular heresy captured the imagination of Doyle.

The opera is an ensemble piece with singers taking on a variety of roles with dramatic dexterity. The intimacy of the studio theatre, allowed the audience to appreciate Fraad’s detailed work with the soloists. The opera in two acts of around an hour each was formed by various snippets of scenes from Bruno’s life, including scenes from his farce Il candelaio (The Candlebearer) leading to the redemptive moment of his death by fire. Doyle used a fascinating variety of voices including male soprano, Robert Crowe, particularly effective as an extravagantly evil Cardinal Bellarmine, as as well as an actor, Jack Walsh, using spoken dialogue. The tone of his electronic score was often meditative with words generally set slowly, creating an atmosphere of sustained reverence. The musical language was hybrid, with moments bringing to mind the minimalist approach of Philip Glass, and others where exciting rhythmic percussion suggested an altogether more popular idiom. Occasionally the vocal lines lacked architectural force, but the second half leading to the execution lent credibility to the approach as the music of the stratosphere took on a sustained universality to echo Bruno’s limitless philosophical horizons. The final moments also found Fraad’s production raising the emotional temperature of the evening with some impressive video projections of flames against the simple scaffolded set.

Lovely performances from fourteen-year old soprano Aimee Banks, who sang the role of Giordano Bruno as a boy — a crystal clear voice which was an evening long pleasure. Morgan Crowley made an intense and moving Bruno with great support from rising young Irish soprano Daire Halpin as amongst others an authoritative Elizabeth 1st, and Caitríona O’Leary, who came into her own as Circe in the final meditative moments of the opera.

Stephen J Mudge

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):