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 Reviews

Irish soprano Paula Murrihy on Salzburg, Sellars and Singing

For Peter Sellars, Mozart’s Idomeneo is a ‘visionary’ work, a utopian opera centred on a classic struggle between a father and a son written by an angry 25-year-old composer who wanted to show the musical establishment what a new generation could do.

A riveting Rake’s Progress from Snape Maltings at the Aldeburgh Festival

Based on Hogarth’s 18th-century morality tale in eight paintings and with a pithy libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, Stravinsky’s operatic farewell to Neo-classicism charts Tom Rakewell’s ironic ‘progress’ from blissful ignorance to Bedlam.

The Gardeners: a new opera by Robert Hugill

‘When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot,/ Of many a pilgrimage will be the end,/ And flowers will shine in this now barren plot/ And fame upon it through the years descend:/ But many a heart upon each simple cross/ Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.’

Richard Jones's Boris Godunov returns to Covent Garden

There are never any real surprises with a Richard Jones production and Covent Garden’s Boris Godunov, first seen in 2016, is typical of Jones’s approach: it’s boxy, it’s ascetic, it’s over-bright, with minimalism turned a touch psychedelic in the visuals.

An enchanting Hansel and Gretel at Regent's Park Theatre

If you go out in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. And, it will be no picnic! For, deep in the broomstick forest that director Timothy Sheader and designer Peter McKintosh have planted on the revolving stage at Regent’s Park Theatre is a veritable Witches’ Training School.

First staged production of Offenbach's Fantasio at Garsington

Offenbach's Fantasio is one of the works where, replacing the mad-cap satire of his earlier operettas with a more romantic melancholy, he paved the way for Les contes d'Hoffmann. Unpopular during his lifetime, Fantasio disappeared and only work by the musicologist Jean-Christophe Keck brought the score together again.

Rusalka in San Francisco

It must be a dream. Though really it is a nightmare. The water sprite Rusalka tortures herself if she is telling the story, or tortures the man who has imagined her if he is telling the story. Either way the bizarrely construed confusion of Czech fairy tales has no easily apparent meaning or message.

Orlando in San Francisco

George Frederic Handel was both victim and survivor of the San Francisco Opera’s Orlando seen last night on the War Memorial stage.

Anthony Negus conducts Das Rheingold at Longborough

There are those in England who decorate their front lawns with ever-smiling garden gnomes, but in rural Gloucestershire the Graham family has gone one better; their converted barn is inhabited, not by diminutive porcelain figures, but fantasy creatures of Norse mythology - dwarves, giants and gods.

Carmen in San Francisco

A razzle-dazzle, bloodless Carmen at the War Memorial, further revival of Francesca Zambello’s 2006 Covent Garden production already franchised to Oslo, Sidney and Washington, D.C.

Weimar Berlin - Bittersweet Metropolis: Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra

Strictly speaking, The Weimar Republic began on 11th August 1919 when the Weimar Constitution was announced and ended with the Enabling Act of 23rd March 1933 when all power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag was disbanded.

A superb Un ballo in maschera at Investec Opera Holland Park

Investec Opera Holland Park’s brilliantly cast new production of Un ballo in maschera reunites several of the creative team from last year’s terrific La traviata, with director Rodula Gaitanou, conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren and lighting designer Simon Corder being joined by the designer, takis.

A Classy Figaro at The Grange Festival

Where better than The Grange’s magnificent grounds to present Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Hampshire’s neo-classical mansion, with its aristocratic connections and home to The Grange Festival, is the perfect setting to explore 18th century class structures as outlined in Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto.

A satisfying Don Carlo opens Grange Park Opera 2019

Grange Park Opera opened its 2019 season with a revival of Jo Davies fine production of Verdi's Don Carlo, one of the last (and finest) productions in the company's old home in Hampshire.

Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, 2019

The first woman composer to receive the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize could not have been a worthier candidate.

Josquin des Prez and His Legacy: Cinquecento at Wigmore Hall

The renown and repute of Josquin des Prez (c.1450-1521) both during his lifetime and in the years following his death was so extensive and profound that many works by his contemporaries, working in Northern France and the Low Countries, were mis-attributed to him. One such was the six-part Requiem by Jean Richafort (c.1480-c.1550) which formed the heart of this poised concert by the vocal ensemble Cinquecento at Wigmore Hall, in which they gave pride of place to Josquin’s peers and successors and, in the final item, an esteemed forbear.

Symphonie fantastique and Lélio United – F X Roth and Les Siècles, Paris

Symphonie fantastique and Lélio together, as they should be, with François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles livestreamed from the Philharmonie de Paris (link below). Though Symphonie fantastique is heard everywhere, all the time, it makes a difference when paired with Lélio because this restores Berlioz’s original context.

Ivo van Hove's The Diary of One Who Disappeared at the Linbury Theatre

In 1917 Leoš Janáček travelled to Luhačovice, a spa town in the Zlín Region of Moravia, and it was here that he met for the first time Kamila Stösslová, the young married woman, almost 40 years his junior, who was to be his muse for the remaining years of his life.

Manon Lescaut opens Investec Opera Holland Park's 2019 season

At this end of this performance of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at Investec Opera Holland Park, the first question I wanted to ask director Karolina Sofulak was, why the 1960s?

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Cosmic traveling through his Klavierstücke, Kontakte and Stimmung

Stockhausen. Cosmic Prophet. Two sequential concerts. Music written for piano, percussion, sound diffusion and the voice. We are in the mysterious labyrinth of one of the defining composers of the last century. That at least ninety-minutes of one of these concerts proved to be an event of such magnitude is as much down to the astonishing music Stockhausen composed as it is to the peerless brilliance of the pianist who took us on the journey through the Klavierstücke. Put another way, in more than thirty years of hearing some of the greatest artists for this instrument - Pollini, Sokolov, Zimerman, Richter - this was a feat that has almost no parallels.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

03 Nov 2016

Opera Las Vegas Spook-tacular Halloween Concert

On Saturday evening October 29, 2016, Opera Las Vegas held a concert in a most elegant private home. After a glass of wine and some delicious hors d’oeuvres, members of the audience, most of whom were in costume, retreated to a salon that held some seventy chairs. With a grand piano in front and an “off stage” area to the side, the salon was as close to a concert hall as could be found in a private home.

Opera Party in Las Vegas

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Las Vegas

 

On Saturday evening October 29, 2016, Opera Las Vegas held a concert in a most elegant private home. After a glass of wine and some delicious hors d’oeuvres, members of the audience, most of whom were in costume, retreated to a salon that held some seventy chairs. With a grand piano in front and an “off stage” area to the side, the salon was as close to a concert hall as could be found in a private home. Artistic Director James Sohre, dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, introduced the artists and their selections, which began and ended with the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical theater work.

Artists from the Opera Las Vegas Young Artist Program were lyric soprano Emily Botts, dramatic soprano Karin Hochman, tenor Aldo Perelli, and baritone Michael Parham. Their collaborative pianist was Voltaire Verzosa. Since Verzosa also sings as a countertenor, he is a most sympathetic accompanist.

After the opening number from Broadway’s longest running musical, Botts emerged singing a radiant rendition of “Mesiku na nebi hlubokem” (“O moon, so high in the sky”) from Antonin Dvořák’s fairy tale opera Russalka. Aldo Berelli and Karin Hochman then sang two of the plaintive arias that Giacomo Puccini provided for the victims of Baron Vitellio Scarpia in his scorchingly dramatic opera Tosca. Berelli sang “E lucevan le stelle” (“the stars are shining”) and Hochman “Vissi d’arte” (“I have lived for art”). Perelli made his character's life seem ever so much more important because he knew he had so little time left, whereas Hochman added great drama to the contrast between her life in the arts and Scarpia’s devilish machinations.

Then it was time for a bit of comic relief and baritone Michael Parham provided it with his light-hearted and charming impersonation of Papageno, the happy-go-lucky bird catcher in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Although his intonation was not always perfect, his charisma made up for it. Botts returned with an evocative performance of Liu’s tragic aria from Puccini’s Turandot, “Tu che di gel sei cinta” (“You who are wrapped in ice”).

Hochman’s next selection was the rousing drinking song, “Si, colme il calice di vino eletto” (“Lift the cup with your favorite wine”) from Giuseppe Verdi’s first Shakespearean opera, Macbeth. Unlike this composer’s later works, Macbeth demands coloratura as well as dramatic stamina from the soprano. Perelli had an easier time with the lyric aria, “Ah, la paterna mano non vi fu scudo” (“Ah, the paternal hand did not defend you”).

Parham’s dramatic selection was a scene from Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet. The title character calls out to the ghost of his father in “Spectre infernal” (“Spectre from the underworld”). In Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, Monica sings of the sun, the moon, and a black swan. “The sun has fallen and it lies in blood”. She goes on to speak of the moon weaving bandage of gold. Botts sang this emotionally engaging but little known aria with a delightful tapestry of vocal color.

Hochman showed her dramatic vocal ability when she sang one of Amelia’s arias from Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. Amelia has been told she must pick an herb from the ground under the gallows, and she sings, “Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa” (“But when that leaf has been torn from its dry stem”). This kind of drama is Hochman’s "meat" and she sang it with relish and great strength, both vocal and emotional. I have great hopes for the future of this young singer from Israel.

Parham returned with a number from Frank Wildhorn’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the charming invocation of time, “This is the Moment.” It was the moment when, with the return to The music of The Phantom of the Opera, this memorable evening came to an end. Let’s hope Opera Las Vegas has another Halloween concert next year. I can think of a number of fitting selections for it that have not often been heard.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Cast and Selections:

Emily Botts: Hymn to the Moon, Russalka; Liu’s Aria, Turandot; “The Sun is Fallen”, The Medium. Aldo Perelli: “E lucevan le stelle”, Tosca; MacDuff’s Aria, Macbeth; “Music of the Night”, The Phantom of the Opera; Karin Hochman: “Vissi d’arte”, Tosca; Drinking Song, Macbeth; “Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa”, Un Ballo in Maschera; Michael Parham: “Der Vogelfänger bin ich, ja”, The Magic Flute; Spectre infernal, Hamlet; “This is the Moment”, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. All sang a finale from The Phantom of the Opera.

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):