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

Classical Opera/The Mozartists celebrate 20 years of music-making

Classical Opera celebrated 20 years of music-making and story-telling with a characteristically ambitious and eclectic sequence of musical works at the Barbican Hall. Themes of creation and renewal were to the fore, and after a first half comprising a variety of vocal works and short poems, ‘Classical Opera’ were succeeded by their complementary alter ego, ‘The Mozartists’, in the second part of the concert for a rousing performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony - a work described by Page as ‘in many ways the most iconic work in the repertoire’.

Back to Baroque and to the battle lines with English Touring Opera

Romeo and Juliet, Rinaldo and Armida, Ramadès and Aida: love thwarted by warring countries and families is a perennial trope of literature, myth and history. Indeed, ‘Love and war are all one,’ declared Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote, a sentiment which seems to be particularly exemplified by the world of baroque opera with its penchant for plundering Classical Greek and Roman myths for their extreme passions and conflicts. English Touring Opera’s 2017 autumn tour takes us back to the Baroque and back to the battle-lines.

Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice opened the 2017–18 season at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Michelle DeYoung, Mahler Symphony no 3 London

The Third Coming ! Esa-Pekka Salonen conducted Mahler Symphony no 3 with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall with Michelle DeYoung, the Philharmonia Voices and the Tiffin Boys’ Choir. It was live streamed worldwide, an indication of just how important this concert was, for it marks the Philharmonia's 34-year relationship with Salonen.

King Arthur at the Barbican: a semi-opera for the 'Brexit Age'

Purcell’s and Dryden’s King Arthur: or the British Worthy presents ‘problems’ for directors. It began life as a propaganda piece, Albion and Albanius, in 1683, during the reign of Charles II, but did not appear on stage as King Arthur until 1691 when William of Orange had ascended to the British Throne to rule as William III alongside his wife Mary and the political climate had changed significantly.

Anne Schwanewilms sings Schreker, Schubert, Liszt and Korngold

On a day when events in Las Vegas cast a shadow over much of the news this was not the most comfortable recital to sit through for many reasons. The chosen repertoire did, at times, feel unduly heavy - and very Germanic - but it was also unevenly sung.

The Life to Come: a new opera by Louis Mander and Stephen Fry

It began ‘with a purely obscene fancy of a Missionary in difficulties’. So E.M. Forster wrote to Siegfried Sassoon in August 1923, of his short story ‘The Life to Come’ - the title story of a collection that was not published until 1972, two years after Forster’s death.

Aida opens the season at ENO

Director Phelim McDermott’s new Aida at ENO seems to have been conceived more in terms of what it will look like rather than what the opera is or might be ‘about’. And, it certainly does look good. Designer Tom Pye - with whom McDermott worked for ENO’s Akhnaten last year (alongside his other Improbable company colleague, costume designer Kevin Pollard) - has again conjured striking tableaux and eye-catching motifs, and a colour scheme which balances sumptuous richness with shadow and mystery.

La Traviata in San Francisco

A beautifully sung Traviata in British stage director John Copley’s 1987 production, begging the question is this grand old (30 years) production the SFO mise en scène for all times.

The Judas Passion: Sally Beamish and David Harsent offer new perspectives

Was Judas a man ‘both vile and justifiably despised: an agent of the Devil, or a man who God-given task was to set in train an event that would be the salvation of Humankind’? This is the question at the heart of Sally Beamish’s The Judas Passion, commissioned jointly by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Philharmonia Baroque of San Francisco.

Choral at Cadogan: The Tallis Scholars open a new season

As The Tallis Scholars processed onto the Cadogan Hall platform, for the opening concert of this season’s Choral at Cadogan series, there were some unfamiliar faces among its ten members - or faces familiar but more usually seen in other contexts.

Stars of Lyric Opera 2017, Millennium Park, Chicago

As a prelude to the 2017-18 season Lyric Opera of Chicago presented its annual concert, Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, during the last weekend. A number of those who performed in this event will be featured in roles during the coming season.

Die Zauberflöte at the ROH: radiant and eternal

Watching David McVicar’s 2003 production of Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House - its sixth revival - for the third time, I was struck by how discerningly John MacFarlane’s sumptuous designs, further enhanced by Paule Constable’s superbly evocative lighting, communicate the dense and rich symbolism of Mozart’s Singspiel.

Fantasy in Philadelphia: The Wake World

Composer and librettist David Hertzberg’s magical mystery tour that is The Wake World opened to a cheering sold out audience that was clearly enraptured with its magnificent artistic achievement.

A Mysterious Lucia at Forest Lawn

On September 10, 2017, Pacific Opera Project (POP) presented Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in a beautiful outdoor setting at Forest Lawn. POP audiences enjoy casual seating with wine, water, and finger foods at each table. General and Artistic Director Josh Shaw greeted patrons in a “blood stained” white wedding suit. Since Lucia is a Scottish opera, it opened with an elegant bagpipe solo calling members of the audience to their seats.

This is Rattle: Blazing Berlioz at the Barbican Hall

Blazing Berlioz' The Damnation of Faust at the Barbican with Sir Simon Rattle, Bryan Hymel, Christopher Purves, Karen Cargill, Gabor Bretz, The London Symphony Orchestra and The London Symphony Chorus directed by Simon Halsey, Rattle's chorus master of choice for nearly 35 years. Towards the end, the Tiffin Boys' Choir, the Tiffin Girls' Choir and Tiffin Children's Choir (choirmaster James Day) filed into the darkened auditorium to sing The Apotheosis of Marguerite, their voices pure and angelic, their faces shining. An astonishingly theatrical touch, but absolutely right.

Moved Takes on Philadelphia Headlines

There‘s a powerful new force in the opera world and its name is O17.

Philly Flute’s Fast and Furious Frills

If you never thought opera could make your eyes cross with visual sensory over load, you never saw Opera Philadelphia’s razzle-dazzle The Magic Flute.

At War With Philadelphia

Enterprising Opera Philadelphia has included a couple of intriguing site-specific events in their O17 Festival line-up.

The Mozartists at the Wigmore Hall

Three years into their MOZART 250 project, Classical Opera have launched a new venture, The Mozartists, which is designed to allow the company to broaden its exploration of the concert and symphonic works of Mozart and his contemporaries.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Festspielhaus.jpg" alt=""/>
14 Apr 2017

Extravagant Line-up 2017-18 at Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, Germany

The town’s name itself “Baden-Baden” (named after Count Baden) sounds already enticing. Built against the old railway station, its Festspielhaus programs the biggest stars in opera for Germany’s largest auditorium. A Mecca for music lovers, this festival house doesn’t have its own ensemble, but through its generous sponsoring brings the great productions to the dreamy idylle.

Baden-Bade season highlights

Above: Festspielhaus Baden-Baden by Myrzik and Jarisch

 

Once you arrive at the main train station, you sense you’re in a rare place utterly at peace in a world in chaos. This magic bubble equals the serenity of Lucerne in Switzerland. In the middle of Germany’s Black Forest, since Roman times Baden-Baden is also renowned for its hot water springs that make it famous spa retreat. During the festivals, the musicians of the visiting orchestras give Meisterkonzerte of chamber music at the legendary Kurhaus, the modern art museum Frieder-Burda, and at the casino glamorous enough for a James Bond film.

Before the end of the 2017 season, there is a lot more opera to hear. This Easter for ten days, Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker perform exciting programmes with impressive soloists. In recent years, they have alternated Puccini with Wagner. With Manon Lescaut two years ago, last year the world premiere of the NYC Met’s Tristan und Isolde, and this year Tosca and an evening with Anne Sofie von Otter.


Next Easter, an all star line-up with Stephen Gould, Evelyn Herlitzius, and Evgeny Nikitin in Parsifal will join for Rattle’s last season with the Philharmonic. In additional programming, Krystian Zimerman, Gerald Finley and Elina Garanca will also perform solo with the Berliners.


Also during Easter, in the tiny Theater Baden-Baden, the young musicians of Berliner Philharmoniker Academy present chamber opera adaptations. Last year, a witty, highly engaging version of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna delighted audiences. This year Peter Brooks abridged La Tragedie de Carmen gets a new staging, while next year Mozart’s La finta giardiniera gets tackled. Just a visit to the theater for its baroque ceiling is worth your time.


Last year for its annual star-studded Summer Gala, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Gubanova, Bryn Terfel, and Anja Harteros wowed the audience. This year, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe perform a concert version of La Clemenza di Tito with Joyce Didonato and Rolando Villazón. In 2018, the Might Mouse (Didonato’s nickname for the Maestro) will return with The Magic Flute.

Eugene Onegin © V.Baranovsky_State Academic Mariinsky Theatre.png Eugene Onegin © V.Baranovsky


Russian powerhouse Gergiev returns twice a year with his Mariinsky troupe. Late July, two stagings of Eugene Onegin bookend two rich programs. One evening he present Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with Trifonov behind the piano and the composer’s choral symphony The Bells. The next evening, both Chopin Piano Concertos with Bruckner’s Seventh in between will exhaust the audience. In the Winter Gergiev returns with lavish ballet programs.


Next season’s line-up during the Fall, includes Rene Jacobs, who brings a concert version of Beethoven’s original version Leonore. In November, La bohème is staged. Bartoli and Villazón drop by on two occasions. During the Winter months of January and February, Damrau & Kaufmann, Harteros, and an Operetta Gala with Thomas Hampson, Marlis Petersen, and Piotr Beczala will warm up the audiences.


In Spring, Diana Damrau returns with her hubby Nicolas Testé for a night of Verdi. Olga Peretyatko and Sonya Yoncheva come over for two separate recitals. Bryn Terfel stars in a concert version of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer led by Gergiev. Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra will provide another highlight with Mahler’s Second Symphony.


Anna Netrebko Yusif Eyvazov copyright by Vladimir Shirkov_1.jpg Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov copyright by Vladimir Shirkov

And in the Summer, the season will have a climactic ending as Gergiev returns to conduct Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov in Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur in a staging by Isabelle Patriot-Pieri from the Mariinsky Theater.


Feel free to bring the (grand)children: kids’ programming will certainly stimulate them, so you can put them to bed early and enjoy your evening.

Here the private sponsoring certainly does not go to waste on poor programming!

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):