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

Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle at the Barbican

Two great operas come from the year 1911 - Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Bela Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. Both are masterpieces, but they are very different kinds of operas and experienced quite asymmetric performance histories.

Puccini’s Tosca at the Royal Opera House

Now on its ninth revival, Jonathan Kent’s classic Tosca for Covent Garden is a study in art, beauty and passion but also darkness, power and empire. Part of the production’s lasting greatness, and contemporary value, is that it looks inwards towards the malignancy of a great empire (in this case a Napoleonic one), whilst looking outward towards a city-nation in terminal decline (Rome).

ROH Return to the Roundhouse

Opera transcends time and place. An anonymous letter, printed with the libretto of Monteverdi’s Le nozze d’Enea con Lavinia and written two years before his death, assures the reader that Monteverdi’s music will continue to affect and entrance future generations:

London Schools Symphony Orchestra celebrates Bernstein and Holst anniversaries

One recent survey suggested that in 1981, the average age of a classical concertgoer was 36, whereas now it is 60-plus. So, how pleasing it was to see the Barbican Centre foyers, cafes and the Hall itself crowded with young people, as members of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra prepared to perform with soprano Louise Alder and conductor Sir Richard Armstrong, in a well-balanced programme that culminated with an ‘anniversary’ performance of Holst’s The Planets.

Salome at the Royal Opera House

In De Profundis, his long epistle to ‘Dear Bosie’, Oscar Wilde speaks literally ‘from the depths’, incarcerated in his prison cell in Reading Gaol. As he challenges the young lover who has betrayed him and excoriates Society for its wrong and unjust laws, Wilde also subjects his own aesthetic ethos to some hard questioning, re-evaluating a life lived in avowal of the amorality of luxury and beauty.

In the Beginning ... Time Unwrapped at Kings Place

Epic, innovative and bold, Haydn’s The Creation epitomises the grandeur and spirit of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.

The Pearl Fishers at Lyric Opera of Chicago

For its recent production of Georges Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles Lyric Opera of Chicago assembled an ideal cast of performers who blend well into an imaginative and colorful production.

New Cinderella SRO in San Jose

Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella is most remarkable for one reason and one reason alone: It was composed by a 12-year old girl.

La Cenerentola in Lyon

Like Stendhal when he first saw Rossini’s Cenerentola in Trieste in 1823, I was left stone cold by Rossini’s Cendrillon last night in Lyon. Stendhal complained that in Trieste nothing had been left to the imagination. As well, in Lyon nothing, absolutely nothing was left to the imagination.

Messiah, who?: The Academy of Ancient Music bring old and new voices together

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a Messiah. And, at the Barbican Hall, the Academy of Ancient Music reminded us why … while never letting us settle into complacency.

The Golden Cockerel Bedazzles in Amsterdam

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s fairy tale The Golden Cockerel was this holiday season’s ZaterdagMatinee operatic treat at the Concertgebouw. There was real magic to this concert performance, chiefly thanks to Vasily Petrenko’s dazzling conducting and the enchanting soprano Venera Gimadieva.

Mahler Das Lied von der Erde, London - Rattle, O'Neill, Gerhaher

By pairing Mahler Das Lied von der Erde (Simon O'Neill, Christian Gerhaher) with Strauss Metamorphosen, Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra were making a truly powerful statement. The Barbican performance last night was no ordinary concert. This performance was extraordinary because it carried a message.

David McVicar's Rigoletto returns to the ROH

This was a rather disconcerting performance of David McVicar’s 2001 production of Rigoletto. Not only because of the portentous murkiness with which Paule Constable’s lighting shrouds designer Michael Vale’s ramshackle scaffolding; nor, the fact that stage and pit frequently seemed to be tugging in different directions. But also, because some of the cast seemed rather out of sorts.

Verdi Otello, Bergen - Stuart Skelton, Latonia Moore, Lester Lynch

Verdi Otello livestream from Norway with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edward Garner with a superb cast, led by Stuart Skelton, Latonia Moore, and Lester Lynch and a good cast, with four choirs, the Bergen Philharmonic Chorus, the Edvard Grieg Kor, Collegiûm Mûsicûm Kor, the Bergen pikekor and Bergen guttekor (Children’s Choruses) with chorus master Håkon Matti Skrede. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1765, just a few years after the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra : Scandinavian musical culture has very strong roots, and is thriving still. Tucked away in the far north, Bergen may be a hidden treasure, but, as this performance proved, it's world class.

Temple Winter Festival: the Gesualdo Six

‘Gaudete, gaudete!’ - Rejoice, rejoice! - was certainly the underlying spirit of this lunchtime concert at Temple Church, part of the 5th Temple Winter Festival. Whether it was vigorous joy or peaceful contemplation, the Gesualdo Six communicate a reassuring and affirmative celebration of Christ’s birth in a concert which fused medieval and modern concerns, illuminating surprising affinities.

Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida at the Wigmore Hall

The journey is always the same, and never the same. As Ian Bostridge remarks, at the end of his prize-winning book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, when the wanderer asks Der Leiermann, “Will you play your hurdy-gurdy to my songs?”, in the final song of Winterreise, the ‘crazy but logical procedure would be to go right back to the beginning of the whole cycle and start all over again’.

Turandot in San Francisco

San Francisco Opera wrapped up its 95th fall opera season just now with a bang up Turandot. It has been a season of hopeful hints that this venerable company may regain some of its former luster.

Daniel Michieletto's Cav and Pag returns to Covent Garden

It felt rather decadent to be sitting in an opera house at 12pm. Even more so given the passion-fuelled excesses of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, which might seem rather too sensual and savage for mid-day consumption.

Manitoba Opera: Madama Butterfly

Manitoba Opera opened its 45th season with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly proving that the aching heart as expressed through art knows no racial or cultural divide, with the Italian composer’s self-avowed favourite opera still able to spread its poetic wings across time and space since its Milan premiere in 1904.

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake celebrate 25 years of music-making

In 1992, concert promoter Heinz Liebrecht introduced pianist Julius Drake to tenor Ian Bostridge and an acclaimed, inspiring musical partnership was born. On Wenlock Edge formed part of their first programme, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk; and, so, in this recital at Middle Temple Hall, celebrating their 25 years of music-making, the duo included Vaughan Williams’ Housman settings for tenor, piano and string quartet alongside works with a seventeenth-century origin or flavour.

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):