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

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.

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.

Philadelphia: Putting On Great Opera Can Be Murder

Composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell have gifted Opera Philadelphia (and by extension, the world) with a crackling and melodious new stage piece, Elizabeth Cree.

Mansfield Park at The Grange

In her 200th anniversary year, in the county of her birth and in which she spent much of her life, and two days after she became the first female writer to feature on a banknote - the new polymer £10 note - Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park made a timely appearance, in operatic form, at The Grange in Hampshire.

Elektra in San Francisco

Among the myriad of artistic innovation during the Kurt Herbert Adler era at San Francisco Opera was the expansion of the War Memorial Opera House pit. Thus there could be 100 players in the pit for this current edition of Strauss’ beloved opera, Elektra!

Turandot in San Francisco

Mega famous L.A. artist David Hockney is no stranger at San Francisco Opera. Of his six designs for opera only the Met’s Parade and Covent Garden’s Die Frau ohne Schatten have not found their way onto the War Memorial stage.

The School of Jealousy: Bampton Classical Opera bring Salieri to London

In addition to fond memories of previous beguiling productions, I had two specific reasons for eagerly anticipating this annual visit by Bampton Classical Opera to St John’s Smith Square. First, it offered the chance to enjoy again the tunefulness and wit of Salieri’s dramma giocoso, La scuola de’ gelosi (The School of Jealousy), which I’d seen the company perform so stylishly at Bampton in July.

Richard Jones' new La bohème opens ROH season

There was a decided nip in the air as I made my way to the opening night of the Royal Opera House’s 2017/18 season, eagerly anticipating the House’s first new production of La bohème for over forty years. But, inside the theatre in took just a few moments of magic for director Richard Jones and his designer, Stewart Laing, to convince me that I had left autumnal London far behind.

Robin Tritschler and Julius Drake open
Wigmore Hall's 2017/18 season

It must be a Director’s nightmare. After all the months of planning, co-ordinating and facilitating, you are approaching the opening night of a new concert season, at which one of the world’s leading baritones is due to perform, accompanied by a pianist who is one of the world’s leading chamber musicians. And, then, appendicitis strikes. You have 24 hours to find a replacement vocal soloist or else the expectant patrons will be disappointed.

The Opera Box at the Brunel Museum

The courtly palace may have been opera’s first home but nowadays it gets out and about, popping up in tram-sheds, car-parks, night-clubs, on the beach, even under canal bridges. So, I wasn’t that surprised to find myself following The Opera Box down the shaft of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Thames Tunnel at Rotherhithe for a double bill which brought together the gothic and the farcical.

Proms at Wiltons: Eight Songs for a Mad King

It’s hard to imagine that Peter Maxwell Davies’ dramatic monologue, Eight Songs for a Mad King, can bear, or needs, any further contextualisation or intensification, so traumatic is its depiction - part public history, part private drama - of the descent into madness of King George III. It is a painful exposure of the fracture which separates the Sovereign King from the human mortal.

Prokofiev: Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution: Gergiev, Mariinsky

Sergei Prokofiev's Cantata for the Twentieth Anniversary of the October Revolution, Op 74, with Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus. One Day That Shook the World to borrow the subtitle from Sergei Eisenstein's epic film October : Ten Days that Shook the World.

A Prom of Transformation and Transcendence: Renée Fleming and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

This Prom was all about places: geographical, physical, pictorial, poetic, psychological. And, as we journeyed through these landscapes of the mind, there was plenty of reminiscence and nostalgia too, not least in Samuel Barber’s depiction of early twentieth-century Tennessee - Knoxville: Summer of 1915.

The Queen's Lace Handkerchief: Opera della Luna at Wilton's Music Hall

Billed as the ‘First British Performance’ - though it had had a prior, quasi-private outing at the Roxburgh Theatre, Stowe in July - Opera della Luna’s production of Johann Strauss Jnr’s The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief (Das Spitzentuch der Königin) at Wilton’s Music Hall began to sound pretty familiar half-way through the overture (which was played with spark and elegance by conductor Toby Purser’s twelve-piece orchestra).

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Corinne Winters is Violetta Valéry, flanked by the San Diego Opera Chorus [Photo by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz Johnson]
25 Apr 2017

Fine Traviata Completes SDO Season

On Saturday evening April 22, 2017, San Diego Opera presented Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata at the Civic Theater. Director Marta Domingo updated the production from the constrictions of the nineteenth century to the freedom of the nineteen twenties. Violetta’s fellow courtesans and their dates wore fascinating outfits and, at one point, danced the Charleston to what looked like a jazz combo playing Verdi’s score.

Fine Traviata Completes San Diego Opera Season

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Corinne Winters is Violetta Valéry, flanked by the San Diego Opera Chorus

Photos by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz Johnson

 

Domingo’s costumes featured form fitting, slinky long gowns. In Act I, raven haired Violetta arrived in a town car wearing silver-tinged white. For Flora’s Act III party, Violetta wore sparkling black while Flora hosted in copper-trimmed splendor. The men sported perfectly coordinated formal wear of the era. Flora’s dancers performed in minimal metallic costumes that underscored the Egyptian lines of Kitty McNamee’s choreography.

Domingo’s scenic designs included iconic furniture for Act I, an autumn garden for Act II, a chic salon with shiny black and gold pillars holding up a balcony for Act III and a huge bed beneath a star-filled sky for the fulfillment of the tragedy in Act IV. Most of Alan Burrett’s lighting functioned well but there was a tiny light spill atop the shiny black proscenium.

LaTraviata_041917_039.pngJesús Garcia is Alfredo Germont and Corinne Winters is Violetta Valéry

Conductor David Agler, the artistic director of Ireland’s Wexford Festival, kept the orchestral accompaniment in propulsive mode with pleasant, appropriate tempi. Occasionally, he made a smaller voice difficult to hear, but I enjoyed his knowledgeable approach to the score. Chorus Master Bruce Stasyna’s group moved like individual couples as they sang their secure harmonies.

The Violetta, Corinne Winters, had no trouble being heard and she gave an engrossing rendition of her role. Winters’ interpretation showed the audience both the public glamor of the celebrated nineteenth century courtesan and the private tragedy of the real woman’s illness ending in death at the age of twenty-three. Winters displayed Violetta’s longing for a normal life in “A forse lui” (“Perhaps he’s the one”) but she soon tossed that aside with wonderful coloratura runs in “Sempre Libera” (“Always Free”).

LaTraviata_042017_235.pngPeabody Southwell is Flora Bervoix

Winters’ vocal and physical acting in the ensuing acts made her Violetta truly memorable. The recipient of undeserved insults in Act III, she became a tragic heroine in Act IV as she struggled to stand and dream of a life with Alfredo. Eventually, when she sang that love and understanding had come far too late, many audience members were in tears as the opera ended.

As Alfredo, tenor Jesús Garcia sang with bronzed tones. He was a stalwart consort for Winters, although he seemed to be plagued by allergy during his second act aria. Stephen Powell sang the often-ungrateful part of Alfredo’s custom-bound father, Germont. Powell’s large, resonant voice enchanted the San Diego operagoers, and they greeted his aria “Di Provenza il mar, il suol” (“The sea, the soil of Provence”) with momentous applause.

LaTraviata_042017_161.pngStephen Powell is Alfredo Germont and Corinne Winters is Violetta Valéry

Peabody Southwell was an unusually dramatic Flora and Tasha Koontz sang beautifully as Annina. Kevin Langan’s distinctive bass sound defined the role of Dr. Grenvil, while the rich voices of Brenton Ryan, Scott Sikon, and Walter DuMelle filled out the roster of upper class partygoers. Solo Dancer Louis Williams seemed to defy gravity with his leaps, and he proved to be a skilled partner as he danced a mini pas de deux with each member of the corps de ballet.

It was a delight to again be in the Civic Theater where San Diego Opera has presented so many fine performances. Next season the company will present six shows: Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, Puccini’s Turandot, and Catan’s Florencia in el Amazonas will be found at the Civic Theater while two chamber operas, Kaminsky’s As One and Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires, will be seen at the Joan B. Kroc and Lyceum Theaters. Finally, San Diego opera and the San Diego Symphony will get together for a concert starring René Barbera and Lise Lindstrom at Balboa Theater.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Violetta, Corinne Winters; Flora, Peabody Southwell; Der Grenvil, Kevin Langan; Gastone, Brenton Ryan; Marquis d'Obigny, Scott Sikon; Alfredo, Jesús Garcia; Baron Douphol, Walter DuMelle; Annina, Tasha Koontz; Giuseppe, Mario Rios; Giorgio Germont, Stephen Powell; Messenger, Michael Blinco; Servant, David Marshman; Conductor, David Agler; Director, Costume and Scenic Designer, Marta Domingo; Lighting Designer, Alan Burrett; Choreographer, Kitty McNamee; Wig and Makeup Designer, Stephen W. Bryant; Chorus Master, Bruce Stasyna.

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):