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

A sunny L'elisir d'amore at the Royal Opera House

Theresa May could do with a Doctor Dulcamara in the Conservative Cabinet: his miracle pills for every illness from asthma to apoplexy would slash the NHS bill - and, if he really could rejuvenate the aged then he’d solve the looming social care funding crisis too.

Budapest Festival Orchestra: a scintillating Bluebeard

Ravi Shankar’s posthumous opera Sukanya drew a full house to the Royal Festival Hall last Friday but the arrival of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under their founder Iván Fischer seemed to have less appeal to Londoners - which was disappointing as the absolute commitment of Fischer and his musicians to the Hungarian programme that they presented was equalled in intensity by the blazing richness of the BFO’s playing.

Sukanya: Ravi Shankar's posthumous opera

What links Franz Xaver Süssmayr, Brian Newbould and Anthony Payne? A hypothetical question for University Challenge contestants elicits the response that they all ‘completed’ composer’s last words: Mozart’s Requiem, Schubert’s Symphony No.8 in B minor (the Unfinished) and Edward Elgar’s Third Symphony, respectively.

Cavalli's Hipermestra at Glyndebourne

‘Make war not love’, might be a fitting subtitle for Francesco Cavalli’s opera Hipermestra in which the eponymous princess chooses matrimonial loyalty over filial duty and so triggers a war which brings about the destruction of Argos and the deaths of its inhabitants.

I Fagiolini's Orfeo: London Festival of Baroque Music

This year’s London Festival of Baroque Music is titled Baroque at the Edge and celebrates Monteverdi’s 450th birthday and the 250th anniversary of Telemann’s death. Monteverdi and Telemann do in some ways represent the ‘edges’ of the Baroque, their music signalling a transition from Renaissance to Baroque and from Baroque to Classical respectively, though as this performance of Monteverdi’s Orfeo by I Fagiolini and The English Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble confirmed such boundaries are blurred and frequently broken.

The English Concert: a marvellous Ariodante at the Barbican Hall

I’ve been thinking about jealousy a lot of late, as I put the finishing touches to a programme article for Bampton Classical Opera’s summer production of Salieri’s La scuola de' gelosi. In placing the green-eyed monster centre-stage, Handel’s Ariodante surely rivals Shakespeare’s Othello in dramatic clarity and concision, as this terrifically animated and musically intense performance by The English Concert at the Barbican Hall confirmed.

Riel Deal in Toronto

With its new production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, Canadian Opera Company has covered itself in resplendent glory.

Concert Introduces Fine Dramatic Tenor

On May 4, 2017, Los Angeles Opera presented a concert starring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and her husband, Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazev. Led by Italian conductor Jader Bignamini, members of the orchestra showed their abilities, too, with a variety of instrumental selections played between the singers’ arias and duets.

COC: Tosca’s Cautious Leap

Considering the high caliber of the amassed talent, Canadian Opera Company’s Tosca is a curiously muted affair.

Schubert's 'swan-song': Ian Bostridge at the Wigmore Hall

No song in this wonderful performance by Ian Bostridge and Lars Vogt at the Wigmore Hall epitomised more powerfully, and astonishingly, what a remarkable lieder singer Bostridge is, than Schubert’s Rellstab setting, ‘In der Ferne’ (In the distance).

Stunning power and presence from Lise Davidsen

For Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen this has been an exciting season, one which has seen her make several role and house debuts in Europe and beyond, including Agathe (Der Freischutz) at Opernhaus Zürich, Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) Norwegian National Opera and, just last month, Isabella (Liebesverbot) at Teatro Colón. This Rosenblatt Recital brought her to the Wigmore Hall for her UK recital debut and if the stunning power, shining colour and absolute ease that she demonstrated in a well-chosen programme of song and opera are anything to judge by, Glyndebourne audiences are in for a tremendous treat this summer, when Davidsen appears in the title role of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Three Rossini Operas Serias

Rossini’s serious operas once dominated opera houses across the Western world. In their librettos, the great French author Stendahl—then a diplomat in Italy and the composer’s first biographer—saw a post-Napoleonic “martial vigor” that could spark a liberal revolution. In their vocal and instrumental innovations, he discerned a similar revolution in music.

Tosca: Stark Drama at the Chandler Pavilion

On Thursday evening April 27, 2017, Los Angeles Opera presented a revival of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. In 2013, director John Caird had given Angelinos a production that made Tosca a full-blooded, intense drama as well as a most popular aria-studded opera. His Floria was a dove among hawks.

San Jose’s Bohemian Rhapsody

Opera San Jose has capped a wholly winning season with an emotionally engaging, thrillingly sung, enticingly fresh rendition of Puccini’s immortal masterpiece La bohème.

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.

The Exterminating Angel: compulsive repetitions and re-enactments

Thomas Adès’s third opera, The Exterminating Angel, is a dizzying, sometimes frightening, palimpsest of texts (literary and cinematic) and music, in which ceaseless repetitions of the past - inexact, ever varying, but inescapably compulsive - stultify the present and deny progress into the future. Paradoxically, there is endless movement within a constricting stasis. The essential elements collide in a surreal Sartrean dystopia: beasts of the earth (live sheep and a simulacra of a bear) roam, a disembodied hand floats through the air, water spouts from the floor and a burning cello provides the flames upon which to roast the sacrificial lambs. No wonder that when the elderly Doctor tries to restore order through scientific rationalism he is told, “We don't want reason! We want to get out of here!”

Dutch National Opera revives deliciously dark satire A Dog’s Heart

Is A Dog’s Heart even an opera? It is sung by opera singers to live music. Alexander Raskatov’s score, however, is secondary to the incredible stage visuals. Whatever it is, actor/director Simon McBurney’s first stab at opera is fantastic theatre. Its revival at Dutch National Opera, where it premiered in 2010, is hugely welcome.

María José Moreno lights up the Israeli Opera with Lucia di Lammermoor

I kept hearing from knowledgeable opera fanatics that the Israeli Opera (IO) in Tel Aviv was a surprising sure bet. So I made my way to the Homeland to hear how supposedly great the quality of opera was. And man, I was in for treat.

Cinderella Enchants Phoenix

At Phoenix’s Symphony Hall on Friday evening April 7, Arizona Opera offered its final presentation of the 2016-2017 season, Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola). The stars of the show were Daniela Mack as Cinderella, called Angelina in the opera, and Alek Shrader as Don Ramiro. Actually, Mack and Shrader are married couple who met singing these same roles at San Francisco Opera.

LA Opera’s Young Artist Program Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

On Saturday evening April 1, 2017, Placido Domingo and Los Angeles Opera celebrated their tenth year of training young opera artists in the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Program. From the singing I heard, they definitely have something of which to be proud.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Sondra Radvanovsky
14 Apr 2017

LA Opera’s Young Artist Program Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

On Saturday evening April 1, 2017, Placido Domingo and Los Angeles Opera celebrated their tenth year of training young opera artists in the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Program. From the singing I heard, they definitely have something of which to be proud.

LA Opera’s Young Artist Program Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Sondra Radvanovsky

 

Sondra Radvanovsky opened the program with a rendition of the Bolero from Giuseppe Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, “Merce, dilette amiche” (“Thank you dear friends”). At first she seemed still to be warming up, but her voice soon attained its usual lustre and radiant qualities. Later, she sang a heart rending version of “Senza Mamma” (“without Mama”) from Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica. She sang two duets with Domingo who was in marvelous voice for this auspicious occasion. They joined their voices in the revealing “Orfanella il tetto umile” (“An Orphan under a Humble Roof”) from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and the sophisticated “Lippen Schweigen” (“Silent Lips”) from Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus.

Although Diana Damrau and Nicholas Testé, who are currently appearing in LA Opera's production of The Tales of Hoffmann were expected to sing at the concert, their health issues did not allow it. However, with the profusion of talent available among the members of past and present LAO Young Artist Programs, the concert provided an excellent showcase.

Liv_Redpath.pngLiv Redpath

Unlike most opera concerts, this program included ensembles. For the Rigoletto Quartet, “Bella figlia dell’amore” (“Beautiful Daughter of Love”), Kihun Yoon was a lyrical Rigoletto, Hyesang Park a refined Gilda, Joshua Guerrero a warm-voiced Duke and Renée Rapier an experienced Maddalena who did not fall for one word of the Duke’s flattery. A different group, consisting of Carlos Enrique Santelli, René Rapier, So Young Park, Michelle Siemens, Theo Hoffman, and Nicholas Brownlee, sang the smartly contrapuntal but rather slow moving sextet “Siete voi? . . . Questo è un nodo avvilupato” (“Is that you? This is a tangled knot”) from Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella.

Duets abounded. First year program member Liv Redpath showed not only the beauty of her mid-sized voice but also a talent for comedy when she sang “Pronto io son” from Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with equally talented program member Theo Hoffman. I can’t help thinking that one of Joshua Guerrero’s daydreams was to sing with Domingo. With robust tones, the young tenor and the tenor-turned-baritone sang “Au Fond du Temple Saint” from Georges Bizet’s The Pearlfishers.

From Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Lauren Michelle as Susanna and Summer Hassan as the Countess sang an exquisite rendition of “Sull’aria . . . Che soave zeffiretto” (“On the air...The soft breeze”) and from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Hyesang Park and Guerrero sang “Verranno a te” (“They will come to you”) in lovely bel canto style. One of the great delights of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani is its duet for lower male voices, “Suoni la tromba” (“Sound the Trumpet”). While Kihun Yoon and Nicholas Brownlee did not have the decibel power of some of the vocal stars best known for this duet, they sang it with well focused tones and and were greeted with plentiful bravos at the finish.

Some artists displayed their special talents with solo arias. Nicholas Brownlee has a wide range of dynamics and the aria “La lluvia ha cesado” (“The Rain has Stopped”) from Ruperto Chapi’s zarzuela La Tempestad allowed him to start softly, make a huge crescendo to illustrate a severe storm, then show the peaceful ambience that follows such a storm. When Brenton Ryan sang “Oh, the Lion may Roar” from John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, he seemed to be channeling Hollywood actor Frank Gorshin. The piece tells of the invincibility of the common worm and was a perfect vehicle for this opera "bad guy" who sang with a scary style.

The Queen of the Night’s arias from The Magic Flute hold no terrors for So Young Park and she easily tossed off “O zittre nicht” (“Don’t tremble”) for this appreciative audience. Lauren Michelle, a 2015 prize winner at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Contest, delighted this audience with Jules Massenet’s “Dis-moi que je suis belle” (“Tell me that I’m beautiful”) from Thais.

Then the champagne began to flow backstage and Hyesang Park appeared with a tilted glass of bubbly. Singing “No se qué siento aqui” (“ I don’t know here”) from Manuel Fernandez Caballero’s Chateau Margaux with bell-like tones, she began the finale, which included the entire cast singing the “Champagne Song” from Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Since Placido Domingo sang duets with Radvanovsky and Guerrero, LA Opera veteran conductor Grant Gershon led several of the selections at comfortable tempi. However, Domingo led most offerings with his well known verve and joie de vivre.

Maria Nockin

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):