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 Reviews

Hibiki: a European premiere by Mark-Anthony Turnage at the Proms

Hibiki: sound, noise, echo, reverberation, harmony. Commissioned by the Suntory Hall in Tokyo to celebrate the Hall’s 30th anniversary in 2016, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 50-minute Hibiki, for two female soloists, children’s chorus and large orchestra, purports to reflect on the ‘human reverberations’ of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011 and the devastation caused by the subsequent tsunami and radioactive disaster.

Through Life and Love: Louise Alder sings Strauss

Soprano Louise Alder has had an eventful few months. Declared ‘Young Singer of the Year’ at the 2017 International Opera Awards in May, the following month she won the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared, Grimeborn

A great performance of Janáček’s song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared can be, allowing for the casting of a superb tenor, an experience on a par with Schoenberg’s Erwartung. That Shadwell Opera’s minimalist, but powerful, staging in the intimate setting of Studio 2 of the Arcola Theatre was a triumph was in no small measure to the magnificent singing of the tenor, Sam Furness.

Khovanshchina: Mussorgsky at the Proms

Remembering the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this Proms performance of Mussorgsky’s mighty Khovanshchina (all four and a quarter hours of it) exceeded all expectations on a musical level. And, while the trademark doorstop Proms opera programme duly arrived containing full text and translation, one should celebrate the fact that - finally - we had surtitles on several screens.

Santa Fe: Entertaining If Not Exactly (R)evolutionary

You know what I loved best about Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs?

Longborough Young Artists in London: Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice

For the last three years, Longborough Festival Opera’s repertoire of choice for their Young Artist Programme productions has been Baroque opera seria, more specifically Handel, with last year’s Alcina succeeding Rinaldo in 2014 and Xerxes in 2015.

A Master Baritone in Recital: Sesto Bruscantini, 1981

This is the only disc ever devoted to the art of Sesto Bruscantini (1919–2003). Record collectors value his performance of major baritone roles, especially comic but also serious ones, on many complete opera recordings, such as Il barbiere di Siviglia (with Victoria de los Angeles). He continued to perform at major houses until at least 1985 and even recorded Mozart's Don Alfonso in 1991, when he was 72.

Emalie Savoy: A Portrait

Since 1952, the ARD—the organization of German radio stations—has run an annual competition for young musicians. Winners have included Jessye Norman, Maurice André, Heinz Holliger, and Mitsuko Uchida. Starting in 2015, the CD firm GENUIN has offered, as a separate award, the chance for one of the prize winners to make a CD that can serve as a kind of calling card to the larger musical and music-loving world. In 2016, the second such CD award was given to the Aris Quartett (second-prize winner in the “string quartet” category).

Full-throated Cockerel at Santa Fe

A tale of a lazy, befuddled world leader that ‘has no clothes on’ and his two dimwit sons, hmmmm, what does that remind me of. . .?

Santa Fe’s Trippy Handel

If you don’t like a given moment in Santa Fe Opera’s staging of Alcina, well, just like the volatile mountain weather, wait two minutes and it will surely change.

Santa Fe’s Crowd-Pleasing Strauss

With Die Fledermaus’ thrice familiar overture still lingering in our ears, it didn’t take long for the assault of hijinks to reduce the audience into guffaws of delight.

Santa Fe: Mad for Lucia

If there is any practitioner currently singing the punishing title role of Lucia di Lammermoor better than Brenda Rae, I am hard-pressed to name her.

Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen at Grimeborn

Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen can be a difficult opera to stage, despite its charm and simplicity. In part it is a good, old-fashioned morality tale about the relationships between humans and animals, and between themselves, but Janáček doesn’t use a sledgehammer to make this point. It is easy for many productions to fall into parody, and many have done, and it is a tribute to The Opera Company’s staging of this work at the Arcola Theatre that they narrowly avoided this pitfall.

Handel's Israel in Egypt at the Proms: William Christie and the OAE

For all its extreme popularity with choirs, Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt is a somewhat problematic work; the scarcity of solos makes hiring professional soloists an extravagant expense, and the standard version of the work starts oddly with a tenor recitative. If we return to the work's history then these issues are put into context, and this is what William Christie did for the performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 1 August 2017.

Sirens and Scheherazade: Prom 18

From Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, to Bruch’s choral-orchestral Odysseus, to Fauré’s Penelope, countless compositions have taken their inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey, perhaps not surprisingly given Homer’s emphasis on the power of music in the Greek world.

Discovering Gounod’s Cinq Mars: Another Rarity Success for Oper Leipzig

Oper Leipzig usually receives less international attention than its Dresden, Munich or Berlin counterparts; however, with its fabulous Gewandhaus Orchestra, and its penchant for opera rarities (and a new Ring Cycle), this quality hotspot will be attracting more and more opera lovers. Leipzig’s new production of Gounod’s Cinq Mars continues this high quality tradition.

Detlev Glanert : Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch

Detlev Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch should be a huge hit. Just as Carl Orff's Carmina Burana appeals to audiences who don't listen to early music (or even to much classical music), Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch has all the elements for instant popular success.

A new La clemenza di Tito at Glyndebourne

Big birds are looming large at Glyndebourne this year. After Juno’s Peacock, which scooped up the suicidal Hipermestra, Chris Guth’s La clemenza di Tito offers us a huge soaring magpie, symbolic of Tito’s release from the chains of responsibility in Imperial Rome.

Prom 9: Fidelio lives by its Florestan

The last time Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, was performed at the Proms, in 2009, Daniel Barenboim was making a somewhat belated London opera debut with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

The Merchant of Venice: WNO at Covent Garden

In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Guildhall School Gold Medal
11 May 2017

Baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé wins the 2017 Guildhall School Gold Medal

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama has announced baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé as the winner of this year’s Gold Medal, the School’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists. The prize is awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years and this year was the turn of the singers.

Guildhall School Gold Medal

Above: Josep-Ramon Olivé_

Photo credit: Clive Totman

 

Josep-Ramon Olivé’s winning performance included Mompou’sJo et pressentia com la mar (Combat del somni, No. 3), Schubert’s Du bist die Ruh, D776, Duparc’s Le manoir de Rosemonde, Rachmaninov’s O dolgo budu ja, Op. 4 No. 3 and Strauss’ Heimliche Aufforderung (Secret invitation), Op. 27 No. 3 with pianist Lana Bode. His programme also featured Handel’sSe il mar promette calma (from Lotario HWV 26), Korngold’sMein Sehnen, mein Wähnen (from Die tote Stadt) and Rossini’s Largo al factotum (from Il barbiere di Siviglia, accompanied by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dominic Wheeler.

The other Gold Medal finalists, Daniel Shelvey, Bianca Andrew and Samuel Carl also performed programmes of songs and arias of their choice before a Barbican Hall audience.

Josep-Ramon Olivé commented: “I am completely overwhelmed, it’s a dream come true to win the Gold Medal. It’s a great achievement that is the icing on the cake for my time at the Guildhall School. I would like to thank my family, friends, fellow colleagues at the School and of course my tutor Professor Rudolf Piernay.”

The Final took place before a distinguished panel of judges including the Guildhall School’s new Principal Lynne Williams; General Director of Glyndebourne Sebastian F. Schwarz; Vice-Principal & Director of Music, Guildhall SchoolJonathan Vaughan; Head of Opera, Guildhall SchoolDominic Wheeler; and accompanist Malcolm Martineau.

The Gold Medal award was founded and endowed by Sir H. Dixon Kimber in 1915. Since 1950 it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. Previous winners include William Primrose (1922), Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Patricia Rozario (1979), Tasmin Little (1986) and Bryn Terfel (1989).

Born in Barcelona, baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé studied at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya, followed by the Guildhall School’s Opera Course. He is currently on the Artist Diploma programme under Professor Rudolf Piernay and is a recipient of the Harry Rolfe Award.

His operatic roles include Il Conte in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro , Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Orfeo in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Lesbo in Handel’s Agrippina, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Frank in Strauss’Die Fledermaus, Pantalone in Wolf-Ferrari’s Le donne curiose, Thésée in Martinů’s Ariane ( review ) and Uberto in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona. His Oratorio repertoire includes Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem, FauréRequiem, Duruflé Requiem, Mozart Requiem, OrffCarmina Burana, Handel Messiah and Bach B minor Mass, Magnificat.

He has performed with the London Handel Orchestra, Les Concert des Nations, Hespérion XXI, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has performed all around the world in venues including: Palau de la Música Catalana, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Konzerthaus Vienna, Philharmonie de Paris, and the Barbican Hall. He has collaborated with Jordi Savall, Kazushi Ono, Laurence Cummings and Sigiswald, Kujken and has recorded for Alia-Vox, Columna Música, Phaedra, Discmedi and Musièpoca labels. He is currently a member of the Capaella Reial de Catalunya, conducted by Jordi Savall.

Josep-Ramon was awarded First Prize, as well as the Audience Prize, at the 2015 Handel Singing Competition; Second Prize at the 2013 International Singing Competition ‘Symphonies d’Autômne’ (Mâcon); Second Prize at the 2013 International Singing Competition ‘Germans Pla’ (Balaguer) and Second Prize at the 2011 Concurso Permanente of Juventudes Musicales de España. In 2015 he was nominated for ‘Oxford Lieder Young Artist’, together with pianist Ben-San Lau.

His future plans include The Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Clonter Opera; and Le Jardin des Voix Academy with William Christie and Paul Agnew.

www.gsmd.ac.uk

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):