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

Anna Netrebko & Yusif Eyvazov
14 May 2017

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.

Concert Introduces Fine Dramatic Tenor

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Anna Netrebko & Yusif Eyvazov

 

The program opened with a dramatic rendition of the overture to Verdi’s La forza del destino. New to LA Opera, Bignamini’s interpretation included rough, loud chords at the opening followed by smooth legato playing in the overture’s more melodic sections. He drew a great variety of musical color from the ensemble and their sound often reminded me of multicolored Neapolitan ice cream. Thus, he notified California opera lovers that his interpretations are distinctive and architecturally strong.

Ms. Netrebko and Mr. Eyvazev opened with the ecstatic duet that ends Act I of Verdi’s Otello, “Già nella notte densa.” (“Now in the dark night”) The tenor had actually appeared at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion once before, singing the last performance of Pagliacci in the 2015-2016 season. Although not yet well known in the United States, Mr. Eyvazov, a pupil of Franco Corelli, is amassing fans wherever he sings. He has excellent stage presence and a full array of the skills most desired in a dramatic tenor. Ms. Netrebko was no stranger to the Pavilion audience, since she had already sung leading roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, Romeo and Juliette, and Manon at LA Opera. With the music from Otello, Ms. Netrebko and Mr. Eyvazov gave a delightful foretaste of what might some day be a good vehicle for both of them.

Maestro Bignami continued with the overture to Verdi’s early opera, Attila, and Ms. Netrebko began her interpretation of Lady Macbeth. Walking across the stage clad in blood red silk, she showed the predatory nature of her character’s personality as she read Macbeth’s letter. She sang a rousing rendition of the Act I aria, “Vieni t’affretta!” (“ Come, hurry!”) with it’s dramatic coloratura cabaletta “Or tutti sorgete.” (“All of you spirits rise up”) It is unusual for one singer to be able to contend with both the dramatic and florid aspects of the role of Lady Macbeth, but Netrebko handled each with ease.

Mr. Eyvazov countered with another blockbuster: “Ah si ben mio” (“Yes, my love”) and its exciting cabaletta “Di quella pira” (“From this pyre”) from Il Trovatore, which he topped off with a perfectly placed high C. The artists completed the first half of the concert with two selections from Verdi’s 1859 work, Un ballo in maschera: the prelude to Act II and the duet, “Teco io sto” (“I stand with you”). Verdi gave the harp a prominent part in this opera and JoAnn Turovsky played the music from Ballo with glistening silver tones. Ms. Netrebko and Mr. Eyvazov sang Amelia and Riccardo’s love duet with the red hot passion of irresistible attraction.

After the intermission, Mr. Eyvazov offered a complete change of pace with a memorable rendition of “Tu che m’hai preso il cuor” better known as Franz Lehar’s “Dein ist mein ganzes Hertz” (“Yours is my heart alone”) from Das Land des Lächelns. It took a bit of getting used to in Italian, but that melody still went straight to listeners’ hearts. Mo. Bignamini continued with the equally melodic Intermezzo from Macagni’s Cavalleria Ruticana.

Some of the less often performed operas by nineteenth and early twentieth century composers contain great arias. These artists presented memorable performances of arias from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, Catalani’s La Wally, and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. I think many people will want to hear these exquisite pieces again. The finale, the verismo duet of the soon to be guillotined lovers from Giordano’s Andrea Chenier brought thunderous applause from the far reaches of the house.

These singers not only gave of themselves during the planned concert, they continued to be generous with encores. First, Ms. Netrebko sang a sweet and innocent version of Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” (“Dearest daddy”) from Gianni Schicchi, then Mr. Eyvazov sang a full-blooded rendition of “Nessun’dorma” (“None shall sleep”) from the same composer’s Turandot. Together they sang the drinking song, “Libiamo” from Verdi’s La traviata before ending the evening with "Cantami" (“Let’s sing”) by distinguished contemporary Russian composer Igor Krutoy.

Maria Nockin


Musical Selections

Part One (Selections by Giuseppe Verdi)

Overture to La Forza del Destino

“Già nella notte densa” from Otello
Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov

Overture to Attila

“Vieni t’affretta!… Or tutti sorgete” from Macbeth
Anna Netrebko

“Ah, sì ben mio… Di quella pira” from Il Trovatore
Yusif Eyvazov

Act II prelude from Un Ballo in Maschera

“Teco io sto” from Un Ballo in Maschera
Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov

Part Two

“Tu che m’hai preso il cuor” from Das Land des Lächelns (Franz Lehar)
Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov

Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)

“Poveri fiori” from Adriana Lecouvreur (Francesco Cilea)
Anna Netrebko

“L’anima ho stanca” from Adriana Lecouvreur (Francesco Cilea)
Yusif Eyvazov

“Ebben! Ne andrò lontana” from La Wally (Alfredo Catalani)
Anna Netrebko

“Un dì all’azzurro spazio” from Andrea Chénier (Umberto Giordano)
Yusif Eyvazov

Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut (Giacomo Puccini)

“Vicino a te” from Andrea Chénier (Umberto Giordano)
Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov

Encores

"O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi (Giacomo Puccini)
Anna Netrebko

"Nessun dorma" from Turandot (Giacomo Puccini)
Yusif Eyvazov

"Libiamo ne' lieti calici" from La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi)
Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov

"Cantami" (Igor Krutoy)
Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov

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):