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

Dido in Deptford: Blackheath Halls Community Opera

Polly Graham’s vision of Dido and Aeneas is earthy, vigorous and gritty. The artistic director of Longborough Festival Opera has overseen a production which brings together professional soloists, students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and a cast of more than 80 south-east London adults and children for this, the 12th, annual Blackheath Halls Community Opera.

Summer madness and madcap high jinxs from the Jette Parker Young Artists

The operatic extracts which comprised this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance seemed to be joined by a connecting thread - madness: whether that was the mischievousness of Zerbinetta’s comedy troupe, the insanity of Tom Rakewell, the metaphysical distress of Hamlet, or the mayhem prompted by Isabella’s arrival at Mustafà’s Ottoman palace, the ‘insanity’ was equally compelling.

Mascagni's Isabeau rides again at Investec Opera Holland Park

There seemed to me to be something distinctly Chaucerian about Martin Lloyd-Evans’ new production of Mascagni’s Isabeau (the first UK production of the opera) for Investec Opera Holland Park.

The 2018 BBC Proms opens in flamboyant fashion

Anniversaries and commemorations will, as usual, feature significantly during the 2018 BBC Proms, with the works of Leonard Bernstein, Claude Debussy and Lili Boulanger all prominently programmed during the season’s myriad orchestral, vocal and chamber concerts.

Banff’s Hell of an Orphée+

Against the Grain Theatre brought its award winning adaptation of Gluck’s opera to the Banff Festival billed as “an electronic baroque burlesque descent into hell.”

A Choral Trilogy at the Aix Festival

What Seven Stones (the amazing accentus / axe 21), and Dido and Aeneas (the splendid Ensemble Pygmalion) and Orfeo & Majnun (the ensemble [too many to count] of eleven local amateur choruses) share, and virtually nothing else, is spectacular use of chorus.

Vintage Audi — Parsifal, Kaufmann, Pape

From the Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich, Wagner Parsifal with a dream cast - René Pape, Jonas Kaufmann and Nina Stemme, Christian Gerhaher and Wolfgang Koch, conducted by Kirill Petrenko, directed by Pierre Audi. The production is vintage Audi - stylized, austere, but solidly thought-through.

Flight Soars High in Des Moines

Jonathan Dove’s innovative opera Flight is being lavished with an absolutely riveting new production at Des Moines Metro Opera’s resoundingly successful 2018 Festival.

Fledermaus Pops the Cork in Iowa

Like a fizzy bottle of champagne, Des Moines Metro Opera uncorked a zesty tasting of Johan Strauss’s vintage Die Fledermaus (The Bat).

A spritely summer revival of Falstaff at the ROH

Robert Carson’s 2012 ROH Falstaff is a bit of a hotchpotch, but delightful nevertheless. The panelled oak, exuding Elizabethan ambience, of the first Act’s gravy-stained country club reeks of the Wodehouse-ian 1930s, but has also has to serve as the final Act’s grubby stable and the Forest of Windsor, while the central Act is firmly situated in the domestic perfection of Alice Ford’s 1950s kitchen.

Down on the Farm with Des Moines’ Copland

Ingenious Des Moines Metro Opera continued its string of site-specific hits with an endearing production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land on the grounds of the Maytag Dairy farm.

Des Moines’ Ravishing Rusalka

Let me get right to the point: This is the Rusalka I have been waiting for all my life.

L'Ange de feu (The Fiery Angel)
in Aix

Prokofiev’s Fiery Angel is rarely performed. This new Aix Festival production to be shared with Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki exemplifies why.

Ariane à Naxos (Ariadne auf Naxos) in Aix

Yes, of course British stage director Katie Mitchell served up Richard Strauss’ uber tragic Ariadne on Naxos at a dinner table. Over the past few years Mme. Mitchell has staged quite a few household tragedies at the Aix Festival, mostly at dinner tables, though some on doorsteps.

The Skating Rink: Garsington Opera premiere

Having premiered Roxanna Panufnik’s opera Silver Birch in 2017 as part of its work with local community groups, Garsington Opera’s 2018 season included its first commission for the main opera season. David Sawer's The Skating Rink premiered at Garsington Opera this week; the opera is based on the novel by Chilean writer Roberto Bolano with a libretto by playwright Rory Mullarkey.

Madama Butterfly at the Princeton Festival

The Princeton Festival brings a run of three high-quality opera performances to town each summer, alternating between a modern opera and a traditional warhorse. John Adams’ Nixon in China has been announced for next summer. So this year Princeton got Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, for which the Festival assembled an impressive cast and delivered a polished performance.

‘Schiff’s Surprise’: Haydn

Many of the ingredients for a memorable concert were there, or so they initially seemed to be. Alas, ultimately what we learned more clearly than anything else was that the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s new Principal Artist, András Schiff, is no conductor.

Recital of French song from Véronique Gens and Susan Manoff

It came as quite a surprise throughout much of the first half of this recital of French song, that it was the piano-playing of Susan Manoff that made the greater impression upon me than the singing of Véronique Gens.

Pelléas et Mélisande: Glyndebourne Festival Opera

What might have been? Such was a thought that came to my mind more than once during this, the premiere of Glyndebourne’s new Pelléas et Mélisande. What might have been if Stefan Herheim had not changed his Konzept so late in the day? (I had actually forgotten about that until reminded during the interval, yet had already began to wonder whether the production had been, especially for him, unusually rushed.)

Mozart: Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House

There is something very Danish about this Don Giovanni. It isn’t just that the director, Kasper Holten is a Dane, it’s also that the existential, moral and psychological questions Holten asks point to Kierkegaard who wrote of the fusion of the erotic and demonic in this opera in his work Either/Or (1843). However, I’ve rarely, if ever, encountered a production of Don Giovanni - even Bieito’s notorious one for ENO - where Mozart comes off as second best.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

29 Aug 2017

Rossini’s Torvaldo e Dorliska in Pesaro

The rare and somewhat interesting Rossini! Torvaldo e Dorliska (1815) comes just after Elisabetta, Regina di Ingleterra (the first of his nineteen operas for Naples) — a huge success, and just before Il barbiere di Siviglia in Rome — a failure.

Torvaldo e Dorliska in Pesaro

A review by Michael Milenski

Above: Nicola Alaimo as the Duke of Orlow, Salome Jicia as Dorliska [All courtesy of the Rossini Opera Festival]

 

Already before Torvaldo e Dorliska Rossini had three of his major comedies under his belt (La pietra del paragone, L’italiana in Algeri and Il turco in Italia) and two successful tragedies (Tancredi and Elisabetta).

But Torvaldo e Dorliska is a dramma semiseria — a horse of a quite different color. The genre can stretch finally into operas like maybe Don Giovanni and Rigoletto, but in Rossini’s oeuvre it did not engender any enduring Rossini masterpieces, as have comedy and tragedy — the 2015 Pesaro production of La Gazza Ladra, Rossini's only other semiseria, directed by Damiano Michieletto, definitively finished off its bid for masterpiece status.

Strict semiseria genre norms require a basso buffo, and Torvaldo and Dorliska obliges with the Duke of Ordow, played just now by none other than Nicola Alaimo, Pesaro’s recent William Tell. Mr. Alaimo is a performer of stature and of great presence, and is a powerful singer who evokes sympathy. These attributes confused this current Pesaro edition of,Torvaldo e Dorliska (a remount of its 2006 production directed by Mario Martone).

Torvaldo_Pesaro2.pngSalome Jicia as Dorliska, Dmitry Korchak as Torvaldo

The Duke of Ordow is smitten by Dorliska, recently married to Torvaldo whom the Duke assumes his thugs have murdered. Not so. The wounded Torvaldo is taken into the Duke’s castle by its gatekeeper. Meanwhile Dorliska, abducted into the castle, is slapped around by the Duke to try to get her to marry him. Everyone rebels against the Duke for various reasons and he is led off to prison.

After all that we were quite confused as we had come to like Mr. Alaimo even though everyone on stage hated him.

Director Mario Martone and his designer Sergio Tramonti set this Polish tale somewhere with lots of thick foliage, all the better to mask his thugs as they came and went, and finally hide the revolutionaries as well. The setting had all the atmospheres of incipient Romanticism. But Rossini’s libretto was largely a farce of the type that plays best under bright lights.

Besides the un-Romantic brutal slapping of Dorliska Mr. Martone offered some extreme, un-Romantic schtick as well — Ormondo, the Duke’s lieutenant climbs a tree singing his aria, and falls out still singing (he was caught by his friends), and as the revolutionary movement gained momentum thousands of "Viva Rossini" leaflets rained down upon us from the auditorium's rafters.

Torvaldo_Pesaro3.pngThe entire cast in the Act II finale

As usual in Pesaro there were fine singers who created this evening of pure delight. Of particular note was young Georgian soprano Salome Jicia as Dorliska who raged and spat in secure Rossinian language, and Russian tenor Dmitry Korchak who delivered Torvaldo with aplomb though missing was an innocence and charm we might have liked in this young lover. Pesaro regular, bass Carlo Lepore convinced us as the duplicitous gatekeeper (we sympathized with his employer). A former participant in the Pesaro’s Accademia Rossiniana, baritone Filippo Fontana was the soldier who fell out of the tree singing.

The greatest pleasures of the evening were being in the Teatro Rossini, a typical Italian horseshoe theater of perfect size for minor Rossini, the able orchestral playing of the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini under conductor Francesco Lanzillotta who found the real Rossini, and most of all it was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to explore the ideals and the potential of opera semiseria in this production of undeniable charm.

Michael Milenski


Cast and production information:

Duca d’Ordow: Nicola Alaimo; Dorliska: Salome Jicia; Torvaldo: Dmitry Korchak; Giorgio: Carlo Lepore; Carlotta: Raffaella Lupinacci; Ormondo: Filippo Fontana. Coro del Teatro della Fortuna M. Agostini; Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini. Conductor: Francesco Lanzillotta; Regia: Mario Martone; Scene: Sergio Tramonti; Costumi: Ursula Patzak; Luci: Cesare Accetta. Teatro Rossini, Pesaro, August 18, 2017.

Michael Milenski


Cast and production information:

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):