Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

ETO Autumn 2020 Season Announcement: Lyric Solitude

English Touring Opera are delighted to announce a season of lyric monodramas to tour nationally from October to December. The season features music for solo singer and piano by Argento, Britten, Tippett and Shostakovich with a bold and inventive approach to making opera during social distancing.

Love, always: Chanticleer, Live from London … via San Francisco

This tenth of ten Live from London concerts was in fact a recorded live performance from California. It was no less enjoyable for that, and it was also uplifting to learn that this wasn’t in fact the ‘last’ LfL event that we will be able to enjoy, courtesy of VOCES8 and their fellow vocal ensembles (more below …).

Dreams and delusions from Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper at Wigmore Hall

Ever since Wigmore Hall announced their superb series of autumn concerts, all streamed live and available free of charge, I’d been looking forward to this song recital by Ian Bostridge and Imogen Cooper.

Treasures of the English Renaissance: Stile Antico, Live from London

Although Stile Antico’s programme article for their Live from London recital introduced their selection from the many treasures of the English Renaissance in the context of the theological debates and upheavals of the Tudor and Elizabethan years, their performance was more evocative of private chamber music than of public liturgy.

A wonderful Wigmore Hall debut by Elizabeth Llewellyn

Evidently, face masks don’t stifle appreciative “Bravo!”s. And, reducing audience numbers doesn’t lower the volume of such acclamations. For, the audience at Wigmore Hall gave soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and pianist Simon Lepper a greatly deserved warm reception and hearty response following this lunchtime recital of late-Romantic song.

The Sixteen: Music for Reflection, live from Kings Place

For this week’s Live from London vocal recital we moved from the home of VOCES8, St Anne and St Agnes in the City of London, to Kings Place, where The Sixteen - who have been associate artists at the venue for some time - presented a programme of music and words bound together by the theme of ‘reflection’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny explore Dowland's directness and darkness at Hatfield House

'Such is your divine Disposation that both you excellently understand, and royally entertaine the Exercise of Musicke.’

Paradise Lost: Tête-à-Tête 2020

‘And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven … that old serpent … Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.’

Joyce DiDonato: Met Stars Live in Concert

There was never any doubt that the fifth of the twelve Met Stars Live in Concert broadcasts was going to be a palpably intense and vivid event, as well as a musically stunning and theatrically enervating experience.

‘Where All Roses Go’: Apollo5, Live from London

‘Love’ was the theme for this Live from London performance by Apollo5. Given the complexity and diversity of that human emotion, and Apollo5’s reputation for versatility and diverse repertoire, ranging from Renaissance choral music to jazz, from contemporary classical works to popular song, it was no surprise that their programme spanned 500 years and several musical styles.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields 're-connect'

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields have titled their autumn series of eight concerts - which are taking place at 5pm and 7.30pm on two Saturdays each month at their home venue in Trafalgar Square, and being filmed for streaming the following Thursday - ‘re:connect’.

Lucy Crowe and Allan Clayton join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO at St Luke's

The London Symphony Orchestra opened their Autumn 2020 season with a homage to Oliver Knussen, who died at the age of 66 in July 2018. The programme traced a national musical lineage through the twentieth century, from Britten to Knussen, on to Mark-Anthony Turnage, and entwining the LSO and Rattle too.

Choral Dances: VOCES8, Live from London

With the Live from London digital vocal festival entering the second half of the series, the festival’s host, VOCES8, returned to their home at St Annes and St Agnes in the City of London to present a sequence of ‘Choral Dances’ - vocal music inspired by dance, embracing diverse genres from the Renaissance madrigal to swing jazz.

Royal Opera House Gala Concert

Just a few unison string wriggles from the opening of Mozart’s overture to Le nozze di Figaro are enough to make any opera-lover perch on the edge of their seat, in excited anticipation of the drama in music to come, so there could be no other curtain-raiser for this Gala Concert at the Royal Opera House, the latest instalment from ‘their House’ to ‘our houses’.

Fading: The Gesualdo Six at Live from London

"Before the ending of the day, creator of all things, we pray that, with your accustomed mercy, you may watch over us."

Met Stars Live in Concert: Lise Davidsen at the Oscarshall Palace in Oslo

The doors at The Metropolitan Opera will not open to live audiences until 2021 at the earliest, and the likelihood of normal operatic life resuming in cities around the world looks but a distant dream at present. But, while we may not be invited from our homes into the opera house for some time yet, with its free daily screenings of past productions and its pay-per-view Met Stars Live in Concert series, the Met continues to bring opera into our homes.

Precipice: The Grange Festival

Music-making at this year’s Grange Festival Opera may have fallen silent in June and July, but the country house and extensive grounds of The Grange provided an ideal setting for a weekend of twelve specially conceived ‘promenade’ performances encompassing music and dance.

Monteverdi: The Ache of Love - Live from London

There’s a “slide of harmony” and “all the bones leave your body at that moment and you collapse to the floor, it’s so extraordinary.”

Music for a While: Rowan Pierce and Christopher Glynn at Ryedale Online

“Music for a while, shall all your cares beguile.”

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Stars of Lyric Opera 2017, Millennium Park, Chicago
24 Sep 2017

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.

Stars of Lyric Opera 2017, Millennium Park, Chicago

A review by Salvatore Calomino

 

The Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Lyric Opera Chorus, under the direction of Sir Andrew Davis and Michael Black respectively, provided excellent accompaniment. Indeed, several of the selections showcased the talents of both groups as a significant part of this preview.

Individual segments of the evening’s program were introduced with prefatory comment by Anthony Freud, General Director of Lyric Opera. After a brisk performance of the overture to Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Lauren Snouffer sang Susanna’s recitative and aria, “Giunse alfin il momento … Deh, vieni, non tardar” [“At last the moment approaches … O, come, do not delay”] from Act IV of the opera. Ms. Snouffer’s approach to both introductory lines and the aria shows her command of a wide vocal range. Her voice descends to well-enunciated low notes and rises naturally to a top piano emphasis on “e il mondo tace” [“and the world is still”], both extremes joined with comfortable legato phrasing. Snouffer’s final repeat of “Vieni” toward the close is held with endless urgency as an expression of Susanna’s emotional yearning.

Starting with the second selection individual arias and ensembles focused, in large part, on operas that will be produced in the coming season. From Verdi’s Rigoletto Matthew Polenzabi sang the Duke’s aria, “La donna è mobile” [“Women are fickle”]; he also participated in the Act III quartet, “Un dì, se ben rammentomi … Bella figlia dell’amore” [“One day, if I remember rightly … Fairest daughter of love”], along with J’nai Bridges, Andriana Chuchman, and Anthony Clark Evans. In the first selection Polenzani displayed a practiced diminuendo where appropriate as well as lush variation on the word “pensier.” At times, his notes produced forte were unnecessarily magnified by the system of amplification, an aspect not quite as noticeable in the following quartet. Here the rising and falling lyrical lines sung by Mmes. Bridges and Chuchman were interwoven to suggest the contradictory personalities caught up in a web of love, intrigue, and betrayal.

The brief, touching aria for Liù, “Tu, che di gel sei cinta” [“You who are enclosed in ice“] from Puccini’s Turandot introduced Lyric Opera of Chicago audiences to the voice of Janai Brugger, who will sing this role in January performances of the opera. Brugger’s sense of the role’s pathos was communicated deeply just as top pitches before the final “più” in “Per non vederlo più” [“And I’ll never see him more!”] hung in near magical suspension. Two solo pieces from Charles Gounod’s Faust were presented by Evans and Brugger. The siblings Marguerite and Valentin play vital parts in Gounod’s Faustian adaptation with each character expressing personality or narrative function through an aria. Mr. Evans struck an immediate, heroic pose in his performance of “Avant de quitter ces lieux” [“Before taking leave of these lands”], in which he prays for Marguerite’s protection during his absence in battle. Evans’s performance of the rising line to imitate the spirit of his prayer shows a natural vocal bloom and consistent legato in approach. His repeat of the thematic opening was varied nicely and ended with an authoritative forte pitch. Brugger’s “Jewel Song” from Faust captured the fascination of the innocent maiden, an approach using sensitive modulations in expression and volume, an effective trill, and a dramatically rising close.

The Lyric Opera Chorus sang two excerpts, one from last season’s Eugene Onegin and one from I Puritani in its forthcoming roster. The precise articulation and adaptability of the Chorus under Mr. Black’s direction were evident in these two pieces. In both selections, the Chorus’s responses to public scenes were projected as further comment on orchestral accompaniment.

The final two numbers in the first part of this concert were drawn from Act III of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, with which Lyric Opera will open its 2017-18 season in a new production and collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet. Since the French version of Gluck’s opera will be performed this season, the role of Orphée is here sung by a tenor. Dmitry Korchak performed the noted aria, “J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” [“I have lost my Eurydice”] in spirited voice, at times singing flat to underscore the lament. The line “Quels tourments déchirent mon Coeur!” [“What torments tear apart my heart!”] showed admirable decoration, yet his consistent volume could be modified to suggest greater subtlety in emotional reaction. In the trio, “L’Amour triomphe” [“Amor triumphs”], Korchak was joined by Chuchman and Snouffer who will also perform in the new production. The joy of the resuscitated heroine and the god of Love were proclaimed by the women with appropriate lyrical beauty as the Chorus rounded out the final words.

The second part of the evening’s program included several excerpts to be featured soon as well as some from Lyric Opera’s recent repertoire. Ms. Chuchman sang a striking performance of Norina’s “So anch’io la virtù magica” [“I also know the magic virtue”], indeed this showpiece was one of several highlights of the evening. Chuchman’s instinctive use of rubato at select moments and words chosen for melismatic embellishment were not only authentic bel canto singing but also an etching of the character’s persona whom she portrayed. The selections from Massenet’s Werther included the tenor aria, “Pourquoi me réveiller” and Charlotte’s “Laisse couler mes larmes” [“Allow my tears to flow”], the second piece sung by J’nai Bridges. Ms. Bridges is especially adept at introducing emotional urgency into her portrayals by varying a note’s intensity and pure sound. Here she projected the complexity of Charlotte’s soul-searching by means of such effective sonic extension on several pitches.

The crowd-pleasing duet from Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles was certainly well liked on this occasion as Polenzani and Evans sang at their best, even introducing head tones as a means to vary the higher pitches. The final two selections previewed the new production of Wagner’s Die Walküre which will open later this fall. First Davis conducted the orchestral version of the “Ride of the Valkyries” which, as shown in this exciting performance, functions vividly on a concert’s program. Eric Owens sang Wotan’s solo “Leb’wohl” [“Farewell”] from the conclusion of the opera. Extended notes were held impressively, as the orchestra played more and more softly to suggest the Walküre’s gradual slumber. As a foretaste of much more to come, the final two excerpts augur well for Lyric Opera’s new production of Die Walküre and for the balance of the coming season.

Salvatore Calomino

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):