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 Reviews

Arabella in San Francisco

A great big guy in a great big fur coat falls in love with the photo of the worldly daughter of a compulsive gambler. A great big conductor promotes the maelstrom of great big music that shepherds all this to ecstatic conclusion.

Two falls out of three for Britten in Seattle Screw

The miasma of doom that pervades the air of the great house of Bly seems to seep slowly into the auditorium, dulling the senses, weighing down the mind. What evil lurks here? Can these people be saved? Do we care?

New Hans Zender Schubert Winterreise - Julian Prégardien

Hans Zender's Schuberts Winterreise is now established in the canon, but this recording with Julian Prégardien and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie conducted by Robert Reimer is one of the most striking. Proof that new work, like good wine, needs to settle and mature to reveal its riches.

Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ten years ago, I saw one of the first performances of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Now, Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales give the opera its first United Kingdom production - in an English translation by Amanda Holden from the original Italian: the first time, I believe, that a Dusapin opera has been performed in translation. (I shall admit to a slight disappointment that it was not in Welsh: maybe next time.)

Tosca in San Francisco

The story was bigger than its actors, the Tosca ritual was ignored. It wasn’t a Tosca for the ages though maybe it was (San Francisco’s previous Tosca production hung around for 95 years). P.S. It was an evening of powerful theater, and incidentally it was really good opera.

Fine performances in uneven War Requiem at the Concertgebouw

At the very least, that vehement, pacifist indictment against militarism, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, should leave the audience shaking a little. This performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra only partially succeeded in doing so. The cast credits raised the highest expectations, but Gianandrea Noseda, stepping in for an ailing Mariss Jansons and conducting the RCO for the first time, did not bring out the full potential at his disposal.

The Tallis Scholars at Cadogan Hall

In their typical non-emphatic way, the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips presented here a selection of English sacred music from the Eton Choirbook to Tallis. There was little to ruffle anyone’s feathers here, little in the way of overt ‘interpretation’ – certainly in a modern sense – but ample opportunity to appreciate the mastery on offer in this music, its remoteness from many of our present concerns, and some fine singing.

Dido and Aeneas: Academy of Ancient Music

“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.” Well, the spectral Queen of Carthage atop the poppy-strewn sarcophagus wasn’t quite yet “laid in earth”, but the act of remembering, and remembrance, duly began during the first part of this final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s Purcell trilogy at the Barbican Hall.

Poignantly human – Die Zauberflöte, La Monnaie

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at La Monnaie /De Munt, Brussels, conducted by Antonello Manacorda, directed by Romeo Castellucci. Part allegory, part Singspeile, and very much a morality play, Die Zauberflöte is not conventional opera in the late 19th century style. Naturalist realism is not what it's meant to be. Cryptic is closer to what it might mean.

Covent Garden: Wagner’s Siegfried, magnificent but elusive

How do you begin to assess Covent Garden’s Siegfried? From a purely vocal point of view, this was a magnificent evening; it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this was as fine a cast as you are likely to hear anywhere today.

Powerful Monodramas: Zender, Manoury and Schoenberg

The concept of the monologue in opera has existed since the birth of opera itself, but when we come to monodramas - with the exception of Rousseau’s Pygmalion (1762) - we are looking at something that originated at the beginning of the twentieth century.

ENO's Salome both intrigues and bewilders

Femme fatale, femme nouvelle, she-devil: the personification of patriarchal castration-anxiety and misogynistic terror of female desire.

In the Company of Heaven: The Cardinall's Musick at Wigmore Hall

Palestrina led from the front, literally and figuratively, in this performance at Wigmore Hall which placed devotion to the saints at its heart, with Saints Peter, Paul, Catherine of Alexandria, Bartholomew and the Virgin Mary all musically honoured by The Cardinall’s Musick and their director Andrew Carwood.

Roberto Devereux in San Francisco

Opera’s triple crown, Donizetti’s tragic queens — Anna Bolena who was beheaded by her husband Henry VIII, their daughter Elizabeth I who beheaded her rival Mary, Queen of Scots and who executed her lover Roberto Devereux.

O18: Queens Tries Royally Hard

Opera Philadelphia is lightening up the fare at its annual festival with a three evening cabaret series in the Theatre of Living Arts, Queens of the Night.

O18 Magical Mystery Tour: Glass Handel

How to begin to quantify the wonderment stirred in my soul by Opera Philadelphia’s sensational achievement that is Glass Handel?

Magic Lantern Tales: darkness, disorientation and delight from Cheryl Frances-Hoad

“It produces Effects not only very delightful, but to such as know the contrivance, very wonderful; so that Spectators, not well versed in Opticks, that could see the various Apparitions and Disappearances, the Motions, Changes and Actions, that may this way be presented, would readily believe them super-natural and miraculous.”

A lunchtime feast of English song: Lucy Crowe and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

The September sunshine that warmed Wigmore Street during Monday’s lunch-hour created the perfect ambience for this thoughtfully compiled programme of seventeenth- and twentieth-century English song presented by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall.

O18: Mad About Lucia

Opera Philadelphia has mounted as gripping and musically ravishing an account of Lucia di Lammermoor as is imaginable.

O18 Poulenc Evening: Moins C’est Plus

In Opera Philadelphia’s re-imagined La voix humaine, diva Patricia Racette had a tough “act” to follow ...

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Bampton Classical Opera, Young Singers’ Competition 2017 (Holywell Music Room, Oxford)
21 Nov 2017

Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2017 - Winner Announced

Bampton Classical Opera is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 Young Singers’ Competition is mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard and the runner-up is tenor Wagner Moreira. The winner of the accompanists’ prize, a new category this year, is Keval Shah.

Bampton Classical Opera, Young Singers’ Competition 2017 (Holywell Music Room, Oxford)

Above: Emma Stannard

 

The decision was reached after an exciting final on Sunday 19 November at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford. The adjudicators were renowned British singers Bonaventura Bottone and Jean Rigby. Conductor and accompanist from the Royal Opera House, Paul Wynne Griffiths, was an additional adjudicator in the preliminary rounds.

Emma is awarded £1,500 and Wagner £600. Keval Shah is awarded £500.

This biennial competition was first launched in 2013 to celebrate Bampton Classical Opera’s 20th birthday, and is aimed at identifying the finest emerging singers currently studying or working in the UK. 58 young singers aged between 21 and 32 entered this year’s Competition, and 22 were selected by the judges to progress through to the first (closed) round. From this, six singers were chosen to compete at the public final in the Holywell Music Room. The finalists were Corinne Cowling (soprano), Kamilla Dunstan (mezzo-soprano), Wagner Moreira (tenor), Emma Stannard (mezzo-soprano), Samuel Pantcheff (baritone) and Olivia Warburton (mezzo-soprano).

Emma’s varied programme included ‘Que fais tu blanche tourterelle’ (from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette); Belsatzar, Op.57 (Schumann); ‘Parto, parto’ (from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito); ‘The Highland Balou’ (from Britten’s Charm of Lullabies); ‘Polo’ (from de Falla’s 7 canciones populares españolas).

The judges were impressed with Emma’s overall performance, and her partnership with Keval Shah. Bonaventura Bottone said:

“We were looking for a well-chosen balanced programme where the singers engaged with the text creating the character and atmosphere of the pieces from the outset, sung within their vocal capabilities. Emma fulfilled this criteria in her prize-winning performance.

The balance of her performance was superbly supported by Keval Shah who underpinned Emma's programme with effortless musical poise.”

Emma Stannard recently completed her studies with Royal Academy Opera, under Yvonne Howard and Joseph Middleton. With RAO she performed the roles of Ruggiero (Alcina), Hanna (May Night), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Junon (Orphéeaux enfers). Emma has since performed the role of Minerva in Il ritorno d’UIisse and Pepa in Goyescas for Grange Festival, was a Britten-Pears Young Artist at the Aldeburgh Festival and toured the Verdi Requiem with Merry Opera Company. In January 2018, she will return to MOC as Cherubino in performances of Le nozze di Figaro. She is supported by Help Musicians UK.

Wagner Moreira is a member of Royal Academy Opera where he studies with Richard Berkeley-Steele and Iain Ledingham. He obtained a BMus degree from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and a MA from the Royal Academy of Music. He has performed the roles of Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Oebalus (Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus), Basílio and Don Curzio (Le nozze di Fígaro), Secondo soldato in ( L’incoronazione di Poppea), Goro (Madama Butterfly) and Pluto in Orphée aux nfers. Recent concerts include Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St John Passion.

Keval Shah (winner accompanists' prize) with Emma Stannard (winner Bampton Young Singers' Competition 2017) (1).jpg Keval Shah (winner accompanists' prize) with Emma Stannard (winner Bampton Young Singers' Competition 2017).

Winner of the 2017 Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform, Keval Shah performs extensively as a song accompanist, with recent appearances including Aldeburgh, Edinburgh Fringe, Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder Festivals. He studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music, graduating from both institutions with Distinction, and is currently a Fellow at the Academy. Engagements in 2017/18 include Wolf’s complete Mörike Lieder and Italienisches Liederbuch, and debut recitals at the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and at the Heidelberger Frühling. Keval is an Oxford Lieder Young Artist and a Britten Pears Young Artist, and is grateful for the support of the Winifred Christie Trust, Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Viola Tunnard Memorial Trust.

Looking ahead to 2018, Bampton Classical Opera’s 25th anniversary season opens with a concert on 7th March to celebrate the legendary soprano Nancy Storace. Anglo-Italian soprano Nancy Storace (1765-1817) was renowned for her vocal prowess and remarkable stage presence, enjoying a glittering career across Europe. Recruited for the Emperor Joseph II’s new Italian opera company in Vienna, she came to the notice of the leading composers of the day, above all Mozart who created the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro specifically for her. Bampton Classical Opera marks the bicentenary of her death with an appealing concert of music associated with her, including arias sung by rising star Jacquelyn Stucker, currently a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera.

BCO’s summer production will be Nicolo Isouard’s Cinderella, the hugely popular predecessor to Rossini’s version, thereby continuing Bampton’s remarkable exploration of rarities from the classical period. Isouard died in Paris in 1818 and so this new production also marks his bicentenary. Born in Malta in 1773, Isouard was renowned across Europe, composing around 42 operas, many of which were published and widely performed. As a young man and following the success of his first operas which were performed in Italy, Isouard became director of the Teatru Manoel in Valletta, Malta. Moving to Paris in 1799, Cendrillon of 1810 was one of his many successes at the Opéra-Comique and was performed across Europe to huge acclaim, and especially in Germany and Austria, until knocked off its perch by Rossini’s La Cenerentola in 1817.

Cendrillon is designated as an Opéra Féerie, and is in three acts, to a libretto by Charles Guillaume Etienne, after the fairy-tale by Charles Perrault. The Bampton production will be sung in a new English translation by Gilly French and Jeremy Gray. With his gifts for unaffected melody, a sharp sense of parody in the music for the step-sisters, several appealing ensembles and always beguiling orchestration, Isouard’s Cinderella is ripe for rediscovery. Performances will be conducted by Harry Sever and directed by Jeremy Gray:

The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire: Friday, Saturday 20, 21 July 2018
The Orangery Theatre, Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire: Monday 27 August 2018
St John’s Smith Square, London: Tuesday 18 September 2018

http://www.bamptonopera.org/

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):