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 Commentary

Un ballo in maschera at Investec Opera Holland Park: in conversation with Alison Langer

“Sop. Page, attendant on the King.” So, reads a typical character description of the loyal page Oscar, whose actions, in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, unintentionally lead to his monarch’s death. He reveals the costume that King Gustavo is wearing at the masked ball, thus enabling the monarch’s secretary, Anckarstroem, to shoot him. The dying King falls into the faithful Oscar’s arms.

Martin Duncan directs the first UK staging of Offenbach's Fantasio at Garsington

A mournful Princess forced by her father into an arranged marriage. A Prince who laments that no-one loves him for himself, and so exchanges places with his aide-de-camp. A melancholy dreamer who dons a deceased jester’s motley and finds himself imprisoned for impertinence.

Thomas Larcher's The Hunting Gun at the Aldeburgh Festival: in conversation with Peter Schöne

‘Aloneness’ does not immediately seem a likely or fruitful subject for an opera. But, loneliness and isolation - an individual’s inner sphere, which no other human can truly know or enter - are at the core of Yasushi Inoue’s creative expression.

The London Handel Festival and The Royal Opera announce a co-production of Handel’s Susanna starring members of The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme

The London Handel Festival and The Royal Opera today [14 May 2019] announced a co-production of Handel’s oratorio Susanna as part of the 2020 London Handel Festival. The new production, performed in English in the Linbury Theatre [5 - 14 March 2020], will star members and Link Artists from The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. Handel’s Susanna was written for Covent Garden and had its premiere on the site in 1749, but has not been performed at Covent Garden since.

Royal Opera House announces 17 new productions for its 2019/20 Season

The Royal Opera House today launches its 2019/20 Season, unveiling an exciting range of new commissions, world premieres and much-loved revivals, supported by a diverse range of ticketed and free daytime events, activities and festivals for people of all ages. In the first full Season since the completion of the Royal Opera House’s three-year Open Up renovation, The Royal Opera Company unveils a host of innovative new work, with 13 new productions, including two world premieres, in the Season ahead.

In interview with Polly Graham, Artistic Director of Longborough Festival Opera

What links Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Cavalli’s La Calisto? It sounds like the sort of question Paul Gambaccini might pose to contestants on BBC Radio 4’s music quiz, Counterpoint.

Carlo Diacono: L’Alpino

“Diacono himself does not know what musical talent he possesses” – Mascagni

Daniel Kramer to step down as English National Opera’s Artistic Director

Daniel Kramer is to step down as ENO’s Artistic Director at the end of July 2019 in order to focus on directing more opera and theatre full time.

Wexford Festival Opera's award-winning Il bravo to be streamed on ARTE.tv

From 7 pm (CEST), this Sunday 21 April, ARTE, the European public service broadcaster, will stream one of last year’s Wexford Festival Opera productions, Saverio Mercadante’s Il bravo, which was recently named ‘Best Opera Production’ at The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards. Il bravo will be freely available worldwide on ARTE’s digital on-demand culture channel, Arte Concert, as part of ARTE’s 2019 Opera Season, a special online service for lovers of classical music. The opera will subtitled in English, German and French.

Bampton Classical Opera 2019: Stephen Storace - Bride & Gloom (Gli sposi malcontenti)

Newly-wed Casimiro and Eginia hardly seem to be enjoying a state of marital bliss. Why does Eginia sleep on her own, and why is her ex, Artidoro, still hanging around? He now seems to have an eye for the undoubted charms of Casimiro’s sister, Enrichetta - but she’s also attracted the lustful interest of dull and dusty Dr Valente, a man likely to turn nasty if thwarted …

Transylvanian-born mezzo-soprano Eszter Balogh wins the 2019 Handel Singing Competition

Following the final on Saturday 6 April, the Handel Singing Competition announced mezzo-soprano Eszter Balogh as the 2019 winner. Alongside Eszter, the finalists were Patrick Terry (countertenor), David de Winter (tenor) and William Thomas (bass) and the final took place at St George’s, Hanover Square in London in front of a live audience.

English National Opera announces 2019/20 Season

ENO’s 2019/20 season features seven new productions and three revivals, the greatest number of new productions for five years.

Boston Lyric Opera's East Coast Premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale

Anne Bogart directs East Coast premiere of Ruders & Bentley’s take on Margaret Atwood’s novel.

Christina Scheppelmann appointed General Director of Seattle Opera

Scheppelmann heads to the Pacific Northwest following leadership roles in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East

Handel Singing Competition semi-finalists announced

The Handel Singing Competition has announced its 13 semi-finalists who will be competing in the 2019 Competition. The semi-final is due to take place on 5 March at Grosvenor Chapel, and the final is on 6 April at St George’s, Hanover Square - both in front of a live audience. The Competition this year received over 170 applications from all around the world, from 25 countries as far afield as Argentina, Australia, Israel, the United States and Canada.

Longborough Festival Opera founders to receive Wagner Society award

The Wagner Society has announced that Longborough Festival Opera co-founders Martin and Lizzie Graham will receive its prestigious Reginald Goodall Award, which recognises individuals who have been of outstanding service to Wagner and his music.

Six Charlotte Mew Settings: in conversation with composer Kate Whitley

Though she won praise from the literary greats of her day, including Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound and Siegfried Sassoon, the Victorian poet Charlotte Mew (1869-1928) was little-known among the contemporary reading public. When she visited the Poetry Bookshop of Harold Monro, the publisher of her first and only collection, The Farmer’s Bride (1916), she was asked, “Are you Charlotte Mew?” Her reply was characteristically diffident and self-deprecatory: “I’m sorry to say I am.”

"It Lives!": Mark Grey 're-animates' Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

“It lives!” So cries Victor Frankenstein in Richard Brinsley Peake’s Presumption: or the Fate of Frankenstein on beholding the animation of his creature for the first time. Peake might equally have been describing the novel upon which he had based his 1823 play which, staged at the English Opera House, had such a successful first run that it gave rise to fourteen further adaptations of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novella in the following three years.

Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers' Competition 2019

Applications will open on March 1, 2019 for Bampton Classical Opera’s fourth biennial Young Singers’ Competition. The competition was launched in 2013 to celebrate the company’s 20th birthday. It is now well established and identifies, rewards and nurtures some of the country’s most talented young professional singers aged 21-32 and their accompanists.

Independent Opera & Britten Sinfonia celebrate bicentenary of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert's births

To celebrate the bicentenary of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s births in 2019, Independent Opera (IO) and Britten Sinfonia present the first public performance of Joby Talbot’s new cantata A Sheen of Dew on Flowers on Thursday 11 April at the Barbican.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Het Concertgebouw © Emmely Siebrecht
11 Mar 2018

Opera in Amsterdam in 2018-2019

The operatic tradition is not as old in the Netherlands as in other European countries, yet opera is a vital part of the Dutch classical landscape. Both Dutch National Opera & Ballet and the Concertgebouw are in Amsterdam, so the capital gets the lion’s share of the opera on offer.

Opera in Amsterdam in 2018-2019

A commentary by Jenny Camilleri

Above: Het Concertgebouw © Emmely Siebrecht

 

The Nederlandse Reisopera takes its productions on tour across the country and they also perform in Amsterdam, at the Royal Carré Theatre. Smaller touring companies such as Opera Zuid, Opera Trionfo and OPERA2DAY also visit the capital, with increasingly interesting productions and emerging talent. Not all their projects and performing dates for next season are public knowledge yet, but the big companies and venues have all announced their 2019-2018 season. Here’s a look at some of the vocal highlights.

Dutch National Opera (DNO) opens its season, an interesting mix of traditional and modern, with an “old” production, Simon McBurney’s darkly fascinating Die Zauberflöte. For those who have already seen it, there are at least three new casting reasons to return: sopranos Mari Eriksmoen (Pamina) and Kathryn Lewek (Queen of the Night) and tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac (Tamino). Robert Wilson’s minimalistic Madama Butterfly, inspired by Japanese Noh theatre, will also be revived. Russian soprano Elena Stikhina, whose star is on the rise, sings Cio-Cio-San. Two new productions, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, are marked out as family entertainment, with attractive pricing for the under-sixteens. This is the first time DNO is presenting Porgy and Bess and the cast includes Eric Owens, Adina Aaron and Latonia Moore. The Baroque era is served by a new staging of Vivaldi’s biblical oratorio Juditha triumphans. Floris Visser directs and Andrea Marcon conducts. The all-female cast is led by mezzo-soprano Gaëlle Arquez. DNO Principal Conductor Marc Albrecht continues his Wagner series with Tannhaüser in a new production by Christof Loy. In the title role, tenor Daniel Kirch is torn between the Elizabeth of Svetlana Aksenova and the Venus of Ekaterina Gubanova. Co-productions making their way to Amsterdam include Àlex Ollé’s staging of George Enescu’s only opera, Oedipe. Johan Reuter and Sophie Koch are the incestuous couple and Amsterdam audience favorite Violeta Urmana sings the Sphinx. 

In March DNO organizes the Opera Forward Festival (OFF) to explore future directions in opera. Four new or very recent operas are programmed for 2019, including György Kurtág’s setting of Samuel Beckett’s play Fin de partie (Endgame), which gets its world premiere at La Scala in November of this year. For the Holland Festival, which takes place every June, DNO is putting on 15 hours of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s seven-opera cycle LICHT. Spread across three days, the performances are at the Gashouder, a circular industrial space within an old gasworks complex. Also on the Holland Festival programming is a new production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. Daniele Gatti conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO), in their single appearance at DNO, and Olivier Py directs. The cast is yet to be revealed.

The Nederlandse Reisopera kicks off its season with Puccini’s Tosca. As usual, this imaginative company has put together a short but assorted season. Their other two travelling productions will be Erich Korngold’s Die tote Stadt and Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Little Night Music. Amsterdam has to do without staged Verdi next season, but the NTR ZaterdagMatinee series at the Concertgebouw includes a concert version of Nabucco conducted by Giancarlo Andretta. Franco Vassallo sings the title role and Tatjana Serjan is Abigaille. Other operatic matinees include Andrea Marcon conducting Vivaldi’s L’Olimpiade and Mark Elder conducting A village Romeo and Juliet by Frederick Delius. The NTR ZaterdagMatinee season opens with Mussorgsky’s masterpiece Boris Godunov under the leadership of Pablo Heras-Casado.

There are more full-length operas in concert at the Concertgebouw. Barbara Hannigan conducts the LUDWIG ensemble and a cast of young soloists in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. Daniel Harding leads the RCO in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, with Hungarian bass Gábor Bretz as the Duke. The RCO will also perform non-operatic vocal works, including Arthur Honegger’s oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher. The conductor is Stéphane Denève and the cast includes celebrated soprano Christine Goerke. Mariss Jansons conducts Britten’s War Requiem with soloists Elena Stikhina, Mark Padmore and Michael Volle. Antonio Pappano is on the rostrum for the Grande Messe des Morts by Berlioz, with tenor Javier Camarena. Continuing their Eastertide passion tradition, the RCO have invited William Christie to conduct Bach’s St. John Passion. Holland around Eastertime becomes Passionland and there are several other Bach Passion performances, at the Concertgebouw and other venues.

The virtuosic Cecilia Bartoli returns to the Concertgebouw, as she does practically every year, for an evening of Vivaldi. The intimate Concertgebouw Recital Hall hosts great song interpreters such as Sarah Connolly, Simon Keenlyside, Christopher Maltman and Roderick Williams. Soprano Anna Lucia Richter and baritone Georg Nigl perform Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch. Soprano Renée Fleming is also performing a program of French and German songs, but will appear in the Main Hall. Two other American opera stars, Lawrence Brownlee and Michael Spyres, promise an evening of tenorial prowess during a joint program of operatic arias.

The art song series at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ complements the recitals at the Concertgebouw. Next season it features both of Schubert’s great song cycles. Tenor Michael Schade sings Die schöne Müllerin and baritone Florian Boesch takes on Winterreise. Anne Sofie von Otter visits with an intriguing Shakespeare-themed program. The season at this waterside concert hall opens on the 8th of September with a celebration of conductor and composer’s Reinbert de Leeuw’s 80th birthday. Soprano Barbara Hannigan performs Erik Satie’s Socrate. The rest of the program will be a surprise for both De Leeuw and the audience. In May 2019 the Muziekgebouw hosts a festival celebrating the 80th birthday of another Dutch contemporary great, Louis Andriessen, including a staged double bill of his operas Odysseus' Women and Anaïs Nin.

With so much going on, there is a good chance that a visit to Amsterdam can include a classical vocal event somewhere. For those who want to make music the main item on their itinerary, some weeks offer richer pickings. Here are some suggestions.

Season Opener Weekend 7-8 September, 2018:

Friday, September 7: Die Zauberflöte, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 19:30 hrs

Saturday, September 8: Boris Godunov, Concertgebouw at 12:00 hrs

Saturday, September 8: Reinbert de Leeuw 80th Birthday Concert, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ at 20:15 hrs

Midweek Opera 6-7 December, 2018:

Thursday, December 6: Oedipe premiere, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 20:00 hrs

Friday, September 7: Bluebeard’s Castle (+Dvořák’s Piano Concerto), Concertgebouw at 20:15 hrs

Vivaldi 7-9 February, 2019:

Thursday, February 7: Juditha triumphans, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 20:00 hrs

Saturday, February 9: L’Olimpiade, Concertgebouw at 13:00 hrs

Contemporary Opera at the Opera Forward Festival 7-10 March, 2019:

Thursday, March 7: The Second Violinist by Donnacha Dennehy, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ at 21:00 hrs

Friday, March 8: Caruso a Cuba by Micha Hamel, Stadsschouwburg at 20:30 hrs

Saturday, March 9: Girls of the Golden West by John Adams, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 19:30 hrs

Sunday, March 10: Fin de partie by György Kurtág, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 14:00 hrs

Opera and Oratorio May 1-4, 2019:

Wednesday, May 1: Tannhäuser, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 18:30 hrs

Thursday, May 2: Madama Butterfly, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 20:00 hrs

Friday, May 3: Grande Messe des Morts, Concertgebouw at 20:15 hrs

Saturday, May 4: Missa solemnis (Beethoven, conducted by René Jacobs), Concertgebouw at 14:15 hrs

Holland Festival June 1-8 2019:

Saturday, June 1: Die Gezeichneten (Schreker), Concertgebouw at 13:00 hrs

Tuesday, June 4, aus LICHT Part 1, Gashouder, Westergasfabriek at 19:30 hrs

Wednesday, June 5, aus LICHT Part 2, Gashouder, Westergasfabriek at 13:15 hrs

Thursday, June 6, aus LICHT Part 3, Gashouder, Westergasfabriek at 12:30 hrs

Saturday, June 8, Pelléas et Mélisande, Dutch National Opera & Ballet at 19:30 hrs

DNO performances are subtitled in English and Dutch, those of most other opera companies and the NTR ZaterdagMatinee only in Dutch. Printed text translations at concerts and song recitals, when provided, are in Dutch. Buying tickets ahead online is pain free. All venues accept credit cards, allow you to choose your seat and issue e-tickets for printing at home. Single tickets for the coming season at the Concertgebouw go on sale on the 1st of June, 2018. DNO staggers its single ticket sales throughout the season. Detailed information is available on their website. Tickets for the Opera Forward Festival are also sold via DNO. Muziekgebouw aan ‘I IJ single tickets are already on sale. Tour dates for the Nederlandse Reisopera will be published soon. Their website will have links to online ticket sales at the various venues.

Jenny Camilleri

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):