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

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.

Superb Schoenberg Gurrelieder - Salonen, Philharmonia, London

Schoenberg Gurrelieder at the Royal Festival Hall, with Esa-Pekka Salonen, demonstrating how well the Philharmonia Orchestra has absorbed Schoenberg's idiom. A blazing performance, formidably dramatic, executed with stunning assurance. Salonen has made his mark on the Philharmonia through in-depth explorations of the 20th century repertoire he loves so well.

An ambitious double-bill by the Royal College of Music

London may have been basking in the golden glow of summer sunshine this week, but things have been darkly gothic on the capital’s opera scene.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Loge and Mime. Rodell Rosel and Dennis Petersen [Photo © Tim Trumble]
18 Apr 2018

Arizona Opera Presents a Glittering Rheingold

On April 6, 2018, Arizona Opera presented an uncut performance of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It was the first time in two decades that this company had staged a Ring opera.

Arizona Opera Presents a Glittering Rheingold

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Loge and Mime (Rodell Rosel and Dennis Petersen)

Photos© Tim Trumble

 

Director Brian Staufenbiel’s production was first seen two years ago at Minnesota Opera. He placed the orchestra on stage with platforms for the singing actors in front of the instrumental musicians.

Rheinmaidens Katrina Galka as Woglinde, Lacy Sauter as Welgunde, and Stephanie Sanchez as Flosshilde, swam in and out of the otherwise-empty orchestra pit. They could not always be seen, but if they were in real water they would sometimes have been invisible as well. As the overture began, projections by David Murakami sprayed across a scrim that provided a background for the Rheinmaidens and Alberich. Water poured down from every angle and Lighting Designer Nicole Pearce’s reflections of sunlight pointed out the precious gold. Costumer Designer Matthew LeFebvre dressed the women in light colors and the men in dark leather.

The green-clad Rheinmaidens worked hard at appearing to swim and dive in the water while singing in exquisite harmony and bantering with Alberich. High soprano Galka is fast becoming a leading lady, and it will be interesting to follow her career. The Alberich, Richard Paul Fink, has been a star performer for many years and it was a joy to watch his keenly-honed interpretation of the dwarf, one of the few creatures who may live on at the end of the final Ring opera, Götterdämerung. Fink sang with dark chocolate tones that made his character seem the embodiment of greed.

Rheinmaidens.pngThe Rheinmaidens

Onstage almost the entire evening, was Rodell Rosel as the tricky fire demigod, Loge. Like fire itself, Loge never stopped moving, changing, and jumping from one place to another. Even his fingers were constantly in motion. A visual artist as well as a fine character tenor, Rosel was a Loge to remember.

Daveda Karanas was a velvet-voiced, soft-edged Fricka who admitted wanting the new castle to bind Wotan closer to her. I wanted to see her ride in her ram-drawn cart, but she did not have one in this production. As the bass-voiced giants, Fasolt and Fafner, Harold Wilson and Zachary James filled the hall with their deep, cavernous sounds. As Erda, Dana Beth Miller did not have the plum-colored low notes often associated with her role, but she got her point of view across to a troubled Wotan.

Mark Delavan’s Wotan is a well known interpretation. He is much more human than any god should be and we love him for it. As the dwarf, Mime, Dennis Petersen was a conniving creature who would never be trustworthy. Bass-baritone Craig Colclough and tenor John Robert Lindsay as Donner and Froh added vocal pizzaz to the gods’ entrance into Valhalla.

The most interesting new voice in this production belonged to Laura Wilde who sang Freia. There is some history behind her role, too. Caroline Whisnant, who sang Freia in the Flagstaff Ring performances, has gone on to a major career singing leading roles in important European houses. Perhaps something like that will happen to Wilde.

Maestro Joseph Rescigno conducted the Arizona Opera Orchestra using the Gotthold Ephraim Lessing orchestral reduction of Wagner’s immense score and the overall sound was magnificent. Occasionally, there was a blip from a horn or a tuba, but these musicians who normally play Verdi, Puccini and Donizetti, rendered Wagner’s dense score with red-hot passion and constant emotional tension. I do hope this entree into the Ring will bring us other Wagner operas in the near future. There is an audience for them in Arizona.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Wotan, Mark Delavan; Loge, Rodell Rosel; Alberich, Richard Paul Fink; Mime, Dennis Petersen; Fricka, Daveda Karanas; Erda, Dana Beth Miller; Fasolt, Harold Wilson; Fafner, Zachary James; Donner, Craig Colclough; Froh, John Robert Lindsay; Freia, Laura Wilde; Woglinde, Katrina Galka; Welgunde, Lacy Sauter; Flosshilde, Stephanie Sanchez; Conductor, Joseph Rescigno; Stage Director and Designer, Brian Staufenbiel; Projection Designer, David Murakami; Costume Designer, Matthew LeFebvre; Lighting Designer, Nicole Pearce.

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):