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The Barber of Seville, ENO London

This may be the twelfth revival of Jonathan Miller’s 1987 production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville for English National Opera, but the ready laughter from the auditorium and the fresh musical and dramatic responses from the stage suggest that it will continue to amuse audiences and serve the house well for some time to come.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Bostridge, Barbican London

The third and final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s survey of Monteverdi’s operas at the Barbican began and ended in darkness; the red glow of the single candle was an apt visual frame for a performance which was dedicated to the memory of the late Andrew Porter, the music critic and writer whose learned, pertinent and eloquent words did so much to restore Monteverdi, Cavalli and other neglected music-dramatists to the operatic stage.

English Touring Opera - Debussy, Massenet and Offenbach

English Touring Opera’s recent programming has been ambitious and inventive, and the results have been rewarding. We had two little-known Donizetti operas, The Siege of Calais and The Wild Man of the West Indies, in spring 2015, while autumn 2014 saw the company stage comedy by Haydn (Il mondo della luna) and romantic history by Handel (Ottone).

Boesch and Martineau Schubert Complete Songs, Wigmore Hall, London

The Wigmore Hall's complete Schubert Songs series of 40 concerts began with a recital by Florian Boesch and Graham Johnson. (Read my review here). If anything, though, the second concert, where Boesch was accompanied by Malcolm Martineau, was even better. The programme was beautifully planned, and the performance exceptional, even by the very high standards of the Wigmore Hall.

Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - ENO London

It took artistic courage to choose Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtensk to start the ENO's 2015-2016 season. Shostakovich isn't an easy sell, and so full of sex and violence that some minds - like Josef Stalin - would be aghast. But Mark Wigglesworth is passionate about Shostakovich , and as new Music Director of the ENO, he's making a point. Good opera needs artistic vision.

Berg Wozzeck Fabio Luisi Zurich Opera

Zurich Opera brought Alban Berg Wozzeck to the Royal Festival Hall, London . Fabio Luisi conducted Philharmonia Zurich and a very good cast in a concert performance. With all pretence at staging removed (apart from natural good acting) we could focus on the sheer musical audacity of Berg's writing, and pick up on the processes the music employs to create the drama.

“Nessun Dorma — The Puccini Album”

Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.

Verismo Double Header in Los Angeles

LA Opera got its season off to an auspicious beginning with starry revivals of Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci.

Viva Verdi at Opera Las Vegas

On September 9, 2015, Opera Las Vegas presented James Sohre’s production of Viva Verdi at the Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. It was a delightful evening of arias, duets and ensembles by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). The program included many of the composer’s blockbuster arias and scenes from famous operas such as Aida, La traviata, and Macbeth.

Barbera Sings a Fascinating Recital in San Diego

On Saturday, September 19, San Diego Opera opened its 2015-2016 season with a recital by tenor René Barbera. This was the first Polly Puterbaugh Emerging Artist Award Recital and no artist could have been more deserving than the immensely talented Barbera.

Sweeney Todd at the San Francisco Opera

Did the iconic “off-beat” and “serious” American musical hold the stage of the War Memorial Opera House? The excited audience (standees three deep) thought so and roared their appreciation.

Sondra Radvanovsky Stars in the Title Role of Anna Bolena

The First of Three Donizetti Queens She Will Sing at the Met This Season

Wigmore Hall Complete Schubert Song Series begins with Boesch and Johnson

The Wigmore Hall, London, has launched Schubert : The Complete Songs, a 40-concert series to run through the 2015 and 2016 seasons. There have been Schubert marathons before, like BBC Radio 3's all-Schubert week and The Oxford Lieder Festival's Schubert series last year, but the Wigmore Hall series will be a major landmark because the Wigmore Hall is the Wigmore Hall, the epitome of excellence.

Honegger: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher

Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne dArc au bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc

Luisa Miller in San Francisco

Luisa Miller sits on the fringes of the repertory, and since its introduction into the modern repertory in the 1970’s it comes around every 15 or so years. Unfortunately this 2015 San Francisco occasion has not bothered to rethink this remarkable opera.

Salieri: La grotta di Trofonio (Trofonio’s Cave)

Demonised by Pushkin and Peter Shaffer, Antonio Salieri lives in the public imagination as the embittered rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — whose genius he lamented and revered in equal measure, and against whom he schemed and plotted at the Emperor Joseph II’s Viennese court.

Chicago Lyric’s Stars Shine at Millennium Park

The annual concert given by Lyric Opera of Chicago as an outdoor event previewing the forthcoming season took place on 11 September 2015 at Millennium Park.

Far in the Heavens — Choral Music of Stephen Paulus

Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.

For Odyssey Opera, No Operatic Challenge is Too Great

For a company founded in 2013, Odyssey Opera has an astounding track record. To take on Korngold’s Die tote Stadt is ambitious enough, but to do so within only a year of the company’s founding seems almost single-minded.

Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice

Orpheus — that Greek hero whose songs could enchant both deities and beasts, whose lyre has become a metaphor for the power of music itself, and whose journey to the Underworld to rescue his wife, Eurydice, kick-started the art of opera in Mantua in 1607 — has been travelling far and wide around the UK in 2015.



Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role of Donizetti's Anna Bolena. [Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.]
24 Sep 2015

Sondra Radvanovsky Stars in the Title Role of Anna Bolena

The First of Three Donizetti Queens She Will Sing at the Met This Season »

Recently in Commentary

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06 Dec 2010

Rodney Waschka — An Interview

Rodney Waschka is a professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where his multifarious activities are fundamental to the presence of contemporary music in the state.  »

18 Nov 2010

Stellan Sagvik: An Interview

Swedish composer Stellan Sagvik is a protean figure with a large and diverse body of work ranging from works for solo flute (most recently written for his wife, Kinga Práda), to chamber music — five string quartets, with another on the way, and symphonies, operas and choral music.  »

07 Nov 2010

New Adriana Lecouvreur in London — Alessandro Corbelli

A completely new production of Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur is coming to the Royal Opera House, London.  »

03 Nov 2010

Overture to London’s Handel Festival 2011

The small but perfectly formed Grosvenor Chapel in London’s exclusive Mayfair was the venue last Monday night for a programme of Handel vocal and instrumental music of considerable quality — if minimal quantity.  »

03 Nov 2010

Marcela Pavia — An Interview

Composer Marcela Pavia was born and raised in Rosario, Argentina, and comes from a family of Italian immigrants.  »

13 Oct 2010

Joan Sutherland: My Starter Diva

I was sixteen and knew nothing about opera, had just seen my first Traviata at the City Opera (Patricia Brooks, Placido Domingo), was entranced by the melodies — especially the Brindisi and “Sempre libera” — and wanted more.  »

10 Oct 2010

Oxford Lieder Festival 2010

The Oxford Lieder Festival is small, but is extremely important. It's quite an achievement, extremely well organized and comprehensive, a model for intelligently-presented festivals of any kind.  »

24 Sep 2010

Pierre Jalbert: An Interview

Composer Pierre Jalbert (b.1967), of French Canadian ancestry, was born and raised in northern New England, and studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with George Crumb.  »

13 Sep 2010

Kate Lindsey: An Interview

This season Santa Fe Opera offered new productions that ranged from standard repertoire (Madame Butterfly and The Magic Flute) to a world premiere (Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream) with The Tales of Hoffmann and Albert Herring falling somewhere amidst.  »

13 Sep 2010

Bruce Adolphe: An Interview

Bruce Adolphe, born and raised in the New York area, a student of composition at Juilliard in the sixties and seventies, has an impressive body of work commissioned by artists known on every continent, and was chosen by the Music Library Association to write a piece for brass (Triskelion) marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Association, premiered by the American Brass Quintet at the national meeting in Indianapolis in February, 1991.  »

12 Sep 2010

Mohammed Fairouz: An Interview

As one of the most sought after composers of the young generation, Mohammed Fairouz has many commissions and a substantial body of work, and maintains a busy performance schedule. »

09 Sep 2010

Jacques Imbrailo, Malatesta at the Royal Opera House

Jacques Imbrailo sings Dr Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at the Royal Opera House, London »

24 Aug 2010

Robert Baksa — An Interview by Tom Moore

Robert Baksa is a name that is well-known to lovers of contemporary chamber music, with a hundred chamber works to his credit.  »

07 Jul 2010

Daniel Catán: An Interview by Maria Nockin

“You want to frame the voice in such a way that it shines.”— Daniel Catán »

01 Jul 2010

Baritone Austin Kness on his way

Baritone Austin Kness, an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera recently spoke with Opera Today critic Michael Milenski.  »

28 Jun 2010

Jay Reise: An Interview by Tom Moore

Jay Reise is one of the senior musical figures in Philadelphia, serving on the composition faculty of the University of Pennsylvania since 1980.  »

19 Jun 2010

Christine Brewer: An Interview by Maria Nockin

On 7 June 2010, I spoke with Christine Brewer who was enjoying a relatively free week at her home near St. Louis, Missouri, after long months of air travel between concerts, recitals and operatic performances.  »

17 Jun 2010

Polishing Gemstones — Jette Parker Young Artists

Opera stars are made as well as born. The Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists Programme shapes the stars of the future.  »

07 Jun 2010

Jurgita Adamonytė: An Interview

‘Focussed and pure of tone’, ‘beautifully steady’, ‘pure clarity and note perfection’ — just some of the accolades bestowed on the Lithuanian mezzo soprano Jurgita Adamonytė for her recent performances of Mozart.  »

04 Jun 2010

Aris Argiris debuts as Escamillo in the Royal Opera House's Carmen

Aris Argiris makes his debut at Covent Garden as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. But this is unusually high-profile because it's a first, being filmed in 3D. »

03 Jun 2010

Olja Jelaska: An Interview by Tom Moore

Olja Jelaska (b. 1967) is an important figure in the younger generation of composers from Croatia.  »

01 Jun 2010

Juan Trigos: An Interview by Tom Moore

Juan Trigos, composer and conductor, was born and raised in Mexico City, where his father, also Juan Trigos, is a noted playwright and novelist.  »

18 May 2010

Robert Maggio — An Interview by Tom Moore

Composer Robert Maggio is professor of composition at West Chester University (in suburban Philadelphia).  »

17 May 2010

Elena Ruehr: An Interview by Tom Moore

According to her web site, Elena Ruehr has been called a “composer to watch” by Opera News, and her music has been described as “stunning...beautifully lighted by [a] canny instinct for knowing when and how to vary key, timbre, and harmony” by The Boston Globe. »

03 May 2010

Central City: the little opera company that can

You don’t have to be Asian to sing Madama Butterfly, but if you’ve got a top soprano from that part of the world, it adds another dimension of reality to Puccini’s tear-drenched verismo.  »

24 Apr 2010

Shadowboxer, the opera

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland — College Park is presenting Shadowboxer, an opera based on the life of Joe Louis, with music composed by Frank Proto to a libretto by John Chenault. »

22 Apr 2010

Stephen Jaffe: an Interview by Tom Moore

Composer Stephen Jaffe is the Mary and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition at Duke University. We spoke in his office there in Durham NC on June 25, 2007. »

22 Apr 2010

Micaela Carosi sings Aida in a new production at the Royal Opera House, London

Micaela Carosi, the Verdi specialist, has created Aida many times, so she’s closely attuned to the role. The new production, at the Royal Opera House, London, though, is different. “It’s like singing Aida for the first time”, she says, her eyes sparkling. »

20 Apr 2010

Osmo Tapio Räihälä: An interview by Tom Moore

Osmo Tapio Räihälä is a Finnish composer of contemporary music, and was the founder of Uusinta, a collaborative group of composers and musicians. »

10 Apr 2010

Lance Hulme: An interview by Tom Moore

Composer Lance Hulme studied composition at the University of Minnesota, Yale University, and the Eastman School of Music, and returned to the United States recently, where he lives presently in Greensboro, North Carolina, after two decades in Mitteleuropa, where he founded and directed the contemporary music ensemble Ensemble Surprise.  »

10 Apr 2010

Anna Weesner: An interview by Tom Moore

Anna Weesner is an American composer who grew up in rocky New Hampshire, and now teaches in historic Philadelphia.  »

10 Apr 2010

Timothy Andres: An interview by Tom Moore

Composer and pianist Timothy Andres is in his mid-twenties, with an impressive catalog of works to his credit, many of which can be heard at his website.  »

03 Mar 2010

Sophia Serghi — An Interview

Composer Sophia Serghi is presently professor of music at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she has taught since 1998, with two years away in 2000-2002. »

28 Feb 2010

Kurt Streit takes on Tamerlano, Royal Opera House, London

Kurt Streit is singing Bazajet in all performances of Handel’s Tamerlano at the Royal Opera House, London. Placido Domingo, who was to have sung five of the seven performances, pulled out suddenly due to illness.  »

10 Feb 2010

Gabriela Ortiz — An Interview

Composer Gabriela Ortiz studied composition in Mexico City with Mario Lavista at the National Conservatory of Music, at the Guildhall School with Robert Saxton, and at the University of London with Simon Emmerson.  »

25 Jan 2010

Kerry Andrew — An Interview

Kerry Andrew is a young British composer who seems to have her finger in an astounding number of pies, from modern sacred choral music to alt-folk, and including vocal chamber ensemble music and jazz. We talked via Skype on Jan. 12, 2010.  »

18 Jan 2010

Neal Goren of Gotham Chamber Opera: An Interview

The thing you need in order to start an arts organization, even more than a great deal of money, is a whirlwind – an individual with unstoppable energy who can put it all together and keep it working through thin times and thick.  »

13 Jan 2010

Collection of Italian Opera Libretti Now Accessible at Harry Ransom Center

AUSTIN, Texas — A major collection of Italian opera libretti is now accessible through an online database at the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.  »

08 Jan 2010

An interview with Hilary Hahn

American violinist Hilary Hahn has entered her fourth decade, having turned thirty last year, and for her eleventh disc she takes on a collaborative role, as obbligatist in a program of Bach cantata arias with soprano Christine Schäfer and baritone Matthias Goerne, accompanied by the Münchener Kammerorchester under the direction of Alexander Liebreich.  »

07 Jan 2010

An Interview with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon

Composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon is presently on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he and colleague Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez played in a rock and roll band together.  »

25 Dec 2009

An Interview with William Price

Composer William Price was born in Missouri (1971) and raised in Alabama, where he is presently professor of music theory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  »

17 Dec 2009

An Interview with John Fitz Rogers

John Fitz Rogers is presently an associate professor of composition at the University of South Carolina School of Music.  »

04 Nov 2009

The 18th Bienal of Contemporary Brazilian Music, 2009

Rio de Janeiro, which has had a string of winning luck in recent days — not only will it host the 2014 World Cup of soccer, but also the 2016 Olympic Games — continues a laudable and venerable tradition in the arts — the Biannual Festival of Contemporary Brazilian Music, now in its 18th edition.  »

26 Oct 2009

An Interview with Ileana Perez-Velazquez

An Interview with Ileana Perez-VelazquezBy Tom Moore  »

11 Oct 2009

Oxford Lieder - Britain's top Song Festival

In the autumn, Oxford is especially beautiful. The ancient colleges are swathed in scarlet vines, and the mellow evening light creates great atmosphere. For those who love art song, though, the best reason for visiting Oxford at this time of year is the Oxford Lieder Festival, which starts October 16th 2009. »

06 Oct 2009

Imogen Cooper's Birthday at the Wigmore Hall

This wasn't an ordinary concert but something very special. The Wigmore Hall was honouring Imogen Cooper on her 60th birthday. She is greatly loved here, both as soloist and as partner in song recitals. The atmosphere was electric. The house was packed, with many famous pianists and singers in the audience. It was a historic occasion, but it felt like a party among friends. »