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Elsewhere

Adriana Lecouvreur Opera Holland Park

Twelve years after Opera Holland Park's first production of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, the opera made a welcome return.

Back to the Beginnings: Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at Iford Opera.

The Italianate cloister setting at Iford chimes neatly with Monteverdi’s penultimate opera The Return of Ulysses, as the setting cannot but bring to mind those early days of the musical genre. The world of commercial public opera had only just dawned with the opening of the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice in 1637 and for the first time opera became open to all who could afford a ticket, rather than beholden to the patronage of generous princes. Monteverdi took full advantage of the new stage and at the age of 73 brought all his experience of more than 30 years of opera-writing since his ground-breaking L’Orfeo (what a pity we have lost all those works) to the creation of two of his greatest pieces, Ulysses and then his final masterpiece, Poppea.

Schoenberg : Moses und Aron, Welsh National Opera, London

Once again, we find ourselves thanking an unrepresentable being for Welsh National Opera’s commitment to its mission. It is a sad state of affairs when a season that includes both Boulevard Solitude and Moses und Aron is considered exceptional, but it is - and is all the more so when one contrasts such seriousness of purpose with the endless revivals of La traviata which, Die Frau ohne Schatten notwithstanding, seem to occupy so much of the Royal Opera’s effort. That said, if the Royal Opera has not undertaken what would be only its second ever staging of Schoenberg’s masterpiece - the first and last was in 1965, long before most of us were born! - then at least it has engaged in a very welcome ‘WNO at the Royal Opera House’ relationship, in which we in London shall have the opportunity to see some of the fruits of the more adventurous company’s endeavours.

Rossini is Alive and Well and Living in Iowa

If you don’t have the means to get to the Rossini festival in Pesaro, you would do just as well to come to Indianola, Iowa, where Des Moines Metro Opera festival has devised a heady production of Le Comte Ory that is as long on belly laughs as it is on musical fireworks.

Gergiev : Janáček Glagolitic Mass, BBC Proms

Composed during just a few weeks of the summer of 1926, Janáček’s Slavonic-text Glagolitic Mass was first performed in Brno in December 1927. During the rehearsals for the premiere - just 3 for the orchestra and one 3-hour rehearsal for the whole ensemble - the composer made many changes, and such alterations continued so that by the time of the only other performance during Janáček’s lifetime, in Prague in April 1928, many of the instrumental (especially brass) lines had been doubled, complex rhythmic patterns had been ‘ironed-out’ (the Kyrie was originally in 5/4 time), a passage for 3 off-stage clarinets had been cut along with music for 3 sets of pedal timpani, and choral passages were also excised.

Donizetti and Mozart, Jette Parker Young Artists Royal Opera House, London

With the conclusion of the ROH 2013-14 season on Saturday evening - John Copley’s 40-year old production of La Bohème bringing down the summer curtain - the sun pouring through the gleaming windows of the Floral Hall was a welcome invitation to enjoy a final treat. The Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Showcase offered singers whom we have admired in minor and supporting roles during the past year the opportunity to step into the spotlight.

Glyndebourne's Strauss Der Rosenkavalier, BBC Proms

Many words have already been spent - not all of them on musical matters - on Richard Jones’s Glyndebourne production of Der Rosenkavalier, which last night was transported to the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time at the Proms that Richard Strauss’s most popular opera had been heard in its entirety and, despite losing two of its principals in transit from Sussex to SW1, this semi-staged performance offered little to fault and much to admire.

Il turco in Italia at the Aix Festival

Twenty years ago stage director Christopher Alden introduced Rossini’s then forgotten comedy to Southern California audiences in a production that is still remembered. In Aix Alden has revisited this complex work that many critics now consider Rossini’s greatest comedy.

First Night of the BBC Proms : Elgar The Kingdom

The BBC Proms 2014 season began with Sir Edward Elgars The Kingdom (1903-6). It was a good start to the season,which commemorates the start of the First World War. From that perspective Sir Andrew Davis's The Kingdom moved me deeply.

Le nozze di Figaro, Munich

One is unlikely to come across a cast of Figaro principals much better than this today, and the virtues of this performance indeed proved to be primarily vocal.

Winterreise and Trauernacht at the Aix Festival

That’s A Winter’s Journey and A Night of Mourning for metteurs-en-scène William Kentridge (South Africa) and Katie Mitchell (Great Britain), completing the clean sweep of English language stage directors for the Aix Festival productions this year.

James Gilchrist at Wigmore Hall

Assured elegance, care and thoughtfulness characterised tenor James Gilchrist’s performance of Schubert’s Schwanengesang at the Wigmore Hall, the cycles’ two poets framing a compelling interpretation of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte.

Music for a While: Improvisations on Henry Purcell

‘Music for a while shall all your cares beguile.’ Dryden’s words have never seemed as apt as at the conclusion of this wonderful sequence of improvisations on Purcell’s songs and arias, interspersed with instrumental chaconnes and toccatas, by L’Arpeggiata.

Nabucco at Orange

The acoustic of the gigantic Théâtre Antique Romain at Orange cannot but astonish its nine thousand spectators, the nearly one hundred meter breadth of the its proscenium inspires awe. There was excited anticipation for this performance of Verdi’s first masterpiece.

Richard Strauss: Notturno

Richard Strauss may be most closely associated with the soprano voice but this recording of a selection of the composer’s lieder by baritone Thomas Hampson is a welcome reminder that the rapt lyricism of Strauss’s settings can be rendered with equal beauty and character by the low male voice.

Saint Louis: A Hit is a Hit is a Hit

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has once again staked claim to being the summer festival “of choice” in the US, not least of all for having mounted another superlative world premiere.

La Flûte Enchantée (2e Acte)
at the Aix Festival

In past years the operas of the Aix Festival that took place in the Grand Théâtre de Provence began at 8 pm. The Magic Flute began at 7 pm, or would have had not the infamous intermittents (seasonal theatrical employees) demanded to speak to the audience.

Ariodante at the Aix Festival

High drama in Aix. Three scenarios in conflict — those of G.F. Handel, Richard Jones and the intermittents (disgruntled seasonal theatrical employees). Make that four — mother nature.

Lucy Crowe, Wigmore Hall

The programme declared that ‘music, water and night’ was the connecting thread running through this diverse collection of songs, performed by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Anna Tilbrook, but in fact there was little need to seek a unifying element for these eclectic works allowed Crowe to demonstrate her expressive range — and offered the audience the opportunity to hear some interesting rarities.

The Turn of the Screw, Holland Park

‘Only make the reader’s general vision of evil intense enough … and his own experience, his own imagination, his own sympathy … will supply him quite sufficiently with all the particulars.


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Recently in Commentary

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22 Dec 2008

Bayerische Staatsoper Announces Program for 2009 Munich Opera Festival

The Bayerische Staatsoper announced its program of the 2009 Munich Opera Festival — the only festival of its kind in the world so rich in tradition, with roots reaching as far back as 1875. »

17 Dec 2008

Keith Jameson — Comprimario Extraordinaire

Most opera-world publicity is accorded star singers, but we take another tack here to look at American tenor Keith Jameson who has made a specialty of character or comprimario parts, while at the same time building a solid reputation as sophisticated musician and actor, a performer who can seize the moment and elevate a role to first rank for the time he is on stage. »

23 Nov 2008

The ‘Colors’ of La Fanciulla

The transition in Giacomo Puccini’s mature period from one autonomous phase to another (although the two are connected by subtle links) is a fact that has been accepted by operatic scholars.  »

17 Nov 2008

Opera in Germany

Following a recent visit to Germany, Wes Blomster surveys the vibrant opera scene in Berlin and Magdeburg.  »

04 Nov 2008

Elektra at Royal Opera House

“Opera directing is very different to theatre directing”, says Charles Edwards, director of Elektra at the Royal Opera House this season. “It has to be the music that motivates you”. For this production, he works with Mark Elder, “an extraordinarily theatrically-minded conductor who sees theatre in everything he hears”. »

23 Oct 2008

Chaslin Chats About Wuthering Heights

Writer Frank Cadenhead discusses Wuthering Heights, the nearly-finished new operatic endeavor by composer Frédéric Chaslin. Cadenhead recently traveled to Valenica, Spain, where Chaslin and librettist Paula Heil Fisher are hard at work on the piece. »

21 Oct 2008

An interview with Scott Lindroth

An interview with Scott Lindroth by Tom Moore »

03 Oct 2008

Korngold opera the “Hair” of its day

Back in the 19th century it was not smoke, but hair that got in one’s eyes. »

03 Oct 2008

Tom Moore Interviews Mark Engebretson

A virtuoso saxophonist, performing internationally, Mark Engebretson is also a composer whose recent works often take place at the interface between the live performer and the computer. »

03 Oct 2008

Tom Moore Interviews Alejandro Rutty

Composer Alejandro Rutty is newly-arrived in North Carolina, where he teaches at UNC Greensboro. »

19 Sep 2008

Pergolesi’s Home Service Really Delivers!

The United States premiere of Pergolesi’s Home Service will be presented by The Chamber Opera of Memphis in cooperation with the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music on Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Harris Concert Hall (3775 Central Ave.). »

18 Sep 2008

Dr. Ulrike Hessler First Woman Appointed Intendant to Semper Oper in Dresden

For the first time in its 169 year history, the Saxonian State Opera — home to world premiere performances of most Richard Strauss and several Wagner operas — has appointed a woman as its General Director. »

17 Sep 2008

Lawrence Brownlee Expands Repertoire in 2008-09 Season

The remarkable Lawrence Brownlee has proven himself to be one of the most prominent bel canto tenors on the international scene. »

14 Sep 2008

Vivica Genaux Focuses on Baroque Repertoire in 2008-09 Season

The 2008-09 season of radiant mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux promises to add further luster to her credentials as one of the world’s leading interpreters of music of the Baroque and bel canto periods. »

08 Sep 2008

“Great Performances” remembers Pavarotti — What remains is the voice.

Luciano Pavoritti died on September 6, 2007. The all-too-ample figure and the fables associated with him are already retreating from memory. »

19 Aug 2008

Singers from South Africa and Sweden win Seattle Wagner Competition

A soprano originally from South Africa and a tenor from Sweden sang their way to top honors in the 2008 International Wagner Competition staged by the Seattle Opera on August 16 in Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, the company's handsome home. »

06 Jul 2008

Opera at the BBC Proms — the world’s biggest Music Festival

London’s musical life shuts down for eight weeks while the Proms reign supreme, and no wonder ! »

02 Jun 2008

A Tribute to Franco Zeffirelli

Among the tributes that came to the legendary Producer, Designer and Director Franco Zeffirelli, in the remaining days of this past March, a little gem of a celebration was held at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble bookstore, on the evening of March 28th. »

28 May 2008

An Interview with Allen Anderson

By Tom MooreComposer Allen Anderson will be familiar to aficionados of contemporary music through various works released on CRI, or those in the Research Triangle through his presence in the new music scene here in North Carolina, where he has taught at UNC since 1996. »

27 May 2008

Books 'n Things

Two excellent books on opera have come to hand, providing many hours of entertaining reading. I combine notice of them with a few thoughts about composer Paul Moravec’s CDs, and his forthcoming opera premiere at Santa Fe Opera in 2009.  »

09 May 2008

Canada’s Brueggergosman makes the most of Mozart

When Toronto’s Opera Atelier asked her to sing Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo Measha Brueggergosman hesitated. »

09 May 2008

Fort Worth Opera Festival features “Angels in America”

In 2007 it was an experiment; now it’s a new summer festival firmly rooted in fertile Texas turf with a bright view of its second season and of the more distant future as well. »

09 May 2008

Spoleto USA revives opera, hall

Operas do not often get a second chance. A new work is premiered and — if it’s a co-commission — it moves on to another company or two. »

21 Apr 2008

Berlin’s “other” opera often stellar

It is, you might say, the little opera that can. True, if it’s size of the budget, the price of tickets and the number of seats that concerns you, the Komische Oper is clearly the third of Berlin’s opera houses. »

17 Feb 2008

Interview with Canadian Mezzo-Soprano, Jean Stilwell, and pianist, Patti Loach

“Quand je vous aimerais? Ma fois, je ne sais pas?” are Carmen’s first words of seduction. »

13 Jan 2008

Tom Moore Interviews Dimitri Cervo

Oct. 25, 2007, Sala Cecilia MeirelesI met the young gaucho composer Dimitri Cervo at the 2003 Bienal of Contemporary Music, where his works for solo flute and strings, Pattapiana [named for Pattapio Silva, a great Brazilian flutist who died tragically young at the beginning of the last century] made quite an impression. »

27 Dec 2007

Houston puts final touches on new Heggie opera

There’s still a hint of jest in the comparison, but it’s not without reason that Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally are mentioned now and then in opera circles as “the Strauss and Hofmannsthal of the 21st century.” »

27 Dec 2007

‘Polish’ Not Change for Santa Fe Opera

Incoming general director of Santa Fe Opera, Charles MacKay, has made clear he is “in the tradition -- I will not be an agent for radical change,” at the celebrated New Mexico summer opera festival, MacKay says. »

26 Dec 2007

Tom Moore Interviews Frederick Carrilho

Composer Frederick Carrilho was born in 1971 in the state of Sao Paulo, and has studied guitar and composition, most recently at UNICAMP in Campinas. His music has been heard at the recent biennial festivals of contemporary music in Rio, with the Profusão V – Toccata making a strong impression at the Bienal of 2007. We spoke in Portuguese. »

28 Nov 2007

Tom Moore Interviews Marisa Rezende

October 23, 2007, Sala Cecilia Meireles, Rio de Janeiro »

28 Nov 2007

Guanajuato Opera a document of Mexican history

What makes the first visit to Guanajuato’s Teatro Juárez breathtaking is the suddenness of the encounter. »

19 Nov 2007

Nikolai Brucher — An Interview

Oct. 25, 2007, Rio de Janeiro. »

11 Nov 2007

José Orlando Alves — An Interview

José Orlando Alves is a young composer, originally from Minas Gerais, but who spent many years in Rio de Janeiro, where he has been active for a decade with the composers’ collaborative, Preludio XXI. »

02 Sep 2007

The Pleasures of Presence — The Small Loudspeakers of Richard Sequerra

In the long ago, when the best source of music reproduction in the home was a handsome piece of furniture, fitted with hidden audio components, and usually called radio-phonographs, my family had one — from Avery Fisher I believe — that had among its controls a switch labeled ‘presence.’ »

28 Aug 2007

An Interview with Canadian mezzo-soprano, Kimberly Barber.

Uncut with Canada’s Mistress of the trouser-role: the multifaceted Kimberly Barber. »

27 Aug 2007

Glimmerglass Opera 2007 — An Overview

Glimmerglass Opera is in a watershed year. With the departure of Paul Kellogg, who had considerable success developing that annual festival, General and Artistic Director Michael Macleod has chosen to begin his tenure with a variation on the usual four-opera-season, namely a thematic collection of pieces based on the “Orpheus” legend. “Don’t look back” is the marketing catch phrase. »

27 Aug 2007

Jan Neckers on Recently Reissued Historicals

Almost thirty years ago a century old tradition ended with the last performance of I Maestri Cantatori. »

20 Aug 2007

Santa Fe Opera in Changing Times

Santa Fe Opera’s announcement August 10 that English-born impresario, Richard Gaddes, General Director of the company since 2001, will retire at the end of season 2008, took the local opera community by surprise. »

16 Aug 2007

The Week that Was for Opera: Santa Fe — Dallas — Denver/St Louis — Toronto

The week just ended was certainly of historic moment in the world of North American opera companies. »

24 Jun 2007

Countertenor David DQ Lee: Winning Hearts and Minds at Cardiff Singer of the World

Perhaps it is a sign that, at last, the countertenor voice has come of age in the hearts and minds of both audiences and the opera establishment. »

17 Jun 2007

New Frocks for Old – Cardiff Singer of the World, 2007

Back in the early 1980’s two good ideas came to fruition: the much-needed new concert hall for Cardiff, capital city of Wales, and plans to hold within it the first “Singer of the World” competition. »

25 May 2007

Opera on the move at Spoleto USA

Charleston, S.C. — For over 20 years it was two operas a season here at Spoleto USA, the all-arts festival brought to this cultural capital of the Old South by Gian Carlo Menotti in 1977. »

20 May 2007

Rising to the occasion – Michael Maniaci saves the day at La Fenice

It is every young opera singer’s dream. »

10 May 2007

SANTA FE TO CHANGE MUSIC DIRECTORS

On May 9th, when Santa Fe Opera finally announced that Alan Gilbert had left his post as Music Director of that company, a long-standing rumor was made official. »

25 Apr 2007

Kelly Kaduce sings Anna Karenina

Robert Gierlach wishes he could rewrite “Anna Karenina,” the Tolstoi whopper turned into an opera by librettist Colin Graham and composer David Carlson. It’s not that Gierlach, who sings Vronsky in the world premiere of the work at Florida Grand Opera on April 28, has misgivings about the author’s artistry; he simply wishes that the story could have a happy ending. »

09 Apr 2007

'Giulio Cesare' at The Met — Two Views

Here are two views of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17), a drama in three acts, performed at The Met on 6 April. »