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Elsewhere

Rameau Grand Motets, BBC Proms

Best of the season so far! William Christie and Les Arts Florissants performed Rameau Grand Motets at late night Prom 17. Perfection, as one would expect from arguably the finest Rameau interpreters in the business, and that's saying a lot, given the exceptionally high quality of French baroque performance in the last 40 years.

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.


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05 May 2005

In the News: Future of La Scala; Die Fledermaus in Philly; La Clemenza di Tito in London; Reinaldo Arenas as Opera; The Undiscovered

PARIS For all the poison and politics that accompanied the recent management meltdown at La Scala, Stéphane Lissner never hesitated last month when he was invited to become the first non-Italian in 227 years to run the legendary Milan opera house. Before accepting the job, though, he did call one old friend, the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. »

03 May 2005

An Interview with Angela Brown

Plunged in the deep waters of a serious opera career, Angela Brown is ready for the challenge. “It happened when it needed to…it’s God’s time; any earlier I wouldn’t be prepared.” After her pivotal substitution as Aida for the Metropolitan this fall, more companies and directors are taking notice. She now takes on the role of Cilla in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner, premiering at the Michigan Opera Theater this May. Brown admits the increase in attention has been an adjustment, but her full schedule is old hat. “I have always been a very busy singer,” says Brown, “I’ve been concentrating on covering [roles] a lot, but now I get to really do it!” »

01 May 2005

Pope Benedict XVI on Music and Liturgy

Pope Benedict XVI is a pianist with a penchant for Mozart, which he is said to find more manageable than Brahms, given the limited amount of time he has to practice. (Until his election, he was one of the busiest cardinals in his role as chief interpreter and enforcer of doctrine.) His brother, a priest, was a church Kapellmeister. The Ratzinger boys were born in the part of Bavaria long under the influence of Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace. »

28 Apr 2005

A Profile of Corrado Rovaris

Peering out onto Broad Street from a poster in front of the Academy of Music, conductor Corrado Rovaris seems too young to be so intense. At almost 40, his face is boyish, his hairline unreceded. But the eyes behind the glasses are penetrating. »

26 Apr 2005

Summer Courses and institutes for singers at New England Conservatory

Here is a list of courses and workshops at NEC this summer that relate to singing and voice training. »

26 Apr 2005

Daily Telegraph Interviews Richard Farnes of Opera North

Opera North is on sparkling form right now – but how will it cope with its forthcoming period of homelessness? Rupert Christiansen meets its inspirational music director Richard Farnes »

25 Apr 2005

In the News: Henze and Boulez Wow Paris; Faust at the Met; Chanticleer at the Temple of Dendur

How do composers famous in their younger days for radicalism look to the future of their art and reputation as they reach their 80th birthday? Paris in the past few days has been witness to hints of how a baton change might occur for two eminent seniors of music, Frenchman Pierre Boulez and German Hans Werner Henze. »

24 Apr 2005

In the News: DVD and Opera; Verdi in Florida; Trouble in Scotland

WITH the cost of recording operas in a studio now almost prohibitive, we are witnessing a boom time for opera on DVD. Opera buffs can hardly keep pace with the number of releases in the last year. And in June alone, Universal Classics plans to put out 18 complete operas on DVD, most of them reissues of productions originally taped and released on video. »

24 Apr 2005

L'Express Interviews Peter Sellars and Bill Viola

Le metteur en scène et le vidéaste américains présentent Tristan et Isolde, à l’Opéra Bastille. Ils révèlent les étapes de cette collaboration inédite »

22 Apr 2005

Stephan Lissner Named as New Superintendent and Artistic Director of La Scala

MILANO – Il neo sovrintendente Mauro Meli lascia la carica al Teatro alla Scala e abbandona anche l’opportunità di guidare il teatro degli Arcimboldi. La scelta comunicata nel corso del consiglio d’amministrazione della Fondazione a cui ha partecipato anche il prefetto di Milano Bruno Ferrante. Vengono quindi confermate le dimissioni che già erano nell’aria da giorni. La decisione segue di venti giorni le dimissioni del maestro Riccardo Muti, direttore musicale del teatro. »

18 Apr 2005

Gérard Mortier — The Misunderstood Megalomaniac

Monsieur Mortier ist nervös. Gleich will Isabelle Huppert anrufen. Frankreichs Vorzeige-Actrice möchte eine Karte für seine Oper. Und Ehrengäste sind für den Intendanten Chefsache. So wie alles andere eigentlich auch. Die Fotos fürs Programmheft, der Zug im Schnürboden und die Versammlung der Gewerkschaft. Jetzt, wenn die Huppert anruft, macht er einen Bückling, sagt “oui” und “bien sur”. Gérard Mortier ist ein Mann mit hervorragenden Manieren. Und ein Netzwerker. Er weiß: Wenn die Huppert morgen kommt, ist übermorgen ganz Frankreich bei ihm zu Gast. Sein Auftrag ist es, den protzigen Glaspalast an der Pariser Bastille jeden Abend mit 3000 Menschen zu füllen. »

18 Apr 2005

Celebrating Santa Fe Opera's Golden Anniversary in 2006

The Santa Fe debut of famed Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, the U.S. premiere of an acclaimed British opera and a gala operatic concert are highlights of the Santa Fe Opera’s 50th anniversary season next year, general director Richard Gaddes announced Thursday. »

17 Apr 2005

What happened to that old black magic?

REALITY changes; myths endure. For more than a century, the Metropolitan Opera has been synonymous with superstardom, so much so that no opera singer’s claim on immortality has been secure without seasons of glory at the Met. »

09 Apr 2005

Nabucco at Opera Australia

Saddam Hussein has a lot to answer for but his unlikeliest legacy will be unveiled at the Arts Centre next week – a new production of Verdi’s first successful opera, Nabucco. The key to this interpretation is a poster that the Iraqi tyrant unveiled in his final year in power portraying himself as the ancient Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco in the opera, sung by baritone Michael Lewis). »

08 Apr 2005

What Led to Muti's Ouster?

Few tears will be shed for Riccardo Muti, who resigned last Saturday from La Scala, Milan, the opera house he has conducted with a baton of iron for the last 19 years. That’s quite long enough for anyone to be in the same job, and Muti’s prestige means that he can take his pick of offers from the international circuit — except perhaps Covent Garden, which is still smarting at his peremptory withdrawal from last October’s production of La Forza del Destino, apparently in protest over the insignificant alteration of a piece of scenery. »

07 Apr 2005

Wiener Staatsoper Upset with ORF Broadcast Plans

“Ein Affront, eine Beleidigung dieses Hauses und des Publikums, aber auch der Künstler” – so kommentierte Staatsoperndirektor Ioan Holender die Absage der Übertragung von Donizettis “Liebestrank” mit den Stars Anna Netrebko und Rolando Villazón durch den ORF. Holender hatte gegen die späte Sendezeit im Pfingstsamstags-Programm des ORF (Beginn 22.35h) protestiert und gefragt, ob die mit Netrebko geplante Übertragung der kommenden Salzburger Festspiel-”Traviata” auch zu so später Stunde gezeigt werden würde. ORF-Programmdirektor Scolik nahm daraufhin die “Liebestrank”-Sendung überhaupt aus dem Sende-Programm. »

05 Apr 2005

Garcia's L'isola disabitata Recovered

Not all operas are grand, full-blown theatrical events. There are many smaller, more intimate works, some called salon operas, meant to be performed, as the name implies, in intimate surroundings. Most of these smaller operas are far less well known than their super-size relations. »

03 Apr 2005

Will Chailly Replace Muti?

Die Musiker der Scala hatten ihren Chefdirigenten zuletzt mehrfach aufgefordert, das Haus zu verlassen. Muti sprach in seiner Rücktrittserklärung von einer “mir gegenüber offen zur Schau getragenen Feindseligkeit seitens Menschen, mit denen ich mehr als zwanzig Jahre zusammengearbeitet habe. Das macht eine Fortsetzung meiner Tätigkeit unmöglich.” »

03 Apr 2005

Battle of the Rings

The escalating artistic arms race between London’s two rival opera houses, Covent Garden and the Coliseum, reached a new level of threat this weekend. »

03 Apr 2005

L'Opéra de Bordeaux Embroiled in Sexual Harassment Suit

Depuis plusieurs mois, le climat est tendu au ballet de l’Opéra de Bordeaux. Il pourrait l’être davantage après la comparution, jeudi 31 mars, de son directeur et chorégraphe, Charles Jude, devant le tribunal correctionnel de Bordeaux, pour harcèlement moral. Cet ancien danseur étoile de l’Opéra de Paris, âgé de 51 ans, élève de Noureev, est poursuivi par Hélène Ballon, danseuse de 33 ans, soliste du ballet de Bordeaux. “Ce ne sont pas les qualités chorégraphiques de M. Jude qui sont mises en cause, mais son comportement”, précise Me Gérard Boulanger, l’avocat de la plaignante. »

02 Apr 2005

Domingo Makes a Surprise Visit

BILOXI – World-renowned tenor Placido Domingo, who sings tonight for a near sell-out audience at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, had high praise Friday for the Hattiesburg-based youth orchestra that will accompany him. »

02 Apr 2005

Muti Resigns

MILAN (Reuters) – Riccardo Muti has resigned as the musical director of Milan’s La Scala after his 19-year reign at the opera house dissolved into a bitter battle for power, mutiny in the musical ranks and canceled performances. »

01 Apr 2005

Angela Brown Replaces Jessye Norman in Premiere of Margaret Garner

When soprano Jessye Norman cancelled her appearance in the Michigan Opera Theatre’s world premiere of “Margaret Garner” next month, David DiChiera MOT general director admits it felt a lot like raindrops were falling on this head — and on his parade. »

29 Mar 2005

Where's Bryn?

The BBC broadcast the first act of Wagner’s The Valkyrie live last night without telling viewers that the rest would be blacked out because the star, Bryn Terfel, had a sore throat. »

26 Mar 2005

A Long Night at the Royal Danish Opera

For a New Yorker accustomed to watching the madcap dash to the exits that typically ensues as soon as a performance ends at the Metropolitan Opera, the relaxed pace and genteel protocols of opera-going in Copenhagen were a balm. »

26 Mar 2005

Is it curtains for Muti?

Leaflets distributed this week outside La Scala opera house in Milan announced the world premiere of “an opera of a few minutes (because that’s enough)”, composed by the theatre’s audience. The music consisted of loud heckling whenever members of La Scala’s orchestra appeared. The libretto was curt: “Don’t touch the maestro. Riccardo Muti belongs to art. He belongs to us!” »

25 Mar 2005

Moscow Celebrates the Golden Mask Festival

In all the years of its existence, the Golden Mask Festival has been nothing if not a study in contrasts—no other Russian festival embraces as fully the multiplicity of the performing arts. Once a year, for just over two weeks in the spring, the best Russian opera singers, ballet dancers, dramatic actors, directors, conductors, puppeteers and other sundry performing artists gather to show their stuff and compete for the coveted Golden Mask award. »

24 Mar 2005

U Carmen E Khayelitsha Premieres

As the limousines arrive at the premiere of an award winning film version of Carmen, U Carmen E Khayelitsha, they have to slow down for a group of barefooted children pushing shopping trolleys filled with scrap metal across the road. »

24 Mar 2005

Trouble at the Bolshoi

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN)—Russia’s Bolshoi Theater has sparked outrage by putting on an opera that some lawmakers and a pro-Kremlin youth group say is pornographic. The opera, “Rosenthal’s Children,” is about a scientist who clones five great classical composers—Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Wagner, Mussorgsky and Verdi. The scientist then dies, and the cloned musicians—unprepared for life on their own in the 1990s—end up on the street. »