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Elsewhere

Kaufmann's first Otello: Royal Opera House, London

Out of the blackness, Keith Warner’s new production of Verdi’s Otello explodes into being with a violent gesture of fury. Not the tempest raging in the pit - though Antonio Pappano conjures a terrifying maelstrom from the ROH Orchestra and the enlarged ROH Chorus hurls a blood-curdling battering-ram of sound into the auditorium. Rather, Warner offers a spot-lit emblem of frustrated malice and wrath, as a lone soldier fiercely hurls a Venetian mask to the ground.

Don Carlo in Marseille

First mounted in 2015 at the Opéra National de Bordeaux this splendid Don Carlo production took stage just now at the Opéra de Marseille with a completely different cast and conductor. This Marseille edition achieved an artistic stature rarely found hereabouts, or anywhere.

Diamanda Galás: Savagery and Opulence

Unconventional to the last, Diamanda Galás tore through her Barbican concert on Monday evening with a torrential force that shattered the inertia and passivity of the modern song recital. This was operatic activism, pure and simple. Dressed in metallic, shimmering black she moved rather stately across the stage to her piano - but there was nothing stately about what unfolded during the next 90 minutes.

Schubert Wanderer Songs - Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall

A summit reached at the end of a long journey: Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau at the Wigmore Hall, as the two-year Complete Schubert Song series draws to a close. Unmistakably a high point in the whole traverse. A well-planned programme of much-loved songs performed exceptionally well, with less well known repertoire presented with intelligent flourish.

La Bohème in San Francisco

In 2008 it was the electrifying conducting of Nicola Luisotti and the famed Mimì of Angela Gheorghiu, in 2014 it was the riveting portrayals of Michael Fabbiano’s Rodolfo and Alexey Markov’s Marcelo. Now, in 2017, it is the high Italian style of Erika Grimaldi’s Mimì — and just about everything else!

A heart-rending Jenůfa at Grange Park Opera

Katie Mitchell’s 1998 Welsh National Opera production of Janáček’s first mature opera, Jenůfa, is a good choice for Grange Park Opera’s first season at its new home, West Horsley Place. Revived by Robin Tebbutt, Mitchell and designer Vicki Mortimer’s 1930s urban setting emphasises the opera’s lack of sentimentality and subjectivism, and this stark realism is further enhanced by the narrow horseshoe design of architect Wasfi Kani’s ‘Theatre in the Woods’ whose towering walls and narrow width seem to add further to the weight of oppression which constricts the lives of the inhabitants.

Pelléas et Mélisande at Garsington Opera

“I am nearer to the greatest secrets of the next world than I am to the smallest secrets of those eyes!” So despairs Golaud, enflamed by jealousy, suspicious of his mysterious wife Mélisande’s love for his half-brother Pelléas. Michael Boyd’s thought-provoking new production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at Garsington Opera certainly ponders plentiful secrets: of the conscience, of the subconscious, of the soul. But, with his designer Tom Piper, Boyd brings the opera’s dreams and mysteries into landscapes that are lit, symbolically and figuratively, with precision.

Carmen: The Grange Festival

The Grange Festival, artistic director Michael Chance, has opened at Northington Grange giving everyone a chance to see what changes have arisen from this change of festival at the old location. For our first visit we caught the opening night of Annabel Arden's new production of Bizet's Carmen on Sunday 11 June 2017. Conducted by Jean-Luc Tingaud with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the pit, the cast included Na'ama Goldman as Carmen, Leonardo Capalbo as Don Jose, Shelley Jackson as Micaela and Phillip Rhodes as Escamillo. There were also two extra characters, Aicha Kossoko and Tonderai Munyevu as Commere and Compere. Designs were by Joanna Parker (costume co-designer Ilona Karas) with video by Dick Straker, lighting by Peter Mumford. Thankfully, the opera comique version of the opera was used, with dialogue by Meredith Oakes.

Don Giovanni in San Francisco

San Francisco Opera revved up its 2011 production of Don Giovanni with a new directorial team and a new conductor. And a blue-chip cast.

Dutch National Opera puts on a spellbinding Marian Vespers

A body lies in half-shadow, surrounded by an expectant gathering. Our Father is intoned in Gregorian chant. The solo voices bloom into a chorus with a joyful flourish of brass.

Into the Wood: A Midsummer Night's Dream at Snape Maltings

‘I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where Oxlips and the nodding Violet grows.’ In her new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Netia Jones takes us deep into the canopied groves of Oberon’s forest, luring us into the nocturnal embrace of the wood with a heady ‘physick’ of disorientating visual charms.

Rigoletto in San Francisco

Every once in a while a warhorse redefines itself. This happened last night in San Francisco when Rigoletto propelled itself into the ranks of the great masterpieces of opera as theater — the likes of Falstaff and Tristan and Rossini’s Otello.

My Fair Lady at Lyric Opera of Chicago

In its spring musical production of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady Lyric Opera of Chicago has put together an ensemble which does ample justice to the wit and lyrical beauty of the well-known score.

Henze: Elegie für junge Liebende

Hans Werner Henze’s compositions include ten fine symphonies, various large choral and religious works, fourteen ballets (among them one, Undine, that ranks the greatest of modern times), numerous prominent film scores, and hundreds of additional works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instruments or voice. Yet he considered himself, above all, a composer of opera.

Werther at Manitoba Opera

If opera ultimately is about bel canto, then one need not look any further than Manitoba Opera’s company premiere of Massenet’s Werther, its lushly scored portrait of an artist as a young man that also showcased a particularly strong cast of principal artists. Notably, all were also marking their own role debuts, as well as this production being the first Massenet opera staged by organization in its 44-year history.

Seattle: A seamlessly symphonic L’enfant

Seattle Symphony’s “semi-staged” presentation of L’enfant et les sortilèges was my third encounter with Ravel’s 1925 one-act “opera.” It was incomparably the most theatrical, though the least elaborate by far.

Color and Drama in Two Choral Requiems from Post-Napoleonic France

The Requiem text has brought out the best in many composers. Requiem settings by Mozart, Verdi, and Fauré are among the most beloved works among singers and listeners alike, and there are equally wondrous settings by Berlioz and Duruflé, as well as composers from before 1750, notably Jean Gilles.

Der Rosenkavalier: Welsh National Opera in Cardiff

Olivia Fuchs' new production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier is a co-production between Welsh National Opera and Theater Magdeburg. The production debuted in Magdeburg last year and now Welsh National Opera is presenting the production as part of its Summer season, the company's first Der Rosenkavalier since 1990 (when the cast included Rita Cullis as the Marschallin and Amanda Roocroft making her role debut as Sophie).

Don Giovanni takes to the waves at Investec Opera Holland Park

There’s no reason why Oliver Platt’s imaginative ‘concept’ for this new production of Don Giovanni at Investec Opera Holland Park shouldn’t work very well. Designer Neil Irish has reconstructed a deck of RMS Queen Mary - the Cunard-White Star Line’s flag-ship cruiser during the 1930s, that golden age of trans-Atlantic cruising. Spanning the entire width of the OHP stage, the deck is lined with port-holed cabin doors - perfect hideaways for one of the Don’s hasty romantic dalliances.

"Recreated" Figaro at Garsington delights

After the preceding evening’s presentation of Annilese Miskimmon’s sparkling production of Handel’s Semele - an account of marital infidelity in immortal realms - the second opera of Garsington Opera’s 2017 season brought us down to earth for more mundane disloyalties and deceptions amongst the moneyed aristocracy of the eighteenth-century, as presented by John Cox in his 2005 production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

News

14 Apr 2017

Extravagant Line-up 2017-18 at Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, Germany

The town’s name itself “Baden-Baden” (named after Count Baden) sounds already enticing. Built against the old railway station, its Festspielhaus programs the biggest stars in opera for Germany’s largest auditorium. A Mecca for music lovers, this festival house doesn’t have its own ensemble, but through its generous sponsoring brings the great productions to the dreamy idylle.  »

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26 May 2005

Maximillian Schell Directs Der Rosenkavalier at LA

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 – Comparing Maximilian Schell to one of those purportedly extinct jungle species makes perfect sense. Those who have never observed Schell working will be forgiven doubting the continued existence of such a creature. And those who have are unlikely ever to forget it. »

26 May 2005

Valery Gergiev to Move to LSO

Could the conducting volcano that is Valery Gergiev be quieting down, at least in the near future? The London Symphony Orchestra announced yesterday that Mr. Gergiev will become its principal conductor in January 2007. Mr. Gergiev, famous for his intensely busy schedule, comes to the end of two major commitments the following season. »

22 May 2005

Caruso Love Letters To Become Public

More than a thousand previously unknown letters, said to have been written by the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso, are to be made available to the public next month, according to a report published yesterday. »

19 May 2005

Marilyn Horne Gives a Master Class

Soon after meeting opera diva Marilyn Horne before his big performance, Justin D. Gonzalez told her to spare him nothing. “Tear me to shreds. Do me the honor,” the 17-year-old Philadelphia high school senior invited before taking the stage Tuesday night at the Academy of Vocal Arts for his “master class” performance. »

19 May 2005

A Reunion at Cincinnati

For May Festival music director James Conlon, this season is all about old friends. The starry May Festival season, a two-week, five-concert festival opening tonight, includes a return of two of opera’s most celebrated singers, Deborah Voigt and Ben Heppner, with whom Conlon has worked since the early 1990s. »

17 May 2005

Celebrating Mirella Freni

Sunday was Mirella Freni Day at the Metropolitan Opera. Fifty years ago, the Italian soprano made her operatic debut, and 40 years ago, she made her Met debut. The company celebrated these facts with a gala on Sunday afternoon, a fairly emotional show featuring six singers, plus Miss Freni herself. »

17 May 2005

Pavarotti Bids Adieu

Une page se tourne. Demain, à Bercy, la tournée d’adieux entreprise depuis quelques mois par Luciano Pavarotti permettra au public français d’entendre une dernière fois le tenorissimo. A une encablure de son soixante-dixième anniversaire, «Big Luciano», en choisissant de se retirer, clôt l’un des plus glorieux chapitres de l’histoire de l’opéra. Celui qui a grandi à Modène en buvant le lait de la même nourrice que Mirella Freni (leurs mères, collègues à la manufacture de tabac, ne pouvaient allaiter), avait pourtant de quoi être paralysé par l’enjeu : au moment où il fit ses débuts de ténor, la place était occupée par Corelli, del Monaco, di Stefano et Bergonzi ! Après ses débuts dans La Bohème à Reggio Emilia en 1961 (Rodolphe restera toujours l’un de ses rôles fétiches), les choses semblent s’emballer : il remplace di Stefano à Covent Garden en 1962, chante le Requiem de Verdi avec Karajan en 1964, débute à la Scala en 1965 et au Met en 1968. »

13 May 2005

The Future of Glyndebourne and Bayreuth

Glyndebourne and Bayreuth are the world’s two highest-profile private opera companies. Both are run by third-generation descendants of the founder. Each showcases the talents of well-known singers, conductors and directors. From the visionary template laid down by their founders, they have developed into complex modern organisms employing hundreds of people. Yet their character is defined by family: for these are still family businesses – the Christies at Glyndebourne, the Wagners at Bayreuth. »

12 May 2005

Koch Entertainment Acquired

ROW Entertainment Income Fund, the Canadian firm that owns the 100-unit CD Plus retail chain, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Koch Entertainment for about $80 million. ROW also owns wholesalers Record On wheels, Zing Distribution and Video One. »

12 May 2005

Opera North Triumphs Over ROH in Opera/Music Theater Category

Opera North triumphed over the Royal Opera House in the opera and music theatre category with Eight Little Greats, its series of short, rarely-staged operas. »

07 May 2005

Getting Steamy in LA

The ad campaign for the L.A. Opera’s upcoming Der Rosenkavalier has generated a lot of talk. Downtown artist Gottfried Helnwein, who is designing the production’s costumes and sets, also came up with the poster — using two models, a little makeup, and the power of suggestion. »

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. »