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Elsewhere

Modernity vanquished? Verdi Un ballo in maschera, Royal Opera House, London

Verdi Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House - a masked ball in every sense, where nothing is quite what it seems. On the surface, this new production appears quaint and undemanding. It uses painted flats, for example, pulled back and forth across, as in toy theatre. The scenes painted on them are vaguely generic, depicting neither Boston nor Stockholm, where the tale supposedly takes place. Instead, we focus on Verdi, and on theatre practices of the past. In other words, opera as the art of illusion, not an attempt to replicate reality. Take this production too literally and you'll miss the wit and intelligence behind it.

La Traviata in Ljubljana Slovenia

Small country, small opera house — big ensemble spirit. Internationally acclaimed soprano Natalia Ushakova steps in for indisposed local Violetta with mixed results.

Otello in Bucharest — Moor’s the pity

Bulgarian director Vera Nemirova’s production of Otello for the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest was certainly full of new ideas — unfortunately all bad.

Il trovatore at Lyric Opera of Chicago

For its current revival of the 2006-2007 production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore by Sir David McVicar Lyric Opera has assembled a talented quintet of principal singers whose strengths match this conception of the opera.

Schubert’s Winterreise by Matthias Goerne

This Winterreise is the final instalment of Matthias Goerne’s series of Schubert lieder for Harmonia Mundi and it brings the Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, begun in 2008, to a dark, harrowing close.

Mary, Queen of Heaven, Wigmore Hall

O Maria Deo grata — ‘O Mary, pleasing to God’: so begins Robert Fayrfax’s antiphon, one of several supplications to the Virgin Mary presented in this thought-provoking concert by The Cardinall’s Musick at the Wigmore Hall.

Analyzed not demonized — Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera House

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera House, first revival of the 2009 production, one of the first to attract widespread hostility even before the curtain rose on the first night.

Florencia in el Amazonas Makes Triumphant Return to LA

On November 22, 2014, Los Angeles Opera staged Francesca Zambello’s updated version of Florencia in el Amazonas.

John Adams: The Gospel According to the Other Mary

John Adams and his long-standing collaborator Peter Sellars have described The Gospel According to the Other Mary as a ‘Passion oratorio’.

A new Yevgeny Onegin in Zagreb — Prince Gremin’s Fabulous Pool Party

Superb conducting from veteran Croatian maestro Nikša Bareza makes up for an absurd waterlogged new production of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece.

Nabucco in Novi Sad

After the horrors of Jagoš Marković’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro in Belgrade, I was apprehensive lest Nabucco in Serbia’s second city of Novi Sad on 27th October would be transplanted from 6th century BC Babylon to post-Saddam Hussein Tikrit or some bombed-out kibbutz in Beersheba.

La Bohème in San Francisco

First Toronto, then Houston and now San Francisco, the third stop of a new production of Puccini's La bohème by Canadian born, British nurtured theater director John Caird.

Radvanovsky Sings Recital in Los Angeles

Every once in a while Los Angeles Opera presents an important recital in the three thousand seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

L’elisir d’amore, Royal Opera

This third revival of Laurent Pelly’s production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore needed a bit of a pep up to get moving but once it had been given a shot of ‘medicinal’ tincture things spiced up nicely.

Samling Showcase, Wigmore Hall

Founded in 1996, Samling describes itself as a charity which ‘inspires musical excellence in young people’.

La cenerentola in San Francisco

The good news is that you don’t have to go all the way to Pesaro for great Rossini.

Rameau: Maître à danser — William Christie, Barbican London

Maître à danser: William Christie and Les Arts Florissants at the Barbican, London, presented a defining moment in Rameau performance practice, choreographed with a team of dancers.

Le Nozze di Figaro — or Sex on the Beach?

The most memorable thing (and definitely not in a good way) about this performance of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Serbian National Theatre in Belgrade was the self-serving, infantile, offensive and just plain wrong production by celebrated Serbian theatre director Jagoš Marković.

The Met mounts a well sung but dramatically unconvincing ‘Carmen’

Should looks matter when casting the role of the iconic temptress for HD simulcast?

Maurice Greene’s Jephtha

Maurice Greene (1696-1755) had a highly successful musical career. Organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a position to which he was elected when he was just 22 years-old, he later became organist of the Chapel Royal, Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge and, from 1735, Master of the King’s Music.


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News

18 Dec 2014

A Shakespearean Songbook

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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. »

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!” »