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Elsewhere

San Diego Opera Opens 2014-2015 Season

On Friday evening September 5, 2014, tenor Stephen Costello and soprano Ailyn Pérez gave a recital to open the San Diego Opera season. After all the threats to close the company down, it was a great joy to great San Diego Opera in its new vibrant, if slightly slimmed down form.

Otello at ENO

English National Opera’s 2014-15 season kicked off with an ear-piercing orchestral thunderbolt. Brilliant lightning spears sliced through the thick black night, fitfully illuminating the Mediterranean garret-town square where an expectant crowd gather to welcome home their conquering hero.

Anna Nicole, back with a bang!

It is now three and a half years since Anna Nicole was unleashed on the world at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Norma in San Francisco

It was a Druid orgy that overtook the War Memorial. Magnificent singing, revelatory conducting, off-the-wall staging (a compliment, sort of).

Joyce DiDonato starts Wigmore Hall new season

There was a quasi-party atmosphere at the Wigmore Hall on Monday evening, when Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano reprised the recital that had kicked off the Hall’s 2014-15 season with reported panache and vim two nights previously. It was standing room only, and although this was a repeat performance there certainly was no lack of freshness and spontaneity: both the American mezzo-soprano and her accompanist know how to communicate and entertain.

Aida at Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival

In strict architectural terms, the stupendous 2nd century Roman theatre of Aspendos near Antalya in southern Turkey is not an arena or amphitheatre at all, so there are not nearly as many ghosts of gored gladiators or dismembered Christians to disturb the contemporary feng shui as in other ancient loci of Imperial amusement.

St Matthew Passion, Prom 66

Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra brought their staging of Bach's St Matthew Passion to the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, 6 September 2014.

Glimmerglass: Butterfly Leads the Pack

Every so often an opera fan is treated to a minor miracle, a revelatory performance of a familiar favorite that immediately sweeps all other versions before it.

Operalia, the World Opera Competition, Showcases 2014 Winners

On August 30, Los Angeles Opera presented the finals concert of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, the world opera competition. Founded in 1993, the contest endeavors to discover and help launch the careers of the most promising young opera singers of today. Thousands of applicants send in recordings from which forty singers are chosen to perform live in the city where the contest is being held. Last year it was Verona, Italy, this year Los Angeles, next year London.

Elektra at Prom 59

The second day of the Richard Strauss weekend at the BBC Proms saw Richard Strauss's Elektra performed at the Royal Albert Hall on 31 August 2014 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, with Christine Goerke in the title role.

Powerful Mahler Symphony no 2 Harding, BBC Proms London

Triumphant! An exceptionally stimulating Mahler Symphony No 2 from Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Prom 57 at the Royal Albert Hall. Harding's Mahler Tenth performances (especially with the Berliner Philharmoniker) are pretty much the benchmark by which all other performances are assessed. Harding's Mahler Second is informed by such an intuitive insight into the whole traverse of the composer's work that, should he get around to doing all ten together, he'll fulfil the long-held dream of "One Grand Symphony", all ten symphonies understood as a coherent progression of developing ideas.

Nina Stemme's stunning Strauss Salome, BBC Proms London

The BBC Proms continued its Richard Strauss celebrations with a performance of his first major operatic success Salome. Nina Stemme led forces from the Deutsche Oper, Berlin,at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 30 August 2014,the first of a remarkable pair of Proms which sees Salome and Elektra performed on successive evenings

Santa Fe Opera Presents Updated, at One Point Up-ended, Don Pasquale

On August 9, 2014, Santa Fe Opera presented a new updated production of Don Pasquale that set the action in the 1950s. Chantal Thomas’s Act I scenery showed the Don’s furnishing as somewhat worn and decidedly dowdy. Later, she literally turned the Don’s home upside down!

Dolora Zajick about her Institute for Young Dramatic Voices

"Although there are now more people on this planet than there have ever been before, there are fewer dramatic voices. Something is wrong with that equation. I thought there needs to be some sort of helping hand so that dramatic voices don’t fall through the cracks in the system as they advance through their various stages of development."

Dolora Zajick Premieres Composition

At a concert in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in San Jose, California, on August 22, 2014, a few selections preceded the piece the audience had been waiting for: the world premiere of Dolora Zajick’s brand new composition, an opera scene entitled Roads to Zion.

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

This elegant, smartly-paced film turns Gluck’s Orfeo into a Dostoevskian study of a guilt-wracked misanthrope, portrayed by American countertenor Bejun Mehta.

Aureliano in Palmira in Pesaro

Ossia Il barbiere di Siviglia. Why waste a good tune.

Santa Fe Opera Presents Huang Ruo's Sun Yat-sen

By emphasizing the love between Sun Yat-sen and Soong Ching-ling, Ruo showed us the human side of this universally revered modern Chinese leader. Writer Lindsley Miyoshi has quoted the composer as saying that the opera is “about four kinds of love.” It speaks of affection between friends, between parents and children, between lovers, and between patriots and their country.

Britten War Requiem - Andris Nelsons, CBSO, BBC Prom 47

In light of the 2012 half-centenary of the premiere in the newly re-built Coventry Cathedral of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, the 2013 centennial celebrations of the composer’s own birth, and this year’s commemorations of the commencement of WW1, it is perhaps not surprising that the War Requiem - a work which was long in gestation and which might be seen as a summation of the composer’s musical, political and personal concerns - has been fairly frequently programmed of late. And, given the large, multifarious forces required, the potent juxtaposition of searing English poetry and liturgical Latin, and the profound resonances of the circumstances of the work’s commission and premiere, it would be hard to find a performance, as William Mann declared following the premiere, which was not a ‘momentous occasion’.

Il barbiere di Siviglia in Pesaro

Both by default and by merit Il barbiere di Siviglia is the hit of the thirty-fifth Rossini Opera Festival. But did anyone really want, and did the world really need yet another production of this old warhorse?


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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. »

24 Mar 2005

Sometimes It's The Little Things

A new wave of distinctive 21st-century concert halls is changing the look and feel of classical music performance in the U.S. These halls have impressive architectural pedigrees and price tags—Frank Gehry designed the $275 million Disney Hall in Los Angeles; Rafael Viñoly, the $265 million Kimmel Center in Philadelphia; Santiago Calatrava, the coming $300 million Atlanta Symphony Center. Most of them, like architect William Rawn’s $99 million Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Md., shun the gilded, red-velvet opulence of traditional European models in favor of Modernist simplicity. They also strive for heightened spatial intimacy between audience and performer: Disney Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has terraced seating areas surrounding the stage. »

24 Mar 2005

Four Operas at the Budapest Spring Festival

FOUR operas, more than four reasons to go. The operas: Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Péter Eötvös’s The Balcony, Wagner’s Parsifal, and Handel’s Semele.The reasons to go: great music, top performers, the best conductors, inventive directors, and two truly excellent performance spaces. »

23 Mar 2005

New Digs for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

A month shy of the halfway point in the 26-month construction of its new Civic Center home, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music started the party early last week with a ceremony to “top out” the new building on Oak Street. »

22 Mar 2005

An Eye On The Prize

Soprano Susanna Phillips, a former Huntsville resident, is among the four top winners picked Sunday in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York. Phillips won $15,000 toward her studies and eligibility to be considered for the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. »

22 Mar 2005

Simon Rattle Stirs Things Up At Salzburg

Da ist einmal das quirlige künstleri sche Ego des neuen Mannes: Si mon Rattle, als Nachfolger Clau dio Abbados bei den Berliner Philharmoniker sozusagen naturgemäß auch Chef der Salzburger Osterfestspiele, ist schon von seinem Selbstverständnis her das Gegenteil des Festivalgründers Karajan. Der hatte 1967 die Idee, Richard Wagners Gesamtkunstwerk mit seinen Berliner Philharmonikern im Orchestergraben auf mustergültige Weise zu präsentieren, in eigenen Inszenierungen; eine Tragödie, ganz aus dem Geiste der Musik geboren, sozusagen. »

20 Mar 2005

Muti: Going, Going, Gone? — Bring on Pappano

THE opera world is eyeing two British-based conductors as potential saviours of La Scala opera house, which has cancelled this month’s programme amid a bitter power struggle and staff revolt. »

20 Mar 2005

Edinburgh International Festival — 2005
Gets Off to a Rough Start

THE ALARM BELLS SOUNDED A FEW weeks ago when Edinburgh International Festival director Brian McMaster put out the plea for a rescue package. Not only were there to be no late-night £5 concerts at this year’s festival – a series he has always said is politically desirable but financially extravagant – but he needed an additional six-figure sum simply to make the bare bones break even. That, essentially, is what he has given us in this year’s music programme – one main evening concert a night, three staged operas, and the usual daily diet of Queen’s Hall midday recitals. »

17 Mar 2005

The Itinerant Mozart

March 16, 2005, New York, NY-The 39th season of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, which runs from July 28 to August 27, was announced today by Jane S. Moss, Vice President for Programming, and Music Director Louis Langrée. Now in his third season as Music Director, Maestro Langrée conducts the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra (MMFO) in 11 concerts of seven different programs during the Festival. This summer’s Festival will have a special focus on Mozart’s travels and influence in Paris, Prague, London, Italy, and Russia, which will be explored through MMFO concerts, programs with visiting ensembles, late-night concerts, and pre-concert events. Mostly Mozart will begin on Thursday, July 28 with Louis Langrée leading the MMFO in a performance featuring soprano Renée Fleming and pianist Stephen Hough at Avery Fisher Hall. This performance will be broadcast on Lincoln Center’s Emmy Award-winning series, Live From Lincoln Center. »

17 Mar 2005

Festival Aix-en-Provence — 2005

Le directeur du Festival international d’art lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, Stéphane Lissner, a dévoilé, mardi 15 mars, à Paris, le programme de la manifestation, qui aura lieu du 9 au 30 juillet. »

17 Mar 2005

Cincinnati Opera Full Speed Ahead

Cincinnati Opera, on the move for the past half-dozen years, is not slowing down. Quite the opposite. The nation’s second oldest opera company appears to be speeding up. »

16 Mar 2005

A Changing of the Guard at the Bayerische Staatsoper

Zum Start eine Strauss-Oper unter Kent Nagano, ein Rossini-Zyklus mit Ivor Bolton am Pult, eine deutliche Erweiterung des Sänger-Ensembles: Das alles wird erst ab 2006/ 07 passieren, ab der Ära Christoph Albrecht also. Doch zuvor erleben Münchens Opernfans die letzte Spielzeit unter der Ägide von Sir Peter Jonas, die insgesamt 13., eine “lucky number”, wie der Intendant findet. »

15 Mar 2005

Taking Risks in Montreal

Toronto—L’Opéra de Montréal plans to break with routine next year by presenting three operas the company has never done before. »

15 Mar 2005

Wiener Staatsoper — The Cost of Doing Business

Die Wiener Staatsoper hat ihre Abonnement-Preise erhöht. Zum Teil so kräftig, dass Musikfreunde nun für ihre Karten beinahe doppelt so viel bezahlen müssen wie bisher. Ein Proteststurm war die Folge, der auch viel Kritik an der künstlerischen Gebarung des Hauses einschloss. Direktor Ioan Holender wollte diese im Zuge der Debatte über die Preiserhöhungen nicht kommentieren, sondern verwies an seinen Geschäftsführer, Thomas Platzer. »

12 Mar 2005

As Muti Suffers the Slings and Arrows

Die empörten Stimmen in Mailand scheinen voll und ganz in die hef tige Polemik einzustimmen, die der Dirigent und musikalische Leiter der Mailänder Scala, Riccardo Muti, via Offenen Brief gegen die Belegschaft seines Hauses gerichtet hat. Orchester und Chor streiken seit Tagen aus Protest gegen die von Muti betriebene Ablöse des Scala-Intendanten Carlo Fontana. Deshalb musste am vergangenen Donnerstag die Premiere der neuen Oper “Il dissoluto assolto” aus der Feder des italienischen Komponisten Azio Corghi abgesagt werden. Die Aufführung dieses auf einem Text von Literatur-Nobelpreisträger Jose Saramago basierenden Stückes wäre die erste Uraufführung gewesen, die Riccardo Muti seit seinem Amtsantritt 1986 dirigiert hätte. »

10 Mar 2005

This Year's Events at Ravinia

Marching into its second century, the Ravinia Festival will surround James Conlon’s first season as music director with more than 130 events, from the season opener on June 7 to the finale on Sept. 11. »

08 Mar 2005

Muti Responds

In a letter to the Corriere della Sera, Riccardo Muti comments publicly on the trouble-racked opera house after the controversial replacement of the superintendent, which provoked a strike and the cancellation of the current season’s premieres. The conductor explains that for 20 years, he has been committed to promoting La Scala’s artistic growth and defending its music. »

07 Mar 2005

HGO Premieres Adamo's Lysistrata

The memory was delicious: Women withholding sex to end a war. Surely, thought composer Mark Adamo, an opera lurked in that idea. Fresh from the success of Little Women, which Houston Grand Opera premiered in 1998, he was looking for new material. But when he returned to Lysistrata, the Aristophanes play that premiered in 414 B.C., he found his memory richer than reality. »

07 Mar 2005

The New Tenors

It was not so very long ago that the opera world seemed to be facing a cavernous void of world-class tenors. True, there were a handful of gifted artists such as Roberto Alagna and Ben Heppner. Yet the public image of the operatic tenor was largely dominated by the studio-simonized “popera” of Andrea Bocelli, and the increasingly uninspired Three Tenors spectacles. »

04 Mar 2005

Opera Colorado Announces New Season

DENVER, CO—President and General Director Peter Russell and Artistic Director James Robinson announced today the company’s 2005-2006 season as the company prepares to move to its new state-of-the-art home, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For Opera Colorado patrons, the new opera house will offer unprecedented patron services: increased legroom, more restrooms, spacious lobbies, premium sightlines from all seating locations, superb acoustics, and an exclusive donor lounge. The move allows Opera Colorado to add performances and spread out its three annual productions over the course of a traditional season. »

03 Mar 2005

Zeffirelli Takes On Muti

It is the most fabled opera house in the world, whose reopening was lauded as one of the big events in music. Yet just three months later, La Scala is being paralysed by a crisis of Verdian theatricality that has led to rebellion and strikes, and is now prompting a head on clash between two of the titans of contemporary opera. »

02 Mar 2005

New York City Opera's 2005-6 Season

The New York City Opera said Tuesday that it would offer six new productions during its 2005-6 season, including two contemporary works: “The Little Prince” by Rachel Portman and “Lysistrata, or the Nude Goddess” by Mark Adamo. In releasing details of the new season, City Opera said its offerings would skew toward the modern. New productions also include “The Mines of Sulphur,” by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, which was given its premiere in London in 1965; Paul Dukas’s “Ariane et Barbe-bleu” (1907); the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “Patience” (1881); and “Capriccio,” the last opera by Richard Strauss, first performed in 1942. »

02 Mar 2005

Opera Colorado Gala to Feature Jake Heggie Work For Renée Fleming

Soprano Renée Fleming, one of opera’s biggest names, heads a star-studded parade of 12 singers set to perform at the Sept. 10 gala opening of the $86 million Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Opera Colorado announced Monday. »

01 Mar 2005

Royal Holloway-British Library Lectures in Musicology

MUSIC AND COURTLINESS The elite civilisation of Europe in the central and later Middle ages is often spoken of as a ‘courtly’ one, where the ‘courts’ at issue include the households of secular magnates, bishops and abbots. Men and women of exalted station had always possessed courts in the West, since Roman imperial times, but after approximately 1050 writings from Western Europe refer with increasing frequency to a quality of ‘courtliness’, or curialitas. A music theorist of c1100, whom we know only by the name ‘Johannes’, is the first European writer to identify certain kinds of music as inherently ‘courtly’ (curialis) and therefore appropriate to courtliness. Since his treatise is a technical one, we can trace this courtliness in terms of actual musical procedures. We can also place him, with some confidence, exactly where other sources lead us to expect him, in the episcopal and indeed imperial milieux of ‘Germany’. »

01 Mar 2005

Whither Classical Music?

EXACTLY 100 years ago Sir Edward Elgar delivered his first lecture at the University of Birmingham, where he had been persuaded to become the professor of music. With the Enigma Variations and Pomp and Circumstance Marches being played everywhere, the 47-year-old composer was at the pinnacle of his fame and creative powers. So anything he said was bound to resonate. »

27 Feb 2005

Outsourcing Hits Wexford Festival

RIP-OFF Ireland has reached the opera house. Wexford Festival is hiring an eastern European orchestra because it says that the local equivalent is €150,000 more expensive. »