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Florilegium, Wigmore Hall

During this exploration of music from the Austro-German Baroque, Florilegium were joined by the baritone Roderick Williams in a programme of music which placed the music and career of J.S. Bach in the context of three older contemporaries: Franz Tunder (1614-67), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1701) and Heinrich Biber (1644-1704). The work of these three composers may be less familiar to listeners, but Florilegium revealed the musical sophistication - under the increasing influence of the Italian style - and emotional range of this music which was composed during the second half of the seventeenth century.

Leoncavallo: Zazà - Opera Rara

Charismatic charm, vivacious insouciance, fervent passion, dejected self-pity, blazing anger and stoic selflessness: Zazà - a chanteuse raised from the backstreets to the bright lights - is a walking compendium of emotions. Ruggero Leoncavallo’s eponymous opera lives by its heroine. Tackling this exhausting, and perilous, role at the Barbican Hall, The soprano Ermonela Jaho gave an absolutely fabulous performance, her range, warmth and total commitment ensuring that the hooker’s heart of gold shone winningly.

L'ospedale - an anonymous opera rediscovered

‘Stay away from doctors; they are bad for your health.’ This seems to be the central message of L’Ospedale - a one-hour opera by an unknown seventeenth-century composer, with a libretto by Antonio Abati which presents a satirical critique of the medical profession of the day and those who had the misfortune to need curative treatment for their physical and mental ills.

Šimon Voseček : Beidermann and the Arsonists

‘In these times of heightened security … we are listening, watching …’

René Pape, Joseph Calleja, Kristine Opolais, Boito Mefistofele, Munich

Arrigo Boito Mefistofele was broadcast livestream from the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich last night. What a spectacle !

Calixto Bieito’s The Force of Destiny

The monochrome palette of Picasso’s Guernica and the mural’s anti-war images of suffering dominate Calixto Bieito’s new production of Verdi’s The Force of Destiny for English National Opera.

Morgen und Abend — World Premiere, Royal Opera House

The world premiere of Morgen und Abend by Georg Friedrich Haas at the Royal Opera House, London — so conceptually unique and so unusual that its originality will confound many.

Company XIV Combines Classic and Chic in an Exquisite Cinderella

Company XIV’s production of Cinderella is New York City theater at its finest. With a nod to the court of Louis the XIV and the grandiosity of Lully’s opera theater, Company XIV manages to preserve elements of the French Baroque while remaining totally innovative, and never—in fact, not once for the entire two and a half hour show—falls prey to the predictable. Not one detail is left to chance in this finely manicured yet earthily raw production of Cinderella.

Monteverdi by The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall

This was a concert where immense satisfaction was derived equally from the quality of musicianship displayed and the coherence and resourcefulness of the programme presented. In 1610, Claudio Monteverdi published his Vespro della Beata Vergine for soloists, chorus, and orchestra.

Félicien David: Songs for voice and piano

This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100 songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles” with herself!).

Dialogues des Carmélites Revival at Dutch National Opera

If not timeless, Robert Carsen’s production of Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites is highly age-resistant.

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari: Le donne curiose

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was one of the Italian composers of the post-Puccini generation (which included Licinio Refice, Riccardo Zandonai, Umberto Giordano and Franco Leoni) who struggled to prolong the verismo tradition in the early years of the twentieth century.

Moby-Dick Surfaces in the City of Angels

On Saturday evening October 31, 2015, the Nantucket whaling ship Pequod journeyed to Los Angeles Opera and began its sixth voyage in the attempt to kill the elusive whale called Moby-Dick.

Great Scott at the Dallas Opera

Great Scott is a combination of a parody of bel canto opera and an operatic version of All About Eve. Beloved American diva Arden Scott (Joyce DiDonato), has discovered the score to a long-lost opera “Rosa Dolorosa, Figlia di Pompeii” and has become committed to getting the work revived as a vehicle for her. “Rosa Dolorosa” has grand musical moments and a hilariously absurd plot.

Schubert and Debussy at Wigmore Hall

The most recent instalment of the Wigmore Hall’s ambitious series, ‘Schubert: The Complete Songs’, was presented by soprano Lucy Crowe, pianist Malcolm Martineau and harpist Lucy Wakeford.

John Taverner: Missa Corona spinea

This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their 40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.

A Bright and Accomplished Cenerentola at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola has returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago in a production new to this venue and one notable for several significant debuts along with roles taken by accomplished, familiar performers.

La Bohème, ENO

Back in 2000, Glyndebourne Touring Opera dragged Puccini’s sentimental tale of suffering bohemian artists into the ‘modern urban age’, when director David McVicar ditched the Parisian garrets and nineteenth-century frock coats in favour of a squalid bedsit in which Rodolfo and painter Marcello shared a line of cocaine under the grim glare of naked light bulbs and the clientele at Café Momus included a couple of gaudily attired transvestites.

Luigi Rossi: Orpheus

Just as Orpheus embarks on a quest for his beloved Eurydice, so the Royal Opera House seems to be in pursuit of the mythical music-maker himself: this year the house has presented Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Camden Roundhouse (with the Early Opera Company in January), Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice on the main stage (September), and, in the Linbury Studio Theatre, both Birtwistle’s The Corridor (June) and the Paris-music-hall style Little Lightbulb Theatre/Battersea Arts Centre co-production, Orpheus (September).

64th Wexford Festival Opera

Wexford Festival Opera has served up another thought-provoking and musically rewarding trio of opera rarities — neglected, forgotten or seldom performed — in 2015.



03 Jul 2015

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17 Feb 2005

Edinburgh International Festival Confronts Cash Crunch

This year’s Edinburgh International Festival was facing a cash crisis last night after the postponement of a £600,000 emergency funding package. Last week, it emerged that Brian McMaster, director and chief executive of the EIF, had requested the money from Edinburgh City Council and EventScotland because the festival’s funding was “meeting the buffers”. »

17 Feb 2005

Classical Music — It's No Longer A Man's World

Since the time of Claudio Monteverdi, the Italian composer who lived from 1567 to 1643, classical music has been a man’s world. With some exceptions — such as 19th Century pianist-composer Clara Schumann — women achieved lim-ited prominence in the centuries-old art form. That is changing, and although they are still in the minority, women are appearing more frequently at the highest levels of classical music. »

15 Feb 2005

Importing Western Productions to the Bolshoi

Operatic and ballet productions imported from the West are becoming increasingly prominent on the repertory of the Bolshoi, Russia’s largest music theater. Local audiences met such imports with circumspection, but are now growing to like them. »

12 Feb 2005

Public Radio's Flagship Runs Aground

WETA-FM listeners who had hoped to prevent the widely anticipated decision by the public broadcasting station’s board of directors to drop classical music programs left its Shirlington offices disappointed last night. By an overwhelming majority, the board approved a resolution to focus on news and public-affairs programming. »

12 Feb 2005

Welsh National Opera Moves to Millennium Centre

This is Welsh National Opera’s big chance. Fifty-nine years after its birth, as the brilliant artistic reputation that it enjoyed in the 1980s falters along with attendances, the company has moved into a new home in the Wales Millennium Centre, a vast cultural emporium at the heart of the redeveloped Cardiff Bay. »

11 Feb 2005

Early Opera in Seattle

The Early Music Guild, an indispensable part of Seattle’s period-music scene for more than two decades, every once in a while steps back from presenting the best and the brightest musicians from around the world and produces extravaganzas of its own. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, in 1997, the guild presented a stellar reading of Handel’s “Carmelite Vespers” at St. James Cathedral, with Andrew Parrott leading the large forces. More recently was a weekend of Monteverdi chamber operas. »

11 Feb 2005

A New Opera Company Formed in Upstate New York

Three local opera groups announced Friday that they have merged to form a major new company, called Mercury Opera Rochester, which will launch its inaugural season in the fall of 2005. For its first season, the company plans to stage three original (and yet to be specified) productions — two smaller, community-style operas in the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006 at venues to be determined later, and a grand operatic performance at the Eastman Theatre in January 2006 that would feature, among other things, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra serving as pit orchestra. »

11 Feb 2005

Cleveland Opera's New Season

Singers both new and familiar to Cleveland will perform with Cleveland Opera during its 30th anniversary season starting in the fall. The season is the first programmed entirely by general director Robert Chumbley. »

10 Feb 2005

Ticket Prices Going Up At Wiener Staatsoper

Unter vielen Abonnenten der Wiener Staatsoper herrscht Aufregung. Der Grund: Ein Schreiben des kaufmännischen Geschäftsführers Thomas Platzer, in dem teilweise empfindliche Preiserhöhungen angekündigt werden. »

10 Feb 2005

Dresden Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Reopening of the Semperoper

Als am 13. Februar 1985 zur Wiedereröffnung der Semperoper die DDR-Nationalhymne erklang, mag die Zeile „Auferstanden aus Ruinen“ zumindest in den Gedanken vieler Zuschauer mitgeschwungen haben. Offiziell wurde der Text damals nicht mehr verwendet. »

10 Feb 2005

Revamping Opera Australia

A PROGRESS report on the state of the Victorian Government’s opera review made one thing clear this week: any new company will look nothing like the one that died in 1996. Victorian Arts Minister Mary Delahunty called interested parties to a meeting on Tuesday to brief them on the findings of a review of opera activities in the state, undertaken by strategic consulting firm LEK Consulting. »

10 Feb 2005

Turnover at Chicago

The Lyric Opera has effectively installed a turnstile backstage at the Civic Opera House to facilitate the comings and goings of the singers taking the principal roles of Floria Tosca and Mario Cavaradossi in its revival of the historic Franco Zeffirelli production. »

09 Feb 2005

Das Opernglas Interviews Anja Harteros

Als deutsche Sängerin im italienischen Fach Fuß fassen – Anja Harteros gelingt, was heute eher eine Seltenheit ist. Söhnke Martens sprach mit ihr in Hamburg. Ausschnitte aus dem Interview: Sind Sie musikalisch durch Ihre Familie geprägt? Nein, überhaupt nicht. In meiner Familie gibt es niemanden, der professionell Musik gemacht hat. Jedes Kind sollte das Hobby ausüben, das ihm Freude bereitete. Zuweilen tagte dann der Familienrat, und wir diskutierten eifrig über unsere Wünsche. Meine Mutter schlug mir das Geigenspiel vor, als ich 8 Jahre alt war. Ich war davon nicht besonders überzeugt. Erst ihre Bemerkung, dass dieses Instrument nicht jeder spielen könne, machte mich neugierig. Es hat mir auch wirklich Spaß gemacht. »

09 Feb 2005

This Summer at the Aspen Music Festival

The Aspen Music Festival and School will delve into the music of autobiography in its 2005 summer season. The season, under the theme of “Self-Portraits,” will highlight composers who have told the stories of their lives in their music. Among the notable works falling under the theme are Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and a semistaged performance of Strauss’ comic opera “Intermezzo.” Also to be presented are intensely personal works by Elgar, Mahler, Berg and Shostakovich. »

09 Feb 2005

As If You Were There

When the newly refurbished Royal Opera House reopened in December 1999, the great and the good found themselves trapped in their seats for a great slab of unstaged Wagner in German, with no introduction and no escape. Tony Blair, who was seated just in front of me, was clearly finding it hard-going; but to get out, he would have had to clamber over most of the royal family who, given the chance, might have beaten him to the exit. The Wagner, all agreed, was an unfortunate choice. »

07 Feb 2005

SF Chronicle Interviews David Gockley

The San Francisco Opera has appointed David Gockley, longtime artistic director of the Houston Grand Opera, to succeed Pamela Rosenberg. After 32 years in Houston, Gockley will succeed Rosenberg in January. On Sunday, he sat down for an exclusive interview with San Francisco Chronicle Music Critic Joshua Kosman. »

05 Feb 2005

Phoenix Rising — The Reconstruction of the Wiener Staatsoper

Hier spielt das Burgtheater”, tönte Raoul Aslan angesichts des unzer störten Etablissements Ronacher im April 1945. Die Delegation, angeführt vom damaligen Direktionsassistenten (und heutigen Josefstadt-Gesellschafter) Heinrich Kraus und Aslan als sprachgewaltigem Theaterdirektor, war nach dem verheerenden Bombenangriff vom 12. März 1945, bei dem nicht nur das Burgtheater, sondern auch die Staatsoper zerstört wurden, auf der Suche nach möglichen Spielstätten. Tatsächlich hob sich Ende April ‘45, als der Krieg noch gar nicht zu Ende war, mit Grillparzers “Sappho” erstmals im Ronacher der Vorhang. Für das Staatsopernensemble begann die Nachkriegszeit im Theater an der Wien. Die Stammhäuser konnten erst 1955 renoviert wieder ihrer Bestimmung übergeben werden. Kurz nach Abschluss des Staatsvertrags zelebrierte man sinnigerweise die Wieder-Eröffnung der Burg wieder mit Grillparzer: Die Wahl musste auf “König Ottokars Glück und Ende” fallen – mit dem legendären, umjubelten “Loblied auf Österreich”. »

02 Feb 2005

Seattle Opera Announces 2005/06 Season

[February 1, 2005] Seattle—Seattle Opera’s general director, Speight Jenkins, officially announced the company’s 2005/06 season today. The season opens October 15, 2005, with American composer Jake Heggie’s most recent — and newly revised — opera, The End of the Affair. In January, Seattle Opera presents Johann Strauss, Jr.’s ever-popular operetta, Die Fledermaus, featuring a trio of Wagnerians — soprano Jane Eaglen, tenor Alan Woodrow, and Richard Berkeley-Steele — in a comic turn. Jonathan Miller’s production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte follows in February and March 2006. In May, the season concludes with a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, bringing together for the first time director Bernard Uzan and designer Robert Israel. »

01 Feb 2005

Markus Hinterhäuser — Salzburg Festival's Newly Designated Musik-Chef

Da würde ich lügen”, sagt er, “wenn ich jetzt die Grundlinien eines großen Konzepts zu skizzieren versuchte, das ich für die Salzburger Festspiele habe” – Markus Hinterhäuser gibt sich im “Presse”-Gespräch pragmatisch: Was er über Musik und über die Möglichkeit denkt, ein spannendes Programm zu entwickeln, hat er schließlich früher bereits gezeigt. Die Meldung kam ja nicht überraschend: Hinterhäuser, Mitinitiator des “Zeitfluss”-Festivals, das am Rande der Salzburger Festspiele seit den frühen neunziger Jahren für Beschäftigung mit der Avantgarde gesorgt hat, wird an der Seite des designierten Festspielintendanten Jürgen Flimm das Musikprogramm in Salzburg betreuen. »

01 Feb 2005

Aida at Copenhagen's New Opera House

Seen at night, the warmly lit interior of Copenhagen’s new opera house glows invitingly across the water. The building is situated in a uniquely privileged position, opposite the Amalienborg Palace, lining up on an axis with the proudly domed Frederikskirken — so close to the city’s heart that arias could easily waft over the water on an evening breeze. »

31 Jan 2005

Teatr Wielki Announces Festiwal Hoffmannowski Schedule

Festiwal Hoffmannowski -- Polsko-Niemiecki Festiwal Operowy Teatr Wielki in Poznan, Poland, has announced the schedule for the Festiwal Hoffmannowski: Saturday, 2 April, 19.00 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Cosi fan tutte, Premiere!!! Teatr Wielki, Poznan Sunday, 3 April, 19.00 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,... »

28 Jan 2005

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28 Jan 2005

Passing the Baton to Levine

Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine will be in residence at Tanglewood this summer for almost a month of rehearsals and performances. He will lead five concerts and conduct one work at Tanglewood on Parade. This will mark Levine’s first performance at Tanglewood since 1972, when he conducted a single concert. The other big news is that for the first time, all nighttime concerts in the Koussevitzky Music Shed will be projected on large video screens to the audience on the lawn. For several years the screens have been popular additions to a handful of concerts. »

28 Jan 2005

I'll Take Houston

Patrick Summers, music director at the Houston Grand Opera, has settled into Houston on his own, slightly unconventional terms. He’s building a house a few minutes west of downtown and has acquired a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Julius. He’s smitten with the city’s contemporary art scene: “There’s a lot of really interesting painting going on in this city.” »

27 Jan 2005

MIDEM Classical Awards Announced

German music major Deutsche Grammophon (DG) picked up three prizes at the inaugural MIDEM Classical Awards in Cannes, January 24. Top prizes also went to Belgian counter-tenor and conductor René Jacobs and Welsh pianist Llyr Williams. The awards were presented for the first time at MIDEM, the World’s Music Market (Cannes, France, January 23-27, 2005). »

26 Jan 2005

Beverly Sills Resigns From Met Post

William C. Morris, president and chief executive officer of The Metropolitan Opera, announced today that Beverly Sills has resigned from her volunteer post as chairman of The Metropolitan Opera for family and personal reasons effective immediately. »