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Elsewhere

Haitink at the Lucerne Festival

Bernard Haitink’s monumental Bruckner and Mahler performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) got me hooked on classical music. His legendary performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C-minor, where in the Finale loosened plaster fell from the Concertgebouw ceiling, is still recounted in Amsterdam.

BBC Prom 45 - Janáček: The Makropulos Affair

Karita Mattila was born to sing Emilia Marty, the diva around whom revolves Leoš Janáček's The Makropulos Affair (Věc Makropulos). At Prom 45, she shone all the more because she was conducted by Jirí Belohlávek and performed alongside a superb cast from the National Theatre, Prague, probably the finest and most idiomatic exponents of this repertoire.

Two Tales of Offenbach: Opera della Luna at Wilton's Music Hall

‘Two outrageous operas in one crazy evening,’ reads the bill. Hyperbole? Certainly not when the operas are two of Jacques Offenbach’s more off-the-wall bouffoneries and when the company is Opera della Luna whose artistic director, Jeff Clarke, is blessed with the comic imagination and theatrical nous to turn even the most vacuous trivia into a sharp and sassy riotous romp.

Britten Untamed! Glyndebourne: A Midsummer Night's Dream

This performance of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Glyndebourne was so good that it was the highlight of the whole season, making the term ‘revival’ utterly irrelevant. Jakub Hrůša is always stimulating, but on this occasion, his conducting was so inspired that I found myself closing my eyes in order to concentrate on what he revealed in Britten's quirky but brilliant score. Eyes closed in this famous production by Peter Hall, first seen in 1981?

Salzburg encores

A staged piano recital and an opera as a concert.  Pianist András Schiff accompanied the Salzburg Marionette Theater at the Mozarteum Grosser Saal and Anna Netrebko sang Manon Lescaut at the Grosses Festspielhaus.

Leah Crocetto at Santa Fe

On August 4, 2016, soprano Leah Crocetto and accompanist Tamara Sanikidze gave a recital at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe New Mexico. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Contest, this year Crocetto was singing Donna Anna in Santa Fe Opera’s excellent Don Giovanni.

Angela Meade at Sante Fe

On July 31, 2016, against the ethereal beauty of the main hall in the Scottish Rite Center, soprano Angela Meade and pianist Joe Illick gave a recital offering both opera and art songs ranging in origin from early nineteenth century Europe to mid twentieth century America. Many in the audience probably remembered Meade’s recent excellent portrayal of Norma at Los Angeles Opera.

Turco in Italia in Pesaro

When more is definitely more, and less would indeed be less. Two of the biggest names in Italian theater art collide in an eponymous theater.

Proms Chamber Music 5: Shakespeare at 400

It was the fifth Proms Chamber Music concert at Cadogan Hall this season, and we were celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th. And, given the extent and range of the composers and artists, and the diversity and profundity of the musical achievement inspired by the Bard, we could probably keep celebrating in this fashion ad infinitum.

La donna del lago in Pesaro

Each August the bleak and leaky, 12,000 seat Arena Adriatica (home of the famed Pesaro basketball team) magically transforms itself into an improvised opera house that boasts the ultimate in opera chic — exemplary Rossini production standards for its now twelve hundred seats.

Proms at … Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

This highly enjoyable Prom, part of 2016’s ‘Proms at …’ mini-series, took as its guiding concept the reopening of London’s theatres following the Restoration, focusing in particular upon musical and dramatic responses to Shakespeare. Purcell, rightly, loomed large, with John Blow and Matthew Locke joining him. Receiving their Proms premieres were the excerpts from Timon of Athens and those from Locke’s The Tempest.

Santa Fe: Straussian Sweet Nothings

With all the bombast of the presidential campaigns rattling in our heads, with invectives being exchanged and measured discussion all but absent, how utterly lovely to retreat and relax into the harmonious soundscape and well-reasoned debate posed in Strauss’ Capriccio, on magnificent display at Santa Fe Opera.

Santa Fe’s Civil War Gounod

When we entered the Crosby Theatre for Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette the stage was surprisingly dominated by a somber, semi-circular black mausoleum, many chambers inscribed with scrambled names of US Civil War era dead.

Coolly Elegant Vanessa in the Desert

Molten passions were seething just below the icy Nordic exterior of Santa Fe Opera’s wholly masterful production of Barber’s Vanessa.

Le Comte Ory, Seattle

Farce is probably the most difficult of dramatic comedy sub-genres to put across. A farce got up in the stately robes of opera sets its presenters an even higher bar. Presenting an operatic farce on a notoriously chilly and cavernous auditorium is to risk catastrophe.

Racette’s Golden Girl in New Mexico

Fan interest began raging when Santa Fe Opera engaged venerable artist Patricia Racette to make her role debut as Minnie in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.

Santa Fe’s Mozart Cast Sweeps All Before It

A funny thing happened on the way to Andalusia.

Die Liebe der Danae in Salzburg

The tale of a Syrian donkey driver. And, yes, the donkey stole the show! The competition was intense — the Vienna Philharmonic and the Grosses Festspielhaus in full production regalia for starters.

Snape Proms: Bostridge sings Brahms and Schumann

Two men, one woman. Both men worshipped and enshrined her in their music. The younger man was both devotee of and rival to the elder.

Cosi fan tutte in Salzburg

This Cosi fan tutte concludes the Salzburg Festival's current Mozart / DaPonte cycle staged by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, the festival's head of artistic planning.


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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. »