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Elsewhere

Prom 9: Fidelio lives by its Florestan

The last time Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, was performed at the Proms, in 2009, Daniel Barenboim was making a somewhat belated London opera debut with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

The Merchant of Venice: WNO at Covent Garden

In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions.

Leoncavallo's Zazà at Investec Opera Holland Park

The make-up is slapped on thickly in this new production of Leoncavallo’s Zazà by director Marie Lambert and designer Alyson Cummings at Investec Opera Holland Park.

McVicar’s Enchanting but Caliginous Rigoletto in Castle Olavinlinna at Savonlinna Opera Festival

David McVicar’s thrilling take on Verdi’s Rigoletto premiered as the first international production of this Summer’s Savonlinna Opera Festival. The scouts for the festival made the smart decision to let McVicar adapt his 2001 Covent Garden staging to the unique locale of Castle Olavinlinna.

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at Covent Garden

The end of the ROH’s summer season was marked as usual by the Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance but this year’s showcase was a little lacklustre at times.

A Falstaff Opera in Shakespeare’s Words: Sir John in Love

Only one Shakespeare play has resulted in three operas that get performed today (whether internationally or primarily in one language-region). Perhaps surprisingly, the play in question is a comedy that is sometimes considered a lesser work by the Bard: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Sallinen’s Kullervo is Brutal and Spectacular Finnish Opera at Savonlinna Opera Festival

For the centenary of Finland’s Independence, the Savonlinna Opera Festival brought back Kari Heiskanen’s spectacular 1992 production of Aulis Salinen’s Kullervo. The excellent Finnish soloists and glorious choir unflinchingly offered this opera of vocal blood and guts. Conductor Hannu Lintu fired up the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra in Sallinen’s thrilling music.

Kát’a Kabanová at Investec Opera Holland Park

If there was any doubt of the insignificance of mankind in the face of the forces of Nature, then Yannis Thavoris’ design for Olivia Fuchs production of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová - first seen at Investec Opera Holland Park in 2009 - would puncture it in a flash, figuratively and literally.

A bel canto feast at Cadogan Hall

The bel canto repertoire requires stylish singing, with beautiful tone and elegant phrasing. Strength must be allied with grace in order to coast the vocal peaks with unflawed legato; flexibility blended with accuracy ensures the most bravura passages are negotiated with apparent ease.

Don Pasquale: a cold-hearted comedy at Glyndebourne

Director Mariame Clément’s Don Pasquale, first seen during the 2011 tour and staged in the house in 2013, treads a fine line between realism and artifice.

Billy Budd Indomitable in Des Moines

It is hard to know where to begin to praise the peerless accomplishment that is Des Moines Metro Opera’s staggeringly powerful Billy Budd.

Tannhäuser at Munich

Romeo Castellucci’s aesthetic — if one may speak in the singular — is very different from almost anything else on show in the opera house at the moment. That, I have no doubt, is unquestionably a good thing. Castellucci is a serious artist and it is all too easy for any of us to become stuck in an artistic rut, congratulating ourselves not only on our understanding but also,  may God help us, our ‘taste’ — as if so trivial a notion had something to do with anything other than ourselves.

Des Moines Answers Turandot’s Riddles

With Turandot, Des Moines Metro Opera operated from the premise of prima la voce, and if the no-holds-barred singing and rhapsodic playing didn’t send shivers down your spine, well, you were at the wrong address.

Maria Visits Des Moines

With an atmospheric, crackling performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires, Des Moines Metro Opera once again set off creative sparks with its Second Stage concept.

Die schöne Müllerin: Davies and Drake provoke fresh thoughts at Middle Temple Hall

Schubert wrote Die schöne Müllerin (1824) for a tenor (or soprano) range - that of his own voice. Wilhelm Müller’s poems depict the youthful unsophistication of a country lad who, wandering with carefree unworldliness besides a burbling stream, comes upon a watermill, espies the miller’s fetching daughter and promptly falls in love - only to be disillusioned when she spurns him for a virile hunter. So, perhaps the tenor voice possesses the requisite combination of lightness and yearning to convey this trajectory from guileless innocence to disenchantment and dejection.

World Premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Castle in the Water Savonlinna Opera Festival

For my first trip to Finland, I flew from Helsinki to the east, close to the border of Russia near St. Petersburg over many of Suomi’s thousand lakes, where the summer getaway Savonlinna lays. Right after the solstice during July and early August, the town’s opera festival offers high quality productions. In this enchanting locale in the midst of peaceful nature, the sky at dusk after the mesmerising sunset fades away is worth the trip alone!

Mozart and Stravinsky in Aix

Bathed in Mediterranean light, basking in enlightenment Aix found two famous classical works, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in its famous festival’s open air Théâtre de l’Archevêche. But were we enlightened?

Des Moines: Nothing ‘Little’ About Night Music

Des Moines Metro Opera’s richly detailed production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music left an appreciative audience to waltz home on air, and has prompted this viewer to search for adequate superlatives.

Longborough Festival Opera: A World Class Tristan und Isolde in a Barn Shed

Of all the places, I did not expect a sublime Tristan und Isolde in a repurposed barn in the Cotswolds. Don’t be fooled by Longborough’s stage without lavish red curtains to open and close each act. Any opera house would envy the riveting chemistry between Peter Wedd and Lee Bisset in this intimate, 500 seat setting. Conductor Anthony Negus proved himself a master at Wagner’s emotional depth. Epic drama in minimalistic elegance: who needs a big budget when you have talent and drama this passionate?

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra throws a glossy Bernstein party

For almost thirty years, summer at the Concertgebouw has been synonymous with Robeco SummerNights. This popular series expands the classical concert formula with pop, film music, jazz and more, served straight up or mixed together. Composer Leonard Bernstein’s versatility makes his oeuvre, ranging from Broadway to opera, prime SummerNight fare.


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

News

11 Jul 2017

Savonlinna Opera Festival (I): World Premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Castle in the Water

For my first trip to Finland, I flew from Helsinki to the east, close to the border of Russia near St. Petersburg over many of Suomi’s thousand lakes, where the summer getaway Savonlinna lays. Right after the solstice during July and early August, the town’s opera festival offers high quality productions. In this enchanting locale in the midst of peaceful nature, the sky at dusk after the mesmerising sunset fades away is worth the trip alone! »

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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. »