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Macbeth, LA Opera

On Thursday evening October 13, Los Angeles Opera transmitted Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, in the center of the city, to a pier in Santa Monica and to South Gate Park in Southeastern Los Angeles County. My companion and I saw the opera in High Definition on a twenty-five foot high screen at the park.

COC’d Up Ariodante

Director Richard Jones never met an opera he couldn’t ‘change,’ and Canadian Opera Company’s sumptuously sung Ariodante was a case in point.

Jamie Barton at the Wigmore Hall

“Hi! … I’m at the Wigmore Hall!” American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton’s exuberant excitement at finding herself performing in the world’s premier lieder venue was delightful and infectious. With accompanist James Baillieu, Barton presented what she termed a “love-fest” of some of the duo’s favourite art songs. The programme - Turina, Brahms, Dvořák, Ives, Sibelius - was also surely designed to show-case Barton’s sumptuous and balmy tone, stamina, range and sheer charisma; that is, the qualities which won her the First and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

And London Burned: in conversation with Raphaela Papadakis

Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.

Toronto: Bullish on Bellini

Canadian Opera Company has assembled a commendable Norma that is long on ritual imagery and war machinery.

The Nose: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

“If I lacked ears, it would be bad, but still more bearable; but lacking a nose, a man is devil knows what: not a bird, not a citizen—just take and chuck him out the window!”

Věc Makropulos in San Francisco

A fixation on death at San Francisco Opera. A 337 year-old woman gave it all up just now after only six years since she last gave it all up on the War Memorial stage.

The Pearl Fishers at English National Opera

Penny Woolcock's 2010 production of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers returned to English National Opera (ENO) for its second revival on 19 October 2018. Designed by Dick Bird (sets) and Kevin Pollard (costumes) the production remains as spectacular as ever, and ENO fielded a promising young cast with Claudia Boyle as Leila, Robert McPherson as Nadir and Jacques Imbrailo as Zurga, plus James Creswell as Nourabad, conducted by Roland Böer.

Center for Contemporary Opera presents Jane Eyre (World Premiere)

Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre, a full-length opera in three acts with a libretto by Diane Osen based on Charlotte Bronte’s novel, will receive its world premiere at The Kaye Playhouse (Hunter College) on Thursday, October 20, 7:30pm with a second performance on Saturday, October 22, 8pm. Jane Eyre is Karchin’s second opera, composed in 2014, following his critically acclaimed one-act comic opera Romulus.

A Venetian Double: English Touring Opera

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s fifteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.

Boston Early Music Festival announces the appointment of Melinda Sullivan to the new position of the Lucy Graham Dance Director

Cambridge, MA–The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Melinda Sullivan to the new position of the Lucy Graham Dance Director.

Academy of Ancient Music: The Fairy Queen at the Barbican Hall

At the end of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theseus delivers a speech which returns to the play’s central themes: illusion, art and the creative imagination. The sceptical king dismisses ‘The poet’s vision - his ‘eye, in a fine frenzy rolling’ - which ‘gives to airy nothing/ A local habitation and a name’; such art, and theatre, is a psychological deception brought about by an excessive, uncontrolled imagination.

Vaughan Williams and Friends: St John's Smith Square

Following the success of previous ‘mini-festivals’ at St John’s Smith Square devoted to Schubert and Schumann, last weekend pianist Anna Tilbrook curated a three-day exploration of the work of Ralph Vaughan Williams and his contemporaries. The music performed in these six concerts was chosen to reflect the changing contexts in which it was composed and to reveal the vast changes in society, politics and culture which occurred during Vaughan Williams’ long life-time (1872-1958) and which shaped his life and creative output.

Bloodless Manon Lescaut at DNO

Trying to work around Manon Lescaut’s episodic structure, this new production presents the plot as the dying protagonist’s feverish hallucinations. The result is a frosty retelling of what is arguably Puccini’s most hot-blooded opera. Musically, the performance also left much to be desired.

English Touring Opera: Xerxes

It is Herodotus who tells us that when Xerxes was marching through Asia to invade Greece, he passed through the town of Kallatebos and saw by the roadside a magnificent plane-tree which, struck by its great beauty, he adorned with golden ornaments, and ordered that a man should remain beside the tree as its eternal guardian.

English National Opera: Tosca

Poor Puccini. He is far too often treated as a ‘box-office hit’ by our ‘major’ opera houses, at least in Anglophone countries. For so consummate a musical dramatist, that is something beyond a pity. Here in London, one is far better advised to go to Holland Park for interesting, intelligent productions, although ENO’s offerings have often had something to be said for them.

Don Pasquale in San Francisco

With only four singers and a short-story-like plot Don Pasquale is an ideal chamber opera. That chamber just now was the 3200 seat War Memorial Opera House where this not always charming opera buffa is an infrequent visitor (post WWII twice in the 1980’s after twice in the 40’s).

“Written in fire”: Momenta Quartet blazes through an Indonesian chamber opera

“Yang sementara tak akan menahan bintang hilang di bimasakti; Yang bergetar akan terhapus.” (“The transient cannot hold on to stars lost in the Milky Way; that which quivers will be erased.”) As soprano Tony Arnold sang these words of Tony Prabowo’s chamber opera Pastoral, with astonishingly crisp Indonesian diction, the first night of the second annual Momenta Festival approached its end.

English National Opera: Don Giovanni

Some operas seemed designed and destined to raise questions and debates - sometimes unanswerable and irresolvable, and often contentious. Termed a dramma giocoso, Mozart’s Don Giovanni has, historically, trodden a movable line between seria and buffa.

World Premiere Eötvös, Wigmore Hall, London

Péter Eötvös’ The Sirens Cycle received its world premiere at the Wigmore Hall, London, on Saturday night with Piia Komsi and the Calder Quartet. An exceptionally interesting new work, which even on first hearing intrigues: imagine studying the score! For The Sirens Cycle is elegantly structured, so intricate and so complex that it will no doubt reveal even greater riches the more familiar it becomes. It works so well because it combines the breadth of vision of an opera, yet is as concise as a chamber miniature. It's exquisite, and could take its place as one of Eötvös's finest works.



<em>And London Burned</em>
24 Oct 2016

And London Burned: in conversation with Raphaela Papadakis

Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London. »

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25 Jan 2005

Merkur Interviews Katharina Wagner

Papa konnte doch nichts Besseres passieren: Katharina Wagner, Tochter des Bayreuther Festspielchefs Wolfgang Wagner und damit heftig für seine Nachfolge gehandelt, hat mit bislang zwei Opernprojekten ihre Klasse gezeigt. 2002 debütierte die heute 27-Jährige als Regisseurin mit Richard Wagners “Fliegendem Holländer” in Würzburg, 2004 folgte in Budapest der “Lohengrin”. Nach zwei Werken ihres Urgroßvaters inszeniert sie, die Theaterwissenschaft studierte und unter anderem bei ihrem Vater und bei Harry Kupfer assistierte, fürs Gärtnerplatztheater Lortzings “Waffenschmied”, Premiere ist am 20. Februar. »

24 Jan 2005

Is Opera Relevant in Scotland?

WHILE Scotland’s national opera company is in meltdown, how ironic is it that the opera school of our national music conservatoire is flying high? The two institutions may only be sited yards across the road from one another in Glasgow’s Cowcaddens district, but the fortunes of Scottish Opera and the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) could hardly be more diametrically opposed. »

22 Jan 2005

Salzburg To Celebrate Wolfie's 250th

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – Austria’s venerable Salzburg Festival will stage all 22 of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operas and musical theatre works next year, the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Simply staging the composer’s seven most-performed operas – including Le Nozze de Figaro and Idomeneo — “would have been too little for Salzburg,” festival director Peter Ruzicka told reporters Thursday. »

21 Jan 2005

Muti in Milano

Here, indicates the maestro, is the “punto Callas”. Riccardo Muti and I are standing onstage at La Scala, Milan, where so many great operas have been premiered and countless distinguished singers have sung. Facing the deserted auditorium, he points to an unmarked spot on the floor, right of centre, which Maria Callas established as her sovereign territory. It is the punto, or position, which best showed off a singer’s voice in a theatre renowned for its acoustical quirks. “There was great competition for this point,” smiles Muti. “In a quartet you would have a tower of singers.” Breaking the eerie stillness, the maestro claps his hands to show how much more flattering the acoustic has become since the great Milanese theatre reopened last month after a three-year renovation. Has La Scala ever resonated so crisply to the sound of one person’s applause? Muti’s point is that there is no longer any need for a “punto Callas”. »

20 Jan 2005

Peace is at hand in San Diego

A San Diego Opera-San Diego Symphony agreement reached this week to share musicians signifies a new level of achievement for two arts organizations that have fought second-tier status for years. It also ushers in unprecedented cooperation for these major arts organizations, which didn’t always work cooperatively or compatibly. »

20 Jan 2005

Seeking Greatness at Lincoln Center

NEW YORK—The British are coming. So are the Russians, along with an Argentinean and the usual Austrians and Germans. Lincoln Center’s 2005-06 “Great Performers” lineup was announced Tuesday, and the 40th season of the multimedia series once again draws a multicultural mix of classical performers. The opening events of “Great Performers,” Sept. 28-Oct. 2, bring the return of the virtuoso London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis in programs ranging from the Verdi Requiem to Sibelius and Vaughan Williams. That kicks off a season featuring visits from 10 international orchestras, plus 31 recitals and chamber concerts. »

20 Jan 2005

Ghosts of Performances Past

Washington DC (PRWEB) January 20, 2005—The National Theatre is a plethora of stars of the past, the present, and the future of the great American theatre. Almost every great stage performer over the past century has graced the stage of this historic theatre. The oldest cultural institution in the Nation’s capital, the National Theatre is one of the oldest continuously operating theatres in America. The National Theatre, managed by the Shubert Organization, has presented numerous North American and World premieres of professional Broadway Class-A Legitimate Productions throughout its history. The National Theatre over looks the International Trade Center and Freedom Plaza on “The Avenue of the Presidents”. Since its inception, the National Theatre has been crowned “The Theatre of the Presidents” having performed for every American President and First Lady. »

20 Jan 2005

Cincinnatus Idyll

There was no scowling Simon Cowell, no one singing while holding a scooter and no William Hung. But Cincinnati’s own classical version of “American Idol” auditions took place Friday and Saturday at Music Hall. Budding singers and classically trained performers sang with all the fervor of “Idol” winner Fantasia in an attempt to land a spot in one or more of Cincinnati Opera’s four summer productions. »

20 Jan 2005

Carmen at Toronto

Richard Bradshaw is finally ready to lift the curse and bring Carmen back to Toronto next fall as part of the Canadian Opera Company’s final season at the Hummingbird Centre. Georges Bizet’s hot-blooded saga about the Spanish gypsy and jealous soldier is one of the greatest crowd-pleasers in the opera repertory, but at the COC a black cloud has been hanging over it for the past 12 years. »

20 Jan 2005

Philadelphia Opera Company's 2005-2006 Season

The premiere of “Margaret Garner,” plus a late Verdi masterpiece, and Figaro’s twin adventures as told by Rossini and Mozart make up the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s 2005-2006 season. For the second year, the company will present four operas with six Academy of Music performances each. “We hope that we will be able to return to five productions in the 2006-2007 season,” said the company’s general and artistic director Robert Driver as the ‘05-’06 season was announced yesterday. »

14 Jan 2005

Opera in the UK

I HOPE you made the most of last year’s opera highlights because 2005 looks pretty dull by comparison. The resignation of Scottish Opera’s music director, Sir Richard Armstrong, has added to the company’s woes. With only three productions in the foreseeable future, the main risk is that the audience forgets the company exists. The vanishing audience is a spectre that haunts other companies: ENO must be wondering what became of an audience that was more like a loyal football crowd. »

14 Jan 2005

Opera in Paris

Le premier temps fort de cette deuxième partie de saison lyrique sera La Flûte enchantée bientôt proposée par l’Opéra Bastille : on a déjà vu dans une halle d’usine de Bochum ce spectacle étonnant conçu par les Catalans de la Fura del Baus, à l’époque où Gérard Mortier dirigeait le Festival de la Ruhr. Comment les matelas gonflables et la science-fiction philosophique imaginés par ces plasticiens virtuoses passeront-ils à Paris, et comment Marc Minkowski, qui avait très bien dirigé l’oeuvre en Allemagne, sera-t-il reçu par l’Orchestre de l’Opéra ? On le saura à partir du 24 janvier. Deux jours après, on suivra aussi, à Garnier, le second Couronnement de Poppée de la saison, après celui de McVicar aux Champs-Elysées : le metteur en scène, David Alden, est aussi anglais, et la divine Antonacci ne sera plus Néron mais Poppée. »

12 Jan 2005

SFO Announces 2005-2006 Season

The main entrance of the War Memorial Opera House.Photo by Terrence McCarthy SAN FRANCISCO — General Director Pamela Rosenberg announced details of San Francisco Opera's 83rd Season during a press meeting at the Opera House on Wednesday, January 12.... »

12 Jan 2005

David Gockley Now in the Running at SFO

SAN FRANCISCO Opera director search adds Houston veteran Once not in running, David Gockley now a leading candidate Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Music Critic Tuesday, January 11, 2005 David Gockley, the visionary longtime general director of the Houston Grand Opera, has... »

09 Jan 2005

Kurtag's Kafka Fragments at Carnegie Hall

KAFKA and Kurtag. This natural coupling of writer and composer telegraphs with alliterative grace a century of modernism, a deeply felt spiritual condition and a grasping for genuine personal expression through violently impersonal times. The Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag was born in 1926, two years after Kafka’s death, but their sensibilities are interwoven in one of Mr. Kurtag’s most effective works, “Kafka Fragments,” for soprano and violin. These settings of short excerpts from Kafka’s diaries, letters and notebooks will be performed this week by the soprano Dawn Upshaw and the violinist Geoff Nuttall, in a new staging directed by Peter Sellars, as part of Ms. Upshaw’s Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall. »

08 Jan 2005

Tippett's The Knot Garden at Scottish Opera

The Knot Garden Sir Michael Tippett sung in English The Knot Garden, with a libretto by the composer, has a typically enigmatic title. The elaborate Elizabethan Knot Garden often resembled a maze - and the reference to Shakespeare's time is... »

07 Jan 2005

Lyric of Chicago's New Season

Lyric plays it safe with season schedule By John von Rhein Tribune music critic January 6, 2005 Now at the midpoint of its golden jubilee season, Lyric Opera of Chicago is faced with carrying its winning streak into the company's... »

06 Jan 2005

Zeffirelli Has A Conniption

Franco Zeffirelli, one of the world’s best-known opera directors, yesterday branded the inaugural season of the newly refurbished La Scala opera house a disgrace. Zeffirelli accused the opera house of inviting second-rate conductors to perform. Writing to a journalist on the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, who had written approvingly of the programme, he said the situation “risks becoming utterly absurd and developing into a scandal of truly international proportions because La Scala belongs to the whole world”. »

05 Jan 2005

A Dead-end at Abbey Road?

Twilight of the CD Gods? A Studio 'Tristan' May Be the Last Ever By MICHAEL WHITE LONDON, Jan. 4 - The EMI recording studios at Abbey Road in north London are always a surprise when you walk through the modest... »

01 Jan 2005

Classical Music Sales Looking Up

A Year When Classical Labels Came Through By ANTHONY TOMMASINI In 2003, the problems affecting the classical recording business seemed daunting: markets flooded with multiple versions of the standard repertory; declining sales; widespread layoffs in the offices of the major... »

01 Jan 2005

La Serva Padrona in Boston

Soprano Amanda Forsythe has sung so often with baritone David Kravitz that she was only mildly surprised recently when she Googled her name, and up popped a reference to “Amanda Kravitz.” Tonight and tomorrow afternoon, Forsythe is paired with Kravitz again for Pergolesi’s delicious little opera “La Serva Padrona” (“The Maid as Mistress”), presented by Boston Baroque as part of its annual New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day gala at Sanders Theatre. »

30 Dec 2004

Tsar's Bride at the Mariinsky

ST. PETERSBURG, December 29 (RIA Novosti) – The city’s Mariinka (Kirov) theater is to open its next season here today with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Tsar’s Bride” opera. Talking to RIA Novosti, people at the Mariinka theater’s press center noted that this was a joint production involving the theater and Holland’s Diaghilev Festival Foundation. The new stage version of this opera was first performed December 10 in Groningen, Holland. »

29 Dec 2004

An Overview of Opera at Spoleto Festival USA

Spoleto Festival USA has announced the production of three operas for 2005. These are: Die Vögel (The Birds) Lost when Braunfels was blacklisted by the Nazis in the late 1930s, the work has never received a fully staged performance... »