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Elsewhere

Adriana Lecouvreur Opera Holland Park

Twelve years after Opera Holland Park's first production of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, the opera made a welcome return.

Back to the Beginnings: Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at Iford Opera.

The Italianate cloister setting at Iford chimes neatly with Monteverdi’s penultimate opera The Return of Ulysses, as the setting cannot but bring to mind those early days of the musical genre. The world of commercial public opera had only just dawned with the opening of the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice in 1637 and for the first time opera became open to all who could afford a ticket, rather than beholden to the patronage of generous princes. Monteverdi took full advantage of the new stage and at the age of 73 brought all his experience of more than 30 years of opera-writing since his ground-breaking L’Orfeo (what a pity we have lost all those works) to the creation of two of his greatest pieces, Ulysses and then his final masterpiece, Poppea.

Schoenberg : Moses und Aron, Welsh National Opera, London

Once again, we find ourselves thanking an unrepresentable being for Welsh National Opera’s commitment to its mission. It is a sad state of affairs when a season that includes both Boulevard Solitude and Moses und Aron is considered exceptional, but it is - and is all the more so when one contrasts such seriousness of purpose with the endless revivals of La traviata which, Die Frau ohne Schatten notwithstanding, seem to occupy so much of the Royal Opera’s effort. That said, if the Royal Opera has not undertaken what would be only its second ever staging of Schoenberg’s masterpiece - the first and last was in 1965, long before most of us were born! - then at least it has engaged in a very welcome ‘WNO at the Royal Opera House’ relationship, in which we in London shall have the opportunity to see some of the fruits of the more adventurous company’s endeavours.

Rossini is Alive and Well and Living in Iowa

If you don’t have the means to get to the Rossini festival in Pesaro, you would do just as well to come to Indianola, Iowa, where Des Moines Metro Opera festival has devised a heady production of Le Comte Ory that is as long on belly laughs as it is on musical fireworks.

Gergiev : Janáček Glagolitic Mass, BBC Proms

Composed during just a few weeks of the summer of 1926, Janáček’s Slavonic-text Glagolitic Mass was first performed in Brno in December 1927. During the rehearsals for the premiere - just 3 for the orchestra and one 3-hour rehearsal for the whole ensemble - the composer made many changes, and such alterations continued so that by the time of the only other performance during Janáček’s lifetime, in Prague in April 1928, many of the instrumental (especially brass) lines had been doubled, complex rhythmic patterns had been ‘ironed-out’ (the Kyrie was originally in 5/4 time), a passage for 3 off-stage clarinets had been cut along with music for 3 sets of pedal timpani, and choral passages were also excised.

Donizetti and Mozart, Jette Parker Young Artists Royal Opera House, London

With the conclusion of the ROH 2013-14 season on Saturday evening - John Copley’s 40-year old production of La Bohème bringing down the summer curtain - the sun pouring through the gleaming windows of the Floral Hall was a welcome invitation to enjoy a final treat. The Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Showcase offered singers whom we have admired in minor and supporting roles during the past year the opportunity to step into the spotlight.

Glyndebourne's Strauss Der Rosenkavalier, BBC Proms

Many words have already been spent - not all of them on musical matters - on Richard Jones’s Glyndebourne production of Der Rosenkavalier, which last night was transported to the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time at the Proms that Richard Strauss’s most popular opera had been heard in its entirety and, despite losing two of its principals in transit from Sussex to SW1, this semi-staged performance offered little to fault and much to admire.

Il turco in Italia at the Aix Festival

Twenty years ago stage director Christopher Alden introduced Rossini’s then forgotten comedy to Southern California audiences in a production that is still remembered. In Aix Alden has revisited this complex work that many critics now consider Rossini’s greatest comedy.

First Night of the BBC Proms : Elgar The Kingdom

The BBC Proms 2014 season began with Sir Edward Elgars The Kingdom (1903-6). It was a good start to the season,which commemorates the start of the First World War. From that perspective Sir Andrew Davis's The Kingdom moved me deeply.

Le nozze di Figaro, Munich

One is unlikely to come across a cast of Figaro principals much better than this today, and the virtues of this performance indeed proved to be primarily vocal.

Winterreise and Trauernacht at the Aix Festival

That’s A Winter’s Journey and A Night of Mourning for metteurs-en-scène William Kentridge (South Africa) and Katie Mitchell (Great Britain), completing the clean sweep of English language stage directors for the Aix Festival productions this year.

James Gilchrist at Wigmore Hall

Assured elegance, care and thoughtfulness characterised tenor James Gilchrist’s performance of Schubert’s Schwanengesang at the Wigmore Hall, the cycles’ two poets framing a compelling interpretation of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte.

Music for a While: Improvisations on Henry Purcell

‘Music for a while shall all your cares beguile.’ Dryden’s words have never seemed as apt as at the conclusion of this wonderful sequence of improvisations on Purcell’s songs and arias, interspersed with instrumental chaconnes and toccatas, by L’Arpeggiata.

Nabucco at Orange

The acoustic of the gigantic Théâtre Antique Romain at Orange cannot but astonish its nine thousand spectators, the nearly one hundred meter breadth of the its proscenium inspires awe. There was excited anticipation for this performance of Verdi’s first masterpiece.

Richard Strauss: Notturno

Richard Strauss may be most closely associated with the soprano voice but this recording of a selection of the composer’s lieder by baritone Thomas Hampson is a welcome reminder that the rapt lyricism of Strauss’s settings can be rendered with equal beauty and character by the low male voice.

Saint Louis: A Hit is a Hit is a Hit

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has once again staked claim to being the summer festival “of choice” in the US, not least of all for having mounted another superlative world premiere.

La Flûte Enchantée (2e Acte)
at the Aix Festival

In past years the operas of the Aix Festival that took place in the Grand Théâtre de Provence began at 8 pm. The Magic Flute began at 7 pm, or would have had not the infamous intermittents (seasonal theatrical employees) demanded to speak to the audience.

Ariodante at the Aix Festival

High drama in Aix. Three scenarios in conflict — those of G.F. Handel, Richard Jones and the intermittents (disgruntled seasonal theatrical employees). Make that four — mother nature.

Lucy Crowe, Wigmore Hall

The programme declared that ‘music, water and night’ was the connecting thread running through this diverse collection of songs, performed by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Anna Tilbrook, but in fact there was little need to seek a unifying element for these eclectic works allowed Crowe to demonstrate her expressive range — and offered the audience the opportunity to hear some interesting rarities.

The Turn of the Screw, Holland Park

‘Only make the reader’s general vision of evil intense enough … and his own experience, his own imagination, his own sympathy … will supply him quite sufficiently with all the particulars.


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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... »

29 Dec 2004

Egypt and Opera at the Museum

De l’Isis de Lully, en 1677, à l’Akhnaten de Philip Glass, en 1984, en passant par l’inoubliable Aïda de Verdi, pas moins de deux cents créations lyriques – cantates, oratorios, opéras et ballets – ont eu pour thème l’Egypte, dont la moitié exclusivement consacrées à Cléopâtre. C’est dire l’attirance que ce pays et ses mystères, réels ou supposées, ont exercée sur les compositeurs et les librettistes, toujours à la recherche d’un nouvel exotisme ou d’un romantisme déchirant. «Avec la deuxième collection d’égyptologie après celle du Musée Guimet de Lyon, dit Brigitte Bouret, conservateur du musée et commissaire de l’exposition «L’Egypte et l’Opéra», il était légitime que nous nous intéressions à ce thème d’une grande richesse d’autant que j’ai pu travailler avec un égyptologue de renom, Michel Dewachter.» »

28 Dec 2004

Der Besuch der alten Dame at TheaterLübeck

Premièring 14 January, TheaterLübeck will present Der Besuch der alten Dame, a schauspiel written in 1956 by the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990) under the original title Komödie der Hochkonjunktur (Comedy of Business Prosperity), with music by Dietmar Staskowiak. Der Besuch der alten Dame received the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best foreign play in 1958-59. »

28 Dec 2004

Changes at the Chicago Lyric

No time for Lyric to play it safe Opera company loses Epstein's voice of innovation By John von Rhein Tribune music critic December 27, 2004 Matthew A. Epstein's recent departure as artistic director of Lyric Opera raises questions about whether... »

26 Dec 2004

NY TIMES: 2004 in Retrospect

The Voices That Carried the Year By ANNE MIDGETTE OPERA lovers do a fair amount of hand-wringing over the state of singing today. My own pet peeve has been the decline in big voices, especially Verdi singers. But 2004 had... »

20 Dec 2004

Miah Persson Replaces Natalie Dessay in Mahler's Fourth

Fi de Natalie Dessay et des Brentano-Lieder de Strauss (dont le dernier, Amor, donne le titre de son dernier album, chroniqué sur ResMusica). Qu’importe, le public s’est pressé ce soir là, comme à chacun des concerts de cette intégrale Mahler (lire le compte rendu de la symphonie n°3 et de ce même concert, deux jours plus tôt, à Dijon). Composée lors de son dernier séjour en Italie la symphonie n°29 d’un Mozart d’à peine 18 ans est créée en 1774 à Salzbourg, qui connaît depuis deux ans le règne du Prince-Archevêque Colloredo. Myung Whun Chung a choisi de réduire son orchestre en « formation Mannheim » (moins de trente cordes) pour servir cette œuvre avec la légèreté et la fluidité nécessaire. L’ensemble est très énergique et homogène, et accentue le coté brillant de cette symphonie par le parti pris de tempi plutôt allant, malgré quelques fluctuations dans les départs de mouvements. »

20 Dec 2004

Once More, With Feeling

Recorded music has benefited from the digital revolution, with lifelike reproduction possible in a variety of formats. That’s not always a good thing, because professional musicians find themselves competing for work with a device known as Sinfonia. The introduction of this “virtual orchestra” into opera and Broadway pits has stirred resentment, lawsuits and countersuits. Even the definition of what it is has generated heated debate. »

20 Dec 2004

A Day in the Life of an Opera Student

At Juilliard, Students Learn That Opera Is Both Craft and Commodity By BLAIR TINDALL The Juilliard School in New York City has trained some of the world's most prominent singers since opening its opera department in 1930, including Leontyne Price,... »

19 Dec 2004

The Oxford History of Western Music

A History of Western Music? Well, It's a Long Story By JAMES R. OESTREICH OXFORD HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC By Richard Taruskin Illustrated. 4,272 pages. Oxford University Press. $500 until Dec. 31; then $699. The Oxford History of Western Music... »