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Elsewhere

Collision: Spectra Ensemble at the Arcola Theatre

‘Asteroid flyby in October: A drill for the end of the world?’ So shouted a headline in USA Today earlier this month, as journalist Doyle Rice asked, ‘Are we ready for an asteroid impact?’ in his report that in October NASA will conduct a drill to see how well its planetary defence system would work if an actual asteroid were heading straight for Earth.

Joshua Bell offers Hispanic headiness at the Proms

At the start of the 20th century, French composers seemed to be conducting a cultural love affair with Spain, an affair initiated by the Universal Exposition of 1889 where the twenty-five-year old Debussy and the fourteen-year-old Ravel had the opportunity to hear new sounds from East Asia, such as the Javanese gamelan, alongside gypsy flamenco from Granada.

John Joubert's Jane Eyre

Librettists have long mined the literature shelves for narratives that are ripe for musico-dramatic embodiment. On the whole, it’s the short stories and poems - The Turn of the Screw, Eugene Onegin or Death in Venice, for example - that best lend themselves to operatic adaptation.

Hibiki: a European premiere by Mark-Anthony Turnage at the Proms

Hibiki: sound, noise, echo, reverberation, harmony. Commissioned by the Suntory Hall in Tokyo to celebrate the Hall’s 30th anniversary in 2016, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 50-minute Hibiki, for two female soloists, children’s chorus and large orchestra, purports to reflect on the ‘human reverberations’ of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011 and the devastation caused by the subsequent tsunami and radioactive disaster.

Through Life and Love: Louise Alder sings Strauss

Soprano Louise Alder has had an eventful few months. Declared ‘Young Singer of the Year’ at the 2017 International Opera Awards in May, the following month she won the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared, Grimeborn

A great performance of Janáček’s song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared can be, allowing for the casting of a superb tenor, an experience on a par with Schoenberg’s Erwartung. That Shadwell Opera’s minimalist, but powerful, staging in the intimate setting of Studio 2 of the Arcola Theatre was a triumph was in no small measure to the magnificent singing of the tenor, Sam Furness.

Khovanshchina: Mussorgsky at the Proms

Remembering the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this Proms performance of Mussorgsky’s mighty Khovanshchina (all four and a quarter hours of it) exceeded all expectations on a musical level. And, while the trademark doorstop Proms opera programme duly arrived containing full text and translation, one should celebrate the fact that - finally - we had surtitles on several screens.

Santa Fe: Entertaining If Not Exactly (R)evolutionary

You know what I loved best about Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs?

Longborough Young Artists in London: Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice

For the last three years, Longborough Festival Opera’s repertoire of choice for their Young Artist Programme productions has been Baroque opera seria, more specifically Handel, with last year’s Alcina succeeding Rinaldo in 2014 and Xerxes in 2015.

A Master Baritone in Recital: Sesto Bruscantini, 1981

This is the only disc ever devoted to the art of Sesto Bruscantini (1919–2003). Record collectors value his performance of major baritone roles, especially comic but also serious ones, on many complete opera recordings, such as Il barbiere di Siviglia (with Victoria de los Angeles). He continued to perform at major houses until at least 1985 and even recorded Mozart's Don Alfonso in 1991, when he was 72.

Emalie Savoy: A Portrait

Since 1952, the ARD—the organization of German radio stations—has run an annual competition for young musicians. Winners have included Jessye Norman, Maurice André, Heinz Holliger, and Mitsuko Uchida. Starting in 2015, the CD firm GENUIN has offered, as a separate award, the chance for one of the prize winners to make a CD that can serve as a kind of calling card to the larger musical and music-loving world. In 2016, the second such CD award was given to the Aris Quartett (second-prize winner in the “string quartet” category).

Full-throated Cockerel at Santa Fe

A tale of a lazy, befuddled world leader that ‘has no clothes on’ and his two dimwit sons, hmmmm, what does that remind me of. . .?

Santa Fe’s Trippy Handel

If you don’t like a given moment in Santa Fe Opera’s staging of Alcina, well, just like the volatile mountain weather, wait two minutes and it will surely change.

Santa Fe’s Crowd-Pleasing Strauss

With Die Fledermaus’ thrice familiar overture still lingering in our ears, it didn’t take long for the assault of hijinks to reduce the audience into guffaws of delight.

Santa Fe: Mad for Lucia

If there is any practitioner currently singing the punishing title role of Lucia di Lammermoor better than Brenda Rae, I am hard-pressed to name her.

Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen at Grimeborn

Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen can be a difficult opera to stage, despite its charm and simplicity. In part it is a good, old-fashioned morality tale about the relationships between humans and animals, and between themselves, but Janáček doesn’t use a sledgehammer to make this point. It is easy for many productions to fall into parody, and many have done, and it is a tribute to The Opera Company’s staging of this work at the Arcola Theatre that they narrowly avoided this pitfall.

Handel's Israel in Egypt at the Proms: William Christie and the OAE

For all its extreme popularity with choirs, Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt is a somewhat problematic work; the scarcity of solos makes hiring professional soloists an extravagant expense, and the standard version of the work starts oddly with a tenor recitative. If we return to the work's history then these issues are put into context, and this is what William Christie did for the performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 1 August 2017.

Sirens and Scheherazade: Prom 18

From Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, to Bruch’s choral-orchestral Odysseus, to Fauré’s Penelope, countless compositions have taken their inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey, perhaps not surprisingly given Homer’s emphasis on the power of music in the Greek world.

Discovering Gounod’s Cinq Mars: Another Rarity Success for Oper Leipzig

Oper Leipzig usually receives less international attention than its Dresden, Munich or Berlin counterparts; however, with its fabulous Gewandhaus Orchestra, and its penchant for opera rarities (and a new Ring Cycle), this quality hotspot will be attracting more and more opera lovers. Leipzig’s new production of Gounod’s Cinq Mars continues this high quality tradition.

Detlev Glanert : Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch

Detlev Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch should be a huge hit. Just as Carl Orff's Carmina Burana appeals to audiences who don't listen to early music (or even to much classical music), Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch has all the elements for instant popular success.


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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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... »