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Elsewhere

Temple Winter Festival: the Gesualdo Six

‘Gaudete, gaudete!’ - Rejoice, rejoice! - was certainly the underlying spirit of this lunchtime concert at Temple Church, part of the 5th Temple Winter Festival. Whether it was vigorous joy or peaceful contemplation, the Gesualdo Six communicate a reassuring and affirmative celebration of Christ’s birth in a concert which fused medieval and modern concerns, illuminating surprising affinities.

Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida at the Wigmore Hall

The journey is always the same, and never the same. As Ian Bostridge remarks, at the end of his prize-winning book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, when the wanderer asks Der Leiermann, “Will you play your hurdy-gurdy to my songs?”, in the final song of Winterreise, the ‘crazy but logical procedure would be to go right back to the beginning of the whole cycle and start all over again’.

Turandot in San Francisco

San Francisco Opera wrapped up its 95th fall opera season just now with a bang up Turandot. It has been a season of hopeful hints that this venerable company may regain some of its former luster.

Daniel Michieletto's Cav and Pag returns to Covent Garden

It felt rather decadent to be sitting in an opera house at 12pm. Even more so given the passion-fuelled excesses of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, which might seem rather too sensual and savage for mid-day consumption.

Manitoba Opera: Madama Butterfly

Manitoba Opera opened its 45th season with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly proving that the aching heart as expressed through art knows no racial or cultural divide, with the Italian composer’s self-avowed favourite opera still able to spread its poetic wings across time and space since its Milan premiere in 1904.

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake celebrate 25 years of music-making

In 1992, concert promoter Heinz Liebrecht introduced pianist Julius Drake to tenor Ian Bostridge and an acclaimed, inspiring musical partnership was born. On Wenlock Edge formed part of their first programme, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk; and, so, in this recital at Middle Temple Hall, celebrating their 25 years of music-making, the duo included Vaughan Williams’ Housman settings for tenor, piano and string quartet alongside works with a seventeenth-century origin or flavour.

Girls of the Golden West in San Francisco

Not many (maybe any) of the new operas presented by San Francisco Opera over the past 10 years would lure me to the War Memorial Opera House a second time around. But for Girls of the Golden West just now I would be there again tomorrow night and the next, and I am eagerly awaiting all future productions.

DiDonato is superb in Semiramide at Covent Garden

It’s taken a while for Rossini’s Semiramide to reach the Covent Garden stage. The last of the operas which Rossini composed for Italian theatres between 1810-1823, Semiramide has had only one outing at the Royal Opera House since 1887, and that was a concert version in 1986.

Hans Werner Henze Choral Music

Hans Werner Henze works for mixed voice and chamber orchestra with SWR Vokalensemble and Ensemble Modern, conducted by Marcus Creed. Welcome new recordings of important pieces like Lieder von einer Insel (1964), Orpheus Behind the Wire (1984) plus Fünf Madrigale (1947).

Philippe Jaroussky and Ensemble Artaserse at the Wigmore Hall

‘His master’s masterpiece, the work of heaven’: ‘a common fountain’ from which flow ‘pure silver drops’. At the risk of effulgent hyperbole, I’d suggest that Antonio’s image of the blessed governance and purifying power of the French court - in the opening scene of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi - is also a perfect metaphor for the voice of French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, as it slips through Handel’s roulades like a silken ribbon.

La Rondine Takes Flight in San Jose

Kudos to San Jose Opera for offering up a wholly winning, consistently captivating new production of Puccini’s seldom performed La Rondine.

Bettina Smith, Norwegian Mezzo, in Songs by Fauré and Debussy

Here are five complete song sets by two of the greatest masters of French song. The performers are highly competent. I should have known, given the rave reviews that their 2015 recording of modern Norwegian songs received.

Clonter Opera Gala

Clonter’s Opera Gala in the breath-taking beautiful ball-room at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair was a glamorously glittering smattering of opera – which made me want to run out to every opera in town.  

Étienne-Nicolas Méhul: Uthal

The opera world barely knows how to handle works that have significant amounts of spoken dialogue. Conductors and stage directors will often trim the dialogue to a bare minimum (Magic Flute), have it rendered as sung recitative (Carmen), or have it spoken in the vernacular though the sung numbers may often be performed in the original language (Die Fledermaus).

A New Anna Moffo?: The Debut Disc of Aida Garifullina

Here is the latest CD from a major label promoting a major new soprano. Aida Garifullina is utterly remarkable: a lyric soprano who also can handle coloratura with ease. Her tone has a constant shimmer, with a touch of quick, narrow vibrato even on short notes.

A New Die Walküre at Lyric Opera of Chicago

From the start of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s splendid, new production of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre conflict and resolution are portrayed throughout with moving intensity. The central character Brünnhilde is sung by Christine Goerke and her father Wotan by Eric Owens.

As One a Haunting Success in San Diego

San Diego Opera has mined solid gold with its mesmerizing and affecting production of As One, a part of their innovative ‘Detour Series.’

OLF: Songs by Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein, Rachmaninov and Georgy Sviridov

Compared to the oft-explored world of German lieder and French chansons, the songs of Russia are unfairly neglected in recordings and in the concert hall. The raw emotion and expansive lyricism present in much of this repertoire was clearly in evidence at the Holywell Music Room for the penultimate day of the celebrated Oxford Lieder Festival.

Stockhausen’s STIMMUNG and COSMIC PULSES at the Barbican.

This concert was an event on several levels - marking a decade since the death of Stockhausen, the fortieth anniversary (almost to the day) since Singcircle first performed STIMMUNG (at the Round House), and their final public performance of the piece. It was also a rare opportunity to hear (and see) Stockhausen’s last completed purely electronic work, COSMIC PULSES - an overwhelming visual and aural experience that anyone who was at this concert will long remember.

Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2017 - Winner Announced

Bampton Classical Opera is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 Young Singers’ Competition is mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard and the runner-up is tenor Wagner Moreira. The winner of the accompanists’ prize, a new category this year, is Keval Shah.


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Amanda Kingston as Magda [Photo by Pat Kirk]
24 Nov 2017

La Rondine Takes Flight in San Jose

Kudos to San Jose Opera for offering up a wholly winning, consistently captivating new production of Puccini’s seldom performed La Rondine.  »

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01 Oct 2006

VIVALDI: Tito Manlio

Tito Manlio (Titus Manlius), dramma per musica in 3 acts. Music composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) based on a libretto by Matteo Noris (? – 1714). »

24 Sep 2006

VERDI: I vespri siciliani

I vespri siciliani, grand opera in five acts. Italian edition of Les vépres siciliennes. »

08 Sep 2006

VERDI: Un ballo in maschera

Un ballo in maschera, a melodramma in three acts.Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Antonio Somma, based upon the work of Eugène Scribe Gustave III ou Le bal masqué (1833) »

28 Aug 2006

VERDI: Don Carlo

Don Carlo, an opera in four acts. Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901). Libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille Du Locle after Friedrich von Schiller’s dramatic poem Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien. Revised version in four acts (French text revised by Du Locle, Italian translation by Achille de Lauzières and Angelo Zanardini). »

13 Aug 2006

WAGNER: Tristan und Isolde

Tristan und Isolde, Handlung (drama) in three acts.Music and libretto by Richard Wagner. »

30 Jul 2006

PONCHIELLI: La Gioconda

La Gioconda, dramma lirico in four acts.Music composed by Amilcare Ponchielli (1834–1886). Libretto by Arrigo Boito (under the pseudonym Tobia Gorrio), based upon Victor Hugo's Angelo, Tyrant of Padua (1835). »

25 Jul 2006

Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Un bain au sérail by Théodore Chassériau (1849)Musée du Louvre »

22 Jul 2006

MOZART: Die Entführung aus dem Serail — Part II

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Singspiel in 3 Acts.Music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Libretto by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger, based on an earlier libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner. »

17 Jul 2006

MOZART: Die Entführung aus dem Serail — Part I

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Singspiel in 3 Acts.Music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Libretto by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger, based on an earlier libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner. »

08 Jul 2006

BIZET: Carmen

Opéra comique in four acts.Music composed by Georges Bizet (1838-1875). Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy after Prosper Mérimée’s novella, Carmen. »

23 Jun 2006

"Castrato" — In Search of a Lost Voice

Nestling artistically in a bowl, carefully arranged and lit to suit the camera early in the programme, the testicles seemed to glow softly with their hidden history, their inherent potential and, now, their very lack of future. »

19 Jun 2006

WAGNER: Der fliegende Holländer

Der fliegende Holländer. Romantic opera in 3 acts.Music composed by Richard Wagner. Libretto by the composer. »

11 Jun 2006

MOZART: Così fan tutte — La Scala 1956

Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (K. 588). Opera buffa in two acts.Music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. »

08 Jun 2006

ROSSINI: La Cenerentola

La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo. Dramma giocoso in two acts.Music composed by Gioacchino Rossini (1792–1868). Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti after Perrault. »

21 May 2006

DONIZETTI: Poliuto

Poliuto, Tragedia lirica in three acts.Music composed by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, after the tragedy Polyeucte (1640) by Pierre Corneille. »

18 May 2006

GLUCK: Alceste

Alceste. Tragedia in three acts (Italian version).Alceste. Tragédie opéra in three acts (French version). »

15 May 2006

GLUCK: Orfeo ed Euridice

Orfeo ed Euridice. Azione teatrale in three acts (Italian version).Orphée et Eurydice. Tragédie opéra in three acts (French version). »

09 May 2006

MARTÍN Y SOLER: Una cosa rara

Una cosa rara, ossia Bellezza ed onestà. Dramma giocoso in two acts.Music composed by Vicente Martín y Soler (1754–1806). Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte from the comedy La luna de la Sierra by Luis Vélez de Guevara. »

30 Apr 2006

HANDEL: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17), Drama in three acts.Music composed by Georg Friedrich Handel (1685–1759). Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym after an earlier libretto by Giacomo Francesco Bussani. »

20 Apr 2006

BELLINI: I puritani

I puritani, opera seria in three actsMusic composed by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835). Libretto by Carlo Pepoli from Têtes rondes et Cavaliers (1833) by Jacques Ancelot and Xavier Saintine. »

17 Apr 2006

BELLINI: Norma — Trieste 1953

Norma: Tragedia lirica in due atti »

09 Apr 2006

BELLINI: La sonnambula — La Scala 1955

La sonnambula, Melodramma in due attiMusic composed by Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835). Libretto by Felice Romani, based on La Sonnambule ou L'arrivée d'un nouveau Seigneur (1827) by Eugène Scribe. »

26 Mar 2006

SMETANA: Die verkaufte Braut

Die verkaufte Braut (The Bartered Bride; Prodaná nevěsta)Comic opera in three acts.Music composed by Bedřich Smetana. Libretto by Karel Sabina »

23 Mar 2006

DONIZETTI: Don Pasquale

Don Pasquale, Dramma buffo in three acts. Music by Gaetano Donizetti. Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini and the composer after Angelo Anelli’s libretto for Stefano Pavesi’s Ser Marcantonio (1810), which was derived from Epicœne or The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson (1609). »

20 Mar 2006

GOUNOD: Roméo et Juliette

Roméo et Juliette, Opéra en cinq actes Music composed by Charles François Gounod. Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. »

12 Mar 2006

CIMAROSA: Il Matrimonio Segreto

Il Matrimonio Segreto, Melodramma giocoso in two acts.Music composed by Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801). Libretto by Giovanni Bertati after The Clandestine Marriage (1766) by George Colman the Elder and David Garrick. »

02 Mar 2006

WEBER: Oberon

Oberon, Romantic opera in three actsMusic by Carl Maria von Weber. Libretto by James Robinson Planché after Oberon by Christoph Martin Wieland and the 13th-century French romance Huon de Bordeaux »

18 Feb 2006

WEBER: Der Freischütz

Der Freischütz, Romantische Oper in drei Aufzügen.Music composed by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826). Libretto by Friedrich Kind. »

15 Feb 2006

ROSSINI: Armida — Venice 1970

Armida, Dramma per musica in tre atti. »

12 Feb 2006

WEBER: Euryanthe

Euryanthe, Romantische Oper in drei AufzügenMusic composed by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826). Libretto by Wilhelmina Christiane von Chézy. »

22 Jan 2006

WAGNER: Parsifal

Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel ("stage dedication play") in three acts.Music and libretto by Richard Wagner. »

15 Jan 2006

MOZART: La clemenza di Tito

La clemenza di Tito. Opera seria in due atti (K. 621).Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Caterino Mazzolà based on a text by Pietro Metastasio. »

08 Jan 2006

MOZART: Idomeneo

Idomeneo, rè di Creta. Dramma per musica in tre atti (K. 366).Music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco after Idomenée by Antoine Danchet. »

06 Jan 2006

MOZART: Requiem

Requiem in D Minor (K. 626)Music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Text based on the Mass for the Dead (Requiem Mass). »

01 Jan 2006

HAYDN: Die Schöpfung

Die Schöpfung, Oratorium in drei TeilenMusic composed by Franz Joseph Haydn. Libretto by Gottfried van Swieten based on selections from the Book of Genesis and Paradise Lost by John Milton. »

28 Dec 2005

GOUNOD: Faust

Faust, Opéra en cinq actesMusic composed by Charles Gounod. Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré after Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe »

25 Dec 2005

BERLIOZ: La damnation de Faust

La damnation de Faust, Légende dramatique en quatre partiesMusic composed by Hector Berlioz. Libretto by Hector Berlioz, Almire Gandonanière and Gérard de Nerval after Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe »

16 Dec 2005

BOITO: Mefistofele

Mefistofele, Opera in un prologo, quattro atti e un epilogoMusic and libretto by Arrigo Boito (1842-1918), based on Faust: Eine Tragödie by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe »

11 Dec 2005

VERDI: La Forza del Destino

La Forza del Destino, a melodramma in quattro attiMusic composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave based on the drama Don Alvaro o La fuerza del sino by Angel Perez de Saavedra »

04 Dec 2005

FLOTOW: Martha — Berlin 1944

Martha, an opera in four acts.Music composed by Friedrich von Flotow. Libretto by Wilhelm Friedrich.First performance: 25 November 1847 at Theater an der Wien, Vienna. »

01 Dec 2005

PERGOLESI: La serva padrona

La serva padrona, intermezzo in two partsMusic composed by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Libretto by Gennar'antonio Frederico.First performance: 28 August 1733, Teatro San Bartolomeo, Naples. »

27 Nov 2005

BEETHOVEN: Fidelio — Munich 1978

Fidelio, an opera in two acts »

20 Nov 2005

VERDI: Macbeth

VERDI: Macbeth, melodramma in quattro parti.Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play by William Shakespeare. »

12 Nov 2005

STRAUSS: Die Fledermaus

Music composed by Johann Strauss II.Libretto by Richard Genée based on Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy/Karl Haffner.First performance: 5 April 1874 at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna. »

24 Oct 2005

Victorien Sardou — A Tale of Two Operas

Victorien Sardou (1831-1908) was a popular French dramatist during the later half of the 19th Century. He, along with Eugène Scribe, combined melodrama and realism to a produce a more serious form of drama that emphasized careful plot construction. »

10 Oct 2005

The Operatic Pushkin

Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837) is generally considered Russia’s greatest poet. According to Andrew Kahn, his contemporaries held him “above all the master of the lyric poem, verse that is famous for its formal perfection and its reticent lyric persona, and infamous for its resistance to translation.” [Alexander Pushkin, The Queen of Spades and Other Stories, trans. Alan Myers, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997] »

05 Oct 2005

Abbé Prévost's Manon Lescaut

The Story of the Chevalier Des Grieux and Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost stands as one of the great works of French literature. It first appeared in 1731 as an appendix to the series, Memoirs and Adventures of a Man of Quality. It was later revised in 1753 for independent publication under the title Les Aventures du chevalier Des Grieux et Manon Lescaut with illustrations by Pasquier and Gravelot. »

25 Sep 2005

Ariadne auf Naxos

Only a few months following the premiere of Der Rosenkavalier, Hugo von Hofmannsthal proposed a new opera to Richard Strauss based on Molière’s comedy-ballet, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (in German, Der Bürger als Edelmann). »

18 Sep 2005

An Introduction to Pacini’s Saffo

By early 1835 Giovanni Pacini had written almost fifty operas during the course of a career launched in 1813. He was tired and he was discouraged. Not only had his earlier works been overshadowed by the force of Rossini’s musical personality, but even after the departure of the Pesarese from Italy in 1823, Pacini’s star did not shine brighter. In his fascinating Memoirs, the composer examined these years and acknowledged his own limitations. Though the first performances of his Irene, o L’assedio di Messina (Naples, Teatro San Carlo, 30 November 1833) were largely rescued by the singers, Pacini knew the creative vein he had been mining was empty. Maturing under the spell of Rossini, he had not yet shown himself to be more than an able follower: “I began to realize that I should withdraw from the field.—Bellini, the divine Bellini, and Donizetti had surpassed me.” »

11 Sep 2005

Das Rheingold — An Overview

Das Rheingold is the first of the four works that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen. On the title page of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Wagner refers to Das Rheingold as a Vorabend (a preliminary evening). Nevertheless, Das Rheingold sets the foundation on which the remainder of the Ring is built. »