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Elsewhere

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.

Plenty of Va-Va-Vroom: La Fille du Regiment, Iford

It is not often that concept, mood, music and place coincide perfectly. On the first night of Opera della Luna’s La Fille du Regiment at Iford Opera in Wiltshire, England we arrived with doubts (rather large doubts it should be admitted)as to whether Donizetti’s “naive and vulgar” romp of militarism and proto-feminism, peopled with hordes of gun-toting soldiers and praying peasants, could hardly be contained, surely, inside Iford’s tiny cloister?

La finta giardiniera, Glyndebourne

‘Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,/ Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend/ More than cool reason ever comprehends.’

Sophie Karthäuser, Wigmore Hall

Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser has a rich range of vocal resources upon which to draw: she has power and also precision; her top is bright and glinting and it is complemented by a surprisingly full and rich lower register; she can charm with a flowing lyrical line, but is also willing to take musical risks to convey emotion and embody character.

Ariadne auf Naxos, Royal Opera

‘When two men like us set out to produce a “trifle”, it has to become a very serious trifle’, wrote Hofmannsthal to Strauss during the gestation of their opera about opera.

Leoš Janáček : The Cunning Little Vixen, Garsington Opera at Wormsley

Janáček started The Cunning Little Vixen on the cusp of old age in 1922 and there is something deeply elegiac about it.

La Traviata in Marseille

It took only a couple of years for Il trovatore and Rigoletto to make it from Italy to the Opéra de Marseille, but it took La traviata (Venice, 1853) sixteen years (Marseille, 1869).

Madama Butterfly in San Francisco

Gesamtkunstwerk, synthesis of fable, sound, shape and color in art, may have been made famous by Richard Wagner, and perhaps never more perfectly realized than just now by San Francisco Opera.


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Reviews

Sir Edward Elgar
20 Jul 2014

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.  »

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22 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Don Carlos at the Vienna State Opera

Don Carlos, Vienna State Opera By Larry L Lash Published: October 22 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 22 2004 03:00 Despite character motivation and plot development of revelatory clarity and depth, top-notch singing, gorgeous orchestral playing and insightful conducting,... »

22 Oct 2004

Four Reviews of Die Zauberflöte at the Met

Julie Taymor -- and Mozart Too By HEIDI WALESON [Wall Street Journal] October 14, 2004; Page D7 New York The Metropolitan Opera usually showcases singers, not star directors, but the Met's newest production is most definitely the "Julie Taymor 'Zauberflote'"... »

22 Oct 2004

Thomas Quasthoff Sings Sacred Cantatas by Bach

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Thomas Quasthoff Sings Sacred Cantatas by Bach by Jürgen Otten It would be easy to describe or appraise the art of bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff by evoking the title of an exquisite lied by the Romantic... »

15 Oct 2004

Two Reviews of "The Dialogues of the Carmelites"

Unbearably Good Classical Music BY JAY NORDLINGER [New York Sun] October 14, 2004 Is there any opera more shattering than "The Dialogues of the Carmelites," when it's done well? On Tuesday night, City Opera did it well. It was... »

15 Oct 2004

FT Reviews L'Incoronazione di Poppeia

L'Incoronazione di Poppeia, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris By Francis Carlin [Financial Times] Published: October 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 15 2004 03:00 If you liked David McVicar's staging of Agrippina, you may like his new Poppeia. Or... »

14 Oct 2004

A Review of Pelléas et Mélisande at Berlin

Pelléas et Mélisande, Deutsche Oper, Berlin By Shirley Apthorp [Financial Times] Published: October 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 14 2004 03:00 Yniold wants to know why these sheep huddle together and why they are so silent. We know... »

14 Oct 2004

Two Reviews of Rolando Villazón's New York Recital Debut

An Introduction in 5 Languages By ANNE MIDGETTE [New York Times] The powers that be in the opera world are desperate to discover the next hot male phenomenon. On Monday, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur, Rolando... »

12 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Elektra At Frankfurt Opera

Elektra, Frankfurt Opera By Shirley Apthorp Published: October 12 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 12 2004 03:00 "Everywhere, in all the courts, there are dead bodies, all who are alive are smeared with blood, yet all are smiling," sings... »

11 Oct 2004

FT Reviews La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein

La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, Châtelet, Paris By Francis Carlin Published: October 11 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 11 2004 03:00 Were the Brits in the audience the only ones to get the allusion? Felicity Lott's Grand Duchess is... »

10 Oct 2004

Cecilia Bartoli at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris

La réhabilitation pour Salieri Au TCE, Cecilia Bartoli se fait l'éblouissante avocate d'un musicien dont la postérité retiendra avant tout les soupçons d'empoisonnement sur la personne de Mozart : Antonio Salieri. Elle consacre l'intégralité d'un récital à celui que Gluck... »

10 Oct 2004

Le Monde Reviews Messiaen's "Saint François d'Assise"

La mise en apesanteur divine de "Saint François d'Assise", SDF de la foi LE MONDE | 08.10.04 | 15h02 A l'Opéra Bastille, les tableaux franciscains d'Olivier Messiaen par Stanislas Nordey. Avec cette nouvelle production du Saint-François d'Assise de Messiaen -... »

09 Oct 2004

"La Voix Humaine" at Vremena Goda Festival

Voznesenskaya - only too human by Neil McGowan La Voix Humaine (concert performance) Vremena Goda Festival Vremena Goda Orchestra/Bulakhov 29 September 2004 Bringing down the curtain on the Vremena Goda Festival this year was the Festival's first-ever operatic offering -... »

08 Oct 2004

Moscow Times: Entering the Ring

George Loomis reports on Wagner opera, Russian-style. By George Loomis Published: October 8, 2004 Last spring the Metropolitan Opera gave three complete cycles of Richard Wagner's four-opera saga, "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (The Ring of the Nibelung). It was business... »

08 Oct 2004

Roger Pines on historic recorded performances of Bizet

Georges Bizet’s Carmen has a distinguished recording history in both complete performances and excerpts. From this ever-popular work, as well as the composer’s Les pêcheurs de perles, there are considerable lessons to be learned from the early decades of recording in terms of balancing dramatic urgency with the needs of the drama. Many singers have gotten by in Bizet with beauty at the expense of text, but a Solange Michel or a Charles Dalmorès demonstrates indisputably that Bizet does not come alive unless the text is commanded in depth. »

07 Oct 2004

FIEDLER: Molto Agitato

I well remember my first performance at the Met. It was a not very distinguished La Bohème with Malfitano and Lima, Domingo conducting, in the winter of 1985. But at last I had made it to the Met. This was the company of Caruso, Gigli, Ponselle, Tibbett and Melchior. This was the house where Corelli and Price had given of their best. So in a sense this is my house too, because the Met is too big, too important to belong to the New Yorkers alone, witness the overwhelming majority of the subscribers to Opera News (circulation around 120,000) who are living elsewhere, a lot of them people in Europe like myself. Therefore anything concerning the Met concerns all opera lovers. »

06 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Tamerlano

Tamerlano, Opéra de Lille By Francis Carlin Published: October 6 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 6 2004 03:00 There should be a golden rule for producers: don't make life difficult for yourself and the audience. In Lille's magnificently restored... »

30 Sep 2004

Le Figaro on Charpentier Festival

FESTIVAL Marc-Antoine Charpentier à Ambronay Triomphe de la jeunesse Gérard Corneloup [30 septembre 2004] En cette année du bicentenaire de la mort de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, occasion unique de le sortir de l'ombre que lui fait encore Lully, le festival d'Ambronay... »

30 Sep 2004

FROSCH at Innsbruck

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Tiroler Landstheater, Innsbruck By Larry L Lash Published: September 29 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 29 2004 03:00 It was a strange match: Richard Strauss's hugest, most difficult opera - with one of the largest... »

30 Sep 2004

King's Music Reviews New Recordings of Works by Rameau

Rameau : Platée Paul Agnew Platée, Mireille Delunsch La Folie & Thalie, Yann Beuron Thespis & Mercure, Vincent Le Texier Jupiter, Doris Lamprecht Junon, Laurent Naouri Cithéron & a Satyr, Valérie Gabail L'Amour & Clarine, Franck Leguerinel Momus, Orchestra and... »

28 Sep 2004

Die Walküre at the Met

Die Walküre, Metropolitan Opera, New York By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 28 2004 03:00 For the past couple of decades at the Metropolitan Opera, Die Walküre was the exclusive property of James Levine,... »

27 Sep 2004

FT Reviews La Rondine

La Rondine, New York City Opera By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 27 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 27 2004 03:00 La Rondine certainly isn't Puccini's easiest or most successful opera. Completed in 1917, it flutters - sometimes elegantly, sometimes... »

21 Sep 2004

Andrew Patner Reviews Don Giovanni at the Lyric Opera

Don Giovanni, Lyric Opera, Chicago By Andrew Patner Published: September 21 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 21 2004 03:00 A half century ago, a trio of twentysomething operaphiles offered Chicago what they dubbed a "calling card" production of Mozart's... »

20 Sep 2004

Faust in Hong Kong

Faust, Hong Kong Cultural Centre By Ken Smith Published: September 20 2004 13:25 | Last updated: September 20 2004 13:25 Hong Kong's opera lovers, lacking a full-time opera house and gaining a standing company only in the past year, have... »

17 Sep 2004

FT Reviews The Greek Passion

The Greek Passion, Royal Opera House, London By Andrew Clark Published: September 17 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 17 2004 03:00 All human life is here: prayer and pageant, self-sacrifice and self-righteousness, humour and hypocrisy, feast and famine. Opera... »

16 Sep 2004

FT Reviews Tobias and the Angel

Tobias and the Angel, English Touring Opera, St John's Church, London By David Murray Published: September 16 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 16 2004 03:00 The composer Jonathan Dove may have called his Tobias, now touring cathedrals and churches,... »

15 Sep 2004

FT Reviews LA Opera's Ariadne auf Naxos

Ariadne auf Naxos Music Center, Los Angeles By Allan Ulrich Published: September 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 15 2004 03:00 William Friedkin's mounting of the Strauss-von Hoffmannsthal comedy handsomely and wittily confirms the general director Plácido Domingo's belief... »

15 Sep 2004

Le Figaro Reviews Pelléas et Mélisande at Palais Garnier

Debussy tout feu tout glace La critique de Jacques Doucelin [15 septembre 2004] Une salle qui tousse à gorge déployée en été, hors de toute épidémie de grippe, au mieux manque d'attention, au pire s'ennuie. Voilà le résultat du transfert... »

14 Sep 2004

FT: Ariadne auf Naxos, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff

Ariadne auf Naxos, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff By Richard Fairman Published: September 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 14 2004 03:00 The Prologue to Ariadne auf Naxos is all about the backstage shenanigans before a performance - a bit... »

13 Sep 2004

NYT: Anne Midgette Reviews Katya Kabanova

CRITIC'S PICK | ANNE MIDGETTE A Star to Shed Light on Janacek's Bleak Operatic Landscape OPINIONS may differ as to what constitutes a highlight at the Metropolitan Opera these days, but few disagreed last season about Karita Mattila's performance as... »

10 Sep 2004

WSJ: The Comeback Composer

The Comeback Composer Opera World Taps Handel To Woo New Audiences; Cleopatra in Gold Lamé By HEIDI WALESON The last time Michael Goodman had season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Gerald Ford was president and pet... »

10 Sep 2004

FT: Martin Bernheimer reviews Daphne

Daphne New York City Opera By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 10 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 10 2004 03:00 It took 66 years for Richard Strauss'sDaphne to reach a stage in New York. We must be grateful for belated... »

09 Sep 2004

FT: Orion/Saariaho, Bluebeard/Bártok BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

By David Murray Published: September 9 2004 05:00 | Last updated: September 9 2004 05:00 Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducted the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho's grand new Orion followed by Bártok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Though the works have nothing in common,... »

09 Sep 2004

Simon Heighes Reviews L'Amfiparnaso

In the September 2004 issue of International Record Review, Simon Heighes reviews Orazio Vecchi's L'Amfiparnaso, a new DVD under the Chandos Chaconne label. Composed in 1597, L'Amfiparnaso is a realization of commedia dell'arte consisting of a prologue and three acts.... »

08 Sep 2004

Fanfare Reviews Die Loreley

PACIUS Die Loreley * Osmo Vänskä, cond; Cornelius Hauptmann (Hubert); Soile Isokoski (Lenore); Riikka Rantanen (Bertha); Raimo Sirkiä (Otto); Topi Lehtipuu (Reinald); Arttu Kataja (Leupold); Lahti SO; Dominante Ch * BIS-CD-1393/1394 (2 CDs: 125:02 &) Live: Lahti, Finland 9/2003 Fredrik... »

08 Sep 2004

Le Figaro: Charpentier en majesté

Charpentier en majesté Jacques Doucelin [08 septembre 2004] Bien avant d'imposer la victoire définitive de la vague baroque avec Atys, de Lully, William Christie s'était attelé à la redécouverte de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, son rival à la cour, dont le public... »

07 Sep 2004

NYT: Enough to Make Handel Reach for His Walkman

Enough to Make Handel Reach for His Walkman By ANTHONY TOMMASINI During the late 1720's Handel had two rival prima donnas in the London opera company he ran: Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni. From all reports both were superb sopranos... »

03 Sep 2004

Opera Japonica: Maria Nockin's Letter from America

Summer in Santa Fe The most difficult tickets to obtain at Santa Fe this summer were for Vincenzo Bellini's seldom performed opera, La sonnambula. It was a great pleasure to hear the sumptuous long melodies of this lyrical work, which... »