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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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Performances

22 Jul 2014

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. »

Recently in Performances

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10 Dec 2004

A Double Bill at Juilliard

Prodigal Son and a Brat, a Whimsical Pairing By BERNARD HOLLAND The Juilliard Opera Center's double bill on Wednesday made more nonmusical than musical sense. "L'Enfant Prodigue" by Debussy and "L'Enfant et les Sortilèges" by Ravel fit nicely into an... »

10 Dec 2004

Salieri's Europa Riconosciuta A Wise Choice

Salieri promu chantre de l'Europe [09 décembre 2004] Le Napolitain Riccardo Muti a fait le bon choix avec cette Europa Riconosciuta de Salieri pour rouvrir le théâtre dont il est directeur musical depuis le départ d'Abbado en 1986. L'ouvrage avait,... »

08 Dec 2004

Handel in Paris: A Review of Hercules

Paris Palais Garnier 12/04/2004 - et 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19, 22, 27 décembre 2004 Georg Friedrich Haendel : Hercules Joyce DiDonato (Dejanira), William Shimell (Hercules), Malena Ernman (Lichas), Toby Spence (Hyllus), Indela Bohlin (Iole), Simon Kirkbridge (Pretre de... »

08 Dec 2004

Der Rosenkavalier at Helsinki

A triumphant 'Rosenkavalier' By George Loomis International Herald Tribune Wednesday, December 8, 2004 HELSINKI Far be it from me to foment rivalry between sopranos, but Finland has another who is fully worthy of the international acclaim already lavished on the... »

07 Dec 2004

Rigoletto at Amsterdam (and an appraisal of tenor Joseph Calleja)

How does it come about that "modern" productions date so quickly while "traditional" ones can go on for ages ? Probably, because ideas that once were fresh and innovative are immediately picked up by everybody in the business, copied (sometimes... »

06 Dec 2004

Los Angeles Philharmonic Tristan Project

I spent a spectacular three days in Walt Disney Concert Hall taking in the magnificent music of Richard Wagner in what has been entitled The Tristan Project. At first, when this three day event was announced as part of... »

04 Dec 2004

Berlioz in Boston

Not strictly opera, but so full of the usual suspects . . . My experience of Berlioz's Dramatic Symphony Romeo et Juliette (R&J) came full circle last night at Boston's Symphony Hall. I had first heard the work live in... »

03 Dec 2004

Anne Sofie von Otter at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris

Troubadour des temps modernes Avec toujours un meme gout pour l'éloquente clarté, Anne Sofie von Otter sait tout faire. Bete de scène inespérée, elle est récitaliste sans appret ni pose. Ballades ou mélodies, Lieder et songs, l'éclectisme du programme n'est... »

03 Dec 2004

Praises for Rodelinda at the Met

Review: 'Rodelinda' at Met Is Masterpiece MIKE SILVERMAN Associated Press NEW YORK - George Frideric Handel's "Rodelinda" was a huge success at its London premiere in 1725, but it soon vanished from the stage and - like the composer's three... »

01 Dec 2004

Who Said Wagner Didn't Have a Sense of Humor?

Australia forges a 'Ring' with confidence By Shirley Apthorp Published: November 30 2004 Where do the Valkyries meet between battles? At the Wunder Bar, of course. Schwertleite, Grimgerde and sisters are leather-clad punks with a crass sense of humour,... »

30 Nov 2004

Pierre Jourdan Resurrects Haÿdée at Compiègne

OPéRA "Hayedée" à Compiègne Auber sort de l'oubli Jacques Doucelin [Le Figaro] [30 novembre 2004] Et de cinq ! Après Manon Lescaut, Gustave III, Le Domino noir et Les Diamants de la couronne entre 1990 et 1999, Pierre Jourdan vient... »

30 Nov 2004

Opera North Presents Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus

On the Weill side of Venus Robert Thicknesse Opera North is reviving a "lost" work by the composer THINK of Kurt Weill and what do you get? Cigarettes, dim lights, fishnets; Lotte Lenya or Ute Lemper; Berlin, Brecht, Communism, cabaret... »

29 Nov 2004

Izvestia Reviews

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29 Nov 2004

Neue Zürcher Zeitung Reviews Angels in America

Eine neue Oper von Peter Eötvös in Paris uraufgeführt Peter Eötvös, der ungarische Komponist und Dirigent, heuer sechzig geworden, fühlt sich schon seit je zum Theater hingezogen. Seine Musik hat dieses narrative, körperlich-gestische Element, das Bildhafte und Kommunikative, das guter... »

29 Nov 2004

Don Pasquale at Covent Garden

Opera: Don Pasquale Robert Thicknesse at Covent Garden JONATHAN MILLER certainly has it in for Covent Garden. A few weeks ago he hilariously described the crowd here as "Harrods Food Hall gives up its dead", and to continue the metaphor... »

27 Nov 2004

Angels in America at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris

Clipping the wings of an apocalyptic epic (Filed: 27/11/2004) Rupert Christiansen reviews Angels in America at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris There are plenty of wonderful operas taken from good plays, and a few (Otello and Wozzeck, for example) taken from... »

27 Nov 2004

LA Opera Presents Vanessa

A fully American grand opera Los Angeles Opera stages the seldom-produced "Vanessa" By John Farrell Special to U-Entertainment Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Los Angeles Opera has been steering its productions the last few months right down the middle of... »

27 Nov 2004

Eugene Onegin at SFO

Soaring Opera hits new heights in Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Music Critic Friday, November 26, 2004 Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" is a story of strong emotion accommodating itself, painfully but with resigned acceptance, to external reality. Dreams of romantic... »

24 Nov 2004

OONY Presents La Fanciulla del West

Superb, if mixed, Fanciulla at OONY Last night's La Fanciulla del West at Carnegie Hall was the classic case of the whole being much better than the sum of its parts. It was a thrilling performance of Puccini's score and... »

23 Nov 2004

Performance Note: Helikon Opera of Moscow Performs Nabucco at Dijon

The Helikon Opera of Moscow is in residence for three weeks at Dijon. Its first production was Verdi's Nabucco. In ResMusica.com, Edouard Bailly reviews this production with lavish praise for its costumes and sets, as well as, for the most... »

22 Nov 2004

Verdi's Macbeth at Madrid

Macbeth and the darkness Madrid Teatro Real 11/10/2004 - Giuseppe Verdi: Macbeth Carlos álvarez (Macbeth), Paoletta Marrocu (Lady Macbeth), Aquiles Machado (Macduff), Guillermo Orozco (Malcolm), Carlo Colombara (Banquo). Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real, Jesus Lopez Cobos (Musical Conductor),... »

19 Nov 2004

Handel's Semele at the ENO

Semele Robert Thicknesse at the Coliseum [Times Online, 20 November 2004] IT HAS to be the Prince of Wales's favourite opera. "Nature to each allots his proper sphere," avers Congreve's coolly brilliant libretto, and proceeds to itemise the results of... »

19 Nov 2004

Tosca at Graz

Boris Trajanov, Evan Bowers and Marquita Lister Opernhaus Graz's new production of Tosca is a hit. According to Larry Lash of the Financial Times, A stage direction in my score of Tosca has Scarpia making a cup of coffee... »

19 Nov 2004

The Cunning Little Vixen at the Chicago Lyric

If 'Vixen' can find its balance, it'll be a charmer November 19, 2004 BY WYNNE DELACOMA Classical Music Critic Somewhere amid the nonstop bustle onstage and the flood of highly colored orchestral music from the pit, a charming production of... »

18 Nov 2004

Le Monde Reviews La Traviata at La Fenice: High Praise for Cast — Carsen's Production a Cliché

La Fenice refaite à neuf lance sa saison avec une "Traviata" façon années 1970 LE MONDE | 17.11.04 | 18h19 Le théâtre vénitien, rénové après l'incendie de 1996, présente l'œuvre de Verdi dans sa version originale de 1853, transformée en... »

17 Nov 2004

WSJ Reviews Le Grande Macabre and The Flying Dutchman at the SFO

Waiting for the End of the World By HEIDI WALESON [WSJ] November 17, 2004 San Francisco Many listeners know Gyorgy Ligeti from the creepily futuristic orchestral music in the soundtrack of the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” His opera “Le Grand Macabre” (1978, revised in 1996), given its American premiere this month by the San Francisco Opera, is a thoroughly different creature, yet it is just as much an artifact of its time. Though carefully crafted and full of compositional references, the score is mostly an elbow-in-the-ribs accompaniment to a nihilistic black comedy. Beginning with an opening fanfare for car horns that sounds like Harpo Marx multiplied and continuing with a parody of the “Dies Irae,” the prophecy of the Day of Judgment, the opera is a soulless and often scatological joke. »

16 Nov 2004

I Puritani at Baltimore Opera

More than meeting Bellini's demands Baltimore company sings 'I Puritani' with polish, precision and control By Tim Smith Sun Music Critic November 15, 2004 Bel canto - "beautiful singing." It's more common to hear that term spoken of than to... »

15 Nov 2004

Le Figaro Reviews La Traviata at La Fenice: Praises Ciofi, But Not Much Else

Verdi à Las Vegas Venise : de notre envoyé spécial Jacques Doucelin [15 novembre 2004] Un de ces chats comme Venise en a le secret, trone impérial et méprisant au beau milieu d'une place ensoleillée, manteau mité, mais noeud papillon... »

15 Nov 2004

A Review of Martin

MARTIN... »

14 Nov 2004

SFO Presents The Flying Dutchman

With a ghoulishly murky 'Dutchman,' Opera puts on a truly grim production Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Music Critic Friday, November 12, 2004 It was, yes, a dark and stormy night as the San Francisco Opera unveiled its new production of "The... »

04 Nov 2004

FT Reviews Kát'a Kabanová

Kát'a Kabanová, Paris Opéra (Garnier) By Francis Carlin Published: November 4 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 4 2004 02:00 After Salzburg, Brussels, Barcelona, Toulouse and several showings on TV, Christophe Marthaler's Kát'a Kabanova has at last turned up in... »

02 Nov 2004

Le Figaro Reviews Don Carlos at Wiener Staatsoper

Hommage à l'opéra français Christian Merlin [02 novembre 2004] Merci à l'Opéra de Vienne d'avoir osé ce à quoi Paris ne s'est pas encore risqué : ressusciter Don Carlos dans sa version originale archicomplète, en cinq actes et en français.... »

01 Nov 2004

FT Reviews Handel's Guilio Cesare in Egitto

Guilio Cesare in Egitto, Boston Baroque By George Loomis Published: November 1 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 1 2004 02:00 One of the many virtues of Handel's Guilio Cesare in Egitto is that the roles of Caesar and Cleopatra... »

31 Oct 2004

Mefistofele in Amsterdam

by Jan Neckers Let's start with the main assets of the new Mefistofele in Amsterdam: the singers. Gidon Saks has one of the biggest booming bass voices that ever sounded in an opera house (yes, I heard Ghiaurov but Saks... »

28 Oct 2004

L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the Barbican

L'Incoronazione di Poppea Barbican Hall, London By David Murray Published: October 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 28 2004 03:00 This was the third glorious concert-performance of a Monteverdi opera at the Barbican - his 1643 Coronation of Poppea... »

25 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Mercadante's La vestale

La vestale, Wexford Festival By Andrew Clark Published: October 25 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 25 2004 03:00 The compacting of operatic history into a performable repertoire leads us to make all kinds of false assumptions. One is that... »

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'"... »

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... »