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The Barber of Seville, ENO London

This may be the twelfth revival of Jonathan Miller’s 1987production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville for English National Opera, but the ready laughter from the auditorium and the fresh musical and dramatic responses from the stage suggest that it will continue to amuse audiences and serve the house well for some time to come.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Bostridge, Barbican London

The third and final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s survey of Monteverdi’s operas at the Barbican began and ended in darkness; the red glow of the single candle was an apt visual frame for a performance which was dedicated to the memory of the late Andrew Porter, the music critic and writer whose learned, pertinent and eloquent words did so much to restore Monteverdi, Cavalli and other neglected music-dramatists to the operatic stage.

English Touring Opera - Debussy, Massenet and Offenbach

English Touring Opera’s recent programming has been ambitious and inventive, and the results have been rewarding. We had two little-known Donizetti operas, The Siege of Calais and The Wild Man of the West Indies, in spring 2015, while autumn 2014 saw the company stage comedy by Haydn (Il mondo della luna) and romantic history by Handel (Ottone).

Boesch and Martineau Schubert Complete Songs, Wigmore Hall, London

The Wigmore Hall's complete Schubert Songs series of 40 concerts began with a recital by Florian Boesch and Graham Johnson. (Read my review here). If anything, though, the second concert, where Boesch was accompanied by Malcolm Martineau, was even better. The programme was beautifully planned, and the performance exceptional, even by the very high standards of the Wigmore Hall.

Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - ENO London

It took artistic courage to choose Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtensk to start the ENO's 2015-2016 season. Shostakovich isn't an easy sell, and so full of sex and violence that some minds - like Josef Stalin - would be aghast. But Mark Wigglesworth is passionate about Shostakovich , and as new Music Director of the ENO, he's making a point. Good opera needs artistic vision.

Berg Wozzeck Fabio Luisi Zurich Opera

Zurich Opera brought Alban Berg Wozzeck to the Royal Festival Hall, London . Fabio Luisi conducted Philharmonia Zurich and a very good cast in a concert performance. With all pretence at staging removed (apart from natural good acting) we could focus on the sheer musical audacity of Berg's writing, and pick up on the processes the music employs to create the drama.

“Nessun Dorma — The Puccini Album”

Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.

Verismo Double Header in Los Angeles

LA Opera got its season off to an auspicious beginning with starry revivals of Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci.

Viva Verdi at Opera Las Vegas

On September 9, 2015, Opera Las Vegas presented James Sohre’s production of Viva Verdi at the Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. It was a delightful evening of arias, duets and ensembles by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). The program included many of the composer’s blockbuster arias and scenes from famous operas such as Aida, La traviata, and Macbeth.

Barbera Sings a Fascinating Recital in San Diego

On Saturday, September 19, San Diego Opera opened its 2015-2016 season with a recital by tenor René Barbera. This was the first Polly Puterbaugh Emerging Artist Award Recital and no artist could have been more deserving than the immensely talented Barbera.

Sweeney Todd at the San Francisco Opera

Did the iconic “off-beat” and “serious” American musical hold the stage of the War Memorial Opera House? The excited audience (standees three deep) thought so and roared their appreciation.

Sondra Radvanovsky Stars in the Title Role of Anna Bolena

The First of Three Donizetti Queens She Will Sing at the Met This Season

Wigmore Hall Complete Schubert Song Series begins with Boesch and Johnson

The Wigmore Hall, London, has launched Schubert : The Complete Songs, a 40-concert series to run through the 2015 and 2016 seasons. There have been Schubert marathons before, like BBC Radio 3's all-Schubert week and The Oxford Lieder Festival's Schubert series last year, but the Wigmore Hall series will be a major landmark because the Wigmore Hall is the Wigmore Hall, the epitome of excellence.

Honegger: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher

Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne dArc au bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc

Luisa Miller in San Francisco

Luisa Miller sits on the fringes of the repertory, and since its introduction into the modern repertory in the 1970’s it comes around every 15 or so years. Unfortunately this 2015 San Francisco occasion has not bothered to rethink this remarkable opera.

Salieri: La grotta di Trofonio (Trofonio’s Cave)

Demonised by Pushkin and Peter Shaffer, Antonio Salieri lives in the public imagination as the embittered rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — whose genius he lamented and revered in equal measure, and against whom he schemed and plotted at the Emperor Joseph II’s Viennese court.

Chicago Lyric’s Stars Shine at Millennium Park

The annual concert given by Lyric Opera of Chicago as an outdoor event previewing the forthcoming season took place on 11 September 2015 at Millennium Park.

Far in the Heavens — Choral Music of Stephen Paulus

Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.

For Odyssey Opera, No Operatic Challenge is Too Great

For a company founded in 2013, Odyssey Opera has an astounding track record. To take on Korngold’s Die tote Stadt is ambitious enough, but to do so within only a year of the company’s founding seems almost single-minded.

Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice

Orpheus — that Greek hero whose songs could enchant both deities and beasts, whose lyre has become a metaphor for the power of music itself, and whose journey to the Underworld to rescue his wife, Eurydice, kick-started the art of opera in Mantua in 1607 — has been travelling far and wide around the UK in 2015.



Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role of Donizetti's Anna Bolena. [Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.]
24 Sep 2015

Sondra Radvanovsky Stars in the Title Role of Anna Bolena

The First of Three Donizetti Queens She Will Sing at the Met This Season »

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28 Nov 2004

Natalie Dessay Rehabilitating After Another Surgical Procedure

La chanteuse Natalie Dessay s'explique sur ses nombreuses défections LE MONDE | 27.11.04 | 19h06 La soprano colorature a du subir une nouvelle intervention chirurgicale le 17 novembre. Depuis le début de la saison, les nombreuses défections de la soprano... »

28 Nov 2004

Le Figaro Interviews Peter Eötvös on Angels in America

Eötvös : "Je ne cherche plus, je trouve" Après le lyrisme russe revisité dans Trois Soeurs, chef-d'oeuvre unanimement salué, et Le Balcon de Genet ramené du coté de la chanson française, reçu plus froidement, le troisième opéra de Peter Eötvös... »

26 Nov 2004

On Callas Forever

One for the opera buffs: 'Callas Forever' profiles a diva on the downslope Friday, November 26, 2004 By WILLIAM ARNOLD SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER MOVIE CRITIC At first thought, Fanny Ardant would seem all wrong to play opera diva Maria Callas.... »

21 Nov 2004

On Robert Carsen

He's a smooth operator John Allison [Times Online] Robert Carsen may be a showman but his intent is serious FOR more than a decade Robert Carsen has been one of the operatic world's most visible directors, but right now he... »

18 Nov 2004

On Lulu's Portrait

Ascription of Identity: The Bild Motif and the Character of Lulu Silvio José Dos Santos The most controversial aspect of Alban Berg's opera Lulu — and one that has generated considerable criticism — is the composer's conception of the protagonist's... »

18 Nov 2004

The Biting Kiss

"Pardon me, but your teeth are in my neck": Giambattista Marino, Claudio Monteverdi, and the bacio mordace Massimo Ossi Claudio Monteverdi's "Eccomi pronta ai baci" presents an odd pairing of a first-person female voice with a three-voice low male ensemble;... »

16 Nov 2004

Manhattan School of Music to Present Hoiby's A Month in the Country

LEE HOIBY: A Month in the Country Libretto by William Ball after the play by Ivan Turgenev The Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater presents Lee Hoiby's A Month in the Country on Wednesday, December 8 and Friday, December 10... »

12 Nov 2004

Lebrecht on Gelb

How the Met was fixed By Norman Lebrecht / November 11, 2004 The Metropolitan Opera House in New York regards itself, with some justice, as the world's greatest. In America, it has no close competitor: the Met's annual deficit can... »

10 Nov 2004

Haroun and the Sea of Stories at NYC Opera

An American master premieres at City Opera An interview with Charles Wuorinen 10/26/2004 The world premiere of Haroun and the Sea of Stories features an inspired cross-section of artists among the most respected in their disciplines: Salman Rushdie, one of... »

09 Nov 2004

Biographical Note: Angela M. Brown

For a Fill-In Aida, a Triumph Long in Coming By ANNE MIDGETTE [NY Times] Angela M. Brown grew up singing gospel music in her grandfather's Baptist church in Indianapolis, but her father, an autoworker, didn't see that as the makings... »

08 Nov 2004

Appearing at the Met: Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani

Dubious History - Miraculous Music By John Yohalem [Playbill Arts] November 1, 2004 I Vespri Siciliani, a collaboration between Verdi and librettist Eugène Scribe, produced some astounding music--but historical fact was sacrificed to fit the drama. John Yohalem delves into... »

03 Nov 2004

A New Series on the History of Opera

Signifying Nothing: On the Aesthetics of Pure Voice in Early Venetian Opera Mauro Calcagno1 Operas written in Venice in the 1640s feature surprisingly long melismas often setting seemingly insignificant words, in opposition to (although concurrently with) traditional madrigalisms. This magnification... »

03 Nov 2004

Dario Volonté: A Biographical Note

by Miguel A. DeVirgilio Dario Volonté was born on September 1, 1963, in Buenos Aires, although his family came from a humble household some 250 miles north of the capital, Entre Rios. His musical vocation began late after having discovered... »

03 Nov 2004

An Interview with Ewa Podles

Contralto taking on fresh challenge in 'Il Trovatore' By TOM STRINI Journal Sentinel music critic Posted: Nov. 1, 2004 Ewa Podles, a leading international concert and opera contralto, will make her Milwaukee debut Saturday, courtesy of the Florentine Opera. She... »

02 Nov 2004

Peter Gelb and the Met

In today's Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson opines on the future of the Met under Peter Gelb's leadership. She maintains that, given his background with Sony, this is a radical choice. Comparing his work at Sony with the Met, she... »

31 Oct 2004

Obstacles to Celebrity

Brownlee lends voice to the subject of race By Richard Dyer, Globe Staff | October 31, 2004 African-American divas have swept triumphantly across the international operatic stage for decades, and in this country Leontyne Price became a household name and... »

28 Oct 2004

Octavio Roca on Carmen

Carmen Forever By Octavio Roca October 19, 2004 Bizet's legendary heroine still inspires artists and opera lovers. The woman is fascinating, no question about it. Little by little, we are still getting to know Carmen. The fascination is strong, and... »

28 Oct 2004

FT on Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo

US countertenor who is a wow in Europe By Francis Carlin Published: October 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 28 2004 03:00 It is always a good sign when you find a singer attending a performance of something else... »

28 Oct 2004

A Tribute to Robert Merrill (1919-2004)

MEMORIES OF ROBERT MERRILL: AMERICAN OPERATIC ICON by James Engdahl, Engdahl Artists International Robert Merrill, born Moishe Miller in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, passed away last Saturday, October 22, 2004, as he watched the first game of the World... »

27 Oct 2004

FT on the Future of Wexford Opera Festival

Wexford's dilemma for future operas By Andrew Clark Published: October 27 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 27 2004 03:00 When Wexford's opera festival was young and innocent, audiences used to talk of "one for the head, one for the... »

27 Oct 2004

Looking for Wolfgang in All the Wrong Places

Scientists dig up family skeletons Luke Harding in Berlin Wednesday October 27, 2004 The Guardian It has been a mystery for more than a century - is a skull in an Austrian basement really that of arguably the greatest composer... »

22 Oct 2004

The Guardian Profiles René Jacobs

Not so hippy now Since the 1960s, René Jacobs has been a pioneer of the early music movement. Stephen Everson hears how his vision has evolved Friday October 22, 2004 The Guardian Anyone who still thinks "authentic" performances of baroque... »

21 Oct 2004

An Interview with Michael Kaye on Puccini Rediscovered

*New Repertoire Discoveries for Singers: An Interview with Michael Kaye* by Maria Nockin Did you ever wonder why that last Tales of Hoffmann you sang had all those photocopied sheets added in? Or why the version of "Butterfly" you learned... »

17 Oct 2004

The Independent: John Tavener Rejects Orthodox Faith; To Compose Theatric Work Based on Krishna

Top composer Tavener turns to Islam for inspiration The Orthodox faith inspired him for more than 25 years, but after a rift with his spiritual adviser, the composer has rejected its 'tyranny' in a major work based on the Koran.... »

10 Oct 2004

Ópera Actual Interviews Anne Sofie von Otter

El sexo en la ópera no es sólo vulgar: ya nos aburre Fuera de la escena, la mezzo sueca es áspera y poco acogedora. Sus escasas sonrisas son un premio y sus respuestas son rápidas y precisas. Una evidente robustez... »

10 Oct 2004

Daily Telegraph Interviews Pierre Boulez

Mistakes? I've made a few... (Filed: 04/10/2004) Pierre Boulez, the greatest and most uncompromising composer-conductor of our time, is mellowing as he approaches 80. He talks to Ivan Hewett However hard one normally prepares for interviews, there's always the feeling... »

07 Oct 2004

Deborah Voigt withdraws from Vancouver Opera’s production of Der Rosenkavalier

*Deborah Voigt withdraws from Vancouver Opera's production of Der Rosenkavalier* Vancouver, BC ~ American soprano Deborah Voigt, who was to make her role début as the Marschallin in the company's première production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, has withdrawn from... »

07 Oct 2004

Licia Albanese at the Opening of the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum's Exhibition "Madame Butterfly: From Puccini to Miss Saigon"

Many a tear was shed when soprano Licia Albanese sang. Now she is celebrating her signature work, 'Madama Butterfly.' Allan Ulrich, Special to The Chronicle Monday, October 4, 2004 Was she or wasn't she? Licia Albanese is adamant. "Diva? Hah!... »

06 Oct 2004

Le Figaro Interviews Felicity Lott

Deux reprises, des tournées, un DVD, le prix de la critique : La Belle Hélène par le tandem Minkowski/Pelly fut l’un des plus grands et des plus durables succès du Châtelet. De quoi donner envie de reconduire l’équipe gagnante dans un autre Offenbach : ce sera La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein. Mais à une condition : que la vedette en soit à nouveau Dame Felicity Lott, la plus française des chanteuses britanniques, dont la classe et le naturel s’imposent de l’opérette viennoise à l’opéra-bouffe français, en passant par la nostalgie du Chevalier à la rose ou le désespoir de La Voix humaine. Nous avons rencontré cette femme délicieuse début septembre, juste avant que le spectacle n’inaugure la nouvelle salle de Grenoble, «rodage» précédant les représentations parisiennes. »

01 Oct 2004

Le Monde on Film Makers and Opera

L'opéra au cinéma, entre chic et surprise LE MONDE | 30.09.04 | 14em5 La mise en scène d'opéra est, pour des cinéastes comme Benoît Jacquot, Atom Egoyan, Robert Altman... l'occasion d'expériences exceptionnelles. "Il y a dans l'opéra un truc qui... »

29 Sep 2004

A Profile of Anna Netrebko

In the October 2004 issue of BBC Music magazine, Amanda Holloway writes: The phrase most often used of Anna Netrebko is a 'package': stunning looks, acting ability and a gorgeous, effortless lyric soprano voice. The following is a profile... »

27 Sep 2004

Pavarotti’s forgotten predecessor: Bruno Prevedi

By Jan Neckers The line of Decca-tenors seems to run straight from Del Monaco to Bergonzi to Pavarotti. Granted there are some intrusions by Giuseppe Campora, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Franco Corelli but their names are not widely associated with... »

22 Sep 2004

Joseph Schmidt (1904-2004)

This is not a biography of the Jewish tenor. Just some personal thoughts on a few interesting aspects. Those interested in a biographical article and an outstanding discography better purchase the June 2000 issue of The Record Collector where your servant and Hansfried Sieben devoted more than sixty small print pages to the tenor. Those able to read German can still buy Alfred Fasbind’s biography published at the Schweizer Verlagshaus in Zürich 1992. It is still available in some German bookshops and maybe with the author himself (Rosenbergstrasse 16, 8630 Rüti, Switzerland). »

21 Sep 2004


Goldberg No. 27 By Brian Robins During the eighteenth century Naples was one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Europe. Hot, dirty and overcrowded, it was a city of teeming life and colour that flowed from court and... »

18 Sep 2004

Kiri Te Kanawa in Philadelphia

Soprano still sings, and talks about it By David Patrick Stearns Inquirer Music Critic The majestic voice of Metropolitan Opera radio announcer Milton Cross became painfully flummoxed at the name Kiri Te Kanawa. It was the soprano's 1974 debut at... »

12 Sep 2004

Chicago Tribune on Bolcom's Wedding

William Bolcom: The `Wedding' planner By John von Rhein Tribune music critic September 12, 2004 Elden is William Bolcom's middle name, but it might just as well be Eclectic. He's perhaps the most versatile "serious" composer now at work in... »