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Elsewhere

No Time in Eternity: Iestyn Davies discusses Purcell and Nyman

Revolution, repetition, rhetoric. On my way to meet countertenor Iestyn Davies, I ponder if these are the elements that might form connecting threads between the music of Henry Purcell and Michael Nyman, whose works will be brought together later this month when Davies joins the viol consort Fretwork for a thought-provoking recital at Milton Court Concert Hall.

Aïda in Seattle: don’t mention the war!

When Francesca Zambello presented Aïda at her own Glimmerglass Opera in 2012, her staging was, as they say, “ripped from today’s headlines.” Fighter planes strafed the Egyptian headquarters as the curtain rose, water-boarding was the favored form of interrogation, Radames was executed by lethal injection.

Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2018 opens with Annilese Miskimmon's Madama Butterfly

As the bells rang with romance from the tower of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the rolling downs of Sussex - which had just acquired a new Duke - echoed with the strains of a rather more bitter-sweet cross-cultural love affair. Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s 2018 season opened with Annilese Miskimmon’s production of Madama Butterfly, first seen during the 2016 Glyndebourne tour and now making its first visit to the main house.

Remembering Debussy

This concert might have been re-titled Remembrance of Musical Times Past: the time, that is, when French song, nurtured in the Proustian Parisian salons, began to gain a foothold in public concert halls. But, the madeleine didn’t quite work its magic on this occasion.

Garsington's Douglas Boyd on Strauss and Skating Rinks

‘On August 3, 1941, the day that Capriccio was finished, 682 Jews were killed in Chernovtsy, Romania; 1,500 in Jelgava, Latvia; and several hundred in Stanisławów, Ukraine. On October 28, 1942, the day of the opera’s premiere in Munich, the first convoy of Jews from Theresienstadt arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 90 percent of them went to the gas chamber.’

A chiaroscuro Orfeo from Iestyn Davies and La Nuova Musica

‘I sought to restrict the music to its true purpose of serving to give expression to the poetry and to strengthen the dramatic situations, without interrupting the action or hampering it with unnecessary and superfluous ornamentations. […] I believed further that I should devote my greatest effort to seeking to achieve a noble simplicity; and I have avoided parading difficulties at the expense of clarity.’

Lessons in Love and Violence: powerful musical utterances but perplexing dramatic motivations

‘What a thrill -/ My thumb instead of an onion. The top quite gone/ Except for a sort of hinge/ Of skin,/ A flap like a hat,/ Dead white. Then that red plush.’ Those who imagined that Sylvia Plath (‘Cut’, 1962) had achieved unassailable aesthetic peaks in fusing pain - mental and physical - with beauty, might think again after seeing and hearing this, the third, collaboration between composer George Benjamin and dramatist/librettist Martin Crimp: Lessons in Love and Violence.

Grands motets de Lalande

Majesté, a new recording by Le Poème Harmonique, led by Vincent Dumestre, of music by Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726) new from Alpha Classics. Le Poème Harmonique are regular visitors to London, appreciated for the variety of their programes. On Friday this week, (11/5) they'll be at St John's Smith Square as part of the London Festival of Baroque, with a programme titled "At the World's Courts".

Perpetual Night - Early English Baroque, Ensemble Correspondances

New from Harmonia Mundi, Perpetual Night. a superb recording of ayres and songs from the 17th century, by Ensemble Correspondances with Sébastien Daucé and Lucile Richardot. Ensemble Correspondances are among the foremost exponents of the music of Versailles and the French royalty, so it's good to hear them turn to the music of the Stuart court.

Les Salons de Pauline Viardot: Sabine Devieilhe at Wigmore Hall

Always in demand on French and international stages, the French soprano Sabine Devieihle is, fortunately, becoming an increasingly frequent visitor to these shores. Her first appearance at Wigmore Hall was last month’s performance of works by Handel with Emmanuelle Haïm’s Le Concert d’Astrée. This lunchtime recital, reflecting the meetings of music and minds which took place at Parisian salon of the nineteenth-century mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot (1821-1910), was her solo debut at the venue.

Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago is now featuring as its spring musical Jesus Christ Superstar with music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The production originated with the Regent’s Park Theatre, London with additional scenery by Bay Productions, U.K. and Commercial Silk International.

Persephone glows with life in Seattle

As a figure in the history of 20th century art, few deserve to be closer to center stage than Ida Rubenbstein. Without her talent, determination, and vast wealth, Ravel’s Boléro, Debussy’s Martyrdom of St. Sebastien, Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake, and Stravinsky’s Perséphone would not exist.

La concordia de’ pianeti: Imperial flattery set to Baroque splendor in Amsterdam

One trusts the banquet following the world premiere of La concordia de’ pianeti proffered some spicy flavors, because Pietro Pariati’s text is so cloying it causes violent stomach-churning. In contrast, Antonio Caldara’s music sparkles and dances like a blaze of crystal chandeliers.

Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final 2018

The 63rd Competition for the Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2018 was an unusually ‘home-grown’ affair. Last year’s Final had brought together singers from the UK, the Commonwealth, Europe, the US and beyond, but the six young singers assembled at Wigmore Hall on Friday evening all originated from the UK.

Affecting and Effective Traviata in San Jose

Opera San Jose capped its consistently enjoyable, artistically accomplished 2017-2018 season with a dramatically thoughtful, musically sound rendition of Verdi’s immortal La traviata.

Brahms Liederabend

At his best, Matthias Goerne does serious (ernst) at least as well as anyone else. He may not be everyone’s first choice as Papageno, although what he brings to the role is compelling indeed, quite different from the blithe clowning of some, arguably much closer to its fundamental sadness. (Is that not, after all, what clowns are about?) Yet, individual taste aside, whom would one choose before him to sing Brahms, let alone the Four Serious Songs?

Angel Blue in La Traviata

One of the most beloved operas of all time, Verdi’s “ La Traviata” has never lost its enduring appeal as a tragic tale of love and loss, as potent today as it was during its Venice premiere in 1853.

Matthias Goerne and Seong-Jin Cho at Wigmore Hall

Is it possible, I wonder, to have too much of a ‘good thing’? Baritone Matthias Goerne can spin an extended vocal line and float a lyrical pianissimo with an unrivalled beauty that astonishes no matter how many times one hears and admires the evenness of line, the controlled legato, the tenderness of tone.

Maria Callas: Tosca 1964: A film by Holger Preusse

When I reviewed Tosca at Covent Garden in January this year for Opera Today, Maria Callas’s 1964 Royal Opera House performance was still fresh in my mind. This is a recording I have grown up with and which, despite its flaws, is one of the greatest operatic statements - a glorious production which Zeffirelli finally agreed to staging, etched in gothic black and white film (albeit just Act II), with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi, if not always as vocally commanding as they once were, acting out their roles like no one has before, or since.

Philip Venables: 4.48 Psychosis

Madness - or perhaps, more widely, insanity - in opera goes back centuries. In Handel’s Orlando (1733) it’s the dimension of a character’s jealousy and betrayal that drives him to the state of delusion and madness. Mozart, in Idomeneo, treats Electra’s descent into mania in a more hostile and despairing way. Foucault would probably define these episodic operatic breakdowns as “melancholic”, ones in which the characters are powerless rather than driven by acts of personal violence or suicide.


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Commentary

Nadine Sierra as Ilia in Mozart's Idomeneo. Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
24 Apr 2018

Soprano Nadine Sierra Wins the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award

Soprano Nadine Sierra has been named the winner of the 13 th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera.  »

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17 Dec 2004

Krassimira Stoyanova: A Biographical Note

The Wiener Staatsoper's 2004-2005 season includes Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, which premiered on 8 December. Krassimira Stoyanova performed the role of "Amelia" to rave reviews. Beginning 3 January 2005, she will appear at the Met's production of Turandot in the role... »

15 Dec 2004

Renée Fleming: Not By Talent Alone

Aiming For Her Very Top Note Tue Dec 14, 7:00 PM ET Curt Schleier Renee Fleming understands that natural talent isn't enough to assure success. In fact, Fleming said during a recent interview, natural ability can work against you. Take... »

13 Dec 2004

Demonstrations of the École de Danse of the Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris

The Paris Opera Ballet School, founded by Louis XIV in 1713—it’s the world’s oldest academy for producing classical dancers—is now located in a utilitarian complex specifically built for it in Nanterre, on the bleak outskirts of the City of Light. But for more than a century it was located in the bowels of the lavish Palais Garnier, at the hub of urban elegance. It was there—cocooned in that opera house’s imposing Second Empire decorative excesses of varicolored marble offset by gilt and bronze; of statues, bas-reliefs, frescos, and mosaics; of deep red plush and heavy figured and tasseled drapery; of an infinity of mirrors and chandeliers—that I saw the daylong program this extraordinary school, the oldest and arguably the greatest of its kind, modestly calls its “Demonstrations.” »

13 Dec 2004

What's On Le Figaro's Christmas List?

Notre sélection de DVD pour les fetes La rituelle ruée sur les cadeaux de Noel passe, cette année encore plus que la précédente, par le déferlement des DVD musicaux : archives, documentaires, retours sur les vieilles gloires ou concerts de... »

13 Dec 2004

Opera Etiquette

Going to the Theater Miss May The Epoch Times Dec 12, 2004 Dear Miss May: I am very lucky and am able to go to NY soon for a weekend of theater and, well, just enjoying New York. I attended... »

13 Dec 2004

Anna Netrebko on 60 Minutes

Anna Netrebko: A Happy Diva Singer Does Opera Music Videos Dec 12, 2004 7:45 pm US/Eastern Anna Netrebko in St. Petersburg Photograph: © Peter Rigaud There isn't a musical instrument on earth that can produce sounds as varied, as beautiful,... »

11 Dec 2004

Bolcom in Chicago

Marriage and manners By George Loomis [Financial Times] Published: December 10 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 10 2004 02:00 The general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, William Mason, likes to put his company's relationship with William Bolcom in... »

03 Dec 2004

An Interview with Juan Diego Flórez

"Nunca he sido un melómano" Es el tenor del momento, y sorprende que ostente la corona al reconocérsele sólo como un experto rossiniano. Odia las entrevistas porque le roban parte de su tiempo libre, un tesoro que valora desde la... »

03 Dec 2004

Joan Sutherland Named as 2004 Kennedy Center Honoree

World of opera graced by the true grande dame By T.L. Ponick SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES Published December 3, 2004 Legendary coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland says she was "bowled over" upon learning that she would be a 2004 Kennedy... »

30 Nov 2004

La Diva Renée

The 'Voice' of the Darling Diva By BARBARA JEPSON November 30, 2004 New York For sheer beauty of sound, no soprano today can match Renee Fleming. Her rich, golden-hued voice shines and seduces; she can sustain a long-lined legato passage,... »

30 Nov 2004

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson at NY Philharmonic

Turning Tragedy into Art By Jeannie Williams 29 Nov 2004 An interview with mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who makes her New York Philharmonic debut this month. "I am drawn to these characters, the juicier the better, and sometimes that means... »

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... »