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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.


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

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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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

THE RISE OF NEAPOLITAN COMIC OPERA

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... »

08 Sep 2004

The Independent: The Sydney Opera House: a father and son enterprise

In 1966 Jørn Utzon was forced to quit as architect of the Sydney Opera House before it was complete. Next week, the first new interiors he and his son have designed will be revealed. Louis Jebb reports 07 September 2004... »

07 Sep 2004

ÓPERA ACTUAL: Angela Gheorghiu

Angela Gheorghiu "Sé lo que quiero en la vida" Todavía resuenan los ecos de su renuncia a esa Traviata que inauguraba la pasada temporada del Teatro Real. Después de su paso fugaz por el Liceu y por el reciente Festival... »

05 Sep 2004

NYT: Why the Dying Richard Strauss Couldn't Get Enough of 'Daphne'

Why the Dying Richard Strauss Couldn't Get Enough of 'Daphne' By BRYAN GILLIAM ON June 11, 1949, his 85th birthday, Richard Strauss performed at his piano for the last time. A camera crew was filming a short documentary on him... »

01 Sep 2004

Pro Ópera: Deborah Voigt, en México

Deborah Voigt, en México Una de las más importantes sopranos de Estados Unidos visitó nuestro país a finales del pasado mes de mayo para dar dos recitales con la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. [remainder of article here]... »

01 Sep 2004

Classical Singer Interviews Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo by Cristina Necula The term "force of nature" often applies to those human beings who encompass at once faith, passion, inexhaustible energy, and complete dedication to their mission in life. Their impact on the world is lasting, carrying... »