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Elsewhere

David McVicar's Rigoletto returns to the ROH

This was a rather disconcerting performance of David McVicar’s 2001 production of Rigoletto. Not only because of the portentous murkiness with which Paule Constable’s lighting shrouds designer Michael Vale’s ramshackle scaffolding; nor, the fact that stage and pit frequently seemed to be tugging in different directions. But also, because some of the cast seemed rather out of sorts.

Verdi Otello, Bergen - Stuart Skelton, Latonia Moore, Lester Lynch

Verdi Otello livestream from Norway with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edward Garner with a superb cast, led by Stuart Skelton, Latonia Moore, and Lester Lynch and a good cast, with four choirs, the Bergen Philharmonic Chorus, the Edvard Grieg Kor, Collegiûm Mûsicûm Kor, the Bergen pikekor and Bergen guttekor (Children’s Choruses) with chorus master Håkon Matti Skrede. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1765, just a few years after the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra : Scandinavian musical culture has very strong roots, and is thriving still. Tucked away in the far north, Bergen may be a hidden treasure, but, as this performance proved, it's world class.

French orientalism : songs and arias, Sabine Devieilhe

Mirages : visions of the exotic East, a selection of French opera arias and songs from Sabine Devieilhe, with Alexandre Tharaud and Les Siècles conducted by François-Xavier Roth, new from Erato

Temple Winter Festival: the Gesualdo Six

‘Gaudete, gaudete!’ - Rejoice, rejoice! - was certainly the underlying spirit of this lunchtime concert at Temple Church, part of the 5th Temple Winter Festival. Whether it was vigorous joy or peaceful contemplation, the Gesualdo Six communicate a reassuring and affirmative celebration of Christ’s birth in a concert which fused medieval and modern concerns, illuminating surprising affinities.

Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida at the Wigmore Hall

The journey is always the same, and never the same. As Ian Bostridge remarks, at the end of his prize-winning book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, when the wanderer asks Der Leiermann, “Will you play your hurdy-gurdy to my songs?”, in the final song of Winterreise, the ‘crazy but logical procedure would be to go right back to the beginning of the whole cycle and start all over again’.

Turandot in San Francisco

San Francisco Opera wrapped up its 95th fall opera season just now with a bang up Turandot. It has been a season of hopeful hints that this venerable company may regain some of its former luster.

Daniel Michieletto's Cav and Pag returns to Covent Garden

It felt rather decadent to be sitting in an opera house at 12pm. Even more so given the passion-fuelled excesses of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, which might seem rather too sensual and savage for mid-day consumption.

Manitoba Opera: Madama Butterfly

Manitoba Opera opened its 45th season with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly proving that the aching heart as expressed through art knows no racial or cultural divide, with the Italian composer’s self-avowed favourite opera still able to spread its poetic wings across time and space since its Milan premiere in 1904.

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake celebrate 25 years of music-making

In 1992, concert promoter Heinz Liebrecht introduced pianist Julius Drake to tenor Ian Bostridge and an acclaimed, inspiring musical partnership was born. On Wenlock Edge formed part of their first programme, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk; and, so, in this recital at Middle Temple Hall, celebrating their 25 years of music-making, the duo included Vaughan Williams’ Housman settings for tenor, piano and string quartet alongside works with a seventeenth-century origin or flavour.

Girls of the Golden West in San Francisco

Not many (maybe any) of the new operas presented by San Francisco Opera over the past 10 years would lure me to the War Memorial Opera House a second time around. But for Girls of the Golden West just now I would be there again tomorrow night and the next, and I am eagerly awaiting all future productions.

DiDonato is superb in Semiramide at Covent Garden

It’s taken a while for Rossini’s Semiramide to reach the Covent Garden stage. The last of the operas which Rossini composed for Italian theatres between 1810-1823, Semiramide has had only one outing at the Royal Opera House since 1887, and that was a concert version in 1986.

Hans Werner Henze Choral Music

Hans Werner Henze works for mixed voice and chamber orchestra with SWR Vokalensemble and Ensemble Modern, conducted by Marcus Creed. Welcome new recordings of important pieces like Lieder von einer Insel (1964), Orpheus Behind the Wire (1984) plus Fünf Madrigale (1947).

Philippe Jaroussky and Ensemble Artaserse at the Wigmore Hall

‘His master’s masterpiece, the work of heaven’: ‘a common fountain’ from which flow ‘pure silver drops’. At the risk of effulgent hyperbole, I’d suggest that Antonio’s image of the blessed governance and purifying power of the French court - in the opening scene of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi - is also a perfect metaphor for the voice of French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, as it slips through Handel’s roulades like a silken ribbon.

La Rondine Takes Flight in San Jose

Kudos to San Jose Opera for offering up a wholly winning, consistently captivating new production of Puccini’s seldom performed La Rondine.

Bettina Smith, Norwegian Mezzo, in Songs by Fauré and Debussy

Here are five complete song sets by two of the greatest masters of French song. The performers are highly competent. I should have known, given the rave reviews that their 2015 recording of modern Norwegian songs received.

Clonter Opera Gala

Clonter’s Opera Gala in the breath-taking beautiful ball-room at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair was a glamorously glittering smattering of opera – which made me want to run out to every opera in town.  

Étienne-Nicolas Méhul: Uthal

The opera world barely knows how to handle works that have significant amounts of spoken dialogue. Conductors and stage directors will often trim the dialogue to a bare minimum (Magic Flute), have it rendered as sung recitative (Carmen), or have it spoken in the vernacular though the sung numbers may often be performed in the original language (Die Fledermaus).

A New Anna Moffo?: The Debut Disc of Aida Garifullina

Here is the latest CD from a major label promoting a major new soprano. Aida Garifullina is utterly remarkable: a lyric soprano who also can handle coloratura with ease. Her tone has a constant shimmer, with a touch of quick, narrow vibrato even on short notes.

A New Die Walküre at Lyric Opera of Chicago

From the start of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s splendid, new production of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre conflict and resolution are portrayed throughout with moving intensity. The central character Brünnhilde is sung by Christine Goerke and her father Wotan by Eric Owens.

As One a Haunting Success in San Diego

San Diego Opera has mined solid gold with its mesmerizing and affecting production of As One, a part of their innovative ‘Detour Series.’


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Melos Sinfonia perform <em>Written on Skin</em> in Cambridge, London and St Petersburg
15 Oct 2017

Written on Skin: the Melos Sinfonia take George Benjamin's opera to St Petersburg

As I approach St Cyprian’s Church in Marylebone, musical sounds which are at once strange and sensuous surf the air. Inside I find seventy or so instrumentalists and singers nestled somewhat crowdedly between the pillars of the nave, rehearsing George Benjamin’s much praised 2012 opera, Written on Skin.  »

Recently in Commentary

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17 May 2013

Michele Mariotti conducts La donna del lago

Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.  »

01 May 2013

Kate Lindsey at Glyndebourne

It would seem a logical step for the mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey to take on the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. »

29 Apr 2013

Douglas Boyd on Garsington Opera at Wormsley

“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.  »

23 Apr 2013

A Chat with Aida Designer Zandra Rhodes

When I spoke with Zandra Rhodes, she was in her large San Diego workspace, which she described as having walls decorated with her own huge black and white drawings.  »

05 Mar 2013

An Interview with Virginia Zeani

Palm Beach audiences are famous for their glamour, but in recent years a special star has sparkled amid the jewels, sequins, feathers and furs (whatever the weather).  »

03 Mar 2013

Bel Canto Queen Jessica Pratt

When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.  »

02 Mar 2013

James Conlon Renews Contract with LA Opera

On Wednesday evening, February 20, Los Angeles Opera gave a press conference at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion featuring Music Director James Conlon.  »

13 Feb 2013

The New Season at Teatro Real

It is another “What Could Have Been” moment. The debut of Brokeback Mountain by Charles Wuorinen is part of Madridʼs Teatro Real coming season. »

11 Feb 2013

Festival d’Aix en Provence 2013

Plans for July’s Aix-en-Provence Festival were announced and opera is, of course, at the center of the program with a particularly noteworthy Richard Strauss production.  »

06 Feb 2013

Amsterdam Welcomes Stanislavski Opera

Amsterdam enjoys a rare visit from Moscow’s Stanislavski Opera at the landmark Koninklijk Carre Theater, for three performances of Tchaikovski’s Eugene Onegin and a Sunday morning opera concert, on February 1st-3rd. »

01 Jan 2013

A New Festival Hall for Erl

A new festival hall has been inaugurated in the small town of Erl in the Tyrolean mountains.  »

28 Nov 2012

Rome Opera Opens New Season

Yesterday, Conductor Riccardo Muti opened the Rome Opera, where he is “honorary conductor for life,” with a gala presentation of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.  »

10 Nov 2012

Michael Spyres: Star Ascendant

When tenor Michael Spyres takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on December 5th, he will be in heady company. »

15 Oct 2012

Rewriting the Unwritten Law: Gilliam and Ghent Tackle Damnation

One of the most noteworthy and controversial productions in recent memory arrived in Belgium with hurricane force as Director Terry Gilliam’s inaugural opera, an inspired interpretation of Hector Berlioz’s Le Damnation de Faust, blasted into Ghent, followed by a run in Antwerp. »

09 Oct 2012

Florian Boesch on Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin

Florian Boesch is singing Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Oxford Lieder Festival on Sunday 14th October. This won’t be routine. Radically challenging conventional interpretation, Boesch says “I don’t believe it ends in suicide” »

05 Oct 2012

Exciting Glyndebourne 2013 season

Exciting developments at Glyndebourne ! Many new initiatives which could transform Glyndebourne from a summer festival to a truly international, year-round opera experience.  »

28 Sep 2012

Good News for Opera in Barcelona

The recently released numbers for the past season at Barcelona’s opera Liceu gives some hope for the future.  »

12 Sep 2012

New Attendance Record for Salzburg

A record 278,978 people attended events of the 2012 edition of the famed Salzburg Festival in Austria, the largest number since its founding 92 years ago. »

13 Aug 2012

Another Bayreuth Stunner

Just after things were settling after the scandal of baritone Evgeny Nitikin supposed swastika tattoo at the Bayreuth Festival, another one seems likely to take its place.  »

08 Aug 2012

Opera Tomorrow: Wolf Trap Today

Three quarters of the way through this discussion, a question that inhabits the mind of anyone putting any thought to the subject — but no one dare ask — was rhetoricised, “what is opera?”  »

30 Jul 2012

Laurent Pelly on Glyndebourne's Ravel Double Bill

The Glyndebourne Festival highlight this year could be the Ravel double bill - L’heure espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges. Laurent Pelly directs. Anyone who saw his brilliant Humperdinck Hansel und Gretel at Glyndebourne in 2008 will know what to expect - a staging of great imagination and verve, true to the spirit of the composer. »

18 Jul 2012

Changes at Florida Grand Opera

Effective July 30, Cassidy E. Fitzpatrick will be the new artistic administrator of Florida Grand Opera. a position open since the dismissal of Kelly Anderson last year. »

07 Jul 2012

Changes in Bratislava

A change of leadership has been announced today by Bratislava’s Slovak National Theatre. In the opera division, famed tenor Peter Dvorsky, the current artistic director, is to be replaced on August 1st by the Austrian conductor Friedrich Haider.  »

04 Jul 2012

Honors for Bayreuth’s “other” house

Bayreuth’s opera house has been awarded the honor of UNESCO World Heritage status. If you think that means Wagner’s festival house in the same city, with its excellent acoustics and uncomfortable seats, you will be mistaken. »

04 Jul 2012

Continued Progress at the Vienna State Opera

In his second season, intendant Dominique Meyer has chalked up increases both in tickets sold and earnings at the Vienna State Opera.  »

03 Jul 2012

Lots of Loose Ends in Cologne

The fall-out from the very public display of anger on both sides continues in Cologne. Uwe Erich Laufenberg, 51, director of the city’s opera, one of the leading operas in Germany, was fired with immediate effect on June 22.  »

26 Jun 2012

Bavarian State Opera Renews Nicolas Bachler’s Contract

Nicolas Bachler, intendant of the Bavarian State Opera, has had his contract extended through August 2018.  »

09 Jun 2012

Duisburg Petition Drive Proves Strong Support for Local Opera

Amidst crucial, ongoing financial concerns about future funding for opera and ballet throughout Germany’s highly populous North Rhein-Westphalia region, a diverse gathering at the Duisburg Theatre verified sincere grassroots support for Deutsche Oper Am Rhein and the current partnership with nearby Dusseldorf. »

31 May 2012

More Delays for the Berlin State Opera

The re-opening of Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden has been set back for another year.  »

30 May 2012

Lyric Opera Posts Annual Report

The Lyric Opera of Chicago announced their financial figures in their annual report and “balanced its budget” for the 2011-2012 season, according to general director Anthony Freud.  »

30 May 2012

Thunder Storm at the Theater an der Wien

Conflicts like this usually remain inside opera house walls. The three Viennese daily newspapers carried headlines reporting that Oscar-winning director William Friedkin called the intendant of the Theater an der Wien a “liar.”  »

26 May 2012

Garsington Opera at Wormsley

Director David Freeman tells why this is an event worth experiencing in the Olympic year.  »

09 May 2012

Torsten Kerl to Perform Tannhäuser

Casting changes continue at the Bayreuth Festival, now only three months away.  »

02 May 2012

The Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2012

This year’s Kathleen Ferrier Awards final was both a competition and a celebration, marking as it did the centenary anniversary of the great singer’s birth. »

26 Apr 2012

Christopher Koelsch Tapped by LA Opera

Christopher Koelsch has been tapped Wednesday as the new president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Opera. Koelsch, 41, was the opera’s chief financial officer and will take the new post September 15. »

24 Apr 2012

Ignacio Garcia-Belenguer Appointed

Ignacio Garcia-Belenguer, 45, has been named as the new general manager of Madrid’s opera, Teatro Real.  »

24 Apr 2012

Uwe Eric Laufenberg Resigns

The director of the Cologne Opera, Uwe Eric Laufenberg, has confirmed at the press conference this afternoon that he will leave his post at the end of the coming season. His contract runs until 2016. »

23 Apr 2012

Denoke Bows Out of Bayreuth

Soprano Angela Denoke announced on Wednesday that she would not be appearing as Brünnhilde, one of the critically important roles, at the 2013 Bayreuth Festival Ring Cycle.  »

18 Apr 2012

Cologne Opera to Cancel Next Season?

On Tuesday evening, Cologne Opera’s director indicated he was planning to cancel the next season, 2012-2013.  »

17 Apr 2012

Chinese Conductor to Lead Italian Opera

The Chinese conductor and pianist Xu Zhong will be the new artistic director of an Italian opera house, the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.  »

17 Apr 2012

Mishap at the Musikfreunde

Tenor Johan Botha had just started carving his steak when his phone rang. A director of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde was on the line with an emergency request.  »

12 Apr 2012

International HD Broadcast of Rigoletto by Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House started doing opera and ballet broadcasts before many other houses, and is now expanding its schedule. On April 17th, Verdi’s Rigoletto is being streamed live in over 600 cinemas in 21 countries.  »

31 Mar 2012

Gerald Barry: The Importance of Being Earnest

Irish composer Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest premieres at the Barbican, London on April 26th. It is a joint commission between the Barbican and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  »

24 Mar 2012

Royal Opera House 2012-13 season

“Opera is an emotional fitness centre”, says Kasper Holten, new Director of Opera, announcing the Royal Opera House 2012-13 season which mixes daring with prudence. »

19 Mar 2012

Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals Concert

A major part of the rejuvenation of opera in the 21st century is the cultivation of young singers.  »

09 Mar 2012

The Los Angeles Opera — A Cultural Icon in Downtown LA

Los Angeles is often identified as “tinsel town,” a cultural wasteland. The city has long been considered as artistically irrelevant. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially with the arrival of the Los Angeles Opera in 1984. »

29 Feb 2012

Gran Teatre del Liceu Reverses Course

Barcelona’s opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, has reversed course and restored cuts in the current season made earlier this month.  »

27 Feb 2012

The Opera House that Almost Wasn’t — Le Palais Garnier in Paris

One of the main performing arts venues for opera, ballet and modern dance is Le Palais Garnier in Paris.  »

26 Feb 2012

Bryan Hymel, Rusalka’s Prince

New Orleans native Bryan Hymel is singing the role of The Prince in Antonin Dvořák's Rusalka at the Royal Opera House, London. »

21 Feb 2012

Victoires de la Musique Classique 2012

Last night’s French classical music awards show, the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2012, awarded the “Best Composer of the Year” honors to Philippe Manoury, 59, for his opera, “La Nuit de Gutenberg” (“The Night of Gutenberg”).  »

21 Feb 2012

Natalie Dessay to go on sabbatical

French soprano star Natalie Dessay has announced that she is taking a sabbatical from opera during 2015. She is unhappy with her current work at the Paris Opera, a production of Massenet’s opera “Manon,” and had conflicts with the stage director, French filmmaker Coline Serreau.  »

20 Feb 2012

The Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition: Showcase Concert

Inaugurated in 1995, the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition is a triennial competition, held in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, which takes place over a week in January.  »