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Elsewhere

Adriana Lecouvreur Opera Holland Park

Twelve years after Opera Holland Park's first production of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, the opera made a welcome return.

Back to the Beginnings: Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at Iford Opera.

The Italianate cloister setting at Iford chimes neatly with Monteverdi’s penultimate opera The Return of Ulysses, as the setting cannot but bring to mind those early days of the musical genre. The world of commercial public opera had only just dawned with the opening of the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice in 1637 and for the first time opera became open to all who could afford a ticket, rather than beholden to the patronage of generous princes. Monteverdi took full advantage of the new stage and at the age of 73 brought all his experience of more than 30 years of opera-writing since his ground-breaking L’Orfeo (what a pity we have lost all those works) to the creation of two of his greatest pieces, Ulysses and then his final masterpiece, Poppea.

Schoenberg : Moses und Aron, Welsh National Opera, London

Once again, we find ourselves thanking an unrepresentable being for Welsh National Opera’s commitment to its mission. It is a sad state of affairs when a season that includes both Boulevard Solitude and Moses und Aron is considered exceptional, but it is - and is all the more so when one contrasts such seriousness of purpose with the endless revivals of La traviata which, Die Frau ohne Schatten notwithstanding, seem to occupy so much of the Royal Opera’s effort. That said, if the Royal Opera has not undertaken what would be only its second ever staging of Schoenberg’s masterpiece - the first and last was in 1965, long before most of us were born! - then at least it has engaged in a very welcome ‘WNO at the Royal Opera House’ relationship, in which we in London shall have the opportunity to see some of the fruits of the more adventurous company’s endeavours.

Rossini is Alive and Well and Living in Iowa

If you don’t have the means to get to the Rossini festival in Pesaro, you would do just as well to come to Indianola, Iowa, where Des Moines Metro Opera festival has devised a heady production of Le Comte Ory that is as long on belly laughs as it is on musical fireworks.

Gergiev : Janáček Glagolitic Mass, BBC Proms

Composed during just a few weeks of the summer of 1926, Janáček’s Slavonic-text Glagolitic Mass was first performed in Brno in December 1927. During the rehearsals for the premiere - just 3 for the orchestra and one 3-hour rehearsal for the whole ensemble - the composer made many changes, and such alterations continued so that by the time of the only other performance during Janáček’s lifetime, in Prague in April 1928, many of the instrumental (especially brass) lines had been doubled, complex rhythmic patterns had been ‘ironed-out’ (the Kyrie was originally in 5/4 time), a passage for 3 off-stage clarinets had been cut along with music for 3 sets of pedal timpani, and choral passages were also excised.

Donizetti and Mozart, Jette Parker Young Artists Royal Opera House, London

With the conclusion of the ROH 2013-14 season on Saturday evening - John Copley’s 40-year old production of La Bohème bringing down the summer curtain - the sun pouring through the gleaming windows of the Floral Hall was a welcome invitation to enjoy a final treat. The Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Showcase offered singers whom we have admired in minor and supporting roles during the past year the opportunity to step into the spotlight.

Glyndebourne's Strauss Der Rosenkavalier, BBC Proms

Many words have already been spent - not all of them on musical matters - on Richard Jones’s Glyndebourne production of Der Rosenkavalier, which last night was transported to the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time at the Proms that Richard Strauss’s most popular opera had been heard in its entirety and, despite losing two of its principals in transit from Sussex to SW1, this semi-staged performance offered little to fault and much to admire.

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.


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Recently in Commentary

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03 Mar 2010

Sophia Serghi — An Interview

Composer Sophia Serghi is presently professor of music at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she has taught since 1998, with two years away in 2000-2002. »

28 Feb 2010

Kurt Streit takes on Tamerlano, Royal Opera House, London

Kurt Streit is singing Bazajet in all performances of Handel’s Tamerlano at the Royal Opera House, London. Placido Domingo, who was to have sung five of the seven performances, pulled out suddenly due to illness.  »

10 Feb 2010

Gabriela Ortiz — An Interview

Composer Gabriela Ortiz studied composition in Mexico City with Mario Lavista at the National Conservatory of Music, at the Guildhall School with Robert Saxton, and at the University of London with Simon Emmerson.  »

25 Jan 2010

Kerry Andrew — An Interview

Kerry Andrew is a young British composer who seems to have her finger in an astounding number of pies, from modern sacred choral music to alt-folk, and including vocal chamber ensemble music and jazz. We talked via Skype on Jan. 12, 2010.  »

18 Jan 2010

Neal Goren of Gotham Chamber Opera: An Interview

The thing you need in order to start an arts organization, even more than a great deal of money, is a whirlwind – an individual with unstoppable energy who can put it all together and keep it working through thin times and thick.  »

13 Jan 2010

Collection of Italian Opera Libretti Now Accessible at Harry Ransom Center

AUSTIN, Texas — A major collection of Italian opera libretti is now accessible through an online database at the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.  »

08 Jan 2010

An interview with Hilary Hahn

American violinist Hilary Hahn has entered her fourth decade, having turned thirty last year, and for her eleventh disc she takes on a collaborative role, as obbligatist in a program of Bach cantata arias with soprano Christine Schäfer and baritone Matthias Goerne, accompanied by the Münchener Kammerorchester under the direction of Alexander Liebreich.  »

07 Jan 2010

An Interview with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon

Composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon is presently on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he and colleague Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez played in a rock and roll band together.  »

25 Dec 2009

An Interview with William Price

Composer William Price was born in Missouri (1971) and raised in Alabama, where he is presently professor of music theory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  »

17 Dec 2009

An Interview with John Fitz Rogers

John Fitz Rogers is presently an associate professor of composition at the University of South Carolina School of Music.  »

04 Nov 2009

The 18th Bienal of Contemporary Brazilian Music, 2009

Rio de Janeiro, which has had a string of winning luck in recent days — not only will it host the 2014 World Cup of soccer, but also the 2016 Olympic Games — continues a laudable and venerable tradition in the arts — the Biannual Festival of Contemporary Brazilian Music, now in its 18th edition.  »

26 Oct 2009

An Interview with Ileana Perez-Velazquez

An Interview with Ileana Perez-VelazquezBy Tom Moore  »

11 Oct 2009

Oxford Lieder - Britain's top Song Festival

In the autumn, Oxford is especially beautiful. The ancient colleges are swathed in scarlet vines, and the mellow evening light creates great atmosphere. For those who love art song, though, the best reason for visiting Oxford at this time of year is the Oxford Lieder Festival, which starts October 16th 2009. »

06 Oct 2009

Imogen Cooper's Birthday at the Wigmore Hall

This wasn't an ordinary concert but something very special. The Wigmore Hall was honouring Imogen Cooper on her 60th birthday. She is greatly loved here, both as soloist and as partner in song recitals. The atmosphere was electric. The house was packed, with many famous pianists and singers in the audience. It was a historic occasion, but it felt like a party among friends. »

06 Sep 2009

Christof Loy speaks about the new Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera House, London.

“Opera has so much to give” says Christof Loy, whose new production of Tristan und Isoldeopens at the Royal Opera House on 29th September. This opera is so familiar that everyone assumes they know it. But Loy’s approach involves going straight back to the score, and to the inherent drama in the music. “I don’t like superficial distractions". »

04 Sep 2009

Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation launches the Sixth International Singing Competition

The distinguished jury (including sopranos Dames Margaret Price and Anne Evans, and baritones Thomas Allen and Wolfgang Holzmair) has now whittled down the original 148 entrants (from 41 different countries) to 34 (including 6 from the US) and according to the Chairman and Wigmore Hall Director John Gilhooly, ‘There’s a terrific buzz about this year - it always takes about ten years for a competition to build, so we are now really at our peak, and I think I can promise you some exciting singing.’  »

11 Aug 2009

Seattle to mount new “Tristan” in 2010

SEATTLE - Underscoring its role as America’s leader in the world of Wagner, the Seattle Opera will stage an entirely new production of Tristan und Isolde in 2010. »

15 Jul 2009

The Met's Favorite Tenor: Marcello Giordani

Marcello Giordani, at present singing a generally highly praised Cavaradossi at the Royal Opera House in London, is the leading exponent of the great Italian and French tenor roles at the Metropolitan Opera, and the man whom James Levine describes as ‘my favorite tenor.’ This prominence has been arrived at after a steady rise to fame: he will celebrate the 25th year of his career in the 2010-11 season. »

29 Jun 2009

Dalibor Jenis sings Renato in the Royal Opera house Un ballo in maschera.

“Everything in opera comes from Italy”, says Dalibor Jenis, who sings Renato in the current Royal Opera House Un ballo in maschera. “Italian is the language of music, my second mother language” »

15 Jun 2009

Czech Bass Wins BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World Song Prize

Young Czech bass Jan Martiník last night (FRI) won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize 2009 final at St David’s Hall, Cardiff. »

15 Jun 2009

Russian Soprano Wins BBC Cardiff Singer of the World

Beautiful Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko last night won the world’s greatest operatic competition BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. »

12 Jun 2009

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Finalists Named

The five talented singers to compete in the final of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, which is organised by BBC Cymru Wales, have been named. »

10 Jun 2009

Ukrainian Counter-Tenor Wins Third Concert in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World

Cardiff: 10 June 2009 — Ukrainian counter-tenor Yuriy Mynenko, aged 30, last night (TUES) won the third concert in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. »

10 Jun 2009

Finalists Named For Song Prize

Cardiff: 9 June 2009 — The five artists were today (WED) named to take part in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize final at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Friday (June 12). »

09 Jun 2009

Russian Soprano Wins Second Concert Round in BBC Cardiff Singer of The World

Cardiff: 9 June 2009 — Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko last night (MON) won the second concert round in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. »

09 Jun 2009

Royal Ballet’s Ondine heralds new Henze season in London

In April 2010, the Royal Opera House, London, will stage a new production of Hans Werner Henze's opera Elegy for Young Lovers. Henze is perhaps the greatest living German opera composer, hugely important in Europe, so this new production is eagerly awaited. »

09 Jun 2009

Japan Wins First Concert Round in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009

Cardiff: 8 June 2009 — Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura last night (SUN) won the opening concert round in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. »

25 May 2009

Italian Opera on the Road

You want to see Opera as the Italians do it? Go to Beijing, Tokyo, Savonlinna and Wiesbaden »

24 May 2009

Michael Volle’s intriguing Dr Schön, in the Royal Opera House’s new Lulu.

There’s a buzz about the new Lulu at the Royal Opera House, spreading by word of mouth from those who’ve heard it being prepared. Berg’s opera hasn’t been heard at Covent Garden for 30 years, though there was an acclaimed production at Glyndebourne in 1996 with Christine Schäfer as Lulu.  »

20 May 2009

Bryn Terfel Gives Advice to BBC Cardiff Singer of World Competitors

With just one month to go before facing the judges in the world’s most prestigious singing competition what could be better than some advice from past competitor and opera super star Bryn Terfel? »

18 May 2009

Anthony Michaels-Moore — from the army to the world stage.

Currently, Anthony Michaels- Moore is singing Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore at the Royal Opera Hose, London.  »

12 May 2009

The Tuscan Convent Where Wagnerian Singers Are Trained

In a convent in the lovely Tuscan country side, near Lucca (Giacomo Puccini’s birthplace) there is the Mount Graal.  »

29 Apr 2009

Kwangchul Youn makes his long-awaited debut at the Royal Opera House, London.

Youn made his Bayreuth debut in 1996, only six years after coming to Europe. He sang the Nightwatchman in Der Meistersinger von Nürnberg.  »

26 Apr 2009

Lost portrait of Handel’s librettist Paolo Rolli resurfaces in Todi, Italy

Paolo Antonio Rolli (Rome, 13 June 1687 — Todi, 20 March 1765) arguably ranks among the top-three Italian librettists of the 18th century, next to Metastasio and — later — Da Ponte.  »

19 Apr 2009

Der Ring des Nibelungen

“From the womb of Night and Death was spawned a race that dwells in Nibelheim (Nebelheim), i.e. in gloomy subterranean clefts and caverns: Nibelungen are they called; with restless nimbleness they burrow through the bowels of the earth, like worms in a dead body; they smelt and smith hard metals.  »

07 Apr 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful

London: Sue Loder reviews Alessandro and the Handel Singing Final »

22 Mar 2009

Historic Performances: Maria Callas

Although born in New York City, Maria Callas (1923-1977) received her musical education in Greece and started her career in Italy.  »

12 Mar 2009

Charles Workman — the American dying to sing “Acis” for the Royal Opera

American? Well, yes, that’s what it says on one of his passports, but the other is British and he and his family reside in the UK and have done since 1995.  »

08 Mar 2009

Tristan und Isolde in Chicago

By the close of the first act of Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in its current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago the audience has been given a strong impression of the multi-faceted characters bound up in the musical drama unfolding on stage.  »

26 Jan 2009

Anne Ozorio Interviews Ingo Metzmacher on Die tote Stadt

Erich Korngold’s Die tote Stadt comes to the Royal Opera House in January 2009. It’s the first time this production has been seen in London : it is the famed Willy Decker production from Salzburg in 2004 which did so much to restore Korngold’s status.  »

14 Jan 2009

Who Was Mary Lewis?

“Mary Lewis, the golden haired soprano” — does that name mean much to today’s lovers of singing and good music?  »

11 Jan 2009

The Works of Giacomo Puccini

The following are recordings of major works by Giacomo Puccini. Click the link to access. »