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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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07 Nov 2010

New Adriana Lecouvreur in London — Alessandro Corbelli

A completely new production of Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur is coming to the Royal Opera House, London.  »

03 Nov 2010

Overture to London’s Handel Festival 2011

The small but perfectly formed Grosvenor Chapel in London’s exclusive Mayfair was the venue last Monday night for a programme of Handel vocal and instrumental music of considerable quality — if minimal quantity.  »

03 Nov 2010

Marcela Pavia — An Interview

Composer Marcela Pavia was born and raised in Rosario, Argentina, and comes from a family of Italian immigrants.  »

13 Oct 2010

Joan Sutherland: My Starter Diva

I was sixteen and knew nothing about opera, had just seen my first Traviata at the City Opera (Patricia Brooks, Placido Domingo), was entranced by the melodies — especially the Brindisi and “Sempre libera” — and wanted more.  »

10 Oct 2010

Oxford Lieder Festival 2010

The Oxford Lieder Festival is small, but is extremely important. It's quite an achievement, extremely well organized and comprehensive, a model for intelligently-presented festivals of any kind.  »

24 Sep 2010

Pierre Jalbert: An Interview

Composer Pierre Jalbert (b.1967), of French Canadian ancestry, was born and raised in northern New England, and studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with George Crumb.  »

13 Sep 2010

Kate Lindsey: An Interview

This season Santa Fe Opera offered new productions that ranged from standard repertoire (Madame Butterfly and The Magic Flute) to a world premiere (Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream) with The Tales of Hoffmann and Albert Herring falling somewhere amidst.  »

13 Sep 2010

Bruce Adolphe: An Interview

Bruce Adolphe, born and raised in the New York area, a student of composition at Juilliard in the sixties and seventies, has an impressive body of work commissioned by artists known on every continent, and was chosen by the Music Library Association to write a piece for brass (Triskelion) marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Association, premiered by the American Brass Quintet at the national meeting in Indianapolis in February, 1991.  »

12 Sep 2010

Mohammed Fairouz: An Interview

As one of the most sought after composers of the young generation, Mohammed Fairouz has many commissions and a substantial body of work, and maintains a busy performance schedule. »

09 Sep 2010

Jacques Imbrailo, Malatesta at the Royal Opera House

Jacques Imbrailo sings Dr Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at the Royal Opera House, London »

24 Aug 2010

Robert Baksa — An Interview by Tom Moore

Robert Baksa is a name that is well-known to lovers of contemporary chamber music, with a hundred chamber works to his credit.  »

07 Jul 2010

Daniel Catán: An Interview by Maria Nockin

“You want to frame the voice in such a way that it shines.”— Daniel Catán »

01 Jul 2010

Baritone Austin Kness on his way

Baritone Austin Kness, an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera recently spoke with Opera Today critic Michael Milenski.  »

28 Jun 2010

Jay Reise: An Interview by Tom Moore

Jay Reise is one of the senior musical figures in Philadelphia, serving on the composition faculty of the University of Pennsylvania since 1980.  »

19 Jun 2010

Christine Brewer: An Interview by Maria Nockin

On 7 June 2010, I spoke with Christine Brewer who was enjoying a relatively free week at her home near St. Louis, Missouri, after long months of air travel between concerts, recitals and operatic performances.  »

17 Jun 2010

Polishing Gemstones — Jette Parker Young Artists

Opera stars are made as well as born. The Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists Programme shapes the stars of the future.  »

07 Jun 2010

Jurgita Adamonytė: An Interview

‘Focussed and pure of tone’, ‘beautifully steady’, ‘pure clarity and note perfection’ — just some of the accolades bestowed on the Lithuanian mezzo soprano Jurgita Adamonytė for her recent performances of Mozart.  »

04 Jun 2010

Aris Argiris debuts as Escamillo in the Royal Opera House's Carmen

Aris Argiris makes his debut at Covent Garden as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. But this is unusually high-profile because it's a first, being filmed in 3D. »

03 Jun 2010

Olja Jelaska: An Interview by Tom Moore

Olja Jelaska (b. 1967) is an important figure in the younger generation of composers from Croatia.  »

01 Jun 2010

Juan Trigos: An Interview by Tom Moore

Juan Trigos, composer and conductor, was born and raised in Mexico City, where his father, also Juan Trigos, is a noted playwright and novelist.  »

18 May 2010

Robert Maggio — An Interview by Tom Moore

Composer Robert Maggio is professor of composition at West Chester University (in suburban Philadelphia).  »

17 May 2010

Elena Ruehr: An Interview by Tom Moore

According to her web site, Elena Ruehr has been called a “composer to watch” by Opera News, and her music has been described as “stunning...beautifully lighted by [a] canny instinct for knowing when and how to vary key, timbre, and harmony” by The Boston Globe. »

03 May 2010

Central City: the little opera company that can

You don’t have to be Asian to sing Madama Butterfly, but if you’ve got a top soprano from that part of the world, it adds another dimension of reality to Puccini’s tear-drenched verismo.  »

24 Apr 2010

Shadowboxer, the opera

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland — College Park is presenting Shadowboxer, an opera based on the life of Joe Louis, with music composed by Frank Proto to a libretto by John Chenault. »

22 Apr 2010

Stephen Jaffe: an Interview by Tom Moore

Composer Stephen Jaffe is the Mary and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition at Duke University. We spoke in his office there in Durham NC on June 25, 2007. »

22 Apr 2010

Micaela Carosi sings Aida in a new production at the Royal Opera House, London

Micaela Carosi, the Verdi specialist, has created Aida many times, so she’s closely attuned to the role. The new production, at the Royal Opera House, London, though, is different. “It’s like singing Aida for the first time”, she says, her eyes sparkling. »

20 Apr 2010

Osmo Tapio Räihälä: An interview by Tom Moore

Osmo Tapio Räihälä is a Finnish composer of contemporary music, and was the founder of Uusinta, a collaborative group of composers and musicians. »

10 Apr 2010

Lance Hulme: An interview by Tom Moore

Composer Lance Hulme studied composition at the University of Minnesota, Yale University, and the Eastman School of Music, and returned to the United States recently, where he lives presently in Greensboro, North Carolina, after two decades in Mitteleuropa, where he founded and directed the contemporary music ensemble Ensemble Surprise.  »

10 Apr 2010

Anna Weesner: An interview by Tom Moore

Anna Weesner is an American composer who grew up in rocky New Hampshire, and now teaches in historic Philadelphia.  »

10 Apr 2010

Timothy Andres: An interview by Tom Moore

Composer and pianist Timothy Andres is in his mid-twenties, with an impressive catalog of works to his credit, many of which can be heard at his website.  »

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". »