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Elsewhere

Desert Island Delights at the RCM: Offenbach's Robinson Crusoe

Britannia waives the rules: The EU Brexit in quotes’. Such was the headline of a BBC News feature on 28th June 2016. And, nearly three years later, those who watch the runaway Brexit-train hurtle ever nearer to the edge of Dover’s white cliffs might be tempted by the thought of leaving this sceptred (sceptic?) isle, for a life overseas.

Akira Nishimura’s Asters: A Major New Japanese Opera

Opened as recently as 1997, the Opera House of the New National Theatre Tokyo (NNTT) is one of the newest such venues among the world’s great capitals, but, with ten productions of opera a year, ranging from baroque to contemporary, this publicly-owned and run theatre seems determined to make an international impact.

The Outcast in Hamburg

It is a “a musicstallation-theater with video” that had its world premiere at the Mannheim Opera in 2012, revived just now in a new version by Vienna’s ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wein for one performance at the Vienna Konzerthaus and one performance in Hamburg’s magnificent Elbphilharmonie (above). Olga Neuwirth’s The Outcast and this rich city are imperfect bedfellows!

Leonard Bernstein: Tristan und Isolde in Munich on Blu-ray

Although Birgit Nilsson, one of the great Isolde’s, wrote with evident fondness – and some wit – of Leonard Bernstein in her autobiography – “unfortunately, he burned the candles at both ends” – their paths rarely crossed musically. There’s a live Fidelio from March 1970, done in Italy, but almost nothing else is preserved on disc.

Monarchs corrupted and tormented: ETO’s Idomeneo and Macbeth at the Hackney Empire

Promises made to placate a foe in the face of imminent crisis are not always the most well-considered and have a way of coming back to bite one - as our current Prime Minister is finding to her cost.

Der Fliegende Holländer and
Tannhäuser in Dresden

To remind you that Wagner’s Dutchman had its premiere in Dresden’s Altes Hoftheater in 1843 and his Tannhauser premiered in this same theater in 1845 (not to forget that Rienzi premiered in this Saxon court theater in 1842).

WNO's The Magic Flute at the Birmingham Hippodrome

A perfect blue sky dotted with perfect white clouds. Identikit men in bowler hats clutching orange umbrellas. Floating cyclists. Ferocious crustaceans.

Puccini’s Messa di Gloria: Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra

This was an oddly fascinating concert - though, I’m afraid, for quite the wrong reasons (though this depends on your point of view). As a vehicle for the sound, and playing, of the London Symphony Orchestra it was a notable triumph - they were not so much luxurious - rather a hedonistic and decadent delight; but as a study into three composers, who wrote so convincingly for opera, and taken somewhat out of their comfort zone, it was not a resounding success.

WNO's Un ballo in maschera at Birmingham's Hippodrome

David Pountney and his design team - Raimund Bauer (sets), Marie-Jeanne Lecca (costumes), Fabrice Kebour (lighting) - have clearly ‘had a ball’ in mounting this Un ballo in maschera, the second part of WNO’s Verdi trilogy and which forms part of a spring season focusing on what Pountney describes as the “profound and mysterious issue of Monarchy”.

Super #Superflute in North Hollywood

Pacific Opera Project’s rollicking new take on The Magic Flute is as much endearing fun as a box full of puppies.

Leading Ladies: Barbara Strozzi and Amiche

I couldn’t help wondering; would a chamber concert of vocal music by female composers of the 17th century be able sustain our concentration for 90 minutes? Wouldn’t most of us be feeling more dutiful than exhilarated by the end?

George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill at Wigmore Hall

This week, the Wigmore Hall presents two concerts from George Benjamin and Frankfurt’s Ensemble Modern, the first ‘at home’ on Wigmore Street, the second moving north to Camden’s Roundhouse. For the first, we heard Benjamin’s now classic first opera, Into the Little Hill, prefaced by three ensemble works by Cathy Milliken, Christian Mason, and, for the evening’s spot of ‘early music’, Luigi Dallapiccola.

Marianne Crebassa sings Berio and Ravel: Philharmonia Orchestra with Salonen

It was once said of Cathy Berberian, the muse for whom Luciano Berio wrote his Folk Songs, that her voice had such range she could sing the roles of both Tristan and Isolde. Much less flatteringly, was my music teacher’s description of her sound as akin to a “chisel being scraped over sandpaper”.

Rossini's Elizabeth I: English Touring Opera start their 2019 spring tour

What was it with Italian bel canto and the Elizabethan age? The era’s beautiful, doomed queens and swash-buckling courtiers seem to have held a strange fascination for nineteenth-century Italians.

Chameleonic new opera featuring Caruso in Amsterdam

Micha Hamel’s new opera, Caruso a Cuba, is constantly on the move. The chameleonic score takes on a myriad flavours, all with a strong sense of mood or place.

Ernst Krenek: Karl V, Bayerisches Staatsoper

Ernst Krenek’s Karl V op 73 at the Bayerisches Staatsoper, with Bo Skovhus, conducted by Erik Nielsen, in a performance that reveals the genius of Krenek’s masterpiece. Contemporary with Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, Berg’s Lulu, and Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, Krenek’s Karl V is a metaphysical drama, exploring psychological territory with the possibilities opened by new musical form.

A Sparkling Merry Widow at ENO

A small, formerly great, kingdom, is on the verge of bankruptcy and desperate to prevent its ‘assets’ from slipping into foreign hands. Sexual and political intrigues are bluntly exposed. The princes and patriarchs are under threat from both the ‘paupers’ and the ‘princesses’, and the two dangers merge in the glamorous figure of the irresistibly wealthy Pontevedrin beauty, Hanna Glawari, a working-class girl who’s married up and made good.

Mozart: Così fan tutte - Royal Opera House

Così fan tutte is, primarily, an ensemble opera and it sinks or swims on the strength of its sextet of singers - and this performance very much swam. In a sense, this is just as well because Jan Phillip Gloger’s staging (revived here by Julia Burbach) is in turns messy, chaotic and often confusing. The tragedy of this Così is that it’s high art clashing with Broadway; a theatre within an opera and a deceit wrapped in a conundrum.

Gavin Higgins' The Monstrous Child: an ROH world premiere

The Royal Opera House’s choice of work for the first new production in the splendidly redesigned Linbury Theatre - not unreasonably, it seems to have lost ‘Studio’ from its name - is, perhaps, a declaration of intent; it may certainly be received as such. Not only is it a new work; it is billed specifically as ‘our first opera for teenage audiences’.

Elektra at Lyric Opera of Chicago

From the first moments of the recent revival of Sir David McVicar’s production of Elektra by Richard Strauss at Lyric Opera of Chicago the audience is caught in the grip of a rich music-drama, the intensity of which is not resolved, appropriately, until the final, symmetrical chords.


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

26 Feb 2019

Handel Singing Competition semi-finalists announced

The Handel Singing Competition has announced its 13 semi-finalists who will be competing in the 2019 Competition. The semi-final is due to take place on 5 March at Grosvenor Chapel, and the final is on 6 April at St George’s, Hanover Square - both in front of a live audience. The Competition this year received over 170 applications from all around the world, from 25 countries as far afield as Argentina, Australia, Israel, the United States and Canada. »

Recently in Commentary

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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. »

22 Dec 2008

Bayerische Staatsoper Announces Program for 2009 Munich Opera Festival

The Bayerische Staatsoper announced its program of the 2009 Munich Opera Festival — the only festival of its kind in the world so rich in tradition, with roots reaching as far back as 1875. »

17 Dec 2008

Keith Jameson — Comprimario Extraordinaire

Most opera-world publicity is accorded star singers, but we take another tack here to look at American tenor Keith Jameson who has made a specialty of character or comprimario parts, while at the same time building a solid reputation as sophisticated musician and actor, a performer who can seize the moment and elevate a role to first rank for the time he is on stage. »

23 Nov 2008

The ‘Colors’ of La Fanciulla

The transition in Giacomo Puccini’s mature period from one autonomous phase to another (although the two are connected by subtle links) is a fact that has been accepted by operatic scholars.  »

17 Nov 2008

Opera in Germany

Following a recent visit to Germany, Wes Blomster surveys the vibrant opera scene in Berlin and Magdeburg.  »

04 Nov 2008

Elektra at Royal Opera House

“Opera directing is very different to theatre directing”, says Charles Edwards, director of Elektra at the Royal Opera House this season. “It has to be the music that motivates you”. For this production, he works with Mark Elder, “an extraordinarily theatrically-minded conductor who sees theatre in everything he hears”. »

23 Oct 2008

Chaslin Chats About Wuthering Heights

Writer Frank Cadenhead discusses Wuthering Heights, the nearly-finished new operatic endeavor by composer Frédéric Chaslin. Cadenhead recently traveled to Valenica, Spain, where Chaslin and librettist Paula Heil Fisher are hard at work on the piece. »

21 Oct 2008

An interview with Scott Lindroth

An interview with Scott Lindroth by Tom Moore »

03 Oct 2008

Korngold opera the “Hair” of its day

Back in the 19th century it was not smoke, but hair that got in one’s eyes. »

03 Oct 2008

Tom Moore Interviews Mark Engebretson

A virtuoso saxophonist, performing internationally, Mark Engebretson is also a composer whose recent works often take place at the interface between the live performer and the computer. »

03 Oct 2008

Tom Moore Interviews Alejandro Rutty

Composer Alejandro Rutty is newly-arrived in North Carolina, where he teaches at UNC Greensboro. »

19 Sep 2008

Pergolesi’s Home Service Really Delivers!

The United States premiere of Pergolesi’s Home Service will be presented by The Chamber Opera of Memphis in cooperation with the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music on Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Harris Concert Hall (3775 Central Ave.). »

18 Sep 2008

Dr. Ulrike Hessler First Woman Appointed Intendant to Semper Oper in Dresden

For the first time in its 169 year history, the Saxonian State Opera — home to world premiere performances of most Richard Strauss and several Wagner operas — has appointed a woman as its General Director. »

17 Sep 2008

Lawrence Brownlee Expands Repertoire in 2008-09 Season

The remarkable Lawrence Brownlee has proven himself to be one of the most prominent bel canto tenors on the international scene. »