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Elsewhere

The Merchant of Venice: WNO at Covent Garden

In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions.

Leoncavallo's Zazà at Investec Opera Holland Park

The make-up is slapped on thickly in this new production of Leoncavallo’s Zazà by director Marie Lambert and designer Alyson Cummings at Investec Opera Holland Park.

McVicar’s Enchanting but Caliginous Rigoletto in Castle Olavinlinna at Savonlinna Opera Festival

David McVicar’s thrilling take on Verdi’s Rigoletto premiered as the first international production of this Summer’s Savonlinna Opera Festival. The scouts for the festival made the smart decision to let McVicar adapt his 2001 Covent Garden staging to the unique locale of Castle Olavinlinna.

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at Covent Garden

The end of the ROH’s summer season was marked as usual by the Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance but this year’s showcase was a little lacklustre at times.

A Falstaff Opera in Shakespeare’s Words: Sir John in Love

Only one Shakespeare play has resulted in three operas that get performed today (whether internationally or primarily in one language-region). Perhaps surprisingly, the play in question is a comedy that is sometimes considered a lesser work by the Bard: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Sallinen’s Kullervo is Brutal and Spectacular Finnish Opera at Savonlinna Opera Festival

For the centenary of Finland’s Independence, the Savonlinna Opera Festival brought back Kari Heiskanen’s spectacular 1992 production of Aulis Salinen’s Kullervo. The excellent Finnish soloists and glorious choir unflinchingly offered this opera of vocal blood and guts. Conductor Hannu Lintu fired up the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra in Sallinen’s thrilling music.

Kát’a Kabanová at Investec Opera Holland Park

If there was any doubt of the insignificance of mankind in the face of the forces of Nature, then Yannis Thavoris’ design for Olivia Fuchs production of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová - first seen at Investec Opera Holland Park in 2009 - would puncture it in a flash, figuratively and literally.

A bel canto feast at Cadogan Hall

The bel canto repertoire requires stylish singing, with beautiful tone and elegant phrasing. Strength must be allied with grace in order to coast the vocal peaks with unflawed legato; flexibility blended with accuracy ensures the most bravura passages are negotiated with apparent ease.

Don Pasquale: a cold-hearted comedy at Glyndebourne

Director Mariame Clément’s Don Pasquale, first seen during the 2011 tour and staged in the house in 2013, treads a fine line between realism and artifice.

Billy Budd Indomitable in Des Moines

It is hard to know where to begin to praise the peerless accomplishment that is Des Moines Metro Opera’s staggeringly powerful Billy Budd.

Tannhäuser at Munich

Romeo Castellucci’s aesthetic — if one may speak in the singular — is very different from almost anything else on show in the opera house at the moment. That, I have no doubt, is unquestionably a good thing. Castellucci is a serious artist and it is all too easy for any of us to become stuck in an artistic rut, congratulating ourselves not only on our understanding but also,  may God help us, our ‘taste’ — as if so trivial a notion had something to do with anything other than ourselves.

Des Moines Answers Turandot’s Riddles

With Turandot, Des Moines Metro Opera operated from the premise of prima la voce, and if the no-holds-barred singing and rhapsodic playing didn’t send shivers down your spine, well, you were at the wrong address.

Maria Visits Des Moines

With an atmospheric, crackling performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires, Des Moines Metro Opera once again set off creative sparks with its Second Stage concept.

Die schöne Müllerin: Davies and Drake provoke fresh thoughts at Middle Temple Hall

Schubert wrote Die schöne Müllerin (1824) for a tenor (or soprano) range - that of his own voice. Wilhelm Müller’s poems depict the youthful unsophistication of a country lad who, wandering with carefree unworldliness besides a burbling stream, comes upon a watermill, espies the miller’s fetching daughter and promptly falls in love - only to be disillusioned when she spurns him for a virile hunter. So, perhaps the tenor voice possesses the requisite combination of lightness and yearning to convey this trajectory from guileless innocence to disenchantment and dejection.

World Premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Castle in the Water Savonlinna Opera Festival

For my first trip to Finland, I flew from Helsinki to the east, close to the border of Russia near St. Petersburg over many of Suomi’s thousand lakes, where the summer getaway Savonlinna lays. Right after the solstice during July and early August, the town’s opera festival offers high quality productions. In this enchanting locale in the midst of peaceful nature, the sky at dusk after the mesmerising sunset fades away is worth the trip alone!

Mozart and Stravinsky in Aix

Bathed in Mediterranean light, basking in enlightenment Aix found two famous classical works, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in its famous festival’s open air Théâtre de l’Archevêche. But were we enlightened?

Des Moines: Nothing ‘Little’ About Night Music

Des Moines Metro Opera’s richly detailed production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music left an appreciative audience to waltz home on air, and has prompted this viewer to search for adequate superlatives.

Longborough Festival Opera: A World Class Tristan und Isolde in a Barn Shed

Of all the places, I did not expect a sublime Tristan und Isolde in a repurposed barn in the Cotswolds. Don’t be fooled by Longborough’s stage without lavish red curtains to open and close each act. Any opera house would envy the riveting chemistry between Peter Wedd and Lee Bisset in this intimate, 500 seat setting. Conductor Anthony Negus proved himself a master at Wagner’s emotional depth. Epic drama in minimalistic elegance: who needs a big budget when you have talent and drama this passionate?

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra throws a glossy Bernstein party

For almost thirty years, summer at the Concertgebouw has been synonymous with Robeco SummerNights. This popular series expands the classical concert formula with pop, film music, jazz and more, served straight up or mixed together. Composer Leonard Bernstein’s versatility makes his oeuvre, ranging from Broadway to opera, prime SummerNight fare.

Die Frau ohne Schatten at Munich

It was fascinating to see — and of course, to hear — Krzysztof Warlikowsi’s productions of Die Gezeichneten and Die Frau ohne Schatten on consecutive nights of this year’s Munich Opera Festival.


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

<em>The Merchant of Venice</em>, WNO at the Royal Opera House
21 Jul 2017

The Merchant of Venice: WNO at Covent Garden

In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions. »

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03 Dec 2004

Praises for Rodelinda at the Met

Review: 'Rodelinda' at Met Is Masterpiece MIKE SILVERMAN Associated Press NEW YORK - George Frideric Handel's "Rodelinda" was a huge success at its London premiere in 1725, but it soon vanished from the stage and - like the composer's three... »

01 Dec 2004

WARRACK: German Opera — From the Beginnings to Wagner

Writing a history of an important and complex operatic repertory spanning three dynamic centuries is a daunting task, one that is perhaps better suited to several specialists than a single author. While an individual rarely possesses the scholarly breadth to write with expertise and authority on so much music, he or she can impart a unifying perspective and a consistent set of goals. But this advantage can also prove to be a limitation. »

01 Dec 2004

Who Said Wagner Didn't Have a Sense of Humor?

Australia forges a 'Ring' with confidence By Shirley Apthorp Published: November 30 2004 Where do the Valkyries meet between battles? At the Wunder Bar, of course. Schwertleite, Grimgerde and sisters are leather-clad punks with a crass sense of humour,... »

30 Nov 2004

Pierre Jourdan Resurrects Haÿdée at Compiègne

OPéRA "Hayedée" à Compiègne Auber sort de l'oubli Jacques Doucelin [Le Figaro] [30 novembre 2004] Et de cinq ! Après Manon Lescaut, Gustave III, Le Domino noir et Les Diamants de la couronne entre 1990 et 1999, Pierre Jourdan vient... »

30 Nov 2004

Opera North Presents Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus

On the Weill side of Venus Robert Thicknesse Opera North is reviving a "lost" work by the composer THINK of Kurt Weill and what do you get? Cigarettes, dim lights, fishnets; Lotte Lenya or Ute Lemper; Berlin, Brecht, Communism, cabaret... »

29 Nov 2004

Izvestia Reviews

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29 Nov 2004

Neue Zürcher Zeitung Reviews Angels in America

Eine neue Oper von Peter Eötvös in Paris uraufgeführt Peter Eötvös, der ungarische Komponist und Dirigent, heuer sechzig geworden, fühlt sich schon seit je zum Theater hingezogen. Seine Musik hat dieses narrative, körperlich-gestische Element, das Bildhafte und Kommunikative, das guter... »

29 Nov 2004

Another View of The Inner Voice

Fleming gives what young singers need By Sarah Bryan Miller Post-Dispatch Classical Music Critic Sunday, Nov. 28 2004 "The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer" By Renee Fleming Published by Viking; 222 pages; $24.95 This is the book I... »

29 Nov 2004

Don Pasquale at Covent Garden

Opera: Don Pasquale Robert Thicknesse at Covent Garden JONATHAN MILLER certainly has it in for Covent Garden. A few weeks ago he hilariously described the crowd here as "Harrods Food Hall gives up its dead", and to continue the metaphor... »

27 Nov 2004

Angels in America at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris

Clipping the wings of an apocalyptic epic (Filed: 27/11/2004) Rupert Christiansen reviews Angels in America at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris There are plenty of wonderful operas taken from good plays, and a few (Otello and Wozzeck, for example) taken from... »

27 Nov 2004

LA Opera Presents Vanessa

A fully American grand opera Los Angeles Opera stages the seldom-produced "Vanessa" By John Farrell Special to U-Entertainment Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Los Angeles Opera has been steering its productions the last few months right down the middle of... »

27 Nov 2004

Eugene Onegin at SFO

Soaring Opera hits new heights in Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Music Critic Friday, November 26, 2004 Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" is a story of strong emotion accommodating itself, painfully but with resigned acceptance, to external reality. Dreams of romantic... »

25 Nov 2004

Review of Renée Fleming's Memoir

THE INNER VOICE: The Making of a Singer Renée Fleming Viking Memoir ISBN: 0670033510 Renee Fleming evidently started out determined to write a different sort of opera singer's memoir. She calls her book "the autobiography of my voice" and tries... »

24 Nov 2004

OONY Presents La Fanciulla del West

Superb, if mixed, Fanciulla at OONY Last night's La Fanciulla del West at Carnegie Hall was the classic case of the whole being much better than the sum of its parts. It was a thrilling performance of Puccini's score and... »

23 Nov 2004

Performance Note: Helikon Opera of Moscow Performs Nabucco at Dijon

The Helikon Opera of Moscow is in residence for three weeks at Dijon. Its first production was Verdi's Nabucco. In ResMusica.com, Edouard Bailly reviews this production with lavish praise for its costumes and sets, as well as, for the most... »

22 Nov 2004

Verdi's Macbeth at Madrid

Macbeth and the darkness Madrid Teatro Real 11/10/2004 - Giuseppe Verdi: Macbeth Carlos álvarez (Macbeth), Paoletta Marrocu (Lady Macbeth), Aquiles Machado (Macduff), Guillermo Orozco (Malcolm), Carlo Colombara (Banquo). Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real, Jesus Lopez Cobos (Musical Conductor),... »

19 Nov 2004

Handel's Semele at the ENO

Semele Robert Thicknesse at the Coliseum [Times Online, 20 November 2004] IT HAS to be the Prince of Wales's favourite opera. "Nature to each allots his proper sphere," avers Congreve's coolly brilliant libretto, and proceeds to itemise the results of... »

19 Nov 2004

Tosca at Graz

Boris Trajanov, Evan Bowers and Marquita Lister Opernhaus Graz's new production of Tosca is a hit. According to Larry Lash of the Financial Times, A stage direction in my score of Tosca has Scarpia making a cup of coffee... »

19 Nov 2004

The Cunning Little Vixen at the Chicago Lyric

If 'Vixen' can find its balance, it'll be a charmer November 19, 2004 BY WYNNE DELACOMA Classical Music Critic Somewhere amid the nonstop bustle onstage and the flood of highly colored orchestral music from the pit, a charming production of... »

18 Nov 2004

Le Monde Reviews La Traviata at La Fenice: High Praise for Cast — Carsen's Production a Cliché

La Fenice refaite à neuf lance sa saison avec une "Traviata" façon années 1970 LE MONDE | 17.11.04 | 18h19 Le théâtre vénitien, rénové après l'incendie de 1996, présente l'œuvre de Verdi dans sa version originale de 1853, transformée en... »

17 Nov 2004

WSJ Reviews Le Grande Macabre and The Flying Dutchman at the SFO

Waiting for the End of the World By HEIDI WALESON [WSJ] November 17, 2004 San Francisco Many listeners know Gyorgy Ligeti from the creepily futuristic orchestral music in the soundtrack of the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” His opera “Le Grand Macabre” (1978, revised in 1996), given its American premiere this month by the San Francisco Opera, is a thoroughly different creature, yet it is just as much an artifact of its time. Though carefully crafted and full of compositional references, the score is mostly an elbow-in-the-ribs accompaniment to a nihilistic black comedy. Beginning with an opening fanfare for car horns that sounds like Harpo Marx multiplied and continuing with a parody of the “Dies Irae,” the prophecy of the Day of Judgment, the opera is a soulless and often scatological joke. »

16 Nov 2004

I Puritani at Baltimore Opera

More than meeting Bellini's demands Baltimore company sings 'I Puritani' with polish, precision and control By Tim Smith Sun Music Critic November 15, 2004 Bel canto - "beautiful singing." It's more common to hear that term spoken of than to... »

15 Nov 2004

Le Figaro Reviews La Traviata at La Fenice: Praises Ciofi, But Not Much Else

Verdi à Las Vegas Venise : de notre envoyé spécial Jacques Doucelin [15 novembre 2004] Un de ces chats comme Venise en a le secret, trone impérial et méprisant au beau milieu d'une place ensoleillée, manteau mité, mais noeud papillon... »

15 Nov 2004

STRAUSS: Der Liebe der Danae

STRAUSS Der Liebe der Danae, op. 83 * Ulrich Windfuhr, cond; Franz Grundheber (Jupiter); Manuela Uhl (Danae); Hans-Jürgen Schöpflin (Mercury); Robert Chafin (Midas); Paul McNamara (Pollux); Cornelia Zach (Xanthe, Europa); Daniel Behle, Martin Fleitmann, Simon Pauly, Hans Georg Ahrens (Vier... »

15 Nov 2004

A Review of Martin

MARTIN... »

15 Nov 2004

Myto Releases Spontini's Agnese di Hohenstaufen

SPONTINI: Agnese di Hohenstaufen Lucille Udovick (Agnese), Dorothy Dow (Irmengarda), Franco Corelli (Enrico il Palatino), Francesco Albanese (Filippo), Enzo Mascherini (Re di Francia), Anselmo Colzani (Enrico il Leone), Gian Giacomo Guelfi (L'Imperatore); Florence Teatro Communale/ Vittorio Gui Myto 42084 [2CD]... »

14 Nov 2004

Myto Releases Ernani

VERDI:Ernani with Giovanna d'Arco excerpts Georgio Merighi (Ernani), Piero Cappuccilli (Don Carlo), Augusto Ferrin (De Silva), Mara Zampieri (Elvira) Trieste Teatro Communale/ MolinariPradelli; Mara Zampieri (Giovanna), Renato Francesconi (Carlo), Ettore Nova (Giacomo) San Remo Symphony/ Buenza-Delil Myto 41288 [2CD] 148... »

14 Nov 2004

Myto Releases Otello

VERDI: Otello Mario del Monaco (Otello), Renata Tebaldi (Desdemona), Leonard Warren (Iago); La Scala/ Antonio Votto Myto 41083 [2CD] 140 minutes Tebaldi and Del Monaco twice recorded Otello together in the studio, and we've reviewed a number of bootlegs starring... »

14 Nov 2004

SFO Presents The Flying Dutchman

With a ghoulishly murky 'Dutchman,' Opera puts on a truly grim production Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Music Critic Friday, November 12, 2004 It was, yes, a dark and stormy night as the San Francisco Opera unveiled its new production of "The... »

13 Nov 2004

ARG Reviews Mercadante's Emma d'Antiochia

MERCADANTE: Emma d'Antiochia Nelly Miricioiu (Emma), Maria Costanza Nocentini (Adelia), Bruce Ford (Ruggiero), Roberto Servile (Corrado); Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic/ David Parry Opera Rara 26 [3CD] 183 minutes I have long been on a campaign to revive the works... »

05 Nov 2004

Fanfare Reviews Jenufa

JANáCEK Jenufa * Charles Mackerras, cond; Janice Watson (Jenufa), Josephine Barstow (The Kostelnicka), Nigel Robson (Laca), Peter Wedd (Steva), Neale Davies (Foreman); Welsh Natl Op O & Ch * CHANDOS 3106 (2 CDs: 121: 11) There is so much to... »

04 Nov 2004

RICE: Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court, 1792-1807

John A. Rice's detailed account of the musical life of the Empress Marie Therese portrays a flourishing world of imperial patronage in its final years. The second wife of Emperor Franz II and namesake of her more famous grandmother Empress Maria Theresa, Marie Therese lived just long enough to see the collapse of the Empire before Napoleon's troops. »

04 Nov 2004

FT Reviews Kát'a Kabanová

Kát'a Kabanová, Paris Opéra (Garnier) By Francis Carlin Published: November 4 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 4 2004 02:00 After Salzburg, Brussels, Barcelona, Toulouse and several showings on TV, Christophe Marthaler's Kát'a Kabanova has at last turned up in... »

02 Nov 2004

Le Figaro Reviews Don Carlos at Wiener Staatsoper

Hommage à l'opéra français Christian Merlin [02 novembre 2004] Merci à l'Opéra de Vienne d'avoir osé ce à quoi Paris ne s'est pas encore risqué : ressusciter Don Carlos dans sa version originale archicomplète, en cinq actes et en français.... »

01 Nov 2004

FT Reviews Handel's Guilio Cesare in Egitto

Guilio Cesare in Egitto, Boston Baroque By George Loomis Published: November 1 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 1 2004 02:00 One of the many virtues of Handel's Guilio Cesare in Egitto is that the roles of Caesar and Cleopatra... »

31 Oct 2004

Mefistofele in Amsterdam

by Jan Neckers Let's start with the main assets of the new Mefistofele in Amsterdam: the singers. Gidon Saks has one of the biggest booming bass voices that ever sounded in an opera house (yes, I heard Ghiaurov but Saks... »

28 Oct 2004

L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the Barbican

L'Incoronazione di Poppea Barbican Hall, London By David Murray Published: October 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 28 2004 03:00 This was the third glorious concert-performance of a Monteverdi opera at the Barbican - his 1643 Coronation of Poppea... »

25 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Mercadante's La vestale

La vestale, Wexford Festival By Andrew Clark Published: October 25 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 25 2004 03:00 The compacting of operatic history into a performable repertoire leads us to make all kinds of false assumptions. One is that... »