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Elsewhere

No Time in Eternity: Iestyn Davies discusses Purcell and Nyman

Revolution, repetition, rhetoric. On my way to meet countertenor Iestyn Davies, I ponder if these are the elements that might form connecting threads between the music of Henry Purcell and Michael Nyman, whose works will be brought together later this month when Davies joins the viol consort Fretwork for a thought-provoking recital at Milton Court Concert Hall.

Aïda in Seattle: don’t mention the war!

When Francesca Zambello presented Aïda at her own Glimmerglass Opera in 2012, her staging was, as they say, “ripped from today’s headlines.” Fighter planes strafed the Egyptian headquarters as the curtain rose, water-boarding was the favored form of interrogation, Radames was executed by lethal injection.

Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2018 opens with Annilese Miskimmon's Madama Butterfly

As the bells rang with romance from the tower of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the rolling downs of Sussex - which had just acquired a new Duke - echoed with the strains of a rather more bitter-sweet cross-cultural love affair. Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s 2018 season opened with Annilese Miskimmon’s production of Madama Butterfly, first seen during the 2016 Glyndebourne tour and now making its first visit to the main house.

Remembering Debussy

This concert might have been re-titled Remembrance of Musical Times Past: the time, that is, when French song, nurtured in the Proustian Parisian salons, began to gain a foothold in public concert halls. But, the madeleine didn’t quite work its magic on this occasion.

Garsington's Douglas Boyd on Strauss and Skating Rinks

‘On August 3, 1941, the day that Capriccio was finished, 682 Jews were killed in Chernovtsy, Romania; 1,500 in Jelgava, Latvia; and several hundred in Stanisławów, Ukraine. On October 28, 1942, the day of the opera’s premiere in Munich, the first convoy of Jews from Theresienstadt arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 90 percent of them went to the gas chamber.’

A chiaroscuro Orfeo from Iestyn Davies and La Nuova Musica

‘I sought to restrict the music to its true purpose of serving to give expression to the poetry and to strengthen the dramatic situations, without interrupting the action or hampering it with unnecessary and superfluous ornamentations. […] I believed further that I should devote my greatest effort to seeking to achieve a noble simplicity; and I have avoided parading difficulties at the expense of clarity.’

Lessons in Love and Violence: powerful musical utterances but perplexing dramatic motivations

‘What a thrill -/ My thumb instead of an onion. The top quite gone/ Except for a sort of hinge/ Of skin,/ A flap like a hat,/ Dead white. Then that red plush.’ Those who imagined that Sylvia Plath (‘Cut’, 1962) had achieved unassailable aesthetic peaks in fusing pain - mental and physical - with beauty, might think again after seeing and hearing this, the third, collaboration between composer George Benjamin and dramatist/librettist Martin Crimp: Lessons in Love and Violence.

Grands motets de Lalande

Majesté, a new recording by Le Poème Harmonique, led by Vincent Dumestre, of music by Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726) new from Alpha Classics. Le Poème Harmonique are regular visitors to London, appreciated for the variety of their programes. On Friday this week, (11/5) they'll be at St John's Smith Square as part of the London Festival of Baroque, with a programme titled "At the World's Courts".

Perpetual Night - Early English Baroque, Ensemble Correspondances

New from Harmonia Mundi, Perpetual Night. a superb recording of ayres and songs from the 17th century, by Ensemble Correspondances with Sébastien Daucé and Lucile Richardot. Ensemble Correspondances are among the foremost exponents of the music of Versailles and the French royalty, so it's good to hear them turn to the music of the Stuart court.

Les Salons de Pauline Viardot: Sabine Devieilhe at Wigmore Hall

Always in demand on French and international stages, the French soprano Sabine Devieihle is, fortunately, becoming an increasingly frequent visitor to these shores. Her first appearance at Wigmore Hall was last month’s performance of works by Handel with Emmanuelle Haïm’s Le Concert d’Astrée. This lunchtime recital, reflecting the meetings of music and minds which took place at Parisian salon of the nineteenth-century mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot (1821-1910), was her solo debut at the venue.

Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago is now featuring as its spring musical Jesus Christ Superstar with music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The production originated with the Regent’s Park Theatre, London with additional scenery by Bay Productions, U.K. and Commercial Silk International.

Persephone glows with life in Seattle

As a figure in the history of 20th century art, few deserve to be closer to center stage than Ida Rubenbstein. Without her talent, determination, and vast wealth, Ravel’s Boléro, Debussy’s Martyrdom of St. Sebastien, Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake, and Stravinsky’s Perséphone would not exist.

La concordia de’ pianeti: Imperial flattery set to Baroque splendor in Amsterdam

One trusts the banquet following the world premiere of La concordia de’ pianeti proffered some spicy flavors, because Pietro Pariati’s text is so cloying it causes violent stomach-churning. In contrast, Antonio Caldara’s music sparkles and dances like a blaze of crystal chandeliers.

Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final 2018

The 63rd Competition for the Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2018 was an unusually ‘home-grown’ affair. Last year’s Final had brought together singers from the UK, the Commonwealth, Europe, the US and beyond, but the six young singers assembled at Wigmore Hall on Friday evening all originated from the UK.

Affecting and Effective Traviata in San Jose

Opera San Jose capped its consistently enjoyable, artistically accomplished 2017-2018 season with a dramatically thoughtful, musically sound rendition of Verdi’s immortal La traviata.

Brahms Liederabend

At his best, Matthias Goerne does serious (ernst) at least as well as anyone else. He may not be everyone’s first choice as Papageno, although what he brings to the role is compelling indeed, quite different from the blithe clowning of some, arguably much closer to its fundamental sadness. (Is that not, after all, what clowns are about?) Yet, individual taste aside, whom would one choose before him to sing Brahms, let alone the Four Serious Songs?

Angel Blue in La Traviata

One of the most beloved operas of all time, Verdi’s “ La Traviata” has never lost its enduring appeal as a tragic tale of love and loss, as potent today as it was during its Venice premiere in 1853.

Matthias Goerne and Seong-Jin Cho at Wigmore Hall

Is it possible, I wonder, to have too much of a ‘good thing’? Baritone Matthias Goerne can spin an extended vocal line and float a lyrical pianissimo with an unrivalled beauty that astonishes no matter how many times one hears and admires the evenness of line, the controlled legato, the tenderness of tone.

Maria Callas: Tosca 1964: A film by Holger Preusse

When I reviewed Tosca at Covent Garden in January this year for Opera Today, Maria Callas’s 1964 Royal Opera House performance was still fresh in my mind. This is a recording I have grown up with and which, despite its flaws, is one of the greatest operatic statements - a glorious production which Zeffirelli finally agreed to staging, etched in gothic black and white film (albeit just Act II), with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi, if not always as vocally commanding as they once were, acting out their roles like no one has before, or since.

Philip Venables: 4.48 Psychosis

Madness - or perhaps, more widely, insanity - in opera goes back centuries. In Handel’s Orlando (1733) it’s the dimension of a character’s jealousy and betrayal that drives him to the state of delusion and madness. Mozart, in Idomeneo, treats Electra’s descent into mania in a more hostile and despairing way. Foucault would probably define these episodic operatic breakdowns as “melancholic”, ones in which the characters are powerless rather than driven by acts of personal violence or suicide.


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Reviews

Iestyn Davies and Fretwork perform Purcell and Nyman at Milton Court Theatre, 28th May 2018
22 May 2018

No Time in Eternity: Iestyn Davies discusses Purcell and Nyman

Revolution, repetition, rhetoric. On my way to meet countertenor Iestyn Davies, I ponder if these are the elements that might form connecting threads between the music of Henry Purcell and Michael Nyman, whose works will be brought together later this month when Davies joins the viol consort Fretwork for a thought-provoking recital at Milton Court Concert Hall. »

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28 Dec 2004

Schnittke's Gesualdo — Another View

Staatsoper: Neuer Versuch mit dem Kindsmord VON WILHELM SINKOVICZ Alfred Schnittkes "Gesualdo" wieder auf dem Spielplan: exzellent besetzt, aber nach wie vor problematisch. Das Stück wird nicht besser, wenn man es bis in die kleinsten Rollen mit edelsten Stimmen besetzt,... »

27 Dec 2004

Schnittke's Gesualdo at the Wiener Staatsoper

Gesualdo Vienna State Opera By Larry L Lash Published: December 27 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 27 2004 02:00 In a house where world premieres are rare and successful ones even rarer, I suspect the Vienna State Opera feels... »

27 Dec 2004

Il trovatore at Munich

Gefahr für die Luftröhre Staatsoper: Neu besetzter "Troubadour" Eine Produktion mit Hustenreiz-Garantie. Denn wenn sich der Vorhang zum hochgradig verstaubten Staatsopern-"Troubadour" öffnet, dann sträuben sich in der Luftröhre die Flimmerhärchen. Für Stars auf der Durchreise taugt das müde Arrangement allemal:... »

26 Dec 2004

Hoffmann at Marseille

Tales of Hoffmann, Opéra de Marseille By Francis Carlin Published: December 23 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 23 2004 02:00 We have surely not heard the last word on Offenbach's attempt to get back into the world of grand... »

24 Dec 2004

Haydn's The Creation at The Sage, Gateshead

Haydn’s Creation couldn’t have been a more appropriate choice for the opening concert at The Sage Gateshead complex, although it must have felt more like “paradise found” for the Northern Sinfonia than Paradise Lost, the Milton poem on which the oratorio is based. In the performances of the uninhibited soloists – Geraldine McGreevy, Thomas Walker and Michael George (placed, perhaps unwisely, behind the orchestra) – there was a sense of the architectural accomplishment and, more obviously, the human joy contained in Haydn’s great work. The one artistic achievement matched the other splendidly. »

23 Dec 2004

Shostakovich's The Nose at Théâtre Graslin, Nantes

The Nose/Angers-Nantes Opéra, Théâtre Graslin, Nantes By Francis Carlin Published: December 22 2004 13:05 | Last updated: December 22 2004 13:05 Now merged with nearby Angers, Nantes is still flying the flag of artistic courage and digging out overlooked jewels.... »

22 Dec 2004

ROSSINI: Zelmira

Zelmira Gioachino Rossini, music and Andrea Leone Tortola, libretto ORC 27 Scottish Chamber Orchestra Maurizio Benini, conductor Besides its Opera in English series on Chandos, Peter Moore's Foundation has sponsored the recording of many a fine bel canto rarity on... »

21 Dec 2004

Carmen at De Vlaamse Opera

The sigh of relief was almost audible during the short love duet after “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée”. Carmen started to strip down, fumbled a little bit with José’s pants and both started their love making. So after all, Bieito’s signature tune was being played. In reality apart from the many lewd gestures, both singers remained firmly and fully clothed. The only full nude was a male dancer during the prelude to the third act and even he was lighted in clair-obscur. Another Bieito-feature, horrible violence, was also somewhat muted. Granted, José gutted Carmen in the finale of the opera in plain sight and in the well-known way Islamists treat those poor people they can lay their hands on and therefore it was a bloody affair but still everybody knows “this is theatre”. »

20 Dec 2004

Kata Kabanova at the Met

Janacek’s Kata Kabanova began this year’s run at the Met on Friday night with a very new cast including two important and highly successful debuts. This is Janacek late in his career, writing on a Russian subject by the playwright Ostrovsky. His admiration for Russian culture and literature may also have led him to follow Anton Chekhov’s example — Kata moves swiftly with the sense that any extraneous word or note has been rigorously pruned away — it is an opera that speaks directly and powerfully to its audience. Last night’s audience — the Met was at least 90% full — reacted with enthusiasm that bordered on delirium when the final curtain rose again for beloved Finnish soprano Karita Mattila’s pride-of-place first solo bow. »

20 Dec 2004

Das Rheingold at Covent Garden

THE slightly unsettling fervour of Wagner adepts as they look forward to the start of another Ring cycle is matched by a religious hush as we sit in the dark waiting — for a good 30 seconds — for the thing to begin. And then it does, soft, impossibly deep rumblings emerging from the void to become the longest E flat chord in history, and a single light lost in the blackness of the stage. You think: this better be good. »

19 Dec 2004

Carmen at Semperoper

Kein Urweib, keine femme fatale – eine “ganzheitliche” Frau mit einem unbändigen Freiheitsdrang soll diese Carmen sein. So stellt sie sich Regisseurin Konstanze Lauterbach laut Programmheft vor. Was man auf der Bühne von Peter Schubert sieht, sind Genreszenen in einem faschistischen Land. Das Eröffnungsbild schon zeigt einen Marktplatz, auf dem es vor lungernden Soldaten nur so wimmelt. Kinder sitzen in dem lindgrün-ockerfarbenen Geviert auf dem terrakotta-farbenen Steinfußboden für ihren Auftritt bereit. Gruppen von schwarz gekleideten Lorca-Frauen huschen über die Bühne. »

18 Dec 2004

Man and Boy: Dada

Schwitters Agonistes: Opera Takes on a Radical By ANNE MIDGETTE Kurt Schwitters. Merz Picture 32A (The Cherry Picture). 1921. Cloth, wood, metal, fabric, cut-and-pasted papers, cork, gouache, oil, and ink on cardboard, 36 1/8 × 27 3/4" (91.8 × 70.5... »

17 Dec 2004

AMOR: Richard Strauss — Opera Scenes and Lieder

French soprano Natalie Dessay sings three roles, all quite different in character and personality -- from Zerbinetta in "Ariadne" to Zdenka in "Arabella" and Sophie in "Rosenkavalier." It is a delicious way to sample the pleasures of this great singer.... »

17 Dec 2004

Andromeda liberata in London

Andromeda liberata, Barbican Hall, London By Richard Fairman Published: December 16 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 16 2004 02:00 In his prolific career Vivaldi wrote about 38 solo cantatas, 20 motets and 45 operas, of which 21 survive more... »

16 Dec 2004

Rodelinda at the Met

Brilliant, Starlit Night Metropolitan Opera's 'Rodelinda' grants Handel his due By JAMES JORDEN The Metropolitan Opera can be a pretty dreary place when presenting an under-cast and under-rehearsed revival. But their new production of Handel's "Rodelinda" on December 6 was... »

16 Dec 2004

Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria a Brescia

Una spiaggia di sabbia, due muri ai lati, l'ingresso monumentale alla reggia di Itaca sul fondo. E' incredibile come questa scena fissa semplicissima sia riuscita a reggere per le tre ore e mezza di spettacolo, ma non solo, a renderlo... »

15 Dec 2004

Hercules in Paris

Hard luck trails Hercules By David Stevens International Herald Tribune Wednesday, December 15, 2004 Handel opera falls short in Paris From left: Toby Spence, Joyce DiDonato and Malena Ernman in ''Hercules.'' (Eric Mahoudeau) PARIS Hercules had a lot of bad... »

15 Dec 2004

Another View of A Wedding

Bolcom's music humanizes Altman's sardonic 'Wedding' Movie-turned-opera by U-M composer William Bolcom opens in Chicago. By Lawrence B. Johnson / Detroit News Music Critic Image CHICAGO -- Think of the human condition as images in a funhouse -- where individual... »

14 Dec 2004

Falstaff at Strasbourg

Falstaff, Opéra du Rhin, Strasbourg By Francis Carlin Published: December 14 2004 15:54 | Last updated: December 14 2004 15:54 The posters dotted around Strasbourg showed a figure trussed up in pillows and mattresses, to add more protuberance to waist... »

14 Dec 2004

Die tote Stadt at the Wiener Staatsoper

Kritik Staatsoper: Sie war doch nur scheintot VON WILHELM SINKOVICZ Wie Erich Wolfgang Korngolds einstiger Sensationserfolg "Die tote Stadt" zum Repertoirestück wird. Wiederbelebungsversuche startet man seit geraumer Zeit mit vie len Werken, die unter der ära des Nationalsozialismus als "entartet"... »

14 Dec 2004

Rossini's La Pietra del Paragone at Opéra de Fribourg

LA PIETRA DEL PARAGONE (La pierre de touche) Melodramma giocoso en deux actes de Gioacchino Rossini Livret de Luigi Romanelli (1751-1839) Créé à la Scala de Milan le 26 septembre 1812 Le comte Asdrubal est entouré de trois femmes qui... »

14 Dec 2004

Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus

One Touch of Venus, Grand Theatre, Leeds By Richard Fairman [Financial Times] Published: December 13 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 13 2004 02:00 It is no surprise that Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus was one of his bigger... »

14 Dec 2004

Le Monde Reviews First Encounter

Sélection CD L'osmose de deux timbres rares LE MONDE | 13.12.04 | 15h33 First Encounter: Angelika Kirchschlager & Barbara Bonney Classique "Il y a très longtemps, raconte Barbara Bonney, que je fis connaissance avec Angelika Kirchschlager. Ce fut un dimanche... »

13 Dec 2004

Elektra at the Oper Duisburg

Elektra in der Oper Duisburg: Ein Leben für den Tod Rheinoper: In Duisburg zeigen Stein Winge und Johannes Schütz Richard Strauss` "Elektra" in einer Welt, die Kopf steht. Duisburg. Alles ist erfüllt von den Abwesenden. An die Wände hängt Elektra,... »

13 Dec 2004

Lavinia fuggita at Modena

Lavinia la turca Lavinia fuggita Opera da camera in un atto di Matteo D'Amico libretto di Sandro Cappelletto, liberamente tratto dall'omonimo racconto di Anna Banti prima rappresentazione: Modena, Teatro Comunale 12 dicembre 2004 Teatro Comunale via del Teatro 8 Modena... »

13 Dec 2004

A Wedding in Chicago: Two Reviews

Altman opera a fitting renovation By Bill Gowen Daily Herald Classical Music Critic Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 It's rare that a film director has an opportunity for a do-over. But Robert Altman is no ordinary director, having created several... »

13 Dec 2004

Rossini's La Cenerentola at Dallas

Singer is entrancing in a demanding role By Wayne Lee Gay Star-Telegram Classical Music Critic After a weak start with Bizet's Carmen and a strong comeback with Janacek's Jenufa, Dallas Opera was on track for Rossini's La Cenerentola, or Cinderella,... »

12 Dec 2004

Anna Netrebko in Leipzig

Anna Netrebko: Vom Aschenputtel zur Operndiva VON Tobias D. Höhn, 10.12.04, 12:30h Leipzig - Für viele ist sie die zweite Maria Callas. Wenn die russische Opernsängerin Anna Netrebko wie eine Ballerina über die Bühne schwebt, mit einem Lächeln und glockenheller... »

12 Dec 2004

OSBORNE: The Opera Lover's Companion

Every CD collector faces the day (or days, in the case of the truly dedicated collector) when denial no longer suffices — the shelves are sagging and overflowing, and the time has come to purchase yet another storage unit. Perhaps others have done what I did once to forestall that day — I removed all the booklets from my opera sets (and cover boxes as well, of course) and stored them on that increasingly archaic furniture item, a bookshelf. »

12 Dec 2004

Das Weihnachtsoratorium in der Thomaskirche

Alle Jahre wieder - Das Weihnachtsoratorium in der Thomaskirche, mit den Thomaner, dem Gewandhausorchester und Gästen Weihnachtsoratorien sind auch eine Jahrgangsfrage: Frei von der Diskussion um die Herrlichkeit Bachscher Noten, fixiert auf die individuelle Interpretation. Insofern ist Thomaskantor Georg Christoph... »

12 Dec 2004

Don Carlo a Firenze

Firenze, teatro Comunale. Si rappresenta il Don Carlo nell'edizione in cinque atti, con la ricostruzione dello storico allestimento di Luchino Visconti. A metà del secondo atto il sipario si chiude per il cambio di scena. Mezze luci in sala, Zubin... »

10 Dec 2004

Don Carlo at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

With all of the festivities surrounding the reopening of La Scala, the production of Don Carlo at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was left in the shadows. The company is producing both the four-act and five-act editions, the latter being... »

10 Dec 2004

Vita con un idiota at Russkij Festival, Rome

Altro che idiota! Vita con un idiota opera in due atti di Alfred Schinittke libretto di Viktor Erofeev Russkij Festival Auditorium Parco della Musica - Sala Petrassi Viale Pietro De Coubertin Roma 0680241281 10 dicembre 2004 Non è solo un... »