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Elsewhere

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.

Hubert Parry and the birth of English Song

British music would not be where it is today without the influence of Charles Hubert Parry. His large choral and orchestral works are well known, and his Jerusalem is almost the national anthem. But in the centenary of his death, we can re-appraise his role in the birth of modern British song.

Soprano Nadine Sierra Wins the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award

Soprano Nadine Sierra has been named the winner of the 13 th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera.

European premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Le Chant des enfants des étoiles, with works by Biber and Beethoven

Excellent programming: worthy of Boulez, if hardly for the literal minded. (‘I think you’ll find [stroking chin] Beethoven didn’t know Unsuk Chin’s music, or Heinrich Biber’s. So … what are they doing together then? And … AND … why don’t you use period instruments? I rest my case!’)

Rising Stars in Concert 2018 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

On a recent weekend evening the performers in the current roster of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago presented a concert of operatic selections showcasing their musical talents. The Lyric Opera Orchestra accompanied the performers and was conducted by Edwin Outwater.

Arizona Opera Presents a Glittering Rheingold

On April 6, 2018, Arizona Opera presented an uncut performance of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It was the first time in two decades that this company had staged a Ring opera.

Handel's Teseo brings 2018 London Handel Festival to a close

The 2018 London Handel Festival drew to a close with this vibrant and youthful performance (the second of two) at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, of Handel’s Teseo - the composer’s third opera for London after Rinaldo (1711) and Il pastor fido (1712), which was performed at least thirteen times between January and May 1713.

Camille Saint-Saens: Mélodies avec orchestra

Saint-Saëns Mélodies avec orchestra with Yann Beuron and Tassis Christoyannis with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana conducted by Markus Poschner.

The Moderate Soprano

The Moderate Soprano and the story of Glyndebourne: love, opera and Nazism in David Hare’s moving play

The Spirit of England: the BBCSO mark the centenary of the end of the Great War

Well, it was Friday 13th. I returned home from this moving and inspiring British-themed concert at the Barbican Hall in which the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sir Andrew Davis had marked the centenary of the end of World War I, to turn on my lap-top and discover that the British Prime Minister had authorised UK armed forces to participate with French and US forces in attacks on Syrian chemical weapon sites.

Thomas Adès conducts Stravinsky's Perséphone at the Royal Festival Hall

This seemed a timely moment for a performance of Stravinsky’s choral ballet, Perséphone. April, Eliot’s ‘cruellest month’, has brought rather too many of Chaucer’s ‘sweet showers [to] pierce the ‘drought of March to the root’, but as the weather finally begins to warms and nature stirs, what better than the classical myth of the eponymous goddess’s rape by Pluto and subsequent rescue from Hades, begetting the eternal rotation of the seasons, to reassure us that winter is indeed over and the spirit of spring is engendering the earth.

Dido and Aeneas: La Nuova Musica at Wigmore Hall

This performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas by La Nuova Musica, directed by David Bates, was, characteristically for this ensemble, alert to musical details, vividly etched and imaginatively conceived.

Bernstein's MASS at the Royal Festival Hall

In 1969, Mrs Aristotle Onassis commissioned a major composition to celebrate the opening of a new arts centre in Washington, DC - the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, named after her late husband, President John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated six years earlier.

Hans Werner Henze : The Raft of the Medusa, Amsterdam

This is a landmark production of Hans Werner Henze's Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of the Medusa) conducted by Ingo Metzmacher in Amsterdam earlier this month, with Dale Duesing (Charon), Bo Skovhus and Lenneke Ruiten, with Cappella Amsterdam, the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderen Jeugdkoor, and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, in a powerfully perceptive staging by Romeo Castellucci.

The Grand Tour: A European Journey in Song

The seventeenth Oxford Lieder Festival (12-27 October 2018) will celebrate a rich tapestry of music, words and performance in European song and will showcase the pinnacles of the repertoire while exploring wider cultural influences.

Johann Sebastian Bach, St John Passion, BWV 245

This was the first time, I think, since having moved to London that I had attended a Bach Passion performance on Good Friday here.

Easter Voices, including mass settings by Mozart and Stravinsky

It was a little early, perhaps, to be hearing ‘Easter Voices’ in the middle of Holy Week. However, this was not especially an Easter programme – and, in any case, included two pieces from Gesualdo’s Tenebrae responsories for Good Friday. Given the continued vileness of the weather, a little foreshadowing of something warmer was in any case most welcome. (Yes, I know: I should hang my head in Lenten shame.)

Academy of Ancient Music: St John Passion at the Barbican Hall

‘In order to preserve the good order in the Churches, so arrange the music that it shall not last too long, and shall be of such nature as not to make an operatic impression, but rather incite the listeners to devotion.’


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Matthias Goerne and Seong-Jin Cho at Wigmore Hall, London
25 Apr 2018

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.  »

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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... »

22 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Don Carlos at the Vienna State Opera

Don Carlos, Vienna State Opera By Larry L Lash Published: October 22 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 22 2004 03:00 Despite character motivation and plot development of revelatory clarity and depth, top-notch singing, gorgeous orchestral playing and insightful conducting,... »

22 Oct 2004

Four Reviews of Die Zauberflöte at the Met

Julie Taymor -- and Mozart Too By HEIDI WALESON [Wall Street Journal] October 14, 2004; Page D7 New York The Metropolitan Opera usually showcases singers, not star directors, but the Met's newest production is most definitely the "Julie Taymor 'Zauberflote'"... »

22 Oct 2004

Thomas Quasthoff Sings Sacred Cantatas by Bach

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Thomas Quasthoff Sings Sacred Cantatas by Bach by Jürgen Otten It would be easy to describe or appraise the art of bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff by evoking the title of an exquisite lied by the Romantic... »

15 Oct 2004

Two Reviews of "The Dialogues of the Carmelites"

Unbearably Good Classical Music BY JAY NORDLINGER [New York Sun] October 14, 2004 Is there any opera more shattering than "The Dialogues of the Carmelites," when it's done well? On Tuesday night, City Opera did it well. It was... »

15 Oct 2004

FT Reviews L'Incoronazione di Poppeia

L'Incoronazione di Poppeia, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris By Francis Carlin [Financial Times] Published: October 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 15 2004 03:00 If you liked David McVicar's staging of Agrippina, you may like his new Poppeia. Or... »

14 Oct 2004

A Review of Pelléas et Mélisande at Berlin

Pelléas et Mélisande, Deutsche Oper, Berlin By Shirley Apthorp [Financial Times] Published: October 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 14 2004 03:00 Yniold wants to know why these sheep huddle together and why they are so silent. We know... »

14 Oct 2004

Two Reviews of Rolando Villazón's New York Recital Debut

An Introduction in 5 Languages By ANNE MIDGETTE [New York Times] The powers that be in the opera world are desperate to discover the next hot male phenomenon. On Monday, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur, Rolando... »

12 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Elektra At Frankfurt Opera

Elektra, Frankfurt Opera By Shirley Apthorp Published: October 12 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 12 2004 03:00 "Everywhere, in all the courts, there are dead bodies, all who are alive are smeared with blood, yet all are smiling," sings... »

11 Oct 2004

FT Reviews La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein

La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, Châtelet, Paris By Francis Carlin Published: October 11 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 11 2004 03:00 Were the Brits in the audience the only ones to get the allusion? Felicity Lott's Grand Duchess is... »

10 Oct 2004

Cecilia Bartoli at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris

La réhabilitation pour Salieri Au TCE, Cecilia Bartoli se fait l'éblouissante avocate d'un musicien dont la postérité retiendra avant tout les soupçons d'empoisonnement sur la personne de Mozart : Antonio Salieri. Elle consacre l'intégralité d'un récital à celui que Gluck... »

10 Oct 2004

Le Monde Reviews Messiaen's "Saint François d'Assise"

La mise en apesanteur divine de "Saint François d'Assise", SDF de la foi LE MONDE | 08.10.04 | 15h02 A l'Opéra Bastille, les tableaux franciscains d'Olivier Messiaen par Stanislas Nordey. Avec cette nouvelle production du Saint-François d'Assise de Messiaen -... »

09 Oct 2004

"La Voix Humaine" at Vremena Goda Festival

Voznesenskaya - only too human by Neil McGowan La Voix Humaine (concert performance) Vremena Goda Festival Vremena Goda Orchestra/Bulakhov 29 September 2004 Bringing down the curtain on the Vremena Goda Festival this year was the Festival's first-ever operatic offering -... »

08 Oct 2004

Moscow Times: Entering the Ring

George Loomis reports on Wagner opera, Russian-style. By George Loomis Published: October 8, 2004 Last spring the Metropolitan Opera gave three complete cycles of Richard Wagner's four-opera saga, "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (The Ring of the Nibelung). It was business... »

08 Oct 2004

Roger Pines on historic recorded performances of Bizet

Georges Bizet’s Carmen has a distinguished recording history in both complete performances and excerpts. From this ever-popular work, as well as the composer’s Les pêcheurs de perles, there are considerable lessons to be learned from the early decades of recording in terms of balancing dramatic urgency with the needs of the drama. Many singers have gotten by in Bizet with beauty at the expense of text, but a Solange Michel or a Charles Dalmorès demonstrates indisputably that Bizet does not come alive unless the text is commanded in depth. »

07 Oct 2004

FIEDLER: Molto Agitato

I well remember my first performance at the Met. It was a not very distinguished La Bohème with Malfitano and Lima, Domingo conducting, in the winter of 1985. But at last I had made it to the Met. This was the company of Caruso, Gigli, Ponselle, Tibbett and Melchior. This was the house where Corelli and Price had given of their best. So in a sense this is my house too, because the Met is too big, too important to belong to the New Yorkers alone, witness the overwhelming majority of the subscribers to Opera News (circulation around 120,000) who are living elsewhere, a lot of them people in Europe like myself. Therefore anything concerning the Met concerns all opera lovers. »

06 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Tamerlano

Tamerlano, Opéra de Lille By Francis Carlin Published: October 6 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 6 2004 03:00 There should be a golden rule for producers: don't make life difficult for yourself and the audience. In Lille's magnificently restored... »

30 Sep 2004

Le Figaro on Charpentier Festival

FESTIVAL Marc-Antoine Charpentier à Ambronay Triomphe de la jeunesse Gérard Corneloup [30 septembre 2004] En cette année du bicentenaire de la mort de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, occasion unique de le sortir de l'ombre que lui fait encore Lully, le festival d'Ambronay... »

30 Sep 2004

FROSCH at Innsbruck

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Tiroler Landstheater, Innsbruck By Larry L Lash Published: September 29 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 29 2004 03:00 It was a strange match: Richard Strauss's hugest, most difficult opera - with one of the largest... »

30 Sep 2004

King's Music Reviews New Recordings of Works by Rameau

Rameau : Platée Paul Agnew Platée, Mireille Delunsch La Folie & Thalie, Yann Beuron Thespis & Mercure, Vincent Le Texier Jupiter, Doris Lamprecht Junon, Laurent Naouri Cithéron & a Satyr, Valérie Gabail L'Amour & Clarine, Franck Leguerinel Momus, Orchestra and... »

28 Sep 2004

Die Walküre at the Met

Die Walküre, Metropolitan Opera, New York By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 28 2004 03:00 For the past couple of decades at the Metropolitan Opera, Die Walküre was the exclusive property of James Levine,... »

27 Sep 2004

FT Reviews La Rondine

La Rondine, New York City Opera By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 27 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 27 2004 03:00 La Rondine certainly isn't Puccini's easiest or most successful opera. Completed in 1917, it flutters - sometimes elegantly, sometimes... »

21 Sep 2004

Andrew Patner Reviews Don Giovanni at the Lyric Opera

Don Giovanni, Lyric Opera, Chicago By Andrew Patner Published: September 21 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 21 2004 03:00 A half century ago, a trio of twentysomething operaphiles offered Chicago what they dubbed a "calling card" production of Mozart's... »

20 Sep 2004

Faust in Hong Kong

Faust, Hong Kong Cultural Centre By Ken Smith Published: September 20 2004 13:25 | Last updated: September 20 2004 13:25 Hong Kong's opera lovers, lacking a full-time opera house and gaining a standing company only in the past year, have... »

17 Sep 2004

FT Reviews The Greek Passion

The Greek Passion, Royal Opera House, London By Andrew Clark Published: September 17 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 17 2004 03:00 All human life is here: prayer and pageant, self-sacrifice and self-righteousness, humour and hypocrisy, feast and famine. Opera... »

16 Sep 2004

FT Reviews Tobias and the Angel

Tobias and the Angel, English Touring Opera, St John's Church, London By David Murray Published: September 16 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 16 2004 03:00 The composer Jonathan Dove may have called his Tobias, now touring cathedrals and churches,... »

15 Sep 2004

FT Reviews LA Opera's Ariadne auf Naxos

Ariadne auf Naxos Music Center, Los Angeles By Allan Ulrich Published: September 15 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 15 2004 03:00 William Friedkin's mounting of the Strauss-von Hoffmannsthal comedy handsomely and wittily confirms the general director Plácido Domingo's belief... »