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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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15 Sep 2004

Le Figaro Reviews Pelléas et Mélisande at Palais Garnier

Debussy tout feu tout glace La critique de Jacques Doucelin [15 septembre 2004] Une salle qui tousse à gorge déployée en été, hors de toute épidémie de grippe, au mieux manque d'attention, au pire s'ennuie. Voilà le résultat du transfert... »

14 Sep 2004

FT: Ariadne auf Naxos, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff

Ariadne auf Naxos, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff By Richard Fairman Published: September 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 14 2004 03:00 The Prologue to Ariadne auf Naxos is all about the backstage shenanigans before a performance - a bit... »

13 Sep 2004

NYT: Anne Midgette Reviews Katya Kabanova

CRITIC'S PICK | ANNE MIDGETTE A Star to Shed Light on Janacek's Bleak Operatic Landscape OPINIONS may differ as to what constitutes a highlight at the Metropolitan Opera these days, but few disagreed last season about Karita Mattila's performance as... »

10 Sep 2004

WSJ: The Comeback Composer

The Comeback Composer Opera World Taps Handel To Woo New Audiences; Cleopatra in Gold Lamé By HEIDI WALESON The last time Michael Goodman had season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Gerald Ford was president and pet... »

10 Sep 2004

FT: Martin Bernheimer reviews Daphne

Daphne New York City Opera By Martin Bernheimer Published: September 10 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 10 2004 03:00 It took 66 years for Richard Strauss'sDaphne to reach a stage in New York. We must be grateful for belated... »

09 Sep 2004

FT: Orion/Saariaho, Bluebeard/Bártok BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

By David Murray Published: September 9 2004 05:00 | Last updated: September 9 2004 05:00 Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducted the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho's grand new Orion followed by Bártok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Though the works have nothing in common,... »

09 Sep 2004

Simon Heighes Reviews L'Amfiparnaso

In the September 2004 issue of International Record Review, Simon Heighes reviews Orazio Vecchi's L'Amfiparnaso, a new DVD under the Chandos Chaconne label. Composed in 1597, L'Amfiparnaso is a realization of commedia dell'arte consisting of a prologue and three acts.... »

08 Sep 2004

Fanfare Reviews Die Loreley

PACIUS Die Loreley * Osmo Vänskä, cond; Cornelius Hauptmann (Hubert); Soile Isokoski (Lenore); Riikka Rantanen (Bertha); Raimo Sirkiä (Otto); Topi Lehtipuu (Reinald); Arttu Kataja (Leupold); Lahti SO; Dominante Ch * BIS-CD-1393/1394 (2 CDs: 125:02 &) Live: Lahti, Finland 9/2003 Fredrik... »

08 Sep 2004

Le Figaro: Charpentier en majesté

Charpentier en majesté Jacques Doucelin [08 septembre 2004] Bien avant d'imposer la victoire définitive de la vague baroque avec Atys, de Lully, William Christie s'était attelé à la redécouverte de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, son rival à la cour, dont le public... »

07 Sep 2004

NYT: Enough to Make Handel Reach for His Walkman

Enough to Make Handel Reach for His Walkman By ANTHONY TOMMASINI During the late 1720's Handel had two rival prima donnas in the London opera company he ran: Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni. From all reports both were superb sopranos... »

03 Sep 2004

Opera Japonica: Maria Nockin's Letter from America

Summer in Santa Fe The most difficult tickets to obtain at Santa Fe this summer were for Vincenzo Bellini's seldom performed opera, La sonnambula. It was a great pleasure to hear the sumptuous long melodies of this lyrical work, which... »

23 Aug 2004

The Scotsman: When modern dance meets the Underworld

When modern dance meets the Underworld KELLY APTER Orfeo ed Euridice by Opera North and Emio Greco WHEN International Festival director Brian McMaster invited Italian dancer Emio Greco to Edinburgh in 2000, he was squeezed into a late-night, post-opera slot... »