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Elsewhere

Pavarotti: A Film by Ron Howard

Pavarotti: a touching, yet not dispassionate, account of the legendary Italian tenor

Three Chamber Operas at the Aix Festival

Along with the celestial Mozart Requiem, a doomed Tosca and a gloriously witty Mahagonny the Aix Festival’s new artistic director Pierre Audi regaled us with three chamber operas — the premiere of a brilliant Les Mille Endormis, the technically playful Blank Out (on a turgid subject), and a heavy-duty Jakob Lenz.

Herbert Howells: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge has played a role in the evolution of British music. This recording honours this heritage and Stephen Cleobury’s contribution in particular by focusing on Herbert Howells, who transformed the British liturgical repertoire in the 20th century.

Laurent Pelly's production of La Fille du régiment returns to Covent Garden

French soprano Sabine Devieilhe seems to find feisty adolescence a neat fit. I first encountered her when she assumed the role of a pill-popping nightclubbing ‘Beauty’ - raced from ecstasy-induced wonder to emergency ward - when I reviewed the DVD of Krzysztof Warlikowski’s production of Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno at Aix-en-Provence in 2016.

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Aix

Make no mistake, this is about you! Jim laid-out dead on the stage floor, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen brought his very loud orchestra (London’s Philharmonia) to an abrupt halt. Black out. The maestro then turned his spotlighted face to confront us and he held his stare. There was no mistake, the music was about us.

Mozart's Travels: Classical Opera and The Mozartists at Wigmore Hall

There was a full house at Wigmore Hall for Classical Opera’s/The Mozartists’ final concert of the 2018-19 season: a musical paysage which chartered, largely chronologically, Mozart’s youthful travels from London to The Hague, on to Paris, then Rome, concluding - following stop-overs in European cultural cities such as Munich and Vienna - with an arrival at his final destination, Prague.

Tosca in Aix

From the sublime — the Mozart Requiem — to the ridiculous, namely stage director Christophe Honoré's Tosca. A ridiculous waste of operatic resources.

A terrific, and terrifying, The Turn of the Screw at Garsington

One might describe Christopher Oram’s set for Louisa Muller’s new production of The Turn of the Screw at Garsington as ‘shabby chic’ … if it wasn’t so sinister.

Mozart Requiem in Aix

Pierre Audi, now the directeur général of the Festival d’Aix as well as the artistic director of New York City’s Park Avenue Armory opens a new era for this distinguished opera festival in the south of France with a new work by the Festival’s signature composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A Rachmaninov Drama at Middle Temple Hall

It is Rachmaninov’s major works for orchestra - the Second and Third Piano Concertos, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Symphonic Dances - alongside the All-Night Vespers and the music for solo piano, which have earned the composer a permanent place in the concert repertoire today.

An interview with composer Dani Howard

The young Hong Kong-born British composer Dani Howard is having quite a busy year.

Fun, Frothy, and Frivolous: L’elisir d’amore at Las Vegas

There are a dizzying array of choices for music entertainment in Las Vegas ranging from Celine Dion and Cher to Paul McCartney and Aerosmith. Admittedly, these performers are a far cry from opera, but the point is that Las Vegas residents have many options when it comes to live music.

McVicar's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro returns to the Royal Opera House

David McVicar's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has been a remarkable success since it debuted in 2006. Set with the Count of Almaviva's fearfully grand household in 1830, McVicar's trick is to surround the principals by servants in a supra-naturalistic production which emphasises how privacy is at a premium.

The Cunning Little Vixen at the Barbican Hall

The presence of a large cast of ‘animals’ in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen can encourage directors and designers to create costume-confections ranging from Disney-esque schmaltz to grim naturalism.

Barbe-Bleue in Lyon

Stage director Laurent Pelly is famed for his Offenbach stagings, above all others his masterful rendering of Les Contes d’Hoffmann as a nightmare. Mr. Pelly has staged eleven of Offenbach’s ninety-nine operettas over the years (coincidently this production of Barbe-Bleue is Mr. Pelly’s ninety-eighth opera staging).

Mieczysław Weinberg: Symphony no. 21 (“Kaddish”)

Mieczysław Weinberg witnessed the Holocaust firsthand. He survived, though millions didn’t, including his family. His Symphony no. 21 “Kaddish” (Op. 152) is a deeply personal statement. Yet its musical qualities are such that they make it a milestone in modern repertoire.

The Princeton Festival Presents Nixon in China

The Princeton Festival has adopted a successful and sophisticated operatic programming strategy, whereby the annual opera alternates between a standard warhorse and a less known, more challenging work. Last year Princeton presented Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This year the choice is Nixon in China by modern American composer John Adams, which opened before a nearly full house of appreciative listeners.

Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at Grange Park Opera

When Engelbert Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette, wrote the libretto to Hansel and Gretel the idea of a poor family living in a hut near the woods, on the bread-line, would have had an element of realism to it despite the sentimental layers which Wette adds to the tale.

Handel’s Belshazzar at The Grange Festival

What a treat to see members of The Sixteen letting their hair down. This was no strait-laced post-concert knees-up, but a full on, drunken orgy at the court of the most hedonistic ruler in the Old Testament.

Kenshiro Sakairi and the Tokyo Juventus Philharmonic in Mahler’s Eighth

Although some works by a number of composers have had to wait uncommonly lengthy periods of time to receive Japanese premieres - one thinks of both Mozart’s Jupiter and Beethoven’s Fifth (1918), Handel’s Messiah (1929), Wagner’s Parsifal (1967), Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette (1966) and even Bruckner’s Eighth (1959, given its premiere by Herbert von Karajan) - Mahler might be considered to have fared somewhat better.


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Reviews

Luciano Pavarotti [Photo by Terry O'Neill/Decca Records]
18 Jul 2019

Pavarotti: A Film by Ron Howard

Pavarotti: a touching, yet not dispassionate, account of the legendary Italian tenor »

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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... »

10 Dec 2004

A Month in the Country

We previously reported on the Manhattan School of Music production of Lee Hoiby's A Month in the Country. Here is Anne Midgette's review. A Russian Play, Reimagined by an American Composer By ANNE MIDGETTE "We've lost a few people," said... »

10 Dec 2004

A Double Bill at Juilliard

Prodigal Son and a Brat, a Whimsical Pairing By BERNARD HOLLAND The Juilliard Opera Center's double bill on Wednesday made more nonmusical than musical sense. "L'Enfant Prodigue" by Debussy and "L'Enfant et les Sortilèges" by Ravel fit nicely into an... »

10 Dec 2004

Salieri's Europa Riconosciuta A Wise Choice

Salieri promu chantre de l'Europe [09 décembre 2004] Le Napolitain Riccardo Muti a fait le bon choix avec cette Europa Riconosciuta de Salieri pour rouvrir le théâtre dont il est directeur musical depuis le départ d'Abbado en 1986. L'ouvrage avait,... »

08 Dec 2004

Handel in Paris: A Review of Hercules

Paris Palais Garnier 12/04/2004 - et 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19, 22, 27 décembre 2004 Georg Friedrich Haendel : Hercules Joyce DiDonato (Dejanira), William Shimell (Hercules), Malena Ernman (Lichas), Toby Spence (Hyllus), Indela Bohlin (Iole), Simon Kirkbridge (Pretre de... »

08 Dec 2004

Der Rosenkavalier at Helsinki

A triumphant 'Rosenkavalier' By George Loomis International Herald Tribune Wednesday, December 8, 2004 HELSINKI Far be it from me to foment rivalry between sopranos, but Finland has another who is fully worthy of the international acclaim already lavished on the... »

07 Dec 2004

Rigoletto at Amsterdam (and an appraisal of tenor Joseph Calleja)

How does it come about that "modern" productions date so quickly while "traditional" ones can go on for ages ? Probably, because ideas that once were fresh and innovative are immediately picked up by everybody in the business, copied (sometimes... »

07 Dec 2004

RAUTAVAARA: The House of the Sun

The House of the Sun Einojuhani Rautavaara, music and libretto Ondine 1032-2D Oulu Symphony orchestra Mikko Franck, conductor The recording company Ondine, based in Helsinki, has built itself an international reputation, at least arguably, by dedicating itself to the works... »

07 Dec 2004

VERDI: A Masked Ball

A Masked Ball Giuseppe Verdi, music and Antonio Somma, libretto English translation by Amanda Holden Chandos 3116 (2) London Philharmonic Orchestra David Parry, conductor In an era where major record companies seldom produce complete opera sets (and those they do... »

06 Dec 2004

Los Angeles Philharmonic Tristan Project

I spent a spectacular three days in Walt Disney Concert Hall taking in the magnificent music of Richard Wagner in what has been entitled The Tristan Project. At first, when this three day event was announced as part of... »

04 Dec 2004

Berlioz in Boston

Not strictly opera, but so full of the usual suspects . . . My experience of Berlioz's Dramatic Symphony Romeo et Juliette (R&J) came full circle last night at Boston's Symphony Hall. I had first heard the work live in... »

03 Dec 2004

Anne Sofie von Otter at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris

Troubadour des temps modernes Avec toujours un meme gout pour l'éloquente clarté, Anne Sofie von Otter sait tout faire. Bete de scène inespérée, elle est récitaliste sans appret ni pose. Ballades ou mélodies, Lieder et songs, l'éclectisme du programme n'est... »