The Importance of Being Earnest , Gerald Barry’s fifth opera, was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Barbican, and was first performed in concert, Thomas Adès conducting the London premiere.
‘Beauty is the one form of spirituality that we experience through the senses.’ In Thomas Mann’s, Death in Venice, Plato’s axiom stirs the hopes of the aging, intellectually stale poet, Gustav von Aschenbach, that he may rekindle his creativity.
What better way for Masonic brothers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emmanuel Shikaneder to disseminate Masonic virtues, than through the most popular musical entertainment of their age, a happy ending folktale that features a dragon, enchanting flutes and bells, mixed-up parentage, and a beautiful young princess in distress?
There is a sense in which it all began in London, Puccini having been seized in 1900 with the idea of an opera on this subject after watching David Belasco’s play here.
The tenor that the audience most wanted to hear, Plácido Domingo, opened the vocal program with “Junto al puente de la peña” (Next to the rock bridge) from La Canción del Olvido (The song of Oblivion) by José Serrano. He sounded rested and his voice soared majestically over the orchestra.
Tucked away somewhere in the San Francisco Opera warehouse was an old John Cox production of Così fan tutte from Monte Carlo. Well, not that old by current standards at San Francisco Opera.
Rossini's Maometto Secondo is a major coup for Garsington Opera at Wormsley, confirming its status as the leading specialist Rossini house in Britain. Maometto Secondo is a masterpiece, yet rarely performed because it's formidably difficult to sing. It's a saga with some of the most intense music Rossini ever wrote, expressing a drama so powerful that one can understand why early audiences needed "happy endings" to water down its impact
I suppose it was inevitable that, in this Britten Centenary year, the 66th Aldeburgh Festival would open with Peter Grimes.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Garsington Opera at Wormsley isn’t Mozart as you’d expect but it’s true to the spirit of Mozart who loved witty, madcap japes.
What a pity! On a glorious — well, by recent English standards — summer’s day, there can be few more beautiful English countryside settings than Glyndebourne, with the added bonus, as alas much of the audience appears to understand it, of an opera house attached.
Described by one critic as “cosmically gifted”, during her tragically short career, American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson amazed and delighted audiences with the spellbinding beauty of her singing and the astonishing honesty of her performances.
Since its first performance at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo during Venice’s 1643 Carnevale, Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea has been one of the most important milestones in the genesis of modern opera despite its 250 years of unmerited obscurity.
“I wrote it almost without noticing.” So Verdi declared when reminded of his eighth — and perhaps least frequently performed, opera, Alzira. One might say that, since he composed the work, no-one else has much noticed either.
What do you get if you cross Benjamin Britten, ‘one-page scores’, an innovative performing ensemble and ‘Wigmore Learning’ — the Wigmore Hall’s imaginative outreach programme which aims to provide access to chamber music and song through innovative creative programmes, online resources and events?
Just when you thought the protagonist was Hoffmann! Who, rather what stole the show?
Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).
When is verismo verily veristic? Or what is a virginal girl dressed in communion white doing in the two murderous acts of the Los Angeles Opera’s current production of Tosca? And why does she sing the shepherd's song?
Though 2013 is the bicentennial of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, the releases of Cecilia Bartoli’s recording of Bellini’s Norma on DECCA, a new studio recording of Donizetti’s Caterina Cornaro from Opera Rara, and this première recording of Saverio Mercadante’s forgotten I due Figaro, suggest that this is the start of a summer of bel canto.
Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.
Wagner’s Lohengrin is not an unfamiliar visitor to the UK thanks, in the main, to Elijah Moshinsky’s perennial production at Covent Garden.
By James R. Oestreich [NY Times, 18 June 2013]
What most struck a visitor to the biennial Boston Early Music Festival last week, after many years away, was the strength of the home team. It used to be that most star attractions came from abroad, and many still do, this year including Hespèrion XXI, led by that brightest of stars, Jordi Savall.
This is a part of the series of lectures and concerts, European Capitals of Music. Famous musical capitals provide the framework for this series of lectures with live music.
[The Telegraph, 15 April 2013]
Sir Colin Davis, who has died aged 85, was one of the grand and cerebral orchestral conductors of the English tradition. He inherited his baton directly from Sir Thomas Beecham and, regardless of fashion or popularity, stuck resolutely to understated elegance both on and off the concert platform.
Opera Europa - RESEO Spring Conference/Vienna [4 April 2013]
A strong statement for the support of culture was delivered by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the Opera Europa - RESEO Spring Conference at the Vienna State Opera. In a speech opening the conference, he declared that “Culture is the cement that binds Europe together.” He spoke of his particular affection for opera: “Opera is the illustration par excellence of the long dialogue between European cultures across national boundaries, across centuries. Opera is Verdi, whose bicentenary we celebrate this year, Verdi, drawing the inspiration for his libretti from Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Dumas, Schiller or the Duque de Rivas. Opera is the distilled expression of fundamental European values. It is Beethoven’s Fidelio, for instance, giving us a matchless chorus of homage to liberty and fraternity and love.”
By Louise Jury [The Evening Standard, 13 February 2013]
A celebration of opera which aims to bring its biggest stars to a wider audience is announced today.
By Daniel J. Wakin [NY Times, 6 February 2013]
In the impossible search to know exactly what the face of musical genius looked like, researchers in Salzburg, Austria, have made progress. Their subject was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a local boy.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 1 January 2013]
A new festival hall has been inaugurated in the small town of Erl in the Tyrolean mountains. This opening, celebrated by Hans Peter Haselsteiner, the President of the festival, featured an concert on December 26 with bel canto arias, two world premieres and Bartok’s opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle both staged and conducted by the festival’s intendant, Gustav Kuhn.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 28 November 2012]
Yesterday, Conductor Riccardo Muti opened the Rome Opera, where he is “honorary conductor for life,” with a gala presentation of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. The country’s president and the city’s mayor were only some of the leading figures in attendance.
By Anne Ozorio [Opera Today, 5 Octtober 2012]
Exciting developments at Glyndebourne ! Many new initiatives which could transform Glyndebourne from a summer festival to a truly international, year-round opera experience.
“The Singer’s Appetite!,” created by Matthew Swensen and Paige Kiefner, is a food blogging website that publishes recipes (by Swensen himself or other credited individuals) of dishes inspired by the some of the most beloved singers of the past and present. Dishes include Chicken Tetrazzini, Bucatini di Caruso, and many others!
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 12 September 2012]
A record 278,978 people attended events of the 2012 edition of the famed Salzburg Festival in Austria, the largest number since its founding 92 years ago.
By Von Manuel Brug [Die Welt, 20 August 2012]
Die bekannteste Sopranistin der Gegenwart geht im Oktober auf eine Elf-Städte-Tour: Anna Netrebko über Paparazzi, schwierige deutsche Sätze und das Singen an der Wurstbude.
By Anthony Tommasini [NY Times, 17 August 2012]
Classical music institutions are usually quick to seize on major anniversaries of a composer’s birth or death as a convenient programming hook. Get ready for the Wagner and Verdi bicentennial celebrations next year.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 13 August 2012]
Just after things were settling after the scandal of baritone Evgeny Nitikin supposed swastika tattoo at the Bayreuth Festival, another one seems likely to take its place.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 18 July 2012]
Effective July 30, Cassidy E. Fitzpatrick will be the new artistic administrator of Florida Grand Opera. a position open since the dismissal of Kelly Anderson last year.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 7 July 2012]
A change of leadership has been announced today by Bratislava’s Slovak National Theatre. In the opera division, famed tenor Peter Dvorsky, the current artistic director, is to be replaced on August 1st by the Austrian conductor Friedrich Haider.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 4 July 2012]
Bayreuth’s opera house has been awarded the honor of UNESCO World Heritage status. If you think that means Wagner’s festival house in the same city, with its excellent acoustics and uncomfortable seats, you will be mistaken.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 4 July 2012]
In his second season, intendant Dominique Meyer has chalked up increases both in tickets sold and earnings at the Vienna State Opera. There were 588,990 attendees passing through the doors for some 360 performances of opera, ballet and children’s programs. The average capacity was above 98%. There is little evidence of Europe’s economic troubles in this Danube city.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 3 July 2012]
The fall-out from the very public display of anger on both sides continues in Cologne (see our earlier report of 24 April). Uwe Erich Laufenberg, 51, director of the city’s opera, one of the leading operas in Germany, was fired with immediate effect on June 22. The Cultural Affairs deputy, Georg Quander, the subject of biting attacks by Laufenberg, made the announcement of the city council’s vote after a month long public dispute over the financing of the upcoming season. Council members of the opposing political party criticized the action.