Many, many thanks to the Barbican Centre for commissioning Britten’s Phaedra choreographed by Richard Alston Dance Company at the Barbican Theatre. Of the numerous Britten homages this centenary year, this is one of the most inventive. Absolutely, it makes sense to dance Britten, to find new ways into his music through physical, non-verbal expression.The worlds of dance and music don’t mesh nearly as often as they should. so this was stimulating for everyone, though it was by far a better dance performance than a musical experience. But Richard Alston’s danced Phaedra is something that will last, long after this centenary year has passed.
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, an effort shared with Houston Grand Opera and the Grand ThÈ‚tre de GenËve, tends to emphasize emotional involvements against a backdrop of spare sets.
The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera, The Nose, based on Gogol’s short story of the same name, was a smash hit for the Metropolitan Opera company in 2010 and once again, this season.
There might not be much ‘Serenissima’ about Yoshi Oida’s 2007 production of Death in Venice — it’s more Japanese minimalism than Venetian splendour — but there is still plenty to admire, as this excellent revival by Opera North as part of its centennial celebration, Festival of Britten, underlines.
With an absorbing production of Peter Grimes and a freshly spontaneous La bohËme, Canadian Opera Company has set the bar very high indeed for its current season.
Whatever you think of some of the Metropolitan Opera’s recent productions, you cannot fault the Gelb administration for fearing to take risks.