In October 2014, the Oxford Lieder Festival – under its imaginative and intrepid founder, Sholto Kynoch – fulfilled an incredibly ambitious goal: to perform Schubert’s entire corpus of songs – more than 600 – and, for three marvellous weeks, to bring Vienna to Oxford. ‘The Schubert Project’ was a magnificent celebration of the life and music of Franz Schubert: at its core lay the first complete performance of Schubert’s songs – including variants and alternative versions – in the UK.
Month: September 2016
CosÏ fan tutte at Covent Garden
Desire and deception; Amor and artifice. In Jan Philipp Gloger’s new production of CosÏ van tutte at the Royal Opera House, the artifice is of the theatrical, rather than the human, kind. And, an opera whose charm surely lies in its characters’ amiable artfulness seems more concerned to underline the depressing reality of our own deluded faith in human fidelity and integrity.
Pl·cido Domingo as Macbeth, LA Opera
On September 22, 2016, Los Angeles Opera presented Darko Tresnjak’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Macbeth. Verdi and Francesco Maria Piave based their opera on Shakespeare’s play of the same name.
The Rake’s Progress: an Opera for Our Time
On September 18th, at a casual Sunday matinee, Pacific Opera Project presented a surprising choice for a small company. It was Igor Stravinsky’s 1951 three act opera, The Rake’s Progress. It’s a piece made for today’s supertitles with its exquisitely worded libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman.
Classical Opera: Haydn’s La canterina
We are nearing the end of Classical Opera’s MOZART 250 sojourn through 1766, a year that the company’s artistic director Ian Page admits was ‘on face value … a relatively fallow year’. I’m not so sure: Jommelli’s Il Vogoleso, performed at the Cadogan Hall in April, was a gem. But, then, I did find the repertoire that Classical Opera offered at the Wigmore Hall in January, ‘worthy rather than truly engaging’ (review). And, this programme of Haydn and his Czech contemporary Josef Myslive?ek was stylishly executed but did not absolutely convince.
Dream of the Red Chamber in San Francisco
Globalization finds its way ever more to San Francisco Opera where Italian composer Marco Tutino’s La Ciociara saw the light of day in 2015 and now, 2016, Chinese composer Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber has been created.
San Diego Opera Opens with Recital by Piotr Beczala
Renowned Polish tenor Piotr Beczala and well-known collaborative pianist Martin Katz opened the San Diego Opera 2016–2017 season with a recital at the Balboa Theater on Saturday, September 17th.
Andrea ChÈnier at San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera makes occasional excursions into the operatic big-time, such just now was Giordano’s blockbuster Andrea ChÈnier, last seen at the War Memorial 23 years ago (1992) and even then after a hiatus of 17 years (1975).
A rousing I due Foscari at the Concertgebouw
There is no reason why, given the right performers, second-tier Verdi can’t be a top-tier operatic experience, as was the case with this concert version of I Due Foscari.
A double dose of Don Quixote at the Wigmore Hall
Since their first appearance in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s literary master-piece, during the Spanish Golden Age, the ingenuous and imaginative knight-errant, Don Quixote, and his loyal subordinate and squire, Sancho Panza, have touched the creative imagination of composers from Salieri to Strauss, Boismortier to Rodrigo.