From Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, to Bruch’s choral-orchestral Odysseus, to FaurÈ’s Penelope, countless compositions have taken their inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey, perhaps not surprisingly given Homer’s emphasis on the power of music in the Greek world.
Oper Leipzig usually receives less international attention than its Dresden, Munich or Berlin counterparts; however, with its fabulous Gewandhaus Orchestra, and its penchant for opera rarities (and a new Ring Cycle), this quality hotspot will be attracting more and more opera lovers. Leipzig’s new production of Gounod’s Cinq Mars continues this high quality tradition.
Detlev Glanert’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch should be a huge hit. Just as Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana appeals to audiences who don’t listen to early music (or even to much classical music), Glanert’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch has all the elements for instant popular success.
Big birds are looming large at Glyndebourne this year. After Juno’s Peacock, which scooped up the suicidal Hipermestra, Chris Guth’s La clemenza di Tito offers us a huge soaring magpie, symbolic of Tito’s release from the chains of responsibility in Imperial Rome.
The last time Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, was performed at the Proms, in 2009, Daniel Barenboim was making a somewhat belated London opera debut with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions.
The make-up is slapped on thickly in this new production of Leoncavallo’s Zaz‡ by director Marie Lambert and designer Alyson Cummings at Investec Opera Holland Park.
David McVicar’s thrilling take on Verdi’s Rigoletto premiered as the first international production of this Summer’s Savonlinna Opera Festival. The scouts for the festival made the smart decision to let McVicar adapt his 2001 Covent Garden staging to the unique locale of Castle Olavinlinna.
The end of the ROH’s summer season was marked as usual by the Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance but this year’s showcase was a little lacklustre at times.
Only one Shakespeare play has resulted in three operas that get performed
today (whether internationally or primarily in one language-region). Perhaps
surprisingly, the play in question is a comedy that is sometimes considered a
lesser work by the Bard: The Merry Wives of Windsor.