Not many (maybe any) of the new operas presented by San Francisco Opera over the past 10 years would lure me to the War Memorial Opera House a second time around. But for Girls of the Golden West just now I would be there again tomorrow night and the next, and I am eagerly awaiting all future productions.
Month: November 2017
DiDonato is superb in Semiramide at Covent Garden
It’s taken a while for Rossini’s Semiramide to reach the Covent Garden stage. The last of the operas which Rossini composed for Italian theatres between 1810-1823, Semiramide has had only one outing at the Royal Opera House since 1887, and that was a concert version in 1986.
Hans Werner Henze Choral Music
Hans Werner Henze works for mixed voice and chamber orchestra with SWR Vokalensemble and Ensemble Modern, conducted by Marcus Creed. Welcome new recordings of important pieces like Lieder von einer Insel (1964), Orpheus Behind the Wire (1984) plus F¸nf Madrigale (1947).
Philippe Jaroussky and Ensemble Artaserse at the Wigmore Hall
‘His master’s masterpiece, the work of heaven’: ‘a common fountain’ from which flow ‘pure silver drops’. At the risk of effulgent hyperbole, I’d suggest that Antonio’s image of the blessed governance and purifying power of the French court – in the opening scene of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi – is also a perfect metaphor for the voice of French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, as it slips through Handel’s roulades like a silken ribbon.
La Rondine Takes Flight in San Jose
Kudos to San Jose Opera for offering up a wholly winning, consistently captivating new production of Puccini’s seldom performed La Rondine.
Bettina Smith, Norwegian Mezzo, in Songs by Fauré and Debussy
Here are five complete song sets by two of the greatest masters of French song. The performers are highly competent. I should have known, given the rave reviews that their 2015 recording of modern Norwegian songs received.
Clonter Opera Gala
Clonter’s Opera Gala in the breath-taking beautiful ball-room at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair was a glamorously glittering smattering of opera – which made me want to run out to every opera in town.
Étienne-Nicolas Méhul: Uthal
The opera world barely knows how to handle works that have significant amounts of spoken dialogue. Conductors and stage directors will often trim the dialogue to a bare minimum (Magic Flute), have it rendered as sung recitative (Carmen), or have it spoken in the vernacular though the sung numbers may often be performed in the original language (Die Fledermaus).
A New Anna Moffo?: The Debut Disc of Aida Garifullina
Here is the latest CD from a major label promoting a major new soprano. Aida Garifullina is utterly remarkable: a lyric soprano who also can handle coloratura with ease. Her tone has a constant shimmer, with a touch of quick, narrow vibrato even on short notes.
A New Die Walk¸re at Lyric Opera of Chicago
From the start of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s splendid, new production of Richard Wagner’s Die Walk¸re conflict and resolution are portrayed throughout with moving intensity. The central character Br¸nnhilde is sung by Christine Goerke and her father Wotan by Eric Owens.