The presence of a large cast of ‘animals’ in Jan·?ek’s The Cunning Little Vixen can encourage directors and designers to create costume-confections ranging from Disney-esque schmaltz to grim naturalism.
Stage director Laurent Pelly is famed for his Offenbach stagings, above all others his masterful rendering of Les Contes d’Hoffmann as a nightmare. Mr. Pelly has staged eleven of Offenbach’s ninety-nine operettas over the years (coincidently this production of Barbe-Bleue is Mr. Pelly’s ninety-eighth opera staging).
Mieczysław Weinberg witnessed the Holocaust firsthand. He survived,
though millions didn’t, including his family. His Symphony no. 21
“Kaddish” (Op. 152) is a deeply personal statement. Yet its
musical qualities are such that they make it a milestone in modern
The Princeton Festival has adopted a successful and sophisticated operatic
programming strategy, whereby the annual opera alternates between a
standard warhorse and a less known, more challenging work. Last year
Princeton presented Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This year
the choice is Nixon in China by modern American composer John
Adams, which opened before a nearly full house of appreciative listeners.
When Engelbert Humperdinck’s sister, Adelheid Wette, wrote the libretto to Hansel and Gretel the idea of a poor family living in a hut near the woods, on the bread-line, would have had an element of realism to it despite the sentimental layers which Wette adds to the tale.
What a treat to see members of The Sixteen letting their hair down. This was no strait-laced post-concert knees-up, but a full on, drunken orgy at the court of the most hedonistic ruler in the Old Testament.
Although some works by a number of composers have had to wait uncommonly lengthy periods of time to receive Japanese premieres – one thinks of both Mozart’s Jupiter and Beethoven’s Fifth (1918), Handel’s Messiah (1929), Wagner’s Parsifal (1967), Berlioz’s RomÈo et Juliette (1966) and even Bruckner’s Eighth (1959, given its premiere by Herbert von Karajan) – Mahler might be considered to have fared somewhat better.
A brutalist Don Giovanni at the Palais Garnier, Belgian set designer Jan Versweyveld installed three huge, a vista raw cement towers that overwhelmed the OpÈra Garnier’s Second Empire opulence. The eight principals faced off in a battle royale instigated by stage director Ivo van Hove. Conductor Philippe Jordan thrust the Mozart score into the depths of expressionistic conflict.
Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced both schedules and cast-lists for is Spring 2020 performances of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Given the series of individual productions already staged by the company since Fall 2016, that pave the way for the complete cycle, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s complete production should affirm the artistic might of the great composer.
For Peter Sellars, Mozart’s Idomeneo is a ‘visionary’ work, a utopian opera centred on a classic struggle between a father and a son written by an angry 25-year-old composer who wanted to show the musical establishment what a new generation could do.