When she won the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize in the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, soprano Elizabeth Watts placed rarely performed songs by a female composer, Elizabeth Maconchy, alongside Austro-German lieder from the late nineteenth century.
English National Opera has appointed Annilese Miskimmon as Artistic Director.
‘If the present is already lost, then I want to save the future.’
The final performance of San Francisco Opera’s deeply flawed production of the Gounod masterpiece became, in fact, a triumph — for the Romeo of Pene Pati, the Juliet of Amina Edris, and for Charles Gounod in the hands of conductor Yves Abel.
“Opera is not a play”, or so William Alwyn wrote when faced with criticism that his adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie wasn’t purist enough. The plot is, in fact, largely intact; what Alwyn tends to strip out is some of Strindberg’s symbolism, especially that which links to what were (then) revolutionary nineteenth-century ideas based around social Darwinism. What the opera and play do share, however, is a view of class – of both its mobility and immobility – and this was something this BBC concert performance very much played on.
The Academy of Ancient Music’s new release of Handel’s Brockes-Passion – recorded around the AAM’s live performance at the Barbican Hall on the 300th anniversary of the first performance in 1719 – combines serious musicological and historical scholarship with vibrant musicianship and artistry.
Dutch National Opera’s October offering is Così fan tutte, a revival of a 2006 production directed by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, originally part of a Mozart triptych that elicited strong audience reactions. This Così, set in a hotel, was the most positively received.
As the cheerfully optimistic opening bars of the overture to Mozart’s Die Entf¸hrung aus dem Serail (here The Seraglio) sailed buoyantly from the Hackney Empire pit, it was clear that this would be a youthful, fresh-spirited Ottoman escapade – charming, elegant and stylishly exuberant, if not always plumbing the humanist depths of the opera.
ENO’s 2019-20 season opens by going back to opera’s roots, so to speak, presenting four explorations of the mythical status of that most powerful of musicians and singers, Orpheus.
This recital at Wigmore Hall, by Ian Bostridge, Steven Isserlis and Olli Mustonen was thought-provoking and engaging, but at first glance appeared something of a Chinese menu. And, several re-orderings of the courses plus the late addition of a Hungarian aperitif suggested that the participants had had difficulty in deciding the best order to serve up the dishes.