Apocalypse and Combat in Aix

Pierre Audi’s 2021 Aix Festival included two small pieces that continue the Festival’s operatic exploration of the larger Mediterranean world, meanwhile connecting the Festival’s general director to his Lebanese roots.…

Le nozze di Figaro at the Aix Festival

Mozart meets hysteria in this new staging of his masterpiece by Dutch metteur en scène Lotte de Beer, to the quick and just baton of conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthaser…

Innocence at the Aix Festival

This was the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s new opera that will come soon to Helsinki, Amsterdam, London, New New York and San Francisco, its co-commissioners. Finland born composer Saariaho…

Tristan und Isolde at the Aix Festival

Soprano Nina Stemme, tenor Stuart Skelton, bass Franz-Josef Selig and conductor Simon Rattle create a Tristan of transcendent music in a revelatory staging by Simon Stone. The London Symphony Orchestra…

Falstaff at the Aix Festival

It was inevitable. If stage director Barrie Kosky famously ravaged Wagner’s only comedy at Bayreuth, then he must do the same to Verdi’s only comedy. It happened just now in…

Three Chamber Operas at the Aix Festival

Along with the celestial Mozart Requiem, a doomed Tosca and a gloriously witty Mahagonny the Aix Festival’s new artistic director Pierre Audi regaled us with three chamber operas — the premiere of a brilliant Les Mille Endormis, the technically playful Blank Out (on a turgid subject), and a heavy-duty Jakob Lenz.

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Aix

Make no mistake, this is about you! Jim laid-out dead on the stage floor, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen brought his very loud orchestra (London’s Philharmonia) to an abrupt halt. Black out. The maestro then turned his spotlighted face to confront us and he held his stare. There was no mistake, the music was about us.

Tosca in Aix

From the sublime — the Mozart Requiem — to the ridiculous, namely stage director Christophe HonorÈ’s Tosca. A ridiculous waste of operatic resources.

Mozart Requiem in Aix

Pierre Audi, now the directeur gÈnÈral of the Festival d’Aix as well as the artistic director of New York City’s Park Avenue Armory opens a new era for this distinguished opera festival in the south of France with a new work by the Festival’s signature composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A Choral Trilogy at the Aix Festival

What Seven Stones (the amazing accentus / axe 21), and Dido and Aeneas (the splendid Ensemble Pygmalion) and Orfeo & Majnun (the ensemble [too many to count] of eleven local amateur choruses) share, and virtually nothing else, is spectacular use of chorus.