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The Tales of Hoffmann, Grand Finale or Revival?

Long considered an amusing “operetta maker”, Jacques Offenbach, the symbol of Parisian gaité under the Second Empire, left his Contes d’Hoffmann to posterity just before dying (he never saw the premiere). A darkly fantastical work on the search for the absolute and the feminine ideal, which became a masterpiece of French romanticism, proving to be resolutely modern in its construction. In a few days we’ll be able to hear The Tales of Hoffmann first at the...


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Bellini, a Meteor in the Romantic Firmament

After Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Monserrat Caballé or recently Cecilia Bartoli, Sonya Yoncheva will be Norma for the first time, in the new production of the Royal Opera House in London, conducted by Antonio Pappano and set by Àlex Ollé (in a new setting which seems to be of a very catholic inspiration, taking place in the transalpine Gaule occupied by the Romans of the original libretto. Yoncheva taking on the role is far...


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5 questions to Bryan Hymel

In a few years, the american tenor Bryan Hymel became one of the most sought singer by the greatest opera houses in the world such as the Metropolitan Opera or Covent Garden. His repertoire is large but his affinities with french language and his clear and heroic voice make him an ideal performer for Berlioz's works as Les Troyens or Damnation de Faust. On the occasion of a concert at the Festival Castell Peralada in Spain, we have met...


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Faust: the tragic illusion of Marguerite

Breaking with the image of Goethe’s work (which the writer himself deemed impossible to adapt), Charles Gounod’s Faust is often perceived as a comic opera, a light entertainment fit only for arousing the enthusiasm of the broadest audience, especially with its popular arias (starting with “Je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir”, popularised by Tintin’s Castafiore). Despite this, the work is far more dense than it seems, revealing Gounod’s conflicts...


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Piotr Beczała, a luminous elegance

The time is long gone when popular tenors had a career in films and had their own composed-to-order repertoire, between the expressive intensity of the lyric tenor and the intimate sentimentality of the crooner. It is no accident, or mere opportunity, that Piotr Beczała devoted a recital (Deutsche Grammophon) to Richard Tauber, the irresistible protagonist of Lehár’s last operettas: such a genealogy shows that Beczala has the intelligence not to seek gallantry, the...


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Krassimira Stoyanova, a balanced voice

There are singers who never appear on magazine covers, who have no entourages of fans following them everywhere, whose repertoire choices never become the subject of heated debates, yet who are universally appreciated by music lovers and programme planners: Krassimira Stoyanova is one of them; whether for Verdi or for Strauss, she is always among the most obvious choices in her repertoire for the world’s greatest stages. Among the few successful performances at the Salzburg...