All opera, to go further

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All opera, to go further

Opera is obviously first and foremost a matter of emotions and is therefore understood viscerally, with passion. And yet the lyric art can also sometimes be complex, abstruse or difficult to understand. So in order to better grasp the subtleties, to better place them in their time and in their composer’s oeuvre, we return to the most iconic operas… in order to go further.

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Lohengrin, metaphor of the artist

The tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who was kept away from the scenes for a few weeks because of a hematoma on his vocal cords, returns to Opera Bastille, alongside Martine Serafin, Evelyn Herlitzius and Wolfgang Koch, directed by Philippe Jordan, as Lohengrin, an emblematic role of the Wagnerian repertoire, "incarnating purity and heroism on earth". While waiting for the premiere of "Lohengrin" at the Opéra Bastille on January 18th, we return to the genesis and meaning...


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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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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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Cosi fan tutte, an “éducation sentimentale”

Historically, the Festival of Aix-en-Provence lets a large place for Mozart's works, and to open its 2016 edition this Thursday, the festival will play a new production of Così fan Tutte set by the filmmaker Christophe Honoré (who transposes the action in the african setting of the mussolinian Eritrea of the colonial late 30s) with Kate Lindsey and Sandrine Piau. To better prepare, we return to the origins of this Mozart's opera...


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La Juive, from Oblivion to Renascence

At its creation in 1835, La Juive by Jacques-Fromental Halévy knew a huge success and quickly became a classic of the french repertoire...before disappearing slowly. Today, it seems that we are re-discovering this lyrical work, with its very current themes (love amongst religious strife, and starting next Sunday 26th, for the first time since 1931, the Bayerische Staatsoper plays a new production of it, with Aleksandra Kurzak in the title-role, alongside Roberto Alagna who will make...


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Nabucco, the First Patriotic Opera

Whether for its tunes among the most popular in the repertoire or its political dismension (the Italians, at the time under the domination of the Austrians, see themself in the Hebrews enslaved by the Assyrians in the libretto), Nabucco is a particularly emblematic opera. And it is almost more for its music, which gives a major part to the choir, going away from the romantic bel canto tradition to invent new rules focusing more onto the drama. Starting Monday 6 June, the Royal Opera...


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In-depth essay : Lucia di Lammermoor

Probably one of the most famous operas by Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor is an « extraordinary triumph » since its creation at the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli in 1835, thanks to an exalted composition and to a simple and effective libretto, but also thanks to its (many) successives singers. Diana Damrau being one of them, she takes the role (which she particularly knows well) asides Charles Castronovo and Ludovic Tézier at the Royal Opera House,...


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Puccini's Il Trittico : The Rule of Three

With Il Trittico, Puccini wanted to renew the lyrical style imaginating three distinct short operas, set over three different eras and places, each one illustrating its own thematic, but always to be played together because in the mind of the composer, « Il Trittico constituted a whole inseparable work », binded by a « musical unity ». This whish will not always be respected, but it is at the Royal Opera House of London where the three works are...


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La Damnation de Faust: A Romantic Legend

  Originally subtitled “concert opera” and later “legend-opera”.La Damnation de Faust was subsequently dubbed by Berlioz a “dramatic legend in four parts”.This indecision reflects the unclassifiable and protean nature of a work that is a succession of independent tableaus each belonging to a different genre.Fascinated by Goethe’s Faust, which he discovered in the translation by Gérard de Nerval, Hector Berlioz...


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Moses and Aaron: an unfinished opera

Next saturday, Moses and Aaron is played at the Opéra de Paris, in a new production signed by Romeo Castellucci (which will be broadcasted online next week). A choice taken by Stéphane Lissner for his first season at the very head of the parisian house, who wants to « interrogate about the greater questions on the world we are living in ». We take this occasion to analyse the issues (mostly lyrical) of this rare opera, sometimes diffcult to...


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Otello, or Shakespeare Sublimated

Composed after 15 years of silence, Otello is the result of an unlikely collaboration between renowned composer Verdi when he was 75 years old, and the young librettist Arrigo Boito when he adapted Shakespeare’s famous Othello – in a libretto focusing on Iago’s machinations as he tries to trap Otello and Desdemona. We take a look at the “powerfully tragic work, of searing intensity”. *** Despite its immense fame, Otello has never been a popular opera,...


Catherine Duault

On Opera Online, Catherine Duault is in charge of the enrichment of the Encyclopera, notably through the redaction of lyrical works' presentations, from the best known to the rarest. Catherine also sign many in-depth essays, to go further, which analyzes the most iconic operas.