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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,...


Orphée et Eurydice: the advent of a new sensibility

Created during the Age of Enlightenment, first in Vienna and later in Paris in a modified version in 1774, Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice marks the renewal of opera, leaving behind the codes of opera seria in favour of a more streamlined lyric format, with more room for emotion and the expression of a new sensibility. And Orphée et Eurydice is the work chosen by London’s Royal Opera House to open its 2015-2016 season, with a new production...


Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas: the birth of English opera

It was by no means certain that Dido and Aeneas would have a long career – in fact Purcell composed his opera for a girls’ boarding school, where it was to be performed by amateurs to a modest libretto.Despite that, whether it was because of its dramatic intensity, the themes it deals with (sense of duty and self-denial) or its music, Dido and Aeneas laid the foundations for English opera and is today ranked among the most popular British lyrical works. This year...


Kaufmann's dark take on Beethoven at Salzburg Festival

In partnership with: It is one of the highlights of this year’s Salzburg Festival: The new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio”. On stage, there’s a remarkable cast including the much sought-after German tenor Jonas Kaufmann who incarnates Beethoven’s tragic hero: the political prisoner Florestan. The Vienna Philharmonic, under the baton of maestro Franz Welser-Möst, can be found down in the orchestra pit. Beethoven’s hymn...


Operalia: striking the right note in Covent Garden

In partnership with: Operalia, the prestigious annual singing competition funded by Plácido Domingo can potentially propel young opera talents to great heights. From 1,000 candidates aged between 18 and 32 in the pre-selection phase, only 40 young singers were invited to take part in the 23rd finals, which took place in London for the first time. For Peter Mario Katona, Director of Casting at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden is an ideal venue: “Operalia has...