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Opéra de Paris : the first (real) season of Stéphane Lissner
Everyone had high hopes when Stéphane Lissner took over at the helm of the Paris Opera:and they haven’t been disappointed!Since serious budget constraints have impacted this theatre’s budget, it is difficult to understand how this tireless man can offer the public such an appealing season with so many performances, so jammed with new productions, so inventive in terms of theatrical renewal, so seductive with their combined great voices! But if we start with the...
Andrea Chénier, a Poet in the Midst of Revolutionary Turmoil
With Andrea Chénier, Umberto Giordano turned an iconic poet of the French Revolution into one of the legendary roles of Italian opera. “Give me a good libretto and I’ll take personal responsibility for the success of the music.” Giordano addressed that enthusiastic request to Luigi Illica, Giacomo Puccini’s usual collaborator. After a promising start that was followed by three successive failures, the young composer staked everything on the work. ...
Jonas Kaufmann in Andrea Chenier : portrait
In a decade spent on the world’s great opera stages, Jonas Kaufmann has established himself as one of the most iconic singers of the day. And in a career he has built up intelligently and thoughtfully, the roles he takes on always seem like a major event. Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, January 20th, through February 6th he will be singing the title role of Andrea Chenier, at the Royal Opera House, alongside Eva-Maria Westbroek amd Zeljko Lucic. We are taking this occasion to review the...
Fidelio: Beethoven’s only opera opens La Scala season
Article proposed by An ode to freedom, love and humanity, Fidelio is Beethoven’s only opera but it’s a masterpiece. It opened the new season at Milan’s La Scala, a highlight of Italy’s cultural calender. It also marks the end of Daniel Barenboim's era as musical director there. Beethoven slaved for over a decade on his opera, which is based on a true story of the French Revolution. “I really like the story. It’s a tangible...
Dresden still spellbound by Strauss
Proposed by Richard Strauss had a special bond with the city of Dresden lasting several decades. His legacy still resonates in the Saxon capital. Among the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of his birth the Semper Opera House staged Arabella, with top stars Anja Harteros and Thomas Hampson in the lead roles. The performance was a homage to the German composer, over half of whose operas premiered on this prestigious stage. “Richard Strauss is one of the...
In a letter dated 1927, Richard Strauss begs Hugo von Hofmannsthal to write him a new libretto: “You can even make me a second ‘Rosenkavalier’ if you don’t have anything better in mind.” This was to be the starting point of Arabella, the work with which the two accomplices would try to match the success of Der Rosenkavalier. The composer never imagined that this new work would mark the end of his collaboration with the man he called his “Da Ponte.”...