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Bryn Terfel : Becoming Boris Godunov
At London’s Royal Opera House, the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel has just completed the run of his debut role as the title character of ‘‘Boris Godunov,’’ the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s only completed opera. ‘‘It’s one of the most iconic pieces written and has been described as a masterpiece,’’ says Terfel. The production, by the English director Richard Jones, is a new one, and the score...
Rigoletto, a Sublime Monster
While Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’amuse experienced only fleeting fame, Rigoletto, its lyric twin, became one of Verdi’s most popular works. Is there anyone not familiar with the Duke of Mantua’s aria “La donna è mobile”? To this essential “hit”, opera lovers will want to add the famous quartet from the final act, “Bella figlia dell’amore”, a brilliant example of polyphony that combines musical and dramatic success....
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,...
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...
Metropolitan Opera : The 2016/17 season
Although the Metropolitan Opera clearly remains a prestigious opera house with one of the great lyric stages, it is well known that the New York institution has in recent years had to make do with a very limited budget – marked by a 22 million dollar deficit in 2014 and just barely in the black by a million dollars for 2015 thanks to the sale of some of its assets, and particularly through drastic cost-cutting measures that are ongoing. For the first time since its 2009-2010 season,...
Paris Opera, Lissner Season 2: the 2016/2017 Season
At the Opéra de Paris, Stéphane Lissner, like any new director making his ambitions known, was met by sceptics and naysayers lying in wait for him, along with all those who wished him less than well: the success of his first performances quickly swept away all the reservations and banana peels strewn in his path. His success was obvious, hailed by national and international critics and corroborated by the enthusiasm of the audiences filling the halls.This success is of course...