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West Side Story: Broadway comes to Salzburg
Philip William McKinley is known as a director of large-scale shows. The musical spectacular ‘‘ShowStoppers’’ at Steve Wynn’s Encore resort in Las Vegas is his latest, and he took over ‘‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,’’ replacing Julie Taymor, in 2011 until the show closed in January 2014. But, as Cecilia Bartoli, the artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, points out, he is also a classically trained pianist and opera...
Kirill Petrenko, or the Nobility of Opera Music
Opera involves a lot of tedium. There are the singers’ moods, the constraints of any major undertaking, often a poor relationship with stage designers, and audiences that forget you as soon as the tenor comes on (see above). Many great conductors, once they have achieved some fame, prefer to devote themselves to the symphonic repertory, coming back to opera for certain prestigious projects as their fancy takes them, and leaving the pit to their less esteemed colleagues. But among...
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...