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Director’s vision with Stéphane Lissner : Bringing great voices to the stage

For Stéphane Lissner, director of the Opéra National de Paris, the secret to programming a successful season could be summed up in three words: diversity, quality and relevance. That approach means matching the great voices of our time — singers like Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel, Anja Harteros and Anna Netrebko, and theater directors like Claus Guth and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker — with the composers of the past, some celebrated and others less acknowledged,...


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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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Yannick Nézet-Séguin replaces James Levine as the new musical director of the Metropolitan Opera

As we mentioned recently, James Levine has been forced to resign from his post as artistic director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, which he’d held since 1975, for reasons of health. And so for the first time in forty years, the Metropolitan will welcome a new musical  director, only the third (officially) since the New York institution was established 135 years ago. And after several weeks of rumours, it was announced this afternoon that 41-year-old...


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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...


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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...