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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...


Portrait: Claus Guth

Beginning 4 August, the Salzburg Festival will give a new production of Fidelio, the unique opera of Beethoven, with Adrianne Pieczonka and Jonas Kaufmann in the lead roles. A new production directed by Claus Guth, whom is praised for the accuracy and the theatrical dimension of its adaptations. While waiting to discover his interpretation of Fidelio in a few days, we analyze the work of this effective storytellers in opera. *** Claus Guth is proof that, despite the naysayers,...


Fidelio, confronting life’s great questions

Says Helga Rabl-Stadler, president of the Salzburg Festival: ‘‘My favorite part of ‘Fidelio’ is when Leonore comes down to the prison and does not recognize Florestan because he is so starved. Yet she says, ‘Whoever you are, I will rescue you.’ Not because this is her husband, but rather because everyone who has been unjustly imprisoned must be saved. I find this humanistic declaration fantastic.’’ Beethoven’s only opera, with its...