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Klaus Florian Vogt and Anja Harteros: Tannhäuser at the Bayeri...

Helmut Pitsch

There was a lot to see and somehow nothing. Romeo Castellucci is the Italian director of this new and highly expected production of Tannhäuser at the Munich Nationaltheater, whose history is strongly linked with the oeuvre of Richard Wagner. Romeo Castellucci showcases strong and intense pictures in a continuous but nonetheless uneasy and unclear to follow flow of symbolic acts, and in a way absorbed in the story plot. Laureate in set design and painting in Bologna, he founded the...


La fille du régiment at the Liceu: Propelled to glory in two m...

Xavier Pujol

Very often the experience of opera takes on an exclusively artistic or aesthetic character and we live it as an experience of the spirit. Sometimes, though, the experience of opera resembles more that of a sports event, or a risk sports event to be more precise. We are then in front of a form of vocal athletics. It is a different experience, with lots of adrenaline, very gratifying in the moment and perhaps less so in the long term. La fille du régiment, by Donizetti, is an...


Don Carlo at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo, which premiered in 1867 in Paris as Don Carlos, exists in several versions, and, depending on which is performed, is either his longest or one of his longest operas. Although the first performance was in French, Nicholas Hytner’s 2008 production for the Royal Opera House employs the Modena version of 1886, which is one of several to utilise an Italian libretto. Don Carlo ; © ROH, Catherine Ashmore Don Carlo ; © ROH, Catherine...


A memorable Met gala looks backwards

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

On May 7th, the Metropolitan Opera threw a special gala to celebrate 50 years at the “new Met” in Lincoln Center. The design of the new Met has been debated and criticized since its construction, but one thing is certain: it has been an artistic home to many of the world’s greatest singers. They were there in full force and full voice on Sunday for this nostalgic celebration. Angela Meade, Michael Fabiano, Günther Groissböck sing “Qual...


Farewells with Der Rosenkavalier

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Der Rosenkavalier is an opera about the passing of time and the need to let go. It’s a particularly appropriate, then, that the current Metropolitan Opera production marks goodbyes for two singers. Superstar soprano Renée Fleming is leaving the opera stage (though she will continue to perform in concerts and on Broadway), while mezzo-soprano Elina Garança has announced her intention to give up trouser roles (including, of course, Octavian). Elina will be very much...


The Met makes a strong case for Alfano’s Cyrano

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Operas are frequently derided for their weak plots. Many are based on melodramatic plays or novels that were once popular but have failed to stand the test of time. Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac is a welcome exception. Alfano’s opera lacks musical originality, but it has both depth of emotion and great respect for Rostand’s theatrical masterpiece. It helps that Henri Cain’s libretto is more or less a shortened version of the play. While speeches and...


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