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Strong Production and Outstanding Musicianship in La forza del...Sam Smith
Set in eighteenth century Spain, Giuseppe Verdi’s La forza del destino sees the Marquis of Calatrava oppose his daughter Leonora’s desired union with her South American lover Don Alvaro, believing he is not good enough for her. When, however, Don Alvaro surrenders himself to prove that he never violated her, he throws down his pistol and accidentally kills the Marquis when it goes off. Leonora’s brother Don Carlo sets out to avenge his father’s death but he and Don...
Barrie Kosky’s New Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House, Cov...Sam Smith
Das Rheingold is the first opera in Richard Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen or Ring Cycle. It sets in motion the story that plays out across the four operas, and establishes the central theme of power versus love. It sees the dwarf, or Nibelung, Alberich steal the gold that is guarded by the Rhinemaidens and forge it into a ring that makes the bearer all powerful. He is only able to do so, however, by renouncing love, which in the world we see before us no one has...
L'Incoronazione Di Poppea at Liceu: The Triumph of EvilXavier Pujol
L’Incoronazione di Poppea, first performed in Venice in 1642, is unique in the history of opera, not because of its remarkable age or the high quality of its music, after all, there are other operas from the same years, and Monteverdi, the composer of the music, equalled and perhaps surpassed the level reached in this work in other immortal titles such as Orfeo or Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. If L'Incoronazione di Poppea is a unique work, it is because of its...
Superb Cast and Conducting in Don Carlo at the Royal Opera Hou...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, which represents a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, employs the Modena version of 1886. This is one of several to...
Bushra El-Turk’s Woman at Point Zero Comes to the Royal Opera ...Sam Smith
Bushra El-Turk’s Woman at Point Zero, with a libretto by Stacy Hardy, is based on Nawal El Saadawi’s 1975 novel Point Zero. Having already appeared in France (at the Aix-en-Provence Festival), Belgium and Luxembourg, it now comes to the Royal Opera House to take centre-stage at this year’s Engender Festival, an initiative to transform gender representation in opera and music theatre. The production is by LOD Music Theatre, and it is co-presented as part of the Aldeburgh...
Dido and Aeneas at Liceu: Good Intentions Are Not EnoughXavier Pujol
The raw material for the show, Henry Purcell's opera Dido & Aeneas, was of the highest quality. The ensemble Les Arts Florissants led by its founder, William Christie, a world reference in the field of Baroque music performance, guaranteed a good instrumental and choral performance. The vocal soloists also seemed adequate. The intention was good: presenting Dido & Aeneas in a danced version seemed like a good idea, it has been done with this same title on other occasions...