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Good Old Turandot Triumphs AgainXavier Pujol
For an opera production, 25 years is an almost venerable age. Few manage to reach it. On the eve of the year in which the centenary of Puccini's death will be commemorated on the one hand, and on the other, the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the theatre after the fire that destroyed it in 1994, the Liceu has once again revived the production of Turandot with which it reopened in 1999 and which had already been remade in 2005 and 2009. Ezio Frigerio (deceased in 2022) designed...
Oliver Mears’s New Production of Jephtha at the Royal Opera Ho...Sam Smith
Composed in 1751, Handel’s Jephtha is based on the story from Judges XI and George Buchanan’s 1554 play Jephthes, sive Votum. It sees the Israelite Jephtha triumph in battle over the Ammonites, but then face the most dreadful situation. This is because he had vowed that if he were victorious he would sacrifice the first living creature he saw on his return, and this turns out to be his daughter Iphis. To make the work acceptable to an eighteenth century audience,...
7 Deaths of Maria Callas Brings Marina Abramovic to the London...Sam Smith
7 Deaths of Maria Callas is a multi-disciplinary affair as it combines opera, live and performance art and video projections. It is the brainchild of Marina Abramović, who is known as the mother of performance art, and is currently enjoying a retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts. Abramović has always felt an affinity with Maria Callas, and the suffering caused by disillusionment and dramatic love affairs that lies at the heart of many of her own works finds its...
Antony and Cleopatra European PremiereXavier Pujol
Big day at Liceu. The Barcelona theatre hosted the European premiere of Antony & Cleopatra, the new opera by John Adams, premiered in San Francisco in September 2022 and soon to travel to Palermo and New York. The Barcelona performances had the added attraction of the presence on the orchestral podium of the composer himself, who was performing his work for the first time. In San Francisco the musical direction was in the hands of Eun Sun Kim, the theatre's chief...
English National Opera’s Unorthodox but Effective La traviata ...Sam Smith
Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata of 1853 is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today. Based on Alexandre Dumas fils’s play La Dame aux camélias, it tells of Violetta Valéry who is a famed Parisian courtesan. Beneath her apparently carefree exterior, however, she is suffering from tuberculosis and her world is shaken when she meets Alfredo with whom she falls in love. They run away together and live off the sale of her goods, but one day...
A Fun First Revival of Cal McCrystal’s Iolanthe at the London ...Sam Smith
Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri of 1882 is the seventh of Gilbert and Sullivan’s fourteen collaborations. It was their first work to premiere at the Savoy Theatre (although Patience had transferred there in 1881) and ran for 398 performances, while also appearing extensively across the United Kingdom and America. It concerns a Fairy named Iolanthe who marries a mortal man. Although this is a capital offence under Fairy law, the Queen of the Fairies curtails her punishment to...