Columns linked to Ermonela Jaho

Brilliant Performances in First Revival of Keith Warner’s Otel...

Sam Smith

Like the Shakespeare play upon which it is based, Giuseppe Verdi’s penultimate opera Otello of 1887 is the story of a general in the Venetian military whose skills in managing political and personal affairs do not match those he has demonstrated in fighting. When his ensign Iago feels Otello has sidelined him for promotion, he lays a trap to make Otello believe his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful, and the general falls whole-heartedly for the deception with disastrous...


Liceu: Turandot, a Symbol

Xavier Pujol

Turandot was the opera that would have been going on stage when the theatre was destroyed in a fire in January 1994. Embodying a spirit of continuity, Turandot was chosen to inaugurate the new theatre rebuilt in 1999. Now, on the 20th anniversary of Liceu’s re-inauguration, Puccini’s last opera was again the title selected to open the new season. Turandot, an opera which historically did not have any particularly significant relationship with the theatre has become, due to the...


Outstanding Revival of La traviata at the Royal Opera House, C...

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...


Il trittico at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Giacomo Puccini’s Il trittico, which premiered in 1918, is a triptych of one-act operas that were always designed to be performed together. The composer originally intended for each opera to reflect one part of Dante’s Divina Commedia, although in the event only the final work is based on the poem. As a result, the only theme that really underpins the operas is that they all involve, in one way or another, the concealment of a death. The Royal Opera’s current...


Otello sinks into mediocrity

Xavier Pujol

Bad singing and worse staging. Otello, Verdi’s masterpiece with a libretto by Arrigo Boito – another masterpiece – and based on Shakespeare’s masterpiece, sank clumsily in its return to Liceu’s stage, after 10 years of absence. It isn’t easy to ruin three masterpieces, but in this occasion it was achieved.   Locating the opera in a refugee camp, besides resulting awkwardly fashionable, alters seriously the relationship and the balance...