Columns linked to Gerald Finley

Excellent Singing and Staging in Death in Venice at the Royal ...

Sam Smith

Death in Venice of 1973 is Benjamin Britten’s final opera. Based on Thomas Mann’s eponymous novella of 1912, it tells of a writer Gustav von Aschenbach who becomes obsessed to the point of madness with a youth who he repeatedly sees while in Venice. Given that the pair never speak to each other, it might not feel like obvious dramatic material but it has spawned a classic film (starring Dirk Bogarde) as well as Britten’s own masterpiece. It is possible to see the...


Adriana Lecouvreur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Francesco Cilea is one of several Italian composers who might have been far better known today had they not lived at around the same time as Giacomo Puccini. As it is, their own considerable talents have tended to be eclipsed by those of the great composer to the extent that the only operas of Cilea’s that are performed with any regularity today are L’arlesiana and Adriana Lecouvreur. The latter was also the only one of the composer’s that was unequivocally acclaimed as a...


Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Glyndebourne Festival

Helmut Pitsch

Over 80 years of existence, a wonderful setting in the hills of South England and high quality performances have made Glyndebourne a high reputable festival. Everybody who has ever been there will never forget the remote familiar atmosphere with sheep on the fields nearby the picnic on the impeccable lawns, and this relaxed relation of nature and art. A perfect location and attitude for experiencing an opera, especially the monumental piece of Meistersinger by Richard Wagner. It...