Columns linked to Saimir Pirgu

Romeo and Juliet at the Liceu: One of those sad tepid successes

Xavier Pujol

The stage is a space where life – or its simulation – is presented in an intense, concentrated way, where emotions and feelings guide the characters and their actions. In theatre, especially in opera, and in general in all scenic arts, the aim is always to achieve something intense. Life is tepid, the stage is always hot. If one cannot achieve an extraordinary success one must at least achieve an extraordinary failure that grabs the attention. Anything but an anodyne,...

Macbeth. Elegantly brutal

Xavier Pujol

Liceu has opened the season with Macbeth, a title that hadn’t been featured in the theatre for more than 10 years. Musically, this Verdi opera still shows some traces of some late Bel Canto remains but also starts to announce the maturity and the personal style of the great central trilogy (Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore). Dramatically, it preserves and it even concentrates and thickens all of the primal violent, bloody, atavistic and barbaric theatrical strength of...

Król Roger at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s Król Roger (King Roger) is by any measure an operatic rarity. Written between 1918 and 1924, and enjoying a handful of outings until 1949, it was entirely neglected for the following twenty-six years. It has experienced something of a renaissance since 1975, when conductor Charles Mackerras led a performance with the New Opera Company in London, but Kasper Holten’s production still marks the first time that it has ever had an outing at...