Columns linked to Alain Altinoglu

Beczala, sublime Werther

Xavier Pujol

Looked down on by the official cultural savants (including psychoanalysts) for embodying the trivialisation and heavy-handed simplification of one of the most powerful love stories of the western culture, almost like a creation myth; and despised as well by the scholarly musicology of the 20th century that considered Massenet to colour everything with an unbearable bourgeois temperateness and a sticky and decorative sweetness, Werther is one of those “Cinderella” titles that...

Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Don Giovanni of 1787 is one of three operas that Mozart wrote with the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte (the others being Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte). It tells of the eponymous hero, or rather antihero, who effortlessly conquers thousands of women. Although in the process he makes many enemies, the ladies he has cheated have a habit of coming back for more or trying to save him, and in the end he is responsible for his own downfall. When the ghost of the...

Simon Boccanegra (Giuseppe Verdi), Wiener Staatsoper

Helmut Pitsch

This reprise of the well acclaimed production of Peter Stein and Stefan Mayer shows several role debutes on the stage of the Viennese State Opera. Joseph Calleja gives his warm with a full Italien timbre equipped tenor to Gabriele Adorno. Lacking lively emotional play on stage he conquers the audience with his voice next to Tamar Iveri as a colourless Amelia and Thomas Hampson dominating the evening in the title role. His Simon is honorful, dignified, caring showing affection for his...