Columns linked to Antonio Pappano

La bohème at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 creation La bohème, which is almost cinematographic in its length and proportions, is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today. Set in 1830s Paris, it focuses on six young adults and the love that four of them find with each other amidst the most impoverished of circumstances. One couple (Marcello and Musetta) have a stormy relationship but their frequent battles prove that their love actually has staying power. Rodolfo and...


Otello at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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 ‘friend’ 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...


Sonya Yoncheva is Norma at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

In 1898 Giuseppe Verdi described Vincenzo Bellini as being ‘rich in feeling and in an individual melancholy of his own’. The associated musical traits can be found in abundance in Norma of 1831, with academic David Kimbell suggesting that the composer’s most astonishing achievement in the opera was ‘amid all the more obvious excitements of musical Romanticism, to have asserted his belief that the true magic of opera depended on a kind of incantation in which...


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...


Aida at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma

Helmut Pitsch

It is a highlight for the lyrical Roman society: Verdi' s masterpiece, Aida, in a concert version with an exquisite cast. Thanks to an album recording of the show, this cultural spectacle could happen in the Auditorio, Rome's new concert hall designed by the star architect Renzo Piano. Sir Antonio Pappano, musical director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia heads the international reputable and leading Italian Philharmonic Orchestra. One can feel their symbiotic and...


Berlioz's Les Troyens triumph at La Scala

La Rédaction

Milan’s Teatro alla Scala was one of the first theatres to take on the arduous task of staging Les Troyens, at a time when Berlioz’s work was a matter of complete indifference to the public.In an epoch-making Italian edition, Giulietta Simionato amd Mario Del Monaco were able to restore their full dimension to the principal roles, thanks in part to the presence of Rafael Kubelik at the rostrum.Leaving it up to the English to go back to the original version some...