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George Benjamin Provides some Lessons in Love and Violence at ...Sam Smith
Lessons in Love and Violence is the third opera on which composer George Benjamin and librettist Martin Crimp have collaborated. They first enjoyed success together in 2006 with Into the Little Hill while Written on Skin, which premiered at the 2012 Aix-en-Provence Festival, has gone on to become the most widely performed opera of any to be written in the twenty-first century. Their latest creation represents a co-production between no less than six major opera houses, and is...
The Demon falls in love at the LiceuXavier Pujol
Demon, the opera by Anton Rubinstein with libretto by Pavel Alexandrovich Viskovatov based on the homonymous poem by Mikhail Lermontov, was premiered in 1875 and was performed often in Russia towards the end of the 19th century, but today is an opera outside the repertoire, almost a rarity. The fact that Liceu decided to participate in a co-production of the title alongside the Helikon Opera from Moscow, the Staatstheater from Nürnberg and the Opéra National de Bordeaux,...
A Truly Overwhelming Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the Royal Oper...Sam Smith
Although initially enjoying great success, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk of 1934 has courted controversy almost from day one. Being condemned from various quarters for its lurid descriptive music in the sex scenes, its supposed justification of Stalin’s genocide (the main protagonist kills her kulak in-laws) and its ‘primitive satire’ in its treatment of the priest and police, it was attacked by both Stravinsky (who described it as ‘lamentably...
Debauchery Trumps Emotion in La traviata at the London ColiseumSam 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...
Andrea Chénier at the Liceu: A perfect nightXavier Pujol
Opera is the most complex and interdisciplinary form of artistic expression created by Western culture, all scenic and musical arts are represented. In this state of affairs, in the same way that it is very difficult to totally ruin an operatic performance it is even a greater challenge to achieve absolute perfection. Nevertheless, this is – or almost is – what happened in the premiere of Andrea Chénier at Liceu, one of the foundational titles of the verismo movement...
Admire rather than Love From the House of the Dead at the Roya...Sam Smith
From the House of the Dead is Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s final opera, having been left virtually complete when he died in 1928 and premiering two years later. It is based on Dostoyevsky’s eponymous novel of 1862, which describes life, and the experiences of several convicts, in a Siberian prison camp. The piece has never before appeared at the Royal Opera House, and in Krzysztof Warlikowski’s new staging, which represents a co-production...