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Bayerische Staatsoper Umberto Giordano Andrea ChenierHelmut Pitsch
A powerful revolution, a strong military touch, dry and frightful is the musical interpretation of Omar Meir Wellber, the young Israeli conductor of the last performance of the Munich festival. He pushes the Bavarian State Orchestra with wide desiring gestures. The musicians follow him with discipline and voluminous power. That does not make it easy for the stars of this repetition of the celebrated new production of Andrea Chenier of this season. Andrea Chenier The plot is full...
An explosive Lady Macbeth in SalzburgIlana Walder-Biesanz
Shostakovich’s final opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, has had a rocky history. It was a smash hit when first performed in 1934, but it was officially condemned by the Communist Party two years later for its sympathetic portrayal of a triple murderess. Nowadays, it hovers on the fringes of the standard repertoire (barely making it into Operabase’s 100 most-performed works globally last season). It’s exciting to see it newly staged at the Salzburg Festival this...
Boldly rewritten, Tito condemns the war on terrorIlana Walder-Biesanz
In Peter Sellars’ new production of La clemenza di Tito, whenever Sesto says “traditor” (“traitor”) in his end-of-act-one recitativo accompagnato, the supertitles read “terrorist”. This may seem like a small detail, but it’s emblematic of Sellars’ and Currentzis’s audacious reworking of Mozart’s opera. Sesto’s treason is personal, a crime against his friend and father figure Tito. Terrorism is general—the...
Bavarian State Opera Giuseppe Verdi La Forza del DestinoHelmut Pitsch
The Munich opera festival has developed to one of the leading opera festivals without making a big press about it. Every year in July the Bavarian State Opera presents a program consisting of a selection of the last season new productions, as well as major remakes, as well as new productions and accompanying contemporary music evenings. Two big open air spectacles enrich the voluminous program. Major attractions are the casts. Every evening represents a chance to hear the best singers on...
Il Trovatore at the Liceu: The best was the bad guyXavier Pujol
Yet another title from Verdi’s “popular trilogy” at Liceu. We had Rigoletto in March and now, to close the season, Il Trovatore. Betting repeatedlyfor the most popular operas can be dangerous: whilst it is true that they bring with them a full house, they also generate disproportionate expectations in an audience that know them (of thinks to know them) by heart and who wish – often in vain – to listen on stage to the results that tend to belongmore to the...
Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Royal Opera House, Covent GardenSam Smith
Based on a play by Jean Racine, Mitridate, re di Ponto is an early Mozart opera that premiered in December 1770. The musicologist Daniel E. Freeman recently demonstrated that Mozart incorporated some musical motives from Josef Mysliveček’s La Nitteti, which was first performed in April 1770 just a month after the young Amadeus first met the older composer, into his own operatic setting. Nevertheless, this hardly detracts from the achievement of a fourteen-year old composing such an...