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Don Carlo at the Royal Opera House, Covent GardenSam Smith
Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo, which premiered in 1867 in Paris as Don Carlos, exists in several versions, and, depending on which is performed, is either his longest or one of his longest operas. Although the first performance was in French, Nicholas Hytner’s 2008 production for the Royal Opera House employs the Modena version of 1886, which is one of several to utilise an Italian libretto. Don Carlo ; © ROH, Catherine Ashmore Don Carlo ; © ROH, Catherine...
A memorable Met gala looks backwardsIlana Walder-Biesanz
On May 7th, the Metropolitan Opera threw a special gala to celebrate 50 years at the “new Met” in Lincoln Center. The design of the new Met has been debated and criticized since its construction, but one thing is certain: it has been an artistic home to many of the world’s greatest singers. They were there in full force and full voice on Sunday for this nostalgic celebration. Angela Meade, Michael Fabiano, Günther Groissböck sing “Qual...
Farewells with Der RosenkavalierIlana Walder-Biesanz
Der Rosenkavalier is an opera about the passing of time and the need to let go. It’s a particularly appropriate, then, that the current Metropolitan Opera production marks goodbyes for two singers. Superstar soprano Renée Fleming is leaving the opera stage (though she will continue to perform in concerts and on Broadway), while mezzo-soprano Elina Garança has announced her intention to give up trouser roles (including, of course, Octavian). Elina will be very much...
The Met makes a strong case for Alfano’s CyranoIlana Walder-Biesanz
Operas are frequently derided for their weak plots. Many are based on melodramatic plays or novels that were once popular but have failed to stand the test of time. Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac is a welcome exception. Alfano’s opera lacks musical originality, but it has both depth of emotion and great respect for Rostand’s theatrical masterpiece. It helps that Henri Cain’s libretto is more or less a shortened version of the play. While speeches and...
Music conquers all in the Met’s DutchmanIlana Walder-Biesanz
All Wagner should sound this glorious. Der Fliegende Holländer is the work of a young Wagner still finding his distinctive voice and style. But it has the (rare) merit of brevity, which allows the best performers to attack it with unstinting energy. At the Metropolitan Opera, under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, it is taut and thrilling music drama. From the first moments, the brass section played with an energy that swept me away. Nézet-Séguin...
Der fliegende Holländer at the Liceu: Senta's traditional hall...Xavier Pujol
Philipp Stolzl, the stage director of the Der fliegende Holländer’s version that is being performed at Liceu, states in the programme (quoted by Brigitte Heusinger): “We tell it (the story of the Dutchman)from the perspective of Senta… and we draw the psychograma of a woman that escaped into the world of legend and fantasy and does not manage to come back from it. Now, years later, Senta is a disoriented girl in the body of an adult woman”. The idea of...