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Wexford Opera Festival: Felicien David HerculanumHelmut Pitsch
Félicien David is a French composer of the 19th century, whose works have totally ceased away from the standard concert or opera programmes and even his existence is unknown to a wide number of music lovers. Born in 1810 in Southern France, his musical talent was noticed early and supported. His career ended quickly once he joined the Saint Simonians. Later in his life, he gained back some reputation and contributed one major work to the genre "grand opera", Herculanum, a...
Wexford Opera Festival: Gaetano Donizetti Maria de RudenzHelmut Pitsch
The Wexford Festival has gained recognition and highly regarded reputation for performing rarities of all centuries in high quality directions and staging. Every year since 65 years, unknown or forgotten composers or compositions come back to life. So the little city of Wexford at the South east end of Ireland has become a pilgrimage place for opera lovers for two weeks end of October. A new opera house, actually the only opera house in Ireland, has been rebuilt recently to house the...
I Masnadieri at the Busseto Verdi FestivalHelmut Pitsch
It is Verdi country here around Busseto, where the Maestro was born, brought up and quickly returned once his career has started and he soon became a real celebrity and political symbol with his dramatic operas full of heroes and virtue. Busseto is a small sleepy town in the North of the country, in the middle of the fertile heartland of Italy, the Padana. Verdi was always proud of being a farmer and he loved to be one, which he successfully was most of his lifetime. He shared his wealth...
Macbeth. Elegantly brutalXavier Pujol
Liceu has opened the season with Macbeth, a title that hadn’t been featured in the theatre for more than 10 years. Musically, this Verdi opera still shows some traces of some late Bel Canto remains but also starts to announce the maturity and the personal style of the great central trilogy (Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore). Dramatically, it preserves and it even concentrates and thickens all of the primal violent, bloody, atavistic and barbaric theatrical strength of...
Daniel Barenboim’s terrible humanism – Beethoven’s Fidelio at ...Laurent Vilarem
We were expecting an extraordinary show. First, there was the symbolic choice of 3 October, the day of Germany’s reunification. Then the reuniting of two giants of Berlin’s musical scene, Harry Kupfer as stage director and Daniel Barenboim as musical director. And then there is the opera itself, Fidelio, an apologia for freedom and faithfulness, perfect for evoking the isolation of the former Eastern Bloc. The promise of a great opera moment is realised in the first bars of...
Don Giovanni at the London ColiseumSam 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 Commendatore...