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Oreste at Wilton’s Music Hall, LondonSam Smith
George Frideric Handel’s opera Oreste of 1734 is a pasticcio, which is a work built around music (usually from a range of composers) that already exists. These were very common in the eighteenth century, partly because the demands on an establishment’s resident composer to produce work were so great that it became a standard practice to bolster output by utilising them, and partly because there was a strong tradition of using such creations to showcase the compositions of a...
Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Royal Opera House, Covent GardenSam Smith
Jacques Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann is based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, with the French libretto having been written by Jules Barbier. It premiered at the Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique in Paris on 10 February 1881 in a three-act version (with prologue and epilogue), but Offenbach never got to see the full version performed having died four months earlier. It had, however, been presented in an abridged form at the...
Le Nozze at Liceu: unexpected and successful debut of Anett Fr...Xavier Pujol
Olga Mykytenko’s indisposition during the last rehearsals was the reason for Anett Fritsch’s debut at Liceu as Almaviva Countess. The young German soprano (1986) triumphed at Salzburg in 2015 with the same role and will soon be debuting at La Scala as Donna Elvira. Anett Fritsch possesses all the attributes for a great Countess: the most beautiful voice, good style, scenic presence and a sensual elegance that adds very interesting nuances to the character. Her “Dove...
Bavarian State Opera Gaetano Donizetti La FavoriteHelmut Pitsch
Wide open space on stage as the opera starts. Once more young German director Amélie Niermayer uses the overture for narrating already parts of the story. The new production of the Bavarian State Opera is her first appearance here. The first encounter of Leonor, the mistress of King Alphonse, and monk Fernand is love at first sight with immediate intimate embracing. Stage designer Alexander Müller Elmau created a dark neutral environment with some moveable metal blocks which...
Wexford Opera Festival: Il Campanello, The Bear, Riders to the...Helmut Pitsch
One of the pillars of the successful Wexford festival is the presentations of so called short works. One act operas composed in different centuries giving a strong testimony for the talent of their creators and constitute prestigious rarities of their genre and which have been unperformed unjustly. This year series is put together with two comic examples and one melodramatic. Gaetano Donizetti’s Il Campanello, the night bell, is a mature example of the genius composer full of...
Wexford Opera Festival: Samuel Barber VanessaHelmut Pitsch
Vanessa by Samuel Barber was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera house and premiered successfully in the year 1958. Samuel Barber’s lifelong partner Gian Carlo Menotti wrote a very sensitive and precise libretto based on a gothic tale. It was his only libretto not being composed by himself later on. There have been some further productions of the opera mainly in the United States whereas in Europe Vanessa has not really grounded in the repertoire of the opera houses. So again...