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Macbeth. Elegantly brutal

Xavier 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 Coliseum

Sam 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...


Mozart’s “Classic” Flute

Raffaele Mellace

The Berlin iconic director Peter Stein has been put in charge of the main project of Teatro alla Scala Opera Academy for 2016: Mozart’s Magic Flute currently shown in Milan. Such end-of-summer productions (by now almost a tradition) provide the young singers enrolled in the program with a unique opportunity to test their talents on the main stage in the final segment of the Scala season. The Director’s main aim has been to transform the singers-to-be in proper actors,...


Luigi Nono's Prometeo at the Luzern Festival

Helmut Pitsch

Luigi Nono is one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century. He was born in Venice into a wealthy family and studied music and law in Padua. For further education he moved to Germany, where he became friend with Hans Werner Henze, Karl Heinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, all of them musical leaders of the Avant-garde. Notable for his strong political left wing orientation, his musical heritage and influence are enormous. He experimented with new sound possibilities and involved...


Sonya Yoncheva is Norma at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

In 1898 Giuseppe Verdi described Vincenzo Bellini as being ‘rich in feeling and in an individual melancholy of his own’. The associated musical traits can be found in abundance in Norma of 1831, with academic David Kimbell suggesting that the composer’s most astonishing achievement in the opera was ‘amid all the more obvious excitements of musical Romanticism, to have asserted his belief that the true magic of opera depended on a kind of incantation in which...


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