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Beczala, sublime Werther

Xavier Pujol

Looked down on by the official cultural savants (including psychoanalysts) for embodying the trivialisation and heavy-handed simplification of one of the most powerful love stories of the western culture, almost like a creation myth; and despised as well by the scholarly musicology of the 20th century that considered Massenet to colour everything with an unbearable bourgeois temperateness and a sticky and decorative sweetness, Werther is one of those “Cinderella” titles that...

Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Like Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier is the story of an ageing man attempting to put himself between two young lovers. In addition, it features an older woman who is also capable of standing in the way of the couple, but who honourably chooses not to do so. Princess Marie Thérèse von Werdenberg, known as the Marschallin, enjoys a relationship with Octavian, despite the fact that she is...

Elektra: Patrice Chéreau’s testament

Xavier Pujol

Staging Elektra at Aix-en-Provence’s Festival in summer 2013 was Patrice Chéreau’s last work, since the film, theatre and opera director died in October of the same year. Having visited Milano, New York, Berlin and Helsinki, this production has finally arrived to Barcelona, with almost the same vocal cast that premiered it three years ago, who worked under direct orders from Chéreau himself. They are meeting again in Barcelona, for the last time it looks like,...

The English Cat in Germany

Achim Dombrowski

The State Opera of Lower Saxony in Hannover certainly is among the most creative and adventurous opera theatres in Germany taking pride in presenting a carefully structured and thought through program for many years by now. Not only is the programming ensuring the encounter of the audience with exciting new opera compositions and alternative scenic realizations, in addition the singers are so carefully chosen for the upcoming productions that even a rarely performed, rather exotic opus...

Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the National Opera Bukarest

Helmut Pitsch

The National Opera of Romania opens the new season with a tribute to Italy, a country and culture which is close to the temperament of this proud country and its strong music tradition. Constructed in 1953 in a splendid classic building, it is home for the opera and ballet company and offers a seating capacity of 900 persons. Italian Marcello Mottadelli is the new artistic director and has invited an Italian team for the new production of Gioacchino Rossini Il Barbiere di Siviglia,...

Brenda Rae is "Lulu" at the London Coliseum

Sam Smith

Philosopher and composer, Theodor W. Adorno stated that Alban Berg’s Lulu is ‘one of those works that reveals the extent of its quality the longer and more deeply one immerses oneself in it’. It was composed between 1929 and 1935 when the composer died, premiered incomplete in 1937, and in a complete version in 1979. When Berg died he left only portions of the final act fully scored, and after Arnold Schönbergdeclined to complete the orchestration, Berg’s wife...

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