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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...

Oreste at Wilton’s Music Hall, London

Sam 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 Garden

Sam 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...

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