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Jamie Manton’s New Production of The Cunning Little Vixen at t...Sam Smith
Composed between 1921 and 1923, Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen is based on the serialised novella Liška Bystrouška by Rodolf Těsnohlídek of 1920. This first appeared in the newspaper Lidové noviny, with illustrations by Stanislav Lolek, and Janáček adapted its words to arrive at the final libretto for the opera. A more literal translation of the Czech title would be Tales of Vixen Sharp-Ears, and the story tells of the...
Irish National Opera’s Bajazet Comes to the Royal Opera House,...Sam Smith
Although better known today for his concertos, in his own lifetime Antonio Vivaldi was just as famous for his operas. He claimed to have written ninety-four, and while it is impossible to prove he ever composed quite so many, we do know of at least thirty-two. Bajazet of 1735 is one of these although strictly it is a pasticcio, which is a work built around music (usually from a range of composers) that by and large already exists. In this instance, it seems that Vivaldi...
Fifth Revival of Jonathan Miller’s La bohème at the London Col...Sam Smith
Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 creation La bohème is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today. Set in 1830s Paris, it focuses on six young adults and the love that four of them find with each other amidst the most impoverished of circumstances. One couple, Marcello and Musetta, have a stormy relationship but their frequent battles prove that their love actually has staying power. Rodolfo and Mimì, on the other hand, enjoy an apparently perfect love,...
A New and Highly Innovative Theodora at the Royal Opera House,...Sam Smith
Handel’s oratorio Theodora is unusual among his compositions in that it has created more of a splash in the modern day than it ever did during his lifetime. It premiered at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden on 16 March 1750 but ran for just three performances and was only revived once in 1755. Although the fact there had been an earthquake a week before the premiere meant that some of the composer’s usual patrons had fled the city, the real reason for the work’s...
Pikovaya Dama at the Liceu: The Return of a Historic ProductionXavier Pujol
In January 1992 Liceu presented a new production for Pikovaya Dama, a relatively infrequent opera in the Barcelona stage despite being one of the best Tchaikovsky operas. At that time, it was unanimously considered to be one of the most luxurious productions the theatre had ever done. In 2003 and 2010 it made the stage again and now, thirty years after its premiere, it has once more come back to Liceu – a rare event for an operatic production. Pikovaya Dama operates in two...
Love conquers blindness in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta in BerlinZenaida des Aubris
There are few story lines more magical than that of a beautiful young but blind princess who gains sight through the power of love to a young knight. Peter Tchaikovsky's last opera Iolanta is just that - magical, luminous, poetic and with a rare happy ending. The story is set in 15th century Provence. The daughter of King René is blind, but does not know it because her entourage cares for her in such a way that she does not perceive her missing sense as a deficit. Her...