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Rodelinda at the Liceu: Hell at Home

Xavier Pujol

With some notable exceptions, the most eminent of which is Beethoven’s Fidelio, the theme of maintaining marital loyalty, whilst morally so commendable, is theatrically utterly boring. Its opposite, instead, always affords interesting theatrical shambles which can range from the vaudeville to tragedy and everything in between. If Händel’s Rodelinda, a story about staunch marital loyalty, theatrically is not only tolerable but works rather well is because deep down it...


First Revival of Così fan tutte at the Royal Opera House, Cove...

Sam Smith

Originally set in Naples, Mozart’s Così fan tutte of 1790 sees the philosopher Don Alfonso challenge two soldiers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, to prove that their respective fiancées, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, are faithful. He is certain that no woman ever is, but the younger men are so convinced of their own lovers’ fidelity that they agree to a wager with him. They will pretend to be called away to war and then return disguised as Albanians to try...


Marianne Crebassa brings the house down in Jean-Pierre Ponnell...

James Imam

Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's legendary Milan production of La Cenerentola would be hard to replace. Since being unveiled at La Scala in 1973 it has enchanted local audiences time and again, and attempts to decommission such a joyous take on Rossini's work would, you feel, prompt strong resistance from the La Scala faithful. Especially as long as such interesting casts continue to be sourced. Marianne Crebassa, La Cenerentola (c) La Scala 2019 Ph. Marco Brescia & Rudy...


English National Opera at its Very Best in Akhnaten at the Lon...

Sam Smith

Philip Glass, who is recognised as one of the leading proponents of minimalism in the world today, has written over twenty-five operas, a total achieved by hardly any composer since the days of Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi. Three of these form the ‘portrait trilogy’, which focuses on pivotal figures in the fields of science, politics and religion respectively. Einstein on the Beach premiered in 1976, Satyagraha (about Mahatma Gandhi) followed in 1980, and then the triptych was...


A New Opera: l'Enigma di Lea

Xavier Pujol

Finally, after many years, Liceu has hosted the world premiere of an opera, L’enigma di Lea by Benet Casablancas with text by Rafael Argullol. Casablancas, born in 1956, is one of the main current Catalan composers. Although his catalogue is long and varied this is his first opera. Rafael Argullol, born in 1949, is a poet, novelist, philosopher, essay writer and university professor in aesthetics and art theory. The piece, described by the librettist as a ‘mythical...


Amanda Majeski is an Outstanding Katya Kabanova at the Royal O...

Sam Smith

Katya Kabanova is often regarded as Leoš Janáček’s first ‘mature’ opera, despite the fact that he was 67 when it premiered in 1921. The libretto is by Vincenc Červinka, while the work is based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, but there can still be little doubt that the opera, and particularly its lead character, were inspired by the composer’s feelings for the far younger Kamila Stösslová. Set in the Russian town of...


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