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Bavarian State Opera Gaetano Donizetti La Favorite

Helmut Pitsch

Wide open space on stage as the opera starts. Once more young German director Amélie Niermayer uses the overture for narrating already parts of the story. The new production of the Bavarian State Opera is her first appearance here. The first encounter of Leonor, the mistress of King Alphonse, and monk Fernand is love at first sight with immediate intimate embracing. Stage designer Alexander Müller Elmau created a dark neutral environment with some moveable metal blocks which...


Wexford Opera Festival: Il Campanello, The Bear, Riders to the...

Helmut Pitsch

One of the pillars of the successful Wexford festival is the presentations of so called short works. One act operas composed in different centuries giving a strong testimony for the talent of their creators and constitute prestigious rarities of their genre and which have been unperformed unjustly. This year series is put together with two comic examples and one melodramatic. Gaetano Donizetti’s Il Campanello, the night bell, is a mature example of the genius composer full of...


Wexford Opera Festival: Samuel Barber Vanessa

Helmut Pitsch

Vanessa by Samuel Barber was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera house and premiered successfully in the year 1958. Samuel Barber’s lifelong partner Gian Carlo Menotti wrote a very sensitive and precise libretto based on a gothic tale. It was his only libretto not being composed by himself later on. There have been some further productions of the opera mainly in the United States whereas in Europe Vanessa has not really grounded in the repertoire of the opera houses. So again...


Wexford Opera Festival: Felicien David Herculanum

Helmut Pitsch

Félicien David is a French composer of the 19th century, whose works have totally ceased away from the standard concert or opera programmes and even his existence is unknown to a wide number of music lovers. Born in 1810 in Southern France, his musical talent was noticed early and supported. His career ended quickly once he joined the Saint Simonians. Later in his life, he gained back some reputation and contributed one major work to the genre "grand opera", Herculanum, a...


Wexford Opera Festival: Gaetano Donizetti Maria de Rudenz

Helmut Pitsch

The Wexford Festival has gained recognition and highly regarded reputation for performing rarities of all centuries in high quality directions and staging. Every year since 65 years, unknown or forgotten composers or compositions come back to life. So the little city of Wexford at the South east end of Ireland has become a pilgrimage place for opera lovers for two weeks end of October. A new opera house, actually the only opera house in Ireland, has been rebuilt recently to house the...


I Masnadieri at the Busseto Verdi Festival

Helmut Pitsch

It is Verdi country here around Busseto, where the Maestro was born, brought up and quickly returned once his career has started and he soon became a real celebrity and political symbol with his dramatic operas full of heroes and virtue. Busseto is a small sleepy town in the North of the country, in the middle of the fertile heartland of Italy, the Padana. Verdi was always proud of being a farmer and he loved to be one, which he successfully was most of his lifetime. He shared his wealth...


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