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Un ballo in maschera at the Bayerische Staatsoper

Helmut Pitsch

The Bavarian state opera continues its cycle of new productions of operas by Guiseppe Verdi. After Il Trovatore, Rigoletto and La Forza del Destino, it is now Un ballo in Maschera to get its new presentation, directed by the young German Johannes Erath. Being a talented musician originally, he started later to become a director and worked with Willy Decker and Peter Konwitschny. Once more, the libretto of this fine Verdi opera is rather simple, clear and straight forward. This fast...

Das Liebesverbot at Madrid: the ‘other’ Wagner

Jorge Binaghi

A  little known Wagner, and with a dubious reputation, basically because of its exclusion from the true ‘corpus’ at Bayreuth, wherefrom it was banned together with Die Feen and Rienzi by composer and family. It’s strange that in the most sacred place of Wagnerism it’s impossible to see an opera that, following a wonderful work by Shakespeare much more ambiguous, complex and finally interesting than the libretto written by the author, the typical ‘opera...

La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata of 1853 is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world today. Based on Alexandre Dumas, fils’s play La Dame aux camélias, it tells of Violetta Valéry who is a famed Parisian courtesan. Beneath her apparently carefree exterior, however, she is suffering from tuberculosis and her world is shaken when she meets Alfredo with whom she falls in love. They run away together and live off the sale of her goods, but one day...

Götterdämmerung at the Liceu: Theorin, ideal Brünnhilde

Xavier Pujol

Amongst the performers that took part at the Götterdämmerung premiere at the Liceu the great highlight was the immense, anthological and unforgettable Brünnhilde by Iréne Theorin. Voice, power, dramatic engagement and understanding of the character put the Swedish soprano in a place to be considered one of the best Brünnhilde in the world, if not the best. Her final scene will remain in the memory of all for many years to come. The other...

Il trittico at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Giacomo Puccini’s Il trittico, which premiered in 1918, is a triptych of one-act operas that were always designed to be performed together. The composer originally intended for each opera to reflect one part of Dante’s Divina Commedia, although in the event only the final work is based on the poem. As a result, the only theme that really underpins the operas is that they all involve, in one way or another, the concealment of a death. The Royal Opera’s current...

World Premiere : South Pole at the Bayerische Staatsoper

Helmut Pitsch

The Center of Munich ıs currently full of antarctic fever expecting the world premiere of South Pole, an opera by young Czech composer Michael Srnka, a special order of the Bavarian State Opera. The cool, decorless big space in front of the opera house has been acoustically converted by a sound installation presenting calving glaciers, roaring whales or polar bears, icy snow storms and everything else to be heared on the coldest continent. An imitation of Amundsen's tent, installed...

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