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Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Based on Prosper Mérimée’s eponymous novella, Georges Bizet’s Carmen of 1875 is the story of the ultimate temptress. A gypsy girl and cigarette factory worker in Seville, Carmen has the power to entice any man she chooses. Once, however, they are besotted with her she quickly moves on, leaving them heart broken and unable to accept what has happened. In the opera Don José, an army corporal, has almost everything he could ever desire. He has decided to...

Aida in Munich with Jonas Kaufmann

Helmut Pitsch

Munich and Jonas Kaufmann have been closely linked over the last years. He has been born here and the Munich State Opera is engaging him intensively. Many role debuts of the star tenor have taken place here. That is the case for the current production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida too. After a first appearence in Rome in concert after a recording of the opera, it is now his first Radames on stage in a production from 2009, directed by Christoph Nel and designed by Jens Killian. They have...

Željko Lučić and Sonya Yoncheva: Otello at the Metropolitan Opera

Thibault Courtois

Opening Night at the Met is like no other night. It is that night when the show is as much on stage as it is in the audience, when the most classical tuxedos leave space to the craziest, fanciest and brightest gowns. Opera aficionados are happy to see each other and are catching up like school kids after a summer vacation while more “notable” New Yorkers slowly and strategically walk the red carpet so it does not look like they are holding up before they get in front of the...

Teatro Massimo Giacomo Puccini La Boheme

Helmut Pitsch

Palermo has a spectacular location along the tyrrhenian coast line, and right in the middle of the city, resides Italy's biggest opera house with the appropriate name Teatro Massimo. It is a classical building, a copy of a Greek temple, and one can well imagine what a feeling it was to enter in such a temple by climbing the stairs to the entrance of this massive building. It was openend in 1897 and witnessed the glory and wealth of the city after a construction period of 20 years....

Das Rheingold at the Ruhrtriennale

Helmut Pitsch

The Ruhrtriennale has its reputation for extraordinary performances at special locations, as a revival of the devastated industrial infrastructure of the area. The festival offers a mix of opera, drama, dance and concerts. Further installations, DJ sessions and Johan's saloon, set together by Johan Simons, the artistic director of the festival, sum up the schedule lasting 6 weeks. This year the performance of Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold, the overture of the tetralogy of...

Orphée et Eurydice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Based on the myth of Orpheus, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice is a seminal work in the evolution of opera. With its focus on an underground rescue mission in which the hero must conceal his true feelings, it was to be a major influence on German opera and specifically the plots of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It was also highly innovative musically with its preceding of the three verses of the...

Opera Online columnists