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Plácido Domingo in the Met’s Ernani (2015)Thibault Courtois
Retirement in opera is a delicate thing, especially when it comes to legendary performers like Plácido Domingo. While I understand it is common in sport stadiums to see drunk frustrated fans screaming “TIME TO RETIRE” as an aging player is walking off the field, I had yet to see something comparable in an opera house. That was before last week. New York Times’ critic Anthony Tommasini’s review of this year’s Ernani at the Met in which he called for...
Manon at the Metropolitan Opera, New YorkThibault Courtois
The Met has gathered a lot of French talent around this short run of Massenet’s Manon: the bass-baritone Nicolas Testé as Count des Grieux, the tenor Christophe Mortagne as Guillot, Emmanuel Villaume in the pit, all of them in a production by Laurent Pelly. Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau star as Des Grieux and Manon. Mr. Grigolo is now at home at the Metropolitan Opera where he gave a recital and sang in three different productions in the last year. Grigolo’s...
Die Walküre at the Bayersiche Staatsoper MunichHelmut Pitsch
It is most probably Wagner's best selling opera, known for its romantic and musically most melodious arios, and naturally for the " Ride of the Walkyries ". This piece has made it to hit charts and has been used countlessly for dramatic film scenes. But this opera has much more to offer and is full of exciting duetts of most loving and caring characters: Wotan sacrificing his beloved son Siegmund and his warfare compagnion and daughter, more of a mental copy of himself,...
Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House, Covent GardenSam Smith
Set in Japan, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly of 1904 explores the relationship between the American naval officer Pinkerton and the Nagasaki born Cio-Cio-San, whom he both affectionately and patronisingly addresses as Madam Butterfly. She takes their love so seriously that she converts to Christianity, and is consequently ostracised by her family. He, on the other hand, sees their marriage as being akin to his Japanese house, which he has on a 999-year lease that he can cancel at any...
Das Rheingold at the Bayerische Staatsoper MunichHelmut Pitsch
The new production of Richard Wagner's epic story the Ring was a highly expected opera event in 2012 in Munich, and Andreas Kriegenburg's very lively and colourful creation gathered various reactions, but over all high recognition by the audience. It is his very intimate, human and sensible play between the characters, full of gestures, together with a big crowd of background actors for a kind of human-made scenery, which made this production so special. This year, the rivival of...
Lucio Silla at La ScalaRaffaele Mellace
Lucio Silla comes back to Milan over than 30 years after its only staging at La Scala. The opera was actually composed in Milan, the Italian city with which the teen-aged Mozart (not yet 17) had established the strongest ties, and where he got very close to being employed at Court. Even if the original opera house no longer exists, as it was replaced by La Scala barely five years after Lucio Silla’s première in December 1772, the present production perfectly renders the flavor...