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Plácido Domingo and Angel Blue brighten up Liliana Cavani's ti...James Imam
Liliana Cavani's tired and uninspired 1990 production of La traviata apparently has enduring appeal. Ten shows into a 12-evening run, the theatre was heaving with audience members, a large proportion of them international. Perhaps tourists come to Milan expecting this sort of dependably traditional operatic fare. But there was, on this occasion, another reason to catch the show. In opting for multiple casts to sustain this long run La Scala had not skimped on quality: the...
A Very Merry Widow at the London ColiseumSam Smith
Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow (or Die lustige Witwe) is an operetta that was immensely popular on its premiere in 1905, and has continued to cause much amusement in opera houses ever since. Based on Henri Meilhac’s play L'attaché d'ambassadeof 1861, it tells of one Hanna Glawari who is a merry widow because, when her husband died, he left her a fortune of twenty million francs. She comes from the small Balkan principality of Pontevedro whose economy is...
Rodelinda at the Liceu: Hell at HomeXavier 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...