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Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Royal Opera Hous...

Sam Smith

Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is something of an operatic oddity. It describes the establishing and subsequent implosion of a city that is designed to give people fun because, as its founders assert, there is nothing else in the world to rely on. Weill and librettist Bertolt Brecht were writing predominantly about the world they saw around them in 1930, but their depiction of Mahagonny, and by extension society in general, feel highly relevant today. They...


Tristan and Isolde at Teatro San Carlo di Napoli

Helmut Pitsch

Teatro San Carlo and Napels are linked closely to the opera and its history over centuries. It has been here that this genre has been created and where the tradition and the education has been kept high. Only lately, the theater was effected by an economic crisis and has suffered from political influences.However, this architectural jewel still attracts attention. Maestro Zubin Mehta is appearing for his first time here and conducts his personally beloved opera Tristan and Isolde by...


Madama Butterfly at Bayersiche Staatsoper Munich

Helmut Pitsch

Puccini's opera has always caused mixed feelings to the audience. Once it has been too much of a fairytale besides a real political and social theme, once it has been musically flat. Nevertheless this is a masterpiece of Italian verismo and musically demanding for all the participants, thus to explore once more at the Bavarian State Opera. Based on a very traditional long played direction of Wolf Busse, scene by Otto Stich - this repertoire spectacle was awaited for its cast. After...


Aida at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma

Helmut Pitsch

It is a highlight for the lyrical Roman society: Verdi' s masterpiece, Aida, in a concert version with an exquisite cast. Thanks to an album recording of the show, this cultural spectacle could happen in the Auditorio, Rome's new concert hall designed by the star architect Renzo Piano. Sir Antonio Pappano, musical director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia heads the international reputable and leading Italian Philharmonic Orchestra. One can feel their symbiotic and...


Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, New York

Thibault Courtois

“Roberto Alagna and Jonas Kaufmann take turns playing Carmen’s desperate lover, Don José” may be a quote from the online brochure of the Opera House you started in one of your opera fanatic dreams. In real life, it is a quote from the Metropolitan Opera’s website. Jonas Kaufmann will be singing for the last two shows of the run early March while Roberto Alagna has covered the whole month of February. Any good vocal coach will tell you that French is the...


Juan Diego Flórez and Joyce DiDonato in the Met’s La Donna del...

Thibault Courtois

Strangely, it is the first run ever of La Donna del Lago at the Met, almost two hundred years after it received its premiere. One could argue that this operais rarely put on stage notably because it is an opera for very rare singers with natural Rossini voices able to reach every corner of a 3800 seats concert hall. However, the piece has been capitalizing some interest for the past five years thanks to two superstars who added some of the most difficult arias of this opera to their...


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