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Król Roger at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s Król Roger (King Roger) is by any measure an operatic rarity. Written between 1918 and 1924, and enjoying a handful of outings until 1949, it was entirely neglected for the following twenty-six years. It has experienced something of a renaissance since 1975, when conductor Charles Mackerras led a performance with the New Opera Company in London, but Kasper Holten’s production still marks the first time that it has ever had an outing at...

Le Comte Ory: Opera Studio 2015

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Conductor Oksana Lyniv has entered the pit. An expectant silence has fallen over the audience. Suddenly, a ragtag group of long-haired men steps onstage. One introduces himself as the manager of the band Ciel. They’ve lost their lead singer, Ory. Have we seen him? So begins our Rossini-led romp through the 1980s. Instead of hoop skirts: leg warmers; instead of a chateau: a bowling alley. The captain of the women’s bowling team, Adele, is a pious and melancholy sort who has...

Netrebko as Anna Bolena at the Wiener Staatsoper

Helmut Pitsch

Anna Netrebko is back to Vienna and gives another demonstration of her current vocal class of its own. She acts as Queen Anne, wife and victim of brutal Henry VIII, the selfish and intrigue womanizer. Anna Bolena is Gaetano Donizetti's 25th opera and his first long lasting success. In the unspectacular and simple direction of Eric Genovese but in elegant costumes by Luisa Spinatelli, it is Anna Netrebko's appearence and elegant play together with her brilliant voice that makes...

Il turco in Italia at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sam Smith

As the curtain falls on Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s Madama Butterfly, the Royal Opera House swaps tragedy for comedy with the second revival of the same directors’ 2005 production of Il turco in Italia. Rossini’s thirteenth opera of 1814 is a comedy of errors involving a series of love triangles between various Turkish and Italian characters. The added twist is that many of these ‘errors’ are deliberately engineered by the poet Prosdocimo as he...

Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci at the Salzburg Easter Festival

Helmut Pitsch

The Salzburg Easter Festival has developed its international reputation for exceptional opera performances and exquisite concerts. Since the seperation from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra some years ago, the cooperation with the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and its worldwide highly regarded conductor Christian Thielemann has been very fruitful. This year's festival presented the realisation of a new production of the famous Verismo twin package Cavalleria rusticana...

Anna Bolena at Zurich: fully booked

Jorge Binaghi

You could see a lot of people asking for a ticket in front of the theatre, something quite impossible when one of the singers is Anna Netrebko (at the same time there were young people delivering pamphlets against the diva because her support to M. Putin in the case Ukraine). But it’s impossible to perform a difficult opera as this of Donizetti it only with a big name. The cast was a fine one, and for the ladies the choices were absolutely right (apart the fact that scissors are...

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