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La Scala's new season opening : Fidelio

Alain Duault

La Scala’s season opening every 7 December is always a major event, but this year the excitement is especially high as it marks Daniel Barenboim’s farewell to this theatre to which he gave his all. And we must first of all admire his performance: his conducting, ample, powerful and taut without any superfluous showmanship, perfectly sums up the spirt of Beethoven's only opera, the morality of an upright man stated in clear and radiant sound by a constantly renewed dynamic,...

Sonya Yoncheva in the Met’s ‘La Bohème’

Thibault Courtois

You could sense fear in the audience when Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera showed up on the stage with a microphone when everyone was expecting Ricardo Frizza to appear in the pit. Gelb had bad news and good news, as he said. Ramon Vargas had cancelled last minute but fortunately, the Met was able to fly in Bryan Hymel from Chicago earlier the same day. Gelb also announced that Sonya Yoncheva, the lead soprano, had a new born five weeks ago (general “awwww”...

Wiener Blut by Johann Strauss at Gärtnerplatztheater Munich

Helmut Pitsch

After his successful operettes Fledermaus and Zigeunerbaron, old aged Johann Strauss was asked to compose one more "hit" to rescue a financially stressed impresario and theatre manager in Vienna. In order to complete the task Johann Strauss created a pasticcio of some of his beloved melodies. The well reputated librettist Leo Stein and Victor Leon delivered the amusing textbook full of irritations around a Vienese aristrocatic playboy serving several intriguing lovestories....

Teatro alla Scala - Simone Boccanegra by Verdi

Helmut Pitsch

Simone Boccanegra accompagnied his creator Giuseppe Verdi for a lifespan. First presented in Venice in 1842 it was a failure. After mayor recompositions it became a success at its second premiere in 1880 which did not last long. Only in the seventies of the last century this masterpiece of Giuseppe Verdi found its way back to the stages of the opera houses. It is the exciting story of the Genoves Dogue Simon Boccanegra, his forbidden love affair with Maria, daughter of the mighty noble men...

Vec Makropolous Nationaltheater München

Helmut Pitsch

Leos Janacek was fascinated by the play of Karel Capek in 1922 and immediately started to compose his before last opera. It is the story of never ending life, eternal youth and beauty, the search of the recipie to overcome death and the question about the sense of death. Hungarian Arpad Schilling is the director of this new production at the Bavarian State Opera. His interpretation lacks an intelligent concept or clear conclusion. He portrays Emilia Marty or ever young Elina...

Charodeyka Peter I. Tchaikovsky Theater an der Wien

Helmut Pitsch

This is one of Tchaikovsky's seldom played operas, although the composer praised it as one of his best. An initial rather poor acceptance by the audience and a demanding performing effort with 14 soloists and big choir has left this oeuvre off the programme of the opera houses. So it is a real honorable move of the small but high quality Vienese opera house, the Theater an der Wien, to contribute to the revival of this elegant romantic opera, showing well the development of...

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