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Turandot at the Bregenz Festival 2015

Helmut Pitsch

Bregenz is always a big spectacle. Everything seems to be gigantic for the 7000 visitors of the so called Seebühne, the biggest opera stage built on a vast platform on Lake Constance. The audience arrives from all over the world demonstrating the international reputation this festival has achieved in its long lasting existence for technically nearly perfect sound installations, spectacular stagedesign and a pittoresque setting along the lakeshore. After a hot summer day, some winds...

An extraordinary Norma in Salzburg

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Cecilia Bartoli is not the type of singer modern audiences are used to hearing as Norma. La Scintilla isn’t the sort of orchestra we’re used to, either, and the Biondi/Minasi edition of the score used for this production includes surprises even for experienced Bellini aficionados. It’s daring to re-interpret the music of such a popular opera, but this project has clearly been painstakingly researched and carefully put together. In the hands of a superbly talented cast and...

A dramatic evening with Plácido Domingo and friends

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Plácido Domingo’s long reign as operatic royalty shows no sign of ending. In a concert celebrating forty years at the Salzburg Festival, he and his friends wowed an appreciative crowd with a well-chosen and expressively delivered program. Especially for a concert performance, the drama received an unusual amount of attention. The show opened with an atmospheric, icy prologue from the second act of Giordano’s Siberia, played by the fabulous Munich Radio Orchestra. The...

Carmen at Les Chorégies d'Orange... for Don Jonas Kaufmann

Alain Duault

Carmen in Orange is a classic!Here people have applauded some of the greatest, particularly Béatrice Uria Monzon who provided thrills for audiences on three occasions at the Théâtre Antique.But this time, Carmen was forgotten, and the 9,000 or so spectators had eyes (and ears!) only for Jonas Kaufmann’s Don José. Not that Kate Aldrich is a poor Carmen:she is beautiful and has a certain noblesse (almost too much, sometimes evoking...

Otello at the Teatro alla Scala

Raffaele Mellace

With the exception of a single charity performance for the victims of the Franco-Prussian War back in 1870, Rossini’s Otello had been missing from La Scala for over 150 years, since January 1863, when the composer was still alive: an astonishing record for Rossini’s historically most popular opera seria, along with Semiramide. Its comeback was meant to be quite an event – and it actually turned out to be one. The opera house had summoned a remarkable set of singers:...

Arabella at the Munich summer Festival

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

The dominating image in Andreas Dresen’s staging of Arabella for the Bayerische Staatsoper is stairs. Giant staircases grace the stage in all three acts, and important events usually involve dramatic ascensions or descensions. This suits the plot, where both relationships and fortunes suffer ups and downs. The Waldner family is looking to refill their empty coffers through a wealthy match for their beautiful daughter Arabella. She has no shortage of suitors, but she...

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