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A Highly Enjoyable New Don Pasquale at the Royal Opera House, ...Sam Smith
Gaetano Donizetti’s 64th opera Don Pasquale of 1843 represents both the zenith and the end of opera buffa because it stands as one of the finest examples of the genre, and yet there are practically none written after that date that are still in the standard repertoire. Set in Rome, it sees the ageing Don Pasquale disinherit his nephew Ernesto, who loves the young but poor widow Norina, for refusing the woman he had found for him. Even Don Pasquale’s own doctor Malatesta thinks...
Liceu: Turandot, a SymbolXavier Pujol
Turandot was the opera that would have been going on stage when the theatre was destroyed in a fire in January 1994. Embodying a spirit of continuity, Turandot was chosen to inaugurate the new theatre rebuilt in 1999. Now, on the 20th anniversary of Liceu’s re-inauguration, Puccini’s last opera was again the title selected to open the new season. Turandot, an opera which historically did not have any particularly significant relationship with the theatre has become, due to the...
Musical Credentials Trump Concept in Orpheus in the Underworld...Sam Smith
This autumn English National Opera is exploring the Orpheus myth by presenting four operatic takes on it, including Harrison Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus and Philip Glass’s Orphée. Each is being introduced in the order in which it was originally composed so that the season began with Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, and now continues with Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, the first version of which premiered in 1858. It is good to see the Offenbach...
Dancing Dominates in Orpheus and Eurydice at the London ColiseumSam Smith
Based on the legend of Orpheus, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, which tells of the former’s attempt to rescue the latter from the Underworld after she dies, is a seminal work in the evolution of opera. With its focus on an underground rescue mission in which the hero must conceal his true feelings, it was to be a major influence on German opera and specifically the plots of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Das...
Gerald Barry’s First Opera The Intelligence Park at the Royal ...Sam Smith
Gerald Barry has written six operas, including Alice’s Adventures Under Ground which comes to the Royal Opera House’s main stage next February. His first, however, The Intelligence Park of 1990, is currently appearing in the venue’s smaller Linbury Studio in a co-production with Music Theatre Wales. Set in Dublin in 1753, it sees a composer Paradies struggling to write an opera about the amorous entanglements of warrior Wattle and enchantress Daub, as his imagination...
Top Music Making and Performances in Agrippina at the Royal Op...Sam Smith
Agrippina of 1709 is the second opera that Handel wrote in Italy, and his first notable operatic success. Set in Ancient Rome, it sees the title character, who is the wife of the Emperor Claudio, take steps to ensure that her son from her first marriage, Nerone, is crowned Emperor when news reaches her that Claudio has been killed at sea. After, however, manipulating the freedmen Pallante and Narciso to hail Nerone as Emperor in front of the Senate, the commander Ottone arrives proclaiming...