Thursday, December 30, 2010

Opernhaus des Jahres

Hi there!
Still alive and after some lazy (and fat!) holiday time I'll be back blogging tomorrow. I should add 4-5 reviews of the shows I've seen this December.

I was also thinking about updating the "Best of 2010" list --which will be hard! It is good that I didn't rush with it before having seen all the shows I planned to see, including The Queen of Spades that I was happy to see last night at Theater Basel. This is definitely my Top-5 show this year and you should retain at least two names: Svetlana Ignatovich (unreal soprano!) and David Hermann (super-duper-talented director).

Photo above is taken last night in front of Theater Basel. They are obviously proud to be voted the best opera house in 2009 and in 2010, and I think they totally deserved the title even if my personal favorite is Komische Oper Berlin. I believe Basel, Stuttgart, La Monnaie, and Komische Berlin (and a few more theaters) are in a league above the rest when it comes to artistic creation today.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Die Passagierin on DVD

I just noticed an important DVD release: The Passenger,  opera by Mieczyslaw Moisey Weinberg, that was fully staged last summer in Bregenz for the first time ever. You can order it from or, and next month from too [didn't find any info about the release date]

I saw this show in Bregenz and discussed it on this blog - c.f. here [there you can also find the synopsis for this opera as well as a bunch of production photos].  Together with DVD you get a short illustrated book about Weinberg's extraordinary life and about this opera in particular. Read it before watching the show -- it very much changes your perspective.

To me this was (one of) the most intense emotional operatic moment(s) in 2010. Thanks to David Pountney and to the whole production team.

Wholeheartedly recommended!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Waiting for Bieito's Fidelio [pics!]

No, we do not want to know any detail about the Bieito-production of Fidelio before its premiere at Bayrische Staatsoper (BSO), Munich. However, we can't resist checking rehearsal pics [see BSO blog]

Calixto Bieito and Jonas Kaufmann preparing the premiere of a new production of Fidelio at BSO in Munich
and also a dozen of pics taken during the last dress rehearsal (attached below). Personally, I wish I will be proven wrong but von Peter's Fidelio at Komische will be hard to beat...

Jonas risks again to have the show stolen by his female costar, Anja.
In Lohengrin --also in Munich-- Anja Harteros sang the best Elsa ever. This time Anja Kampe might do the same with Leonore.

If you want to listen to the premiere, BR radio will provide live broadcast on this link starting from 19:00 (cet) [December 21 2010].

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Embellish Your Winter Evenings

Here is what you can see/listen for free and heat up these last 10 days of December 2010:

Denoke and Mattei sing Zemlinsky

Webern-Berg-Zemlinsky, Salle Pleyel - Paris, December 3 2010

Angela Denoke

Daniel Harding Peter Hirsch ..... conductor
Angela Denoke .... soprano
Peter Mattei ... baritone

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Les Troyens in Berlin (DOB)

Les Troyens, Deutsche Oper Berlin, December 11 2010

Conductor ..... Donald Runnicles
Director ..... David Pountney
Stage design ..... Johan Engels
Costume design ..... Marie-Jeanne Lecca
Chorus master ..... William Spaulding

Énée ..... Ian Storey
Chorèbe ..... Jean-Francois Lapointe
Panthée ..... Seth Carico
Narbal ..... Reinhard Hagen
Iopas ..... Gregory Warren
Ascagne ..... Jana Kurucová
Cassandre ..... Petra Lang
Didon ..... Béatrice Uria-Monzon
Anna ..... Liane Keegan
Priam ..... Lenus Carlson
Greek military leader ..... Sergio Vitale
Hector's shadow ..... Stephen Bronk
Hélénus ..... Yosep Kang
A soldier ..... Ben Wager
Two Trojan soldiers ..... Ben Wager
Two Trojan soldiers ..... Lenus Carlson
Mercure ..... Stephen Bronk
Hécube ..... Fionnuala McCarthy
Andromache ..... Etoile Chaville

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Opernballett der Deutschen Oper Berlin

J’avais entièrement terminé à cette époque l’ouvrage dramatique dont je parlais tout à l’heure et dont j’ai fait mention dans une note d’un des précédents chapitres [allusion aux Troyens; voyez ci-dessus]. Me trouvant à Weimar quatre ans auparavant chez la princesse de Wittgenstein (amie dévouée de Liszt, femme de cœur et d’esprit, qui m’a soutenu bien souvent dans mes plus tristes heures), je fus amené à parler de mon admiration pour Virgile et de l’idée que je me faisais d’un grand opéra traité dans le système shakespearien, dont le deuxième et le quatrième livre de l’Énéide seraient le sujet. J’ajoutai que je savais trop quels chagrins une telle entreprise me causerait nécessairement, pour que j’en vinsse jamais à la tenter. "En effet, répliqua la princesse, de votre passion pour Shakespeare unie à cet amour de l’antique, il doit résulter quelque chose de grandiose et de nouveau. Allons, il faut faire cet opéra, ce poème lyrique; appelez-le et disposez-le comme il vous plaira. Il faut le commencer et le finir." Comme je continuais à m’en défendre: "Ecoutez, me dit la princesse, si vous reculez devant les peines que cette œuvre peut et doit vous causer, si vous avez la faiblesse d’en avoir peur et de ne pas tout braver pour Didon et Cassandre, ne vous représentez jamais chez moi, je ne veux plus vous voir." Il n’en fallait pas tant dire pour me décider. De retour à Paris je commençai à écrire les vers du poème lyrique des Troyens. Puis je me mis à la partition, et au bout de trois ans et demi de corrections, de changements, d’additions, etc., tout fut terminé.
Hector Berlioz, 1864

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Rake's Progress in Berlin

The Rake's Progress, Staatsoper Berlin (Shiller-Theater), December 10 2010

Conductor ..... Ingo Metzmacher
Director ..... Krzysztof Warlikowski
Set and Costume Designer ..... Małgorzata Szczęśniak
Light Designer ..... Felice Ross
Video ..... Denis Guéguin
Chorus Master ..... Frank Flade
Choreographer ..... Claude Bardouil

Trulove ..... Andreas Bauer
Anne ..... Anna Prohaska
Tom Rakewell ..... Florian Hoffmann
Nick Shadow ..... Gidon Saks
Mother Goose ..... Birgit Remmert
Baba the Turk ..... Nicolas Ziélinski
Sellem ..... Erin Caves
Keeper of the madhouse ..... James Homann

Staatskapelle Berlin

It's the place where my prediction from the sixties finally came true: "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." I'm bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is, "In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous."

    Andy Warhol's Exposures (1979)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Warlikowski's Progress in Berlin

Still alive but too busy and have no Internet connection from the hotel I'm staying at. So this is just a quick iPhone post after the premiere of The Rake's Progress in Berlin (finished *half an hour ago).

Very-very good show with phenomenal  Gidon Saks as Nick Shadow and Nicolas Zielinski as Baba the Turk, and all the other singers/actors excellent too.Warli and Ingo Metzmacher rock!

Yess: I took a photo with Warli  looking pleased and happy!  That was one more extraordinary element in this Rake's Progress  :)

More tomorrow (hopefully)! Cheers

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Word to the Wise

I already posted info about the live broadcast of this year's season-opener at La Scala -- Die Walküre (check out the updates).

Nina Stemme and Die Walküre: photo [©AP] taken during a dress rehearsal of the Guy Cassiers production to be premiered next Tuesday at La Scala

A fresh AP article about the production, this opera, and about Wagner, quotes our huge fave Daniel Barenboim saying "We need one day to liberate Wagner of all this  [Nazi] weight."
Since this guilt by association is getting way too tired, and Daniel's the right person to say it loud and clear, I believe this (short) article deserves to be copy/paste-ed:

Achtung Achtung: Parsifal in Brussels

One of the most important Wagner-events in 2011 will be a new production of Parsifal at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels [one of the coolest opera houses today, in good part thanks to its intendant - Peter de Caluwe]. Romeo Castellucci --famous in the world of theater but not in its opera-section (yet!)-- will be directing the show, while arguably one of the best Wagner conductors today, Hartmut Haenchen will conduct. The premiere is scheduled for Thursday, January 27 2011.

Another reason for this show to be big is Andrew Richards --currently on a roll and I suppose at his lifetime best-- who will sing the title role [after his brilliant role debut in Bieito's production in Stuttgart, this will be his second Parsifal]. Don't forget to check out his blog Opera Rocks where he will be regularly posting about the creation process of this production.
 Also thrilling should be to listen to Thomas Johannes Mayer (major intl discovery this year!) singing Amfortas.

Since this is one of the productions not to be missed in 2011, I thought you might wish to know that the on-line ticket-sales (or via phone) start today, Saturday - December 4.

Friday, December 3, 2010

David Afkham in Paris (2)

Prokofiev-Shostakovich, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, December 2 2010

David Afkham

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gil Shaham and Petrushka at Pleyel

Prokofiev-Stravinsky-Lyadov, Salle Pleyel, December 1st 2010

Gil Shaham
Interesting concert last night at Pleyel. It will be repeated tonight and for those who cannot go, there is a video of live broadcast available at Arte-Live-Web (this link), or on the site of Cité de la Musique (this link).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

David Afkham in Paris

Ultra-talented, 27 years old and this year's winner of Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award,  David Afkham, will conduct Orchestre National de France coming Thursday, December 2, at Théâtre des Champs Elysées (TCE) in Paris. For details of the concert program please see this link.

Good news for those who cannot come to TCE  is that Radio France Musique will live broadcast the concert on this link [click on "écouter le direct"] starting from 20:00 (CET).
For more on David, read e.g. this recent article , interview (in French), or listen to an interview he gave to [he's won the Donatella Flick Award in 2008] appended below

We will barock you (5): Alcina at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Alcina (in concert),  TCE Paris, November 29 2010

Anja Karteros (Alcina) and Vesselina Kasarova (Ruggero) - photo Herwig Prammer

Marc Minkowski ..... conductor 

Anja Harteros ..... Alcina
Vesselina Kasarova ..... Ruggiero
Verónica Cangemi ..... Morgana
Kristina Hammarström ..... Bradamante
Luca Tittoto ..... Melisso
Benjamin Bruns ..... Oronte
Shintaro Nakajima Oberto .... a young boy

Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dezember 2010: Neue Inszenierungen

6 out of many new productions in Europe this December will be particularly interesting to follow.
  • Sun 5: Les Troyens [dir- David Pountney, cnd- Donald Runnicles] at Deutsche Oper in Berlin, with Ian Storey, Petra Lang, Béatrice Uria-Monzon... and with the World's best chorus 
  • Tue 7: Die Walküre [dir- Guy Cassiers, cnd- Daniel Barenboim] at La Scala di Milano, with Simon O’Neill, John Tomlinson, Vitalij Kowaljow,  Waltraud Meier, Nina Stemme, Ekaterina Gubanova  
  • Fri 10: The Queen of Spades  [dir- David Hermann, cnd- Gabriel Feltz] at Theater Basel with Maxim Aksenov, Nikolay Borchev, Hanna Schwarz, Svetlana Ignatovich, Eung Kwang Lee 
  • Fri 10: The Rake's Progress [dir- Krzysztof Warlikowski, cnd- Ingo Metzmacher] at Staatsoper in Berlin with Florian Hoffmann, Anna Prohaska, Gidon Saks... 
  • Sat 11: Tannhäuser [dir-Tim Albery, cnd- Semyon Bychkov] at ROH in London, with Eva-Maria Westbroek, Michaela Schuster, Johan Botha, Christian Gerhaher 
  • Tue 21: Fidelio [dir- Calixto Bieito, cnd- Daniele Gatti] at Bayrische Staatsoper in Munich, with Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Kampe,Franz-Josef Selig...
Prima in Milan, in London, in Munich, and in Basle should be good, but I believe Berlin will be the center of the World as far as opera is concerned: the best chorus in the World will sing Les Troyens, and Warlikowski will present his new gem at DSO. With the new production of Die Meistersinger still running at the Komische -- Berlin is the city to be in this December.
    More complete list of new productions in Europe to be premiered this December includes,

    Un autre décembre

    My selection of events (classical music and opera) to see in Paris in December 2010.

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Tea at Five with Wotan and friends

    Season opener at La Scala season will be the first Ring opera Die Walküre (Rheingold is only a prologue).
    This joint new production of La Scala and Staatsoper in Berlin will be directed by Guy Cassiers and conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and it will be premiered on Tuesday, December 7 starting at 5 p.m. (cet). The show will be live broadcast to many cinemas around the world, but also via ever more cool Mezzo-TV.

    Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde) and Vitalij Kowaljow (Wotan)

    While waiting to see this fantastic cast* in action (in an interesting production too!) you can follow the rehearsal vlog this link.

    *Siegmund - Simon O’Neill, Hunding - John Tomlinson, Wotan - Vitalij Kowaljow, Sieglinde - Waltraud Meier, Brünnhilde - Nina Stemme, Fricka - Ekaterina Gubanova

    (Dec 3) 
    Simon O'Neill is apparently ill. Frank van Aken is covering for him. Alas,  during the stage rehearsal last Wednesday Frank fainted.  Wishing the best to Frank and to the whole production team!

    (Dec 4)
    1. Photos of the show taken during dress rehearsals added below [all photos ©AP]
    2. Live radio broadcast will be provided by Rai-3 on this link, France Musique on this link...

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Panties Problem at Flanders Opera

    I didn't want to add oil to the fire by extra-blogging about the controversy that involved Vlaamse Opera and Muslim Executive of Belgium (MEB). Now, since the story is over blogging about it is benign.

    The reason for a big fuss --that obviously instantly woke up the extremes on both sides of the issue-- was a trailer run on Belgian-TV announcing Die Entführung aus dem Serail which the spokesperson of MEB qualified as rude and offensive. He went on and said the following poster, showing a women wearing half-burka/half-panties, was "downright insulting"

    Of course the ensuing polemics ranged from qualifying the complaint as "whining", to those who were surprised by the MEB reaction finding the trailer/poster "neither offensive, nor funny", to those who thought the publicity stunt was "insensitive"...

    If they complain then it was probably a tad insensitive [nothing insulting though - Come ON!], but a good theater should push the boundaries and tackle important issues relevant to the society in which it creates art -- that's how theater lives instead of rewinding the old stuff for ever and ever...

    You should know that the Flanders Opera is not a big rich opera house, but delightfully creative and audacious.  Ivo van genius-Hove, Guy Joosten, Guy Cassier... all come from this theater. 

    Here is the famous trailer:

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Tea at Five with Wozzeck live from Bolshoi

    This evening at 5 p.m. (cet), Mezzo-TV will broadcast Wozzeck, live from Bolshoi Theater in Moscow [dir- Dmitri Tcherniakov, cnd- Teodor Currentzis, Cast: Georg Nigl, Mardi Byers, Roman Muravitsky, ...]

    Russian public discovered Wozzeck last year [first stage performance of Berg's Wozzeck in Moscow], and both the Russian cultural circles and the foreign critics loved it. Good news is that this live broadcast will be followed by a DVD release.

    By far the best Wozzeck on DVD is the one by Bieito and Weigle. Too bad the Paris Opera did not invest in recording one of its best recent productions - Wozzeck with Simon Keenlyside and Angela Denoke, directed by Christoph Marthaler and with Sylvain Cambreling conducting.

    Tcherniakov is one of my top-5 fave directors, Bolshoi invested big money [its generous sponsor!] to make this show happen -- so it should be good. Currentzis must be the most passionate and one of the most innovative conductors today, plus there's Georg Nigl in the title role, and we're ready to see and hear Mardi Byers singing... -- This one is a winner, I'm tellin ya :)

    And the winner is...

    I already blogged about the Arte-Live-Web coverage of the final weeks of the ARMEL Intl Opera Competition in Szeged (Hungary). Results?

    Cristina Baggio won for the role of Renata in what the jury decided was the best production - The Fiery Angel. Congrats to all the winners!  [full list with other distinctions is available on this link]

    A scene from The Fiery Angel in Szeged
    I saw the winning show [The Fiery Angel] --one of my 20 favorite operas-- and was impressed.
    • It is extremely difficult to sing this opera and to see young performers putting their guts and hearts was touchy and thrilling at the same time. A bunch of compliments go to Renata and Ruprecht sung by Cristina Baggio and Zsolt Haja. Cristina should be extra-praised for her courage to attack this ultra-heavy role, in addition to her outstanding scenic performance.
    • I was very surprised to see this opera listed for competition because it is so difficult to stage,  rehearse and play -- it would have been much easier to opt for L'Elisir d'Amore or Don Pasquale, and let a soprano simper around the stage to win the crowd over.  Direction and staging look similar to recent Lulu by Stefan Herheim and Heike Scheele in Copenhagen, although the lack of money and the overall level of execution remain well bellow the Copenhagen show. With that being said, a big bravo to Silviu Purcarete (director).
    My only objection is that it is performed in French. With no French singers in the cast what's the point in not doing it in Russian?
    For more production photos please see here.
    Below is embedded the full video of the winning show (available for free viewing until February 2011.)

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    To lose in Mahagonny or Mahagonny in Toulouse: Good show!

    Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny [Grandeur et décadence de la ville de Mahagonny], Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, November 21 2010

    Laurent Pelly ..... director
    Ilan Volkov ..... conductor

    Marjana Lipovsek ..... Leokadja Begbick
    Chris Merritt ..... Fatty, der "Prokurist"
    Gregg Baker ..... Dreieinigkeitsmoses
    Valentina Farcas ..... Jenny Hill
    Nikolai Schukoff ..... Jim Mahoney
    Roger Padullés ..... Jack O’Brien
    Harry Peeters ..... Joe, genannt Alaskawolfjoe
    Tommi Hakala ..... Bill, genannt Sparbüchsenbill

    Orchestre national du Capitole

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Listen to Wiener Philharmoniker and Christian Thielemann

    Wiener Philharmoniker lead by Christian Thielemann will give a series of concerts at Théâtre des Champs Elysées performing a full cycle of Beethoven's symphonies. Good news is that the first two concerts will be live radio broadcast by the Radio France-Musique, while the other two will also be broadcast but with a delay of 2 weeks. More specifically:
    1. Tuesday, November 23: Symphony no.4 and 5 [Live broadcast at 20:00 (cet) on this link - click on "direct"]
    2. Wednesday, November 24: Symphony no.6 and 7 [Live broadcast at 20:00 (cet) on this link]
    3. Saturday, November 27: Symphony no.1, 2, and 3 [broadcast - December 14 at 20:00 (cet) on this link]
    4. Sunday, November 28: Symphony no.8 and 9, with Annette Dasch, Piotr Beczala, Mihoko Fujimura, Robert Holl  [broadcast - December 15 at 20:00 (cet) on this link]
    Even better, if you miss any [or all] of the above concerts you may find them archived on this is link, available for free listening 30 days following the official broadcast.

    Real Mahagonny

    Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Teatro Real in Madrid [Mezzo-TV broadcast], October 2010

    La Fura dels Baus ..... Director
    Pablo Heras-Casado ..... Conductor

    Measha Brueggergosman ..... Jenny Smith
    Michael König ..... Jim MacIntyre
    Willard White ..... Trinity Moses
    Jane Henschel ..... Leocadia Begbick
    Donald Kaasch ..... Fatty "the Bookkeeper"
    John Easterlin ..... Jack O'Brien
    Otto Katzameier ..... Bill
    Steven Humes ..... Alaska-Wolf Joe

    Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Real in Madrid

    Adventurous Ligeti in Lille

    Adventures, New Adventures [by György Ligeti], Opéra de Lille, November 20 2010

    Charlotte Nessi ..... director
    Denis Comtet..... conductor

    Jody Pou ..... soprano
    Katalin Károlyi ..... mezzo-soprano
    Paul-Alexandre Dubois ..... baritone

    Miyoko Shida ..... dancer

    Comedians: Max Delor, Nicolas De Peretti, N’Gwamoué Diabaté, Norbert Rocher
    Children Choir of the Conservatoire de Wasquehal

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    RIP Roxana Briban

    It is always sad but when it happens at 39...

    Alexandru Briban said he found Roxana Briban's dead body in the bathtub late Saturday, with her wrists slit...
    Briban said Sunday his wife had sunk into depression after the Bucharest National Opera severed her contract in 2009. "She wanted to sing, even without being paid," he told Mediafax news agency.
    From 2003 until 2010, Briban also performed at the Vienna State Opera but her collaboration ended after Ioan Holender, the Romanian-born director stepped down this year after an 18-year tenure there.
    Holender told Romanian daily Adevarul on Monday that Briban had unspecified problems with her voice and was depressed.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Piano on thin ice

    Just a quick post to share a cool video-document made by Providences-production for Arte-tv, with two fantastic pianists, Edna Stern and Alexander Gurning, performing on an ice rink.

    I guess the point was to show how the classical music can resonate with everyday life outside the concert halls and theaters -- giving the everyday life a zest of poetry and charm. If you like Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, you're likely to find the video below irresistible...  Enjoy 

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Invecchiare bene

    Christa Ludwig, one of the G.O.A.T. singers, visited Salzburg during the Summer Festival this year and for the Festival's daily paper "Daily" she said something we rarely hear from an old glory. So instead of unloading the usual critiques directed at young singers, directors, and conductors she graciously said:
    There is no golden age, that is just a figment of one’s imagination. I like coming to Salzburg and I also attend performances that are crazy. One always has to try to do something new. Of course it happens that some things turn out well and others not so well. But one has to try them out. It’s a shame to stick only to the old stuff!

    Way to go Frau Ludwig!

    Portrait of Anna Netrebko

    Intermezzo alerted us on her blog that CNN-I made a video portrait of Anna Netrebko.  It's very good and you should see it [three videos are appended below.]

    Part-3 is fun but my favorite line is actually the one at 3'44 of part-2 when she explains how she prepares her voice for a performance
     "I'm not even drinking water, I'm drinking alcohol. That's it!"

    Bless her!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Mathis der Yawner

    Mathis der Maler [Matthias the Painter, Mathis le peintre], Opéra National de Paris (Bastille), November 16 2010

    Olivier Py ..... Director
    Christoph Eschenbach ..... Conductor

    Scott Mac Allister ..... Albrecht von Brandenburg
    Matthias Goerne ..... Mathis
    Thorsten Grümbel ..... Lorenz von Pommersfelden
    Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke ..... Wolfgang Capito
    Gregory Reinhart ..... Riedinger
    Michael Weinius ..... Hans Schwalb
    Antoine Garcin ..... Truchsess von Waldburg
    Eric Huchet ..... Sylvester von Schaumberg
    Melanie Diener ..... Ursula
    Martina Welschenbach ..... Regina
    Nadine Weissmann ..... Die Gräfin von Helfenstein

    Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus 

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Quatuor Ebène, Natalie Dessay, Stacey Kent, Luz Casal

    Quatuor Ebène usually end their concerts with something jazzy as an encore, and those improvisations became very popular with fans -- which is why they recently released a CD called Fiction with special appearances of Natalie Dessay [who sings in her normal voice], Stacey Kent, and Luz Casal.

    Tomorrow, November 15 @ 20:00 (cet) at Folies Bergère in Paris all these artists will perform with Yours Truly in the audience. Good news is that all of you guys can see and listen to the same concert thanks to the portal who will provide  live-webcast on this link. It's free but you have to register (if you didn't already).

    Seductive art of noise

    Concert: Lachenmann and Bruckner, Salle Pleyel - Paris, November 12 2010

    Sylvain Cambreling ..... conductor
    Dagmar Becker ..... flute
    Frederic Belli ..... trombone
    SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
    Schola Heidelberg

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Spectacular evening of belcanto in Paris

    Otello (in concert), Théâtre des Champs Elysées - Paris, November 11 2010

    Anna Caterina Antonacci, John Osborn, and Dmitry Korchak

    Evelino Pidò ..... conductor

    John Osborn ..... Otello
    Anna Caterina Antonacci ..... Desdemona
    Marco Vinco ..... Elmiro
    Dmitry Korchak ..... Rodrigo
    Jose Manuel Zapata ..... Iago
    José Maria Lo Monaco ..... Emilia
    Tansel Akzeybek ..... The Doge of Venice
    Fabrice Constans ..... Lucio

    Chorus and Orchestra of Opéra national de Lyon

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    HK Gruber et al. at Cité de la Musique

    Das Berliner Requiem, Cité de la Musique - Paris, November 10 2010

    Vom Tod im Wald (Kurt Weill)
    Busking (Heinz Karl Gruber)
    Das Berliner Requiem (Kurt Weill)

    HK Gruber ..... conductor
    Håkan Hardenberger ..... trumpet
    Rainer Trost ..... tenor
    Florian Boesch ..... baritone

    Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Choeur de Radio France

    Ed: on this link you may listen to the recording of this concert

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Salzburg and Chorégie d'Orange 2011

    Full schedule with all operas (with all the details), concerts, recitals... for the Summer Festival in Salzburg 2011, are available on the Festival website.  Note that you can already place your ticket(s) order. The most (only?) interesting should be The Makropulos Affair -- which I believe is one of the best operas ever. With Marthaler directing, Esa-Pekka conducting, this should be the most important event of the Salzburger Festspiele 2011. OK, Die Frau ohne Schatten should be good too.

    On a different front, the Festival in Chorégie d'Orange unveiled their program for 2011. Details can be found on their website. In short, there will be two shows of Aida, two of Rigoletto, and a concert performance of Mahler's 9th.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Monde à l'envers de Philipp Stölzl

    Philipp Stölzl must be the most suited current director to produce both interesting and loopy show of the Strauss' Fledermaus. Delightfully competent and always inventive artistic management of the Stuttgart Staatsoper recognized that quality in Stölzl, and 10 days ago they premiered their new Fledermaus with Philipp directing.

    From the new Stuttgart Staatsoper production of Die Fledermaus by Philipp Stölzl. Photo © Martin Sigmund

    Unfortunately I won't be able to see the show in this run but we can 'drool' together over the production photos (all  Photos © Martin Sigmund) and a video trailer enclosed in this post [also see this review (in German)]

    Ritorna vincitor

    Like in 2008 and 2009, this year Szeged (Hungary) hosts an interesting International Opera Competition which has recently been baptized into Armel. The rules are explained well on their website.
    In one sentence: After a series of selections, the competing singers who made it to the finals are asked to perform --as cast members-- in one of the 5 specific operas that are being presented these days at Szeged National Theater.

    Good thing is that all 5 operas can be seen on the Internet thanks to the world's coolest TV, via its ARTE Live Web portal.

    This year's program of the finals with links, looks as follows (all videos are free to see during 3 months following the live broadcast):
    • Veslefrikk - opera by Knut Vaage (world creation) [click on the opera title to see the production details and synopsis];  singers competing: Iulia VACARU, Alexander POLKOVNIKOV; live broadcast - November 3, Arte link
    • The Servant - opera by Marco Tuttino (also intendant of Teatro Comunale di Bologna); competing: Camille DEREUX, Peter FURLONG, Alexey BOGDANCHIKOV; live broadcast - November 6, Arte link
    • La Traviata - competing: Maria PAKHAR, Péter BALCZÓ, Sergio FORESTI; live broadcast - November 9, Arte link
    • The Seagull - opera by Thomas Pasatieri; competing: Molly MUSTONEN, Zsolt HAJA, Beverly O’REGAN THIELE; live broadcast - November 12, Arte link
    • The Fiery Angel - opera by Sergei Prokofiev; competing: Christina BAGGIO, Antal Cseh; live broadcast - November 15, Arte link
    All videos also embedded below...

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    We will barock you (4): Bravissima Dorinda

    Orlando, Théâtre des Champs Elysées - Paris, November 3 2010

    Wonderful Lucy Crowe as Dorinda

    David McVicar ..... director
    Emmanuelle Haïm ..... conductor

    Sonia Prina ..... Orlando
    Henriette Bonde-Hansen ..... Angelica
    Stephen Wallace ..... Medoro
    Lucy Crowe ..... Dorinda
    Nathan Berg ..... Zoroastro

    Le Concert d'Astrée

    Bad boys getting tired

    Les grandes voix: Bryn Terfel, Salle Pleyel - Paris, November 5 2010

    Bryn Terfel - recital "Bad Boys"
    Münchner Rundfunkorchester
    Canzonetta Chamber Choir
    Gareth Jones ..... conductor

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Nouvelles productions en Europe (novembre 2010)

    As for the new productions in Europe this November, I believe we could expect the most from (opening date indicated)

    • Fri 12: La finta giardiniera at Theater an der Wien [dir-David Alden, cnd-René Jacobs] with Sophie Karthäuser, Topi Lehtipuu, Marie-Claude Chappuis, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Sunhae Im 
    • Sat 13: Guillaume Tell at Opernhaus Zürich [dir-Adrian Marthaler, cnd-Thomas Hengelbrock] with  Antonino Siragusa, Michele Pertusi, Eva Mei, Benjamin Bernheim... 
    • Tue 16: Mathis der Maler at Opéra Bastille in Paris [dir-Olivier Py, cnd-Christoph Eschenbach] with Scott MacAllister, Matthias Goerne, Burkhart Fritz, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke, Melanie Diener... 
    • Thu 18: Adriana Lecouvreur at Royal Opera House in London [dir-David McVicar, cnd-Mark Elder] with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Michaela Schuster, Alessandro Corbelli 
    • Fri 19: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse [dir-Laurent Pelly, cnd-Ilan Volkov] with Valentina Farcas, Nikolai Schukoff, Marjana Lipovsek, Chris Merrit, Gregg Baker, Tommi Hakala 
    • Sat 20: Iphigénie en Aulide at Oper Leipzig [dir-Peter Konwitschny, cnd-Paolo Carignani] with Manuela Uhl... 
    • Fri 26: Die tote Stadt at FNO in Helsinki [dir-Kasper Bech Holten,cnd-Mikko Franck] with Klaus Florian Vogt, Camilla Nylund, Markus Eiche
    especially from those in red,

    but we should try and follow the other interesting creations such as

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Le Nozze di Figaro from Opéra Bastille on TV - "Pointless Nostalgic" (?)

    I very much like Jamie Cullum, but this post is not about this kind of Pointless Nostalgic. It's about a (pointless?) nostalgic production of  Le Nozze di Figaro that will be (almost) live TV-broadcast from Opéra Bastille tonight, Wednesday - November 3rd, at 20:35 (cet) on France3.

    It is a revival of the 37 years old production by Giorgio Strehler, which had been thrown out ~10 years ago, replaced by a new production mounted by Christophe Marthaler,  that in turn is now being replaced by this revamped ancient show -- even though its creator is RIP [decors recovered from its debris hidden in the dumpsters of La Scala!]  This move by the new artistic direction of the Paris Opera is now very much debated in France: praised by ones and criticized by others. 

    Deshayes, Frittoli and Siurina [all photos are © Fred Toulet].
    In any case the cast is good: Ludovic Tézier (Il Conte di Almaviva), Barbara Frittoli (La Contessa), Ekaterina Siurina (Susanna), Luca Pisaroni (Figaro), Karine Deshayes (Cherubino), Ann Murray (Marcellina), Robert Lloyd (Bartolo), Robin Leggate (Don Basilio), Maria Virginia Savastano (Barbarina), and the conductor is Philippe Jordan.

    More production photos and "Voi che sapete"-video as an avant-gout are appended below.

    Ah Rusalka (2): Tutti Bravi!

    Rusalka, BSO Munich, October 31 2010

    Nadia Krasteva, Kristien Opolais, and Klaus Florian Vogt

    Production ..... Martin Kušej
    Conductor ..... Tomáš Hanus

    The Princ ..... Klaus Florian Vogt
    The Foreign Princess ..... Nadia Krasteva
    Rusalka ..... Krístīne Opolaís
    Vodnik ..... Günther Groissböck
    Ježibaba ..... Janina Baechle
    Gamekeeper ..... Ulrich Reß
    Kitchen Boy ..... Tara Erraught
    1st Wood Sprite ..... Evgeniya Sotnikova
    2nd Wood Sprite ..... Angela Brower
    3rd Wood Sprite ..... Okka von der Damerau
    Hunter ..... John Chest

    The Bavarian State Orchestra
    The Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera

    Here are the links to the files of the radio broadcast of one of the shows at BSO: part-1 and part-2.
    I'll remove them in a week from now.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Ah Rusalka (1): Mĕsíčku, nezhasni!

    Why I like Rusalka? I like romantic operas, and this is arguably the best romantic opera not composed by Wagner. Written in the best wagnerian tradition it brought in a new quality, Slavic sensibility. Its libretto is based on a legend about Rusalki -- a Slavic equivalent to mermaids, nymphs, Undine... Its lyricism reminds us of Lohengrin but the symmetry of its libretto is close to that of Tannhäuser.

    The Prince and The Foreign Princess (Klaus Florian Vogt and Nadia Krasteva)

    Frankfurter Walküre by Vera Nemirova

    New production of Die Walküre opened last Sunday at Oper Frankfurt. After the rave reviews for her production of Rheingold past Spring, I am more  than glad to see the press complimentary after seeing the Vera Nemirova's staging of the Walküre (after her sloppy Lulu in Salzburg).

    Sieglinde and Siegmund - Eva Maria Westbroek and Frank van Aken

    A very good cast apparently lived up to high expectations and delivered a very good performance.
    In particular Eva Maria Westbroek and Frank van Aken --who're a married couple in real life-- were excellent as Sieglinde and Siegmund.

    The action takes place on a big dish of three concentric rings which can be ex-centered in many different ways, thus opening a spectrum of possibilities for Nemirova to play with multiple allegoric meanings of this superb opera.

    I am sorry for not being able to see this opera cake, but I hope 'to taste' sometimes next year.

    Appended below: more production photos [all © Monika Rittershaus] and a video.

    Anemic Strauss at Cité de la Musique

    Metamorphosen - R.Strauss
    Piano Concerto #20 - Mozart
    Also sprach Zarathustra - R.Strauss

    Novembre musical à Paris

    My selection of events (classical music and opera) to see this November 2010 in Paris.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Lots of Parsifal to come...

    After so much exposure to the music/operas by Verdi, it's time to return to what I like the most -- Wagner.

    Below is a list of important non-Ring new productions/concerts to come*.

    December 11 2010: Parsifal in concert, live from Concertgebouw should be a blast. Jaap van Zweden has that astonishing chemistry with Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and their Wagner-concerts are regularly extraordinary: their Lohengrin is by far the best recording of that opera to date, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a top level recording too. The cast for this Parsifal includes Klaus Florian Vogt, Falk Struckmann, Robert Holl, Katarina Dalayman, Ante Jerkunica and others.
    Live radio broadcast will start at 15:00 (cet) on this link.

    Dec 2010 - Jan 2011: Tannhäuser at the Royal Opera House [dir- Tim Albery, cnd- Semyon Bychkov]. If Tim Albery decides "not to please everyone" this should be a good new production. Even if he doesn't the cast is already great: Johan Botha, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Michaela Schuster, Christian Gerhaher etc.

    Jan-Febr 2011: Parsifal at La Monnaie [dir- Romeo Castellucci, cnd- Hartmut Haenchen] which could be close to the level of brilliance of Warlikowski's Macbeth. Andrew Richards will again be Parsifal, and the cast also includes Thomas Johannes Mayer, Tómas Tómasson, Anna Larsson etc. Romeo Castellucci is a famous name in the world of theater, but I don't think he directed an opera before. Could easily be the best Parsifal in 2011.

    Jan-Feb 2011: Tannhäuser at Opernhaus Zürich [dir- Harry Kupfer, cnd- Ingo Metzmacher] Cast: Michael Volle, Peter Seiffertt, Nina Stemme, Vesselina Kasarova, Christoph Strehl...
    Feb-Mar 2011: Parsifal at Liceu Barcelona [dir- Claus Guth, cnd- Michael Boder] should be good too (although I'm not entirely convinced Guth has something new to bring to Parsifal, but I've been wrong before...) Superb cast: Klaus Florian Vogt, Alan Held, Hans-Peter König, Simon O’Neill, Anja Kampe etc. The same production then goes to Zurich where it will be presented in Jun-Jul 2011 but with maestro Daniele Gatti conducting and Stuart Skelton, Thomas Hampson, Matti Salminen, Yvonne Naef the cast.

    Apr-Jun 2011:  Parsifal at 'the best theater in the German speaking world' --Theater Basel [dir- Benedikt von Peter, cnd- Mario Venzago]. Not much is known about the cast, but Benedikt von Peter is my latest fave director, and I'm pretty confident the show will be great.

    Jun 2011: Tristan und Isolde [dir- La Fura dels Baus, cnd- Kirill Petrenko] Apparently Jossi Wieler (new intendant of the Stuttgart Opera) and Sergio Morabito could not produce this show. Hopefully La Fura dels Baus will make the show interesting w/o too much pneumatics or segways. Kirill the great Petrenko knows this orchestra very well and since Gary Lehman will sing Tristan, this should be a top Wagner event in 2011.

    *In addition to the on-going run of Die Meistersinger at Komische Oper in Berlin!

    Remarkable Григорий in The Met's Boris Godunov

    This is one of my favorite operas and since it was one of the 4 Met's new productions this season, I obviously could not miss the live broadcast from New York last Saturday night.

    Since there're many papers on Internet about the show, I have very little to say without risking to upset most of the people who actually liked what they could see. After 4 hrs 20 of Boris from The Met I thought the title I used to describe La donna del Lago --premiered last June in Paris-- was a perfect description of what I felt.

    So I won't dissect the show but only broadly notice a strong contrast between the singers who were getting more and more awesome as the show progressed, and the growing evidence that the director was desperately rushing to get this piece over with -- no guiding idea, old-fashioned direction...

    With that being said, I loved the bass-fest with Mikhail Petrenko, René Pape, Evgeny Nikitin, but to me the winner of the night was actually a tenor: Grigoriy by Aleksandrs Antonenko. Bless him!

    Ed: If you're interested in seeing an inventive production of Boris, check out the Dimitri Tcherniakov's production at DKT in Copenhagen next January/February.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Simon Boccanegra in Strasbourg

    Simon Boccanegra, Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg, October 24 2010

    Richard, Richards, Ryssov, Calderon, Murzaev, Focile, Burdenko

    Keith Warner ..... director
    Rani Calderon ..... conductor

    Sergey Murzaev ..... Simon Boccanegra
    Michail Ryssov ..... Jacopo Fiesco
    Nuccia Focile ..... Maria Boccanegra (Amelia)
    Andrew Richards ..... Gabriele Adorno
    Roman Burdenko ..... Paolo Albiani
    Arnaud Richard ..... Pietro

    Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse
    Chorus of Opéra national du Rhin