Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lohengrin opens Bayreuth Festival today: Is Hans Neuenfels channeling Art Spiegelman?

Lohengrin is essentially a story about how to manipulate people, how to play with their customs, their culture and tradition, with their social order, and with their emotions. Stefan Herheim's production of Lohengrin at the Staatsoper in Berlin was to me the best Lohengrin I could see so far. The event was extra-special as Klaus Florian Vogt made a perfect match for Herheim's Lohengrin and was impeccable vocally. Dorothea Röschmann added her wonderful Elsa, and Michaela Schuster delivered a wickedly clever Ortrud [yes, in Herheim's Lohengrin Ortrud sees the manipulator in Lohengrin right from the beginning.]

Other memorable Lohengrin we could see last year was the Richard Jones' production for the Bayrische Staatsoper that you can find on DVD. The production is unusual and exciting but the concept simply didn't work for me. There,  Jonas Kaufmann was a brilliant Lohengrin and the hype before the show was entirely focused on him. The surprise, however, was Anja Harteros' Elsa who not only stole the show but blew away everyone in that production, including Kaufmann. That was one of the most amazing singing by a woman I've ever seen in any opera house.

Yummy cakes from Dalloyau in Paris (the first two choc-cakes are the Opera Cake and Opera 20-10)

Today is the opening day of the Festival in Bayreuth and --as I already mentioned several times-- it will be live broadcast via BR-Klassik starting from 16:00  (cet) on this link. See also this link to consult the cast members list. Kaufmann should shine 1000 colors today, but I expect a lot especially from Andris Nelsons.

Intermezzo posted a dozen of pics from the final dress rehearsal on her blog today, which lead me to believe that Neuenfels has taken Art Spiegelman-ian view on Brabant. A suivre...

I need one ticket for the third show - August 6.  
Huge thanks in advance to anyone who could help!

New pics below

Friday, July 23, 2010

Don Giovanni in Glyndebourne

Tonight, July 23 at 18:00 (Paris time) via Medici TV we can all see --live from Glyndebourne-- new Don Giovanni, directed by Jonathan Kent. I loved his production of The Fairy Queen and hope this Don Giovanni is fine too. It is unfortunate that this broadcast comes less than 3 weeks after we saw the finest Don Giovanni ever, i.e. the one by Dmitrii Tcherniakov presented at the festival in Aix-en-Province. We will try and stay unbiased as much as possible ;)

From Jonathan Kent's production of Don Giovanni in Glyndebourne 2010

Musically it should be very good as Vladimir Jurowski will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the cast includes: Anna Samuil (brilliant Donna Anna in Verbier last year!), Gerald Finley (always good!), Luca Pisaroni (is Luca the most talented singer of his generation?), Kate Royal, Anna Virovlansky, Guido Loconsolo, William Burden, and Alastair Miles.

Ed:  Tcherniakov's production is a century ahead from this half-baked bufoonery by Kent. I think the best is to pretend this actually never happened and move on (Anna, Luca, and Gerald were very good though)

Appended are two videos about the production...

Warlikowski moment from La Monnaie

I already mentioned the Krzysztof Warlikowski's production of Macbeth as the best show I've seen this year.
(a) Because it was the best any theater can offer you today (opera or non-opera).
(b) Because the orchestra was perfect and Paul Daniel was extrafreakingordinary.
(c) Because of the dream-cast in which, thanks to Warlikowski, each and every member surpassed him/herself and delivered more than just his/her best singing. Especially Scott Hendricks' singing and acting skills were out of this world!
The show took place at La Monnaie in Brussels, the impeccable acoustics of which made the whole experience unforgettable. I discussed it already here and here...

A reader (many thanks to AN!) pointed out to me that two videos from this production appeared on YT. First video is in fact a photo-gallery that will please all of you who saw the show, because it brings back a glimpse of that rare moment in opera in which everything seems to be so perfect, so deeply human(izing)... Enjoy!

Second video is Come dal ciel precipita, superbly sung by Carlo Colombara. Andrew Richards is the author of this video (which explains the angle of shooting ;) ). Too bad there is no video of his [Richards'] aria O figli miei. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Et pendant ce temps-là à Bayreuth...

The end of the Festivals in Aix and in Munich is the sign that the Bayreuther Festspiele is just around the corner. It will open on July 25 (Sunday) with a new production of Lohengrin, which we can listen to via Radio BR-Klassik. The broadcast will begin at 4 pm (cet) on this link. Full information about the broadcast dates from Bayreuth and from Salzburg can be found here.

Stefan Herheim, Parsifal - rehearsal July 20, 2010

In Bayreuth the rehearsals are all over the place and everything is getting ready for the big Sunday opening. In particular the smashing production of Parsifal by Stefan Herheim will see its second revival (one of the best shows I've ever seen!) and a short video shot during a rehearsal can be found on this link.

Wha'was that? Wha'was that?

I don't know if you saw the concert with Vadim Repin I suggested you to check out on Arte Live Web. In any case it's still viewable on the same link. Note in particular the tune Repin plays as encore: it's one of those tunes I had running in my head for years but I never knew what it was.
You know the situation when you ask the folks around you "Hey, what was that?!" they pretend they didn't hear your question, and later on it's too late... ? And then, when you finally uncode it, it feels goood ;)
Most of you very probably know it, but in case you don't, it's Paganini's "Il Carnevale Di Venezia"

Here is a YT video

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Munich Opera Festival 2010: The Silent Woman

And so The Silent Woman (Die Schweigsame Frau) was premiered last  night in Munich. The German reviewers all seem to be delighted by the show staged by Barrie Kosky (awesome Aussie whose staging at the Komische in Berlin made Rigoletto-opera look intelligent), which after an overall disappointing Tosca comes to rescue the Festival 2010.

Diana Damrau and Toby Spence in Die Schweigsame Frau

The press is particularly gushing over Diana Damrau and Toby Spence who made the evening memorable, and the whole cast appears to have been extremely good [of course nobody resists converting Die schweigsame Frau into Die schwangere Frau -- Diana is pregnant]. The reviews you can read are: here, here, here, and more... Excellent conducting by Kent Nagano is emphasized too.

I'm glad I'll be able to see this show. I don't know this opéra-comique at all. It's a rarely staged Strauss and, strangely enough it's not in the 2010-2011 program of the Bayrische Staatsoper. So, it's now or... or who knows when?! :)

3 more pics and videos (all from BSO) attached below

Aix 2010: Pygmalion (2)

Last night we --the lucky subscribers to Mezzo-TV-- could see, live from Aix en Provence, Pygmalion by Rameau, a dance-opera brilliantly staged by  Trisha Brown. The story of a sculptor who falls in love with his creation and begs the goddess to bring her [sculpture] to life, is told by means of modern dancing, involving lots of clever and interestingly constructed topology and fancy positions by both the dancers AND the singers. The orchestra  Les Arts Florissants was marvelous and its boss, maestro  William Christie, simply has this music in his veins. You never feel it as monotonous or flat. It lives!

 Ed Lyon with dancers from The Trisha Brown Dance Company

The singers... aaah the singers: to me Ed Lyon is in the world of tenors what Anja Harteros is in the world of sopranos right now -- can't do wrong. That musicality, that command, sheer beauty of his voice and that diction -- you can't hear that every decade. Sophie Karthäuser and  Emmanuelle de Negri were both wonderful as ever, but the surprise came from Karolina Blixt who we obviously didn't know, as this was her first important international appearance. Her superb scenic presence is backed by a healthy mezzo voice -- with a dark timbre wonderfully fitting  Phaedra [she actually excelled in the first part of the evening, i.e. in Hippolytus and Aricia] One more brilliant Swedish (mezzo)-soprano: what do they feed them with over there? :)

This show practically closes Aix-en-Provence 2010, which I will certainly never forget, mostly because of that Don Giovanni (I'm still hung up on it! ;) ). A huge shoutout to the director of the festival Bernard Foccroulle for providing such a great quality level of the orchestra, conductors, singers AND for a delightful mixture of brilliant directors! I'd remind you that we already the program of Aix-en-Provence 2011.

3 more pics behind...

Monday, July 19, 2010

When in Munich... Pinakothek der Moderne is Cool

Munich is very pleasant although not particularly beautiful a city. There are however three excellent museums/galleries that you MUST visit when in town.

If you're a Rubens fan you'll love Alte Pinakothek. Their whole collection is magnificent but their  selection of Rubens' paintings is extraordinary. In comparison, their Neue Pinakothek is much less impressive: you may consider zapping the monotony of first 15 chambers/halls and see the last 3 -- impressionists that will act on your mood like yawn dispersers.

The best of Munich is stored in Pinakothek der Moderne: fantastically organized museum, truly awesome collection of paintings [and some sculptures] covering full spectrum of styles of the 20th century. Add too that  a superbly arranged decorative design section, cleverly intertwined with contemporary art collection... and you get an idea of how good it all is.

Below I attach ~10% of the pics I took in the upper part of this most delightful building to visit when in Munich... [by clicking on each pic you'll see it larger/better]

2010-2011, 2011-2012 2012-2013 with too many consonants [Eastern and Central Europe] :)

Central and Eastern Europe are not only reservoir of extraordinary singers and brilliant directors. They  too produce some wonderful shows. Only this season the first ever Wozzeck was staged in Moscow, directed by Dima Tcherniakov - no less! Tcherniakov's Tristan at Mariinsky was very starry as René Pape was the King Marke for a few shows... The new production of Les Troyens by La Fura dels Baus was premiered at Mariinsky. Good shows were staged in Budapest by very talented Balasz Kovalik. Narodowa Opera in Warsaw is one of the most creative places in Europe right now...

Janacek is everywhere in Prague: maybe not in their opera program, but definitely on one of many delicious beers [Janaceks own a famous brewery in Czech]

Below you'll find a selection of theaters and their new productions in 2010-2011 (to be updated in September)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Munich Opera Festival 2010

Halfway through and two out of three festival premieres were presented:

  1. Medea in Corinto was apparently excellent which was expected since the director and the stage designer were Hans Neuenfels and Anna Viebrock [for a sneak peak see 2 videos attached below]
  2. Luc Bondy's Tosca was sold out long before it was premiered mainly because of Jonas Kaufmann. For us who couldn't score the ticket Arte-TV provided a live broadcast and... how shall I put it?... it was far from the best of Bondy. If the Met crowd didn't moan because Gelb annihilated that pile of Zeffirelli's decors, I would have understood their discontentment at the beginning of 2009-2010 when this production was premiered in New York...
  3. While Medea was in fact premiered a few weeks before the Festival began, and Tosca --although co-produced with the Met-- was premiered in New York in 2009, the only true Festival premiere will be the new work of Barrie Kosky, namely  The Silent Woman (Die Schweigsame Frau)Kent Nagano will conduct, Diana Damrau, Toby Spence, super-talented Nikolay Borchev, and others will sing... and Yours Truly will be there [hoping that Hawlata will sing well.]

La Stagione 2010-2011 2012-2013 in Italia

In spite of numerous organizational and financial difficulties in Italian theaters, La Scala remains one of the world's leading opera houses, and so not only because of its tradition and prestige but also because of the genuinely good quality of its operatic offer. Teatro Regio in Turin manages to keep up a high level too.

The others are clearly less good on the paper but you can still catch 1-2 excellent show every year in Ancona, Bari, Trieste...  The victims of erosion of Italian opera seem to be Teatro Carlo Felice and Teatro San Carlo who year after year were thinning down their programs and now they struggle to exist. We of course wish them a huge "In bocca al lupo".

More details about the new productions in 2010-2011 in Italy

Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti..., but also Dallapiccola, Busoni, Nono...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tosca at Chorégies d'Orange

Yearly opera festival in the small town Orange [Provence - South of France], is the most popular operatic event in France. The festival has a great tradition (it was inaugurated in 1869) and takes place in a magnificent Antique Theater --open air amphitheater-- which can host up to 8,600 people [This is how the theater looks during an operatic evening.] Every year one opera from Chorégies d’Orange is live broadcast on the French national television.

Tosca at Chorégies d'Orange, Catherine Naglestad, Falk Struckmann and Roberto Alagna

Quite honestly, I'm fed up with Tosca because I saw 2 productions in a span of less than 40 days: first there was that shabby production in Berlin with super-duper-Pieczonka, and then --less than a week ago-- we were overbored by the show from Munich on Arte.

HOWEVER, I must admit that I'm tempted to see it again next Sunday when it will be live broadcast from Orange. The production was premiered last night and the first reviews are excessively good (which is not a good sign as far as quality of the staging goes), the cast is terrific Catherine (the Great) Naglestad, Roberto Alagna and Falk Struckmann [plus always reliable Wojtek Smilek], so... so I guess I'll give it one more shot :)

If you're tempted too, live broadcast on  France2 will start next Sunday, July 18 at 21:30 (Paris time). I am sure you can find a way to see France2 on internet if you don't have it already in your package...
If not, you can follow it on the radio -- here is the link. For more details about the production team see here.

Below I attached 3 short videos from the last night premiere (2nd and 3rd videos are complete arias E lucevan le stelle and Vissi d'arte sung by Mario and Floria respectively.)

Ed1: I'd like to urge you to listen to Catherine the Great Naglestad's perfect singing of Vissi d'arte (last video below).  Bless her

Ed2 (after the show): To me this was the best of all three productions of Tosca I could see over the past 40 days or so. The staging was not great but it was very well sung by all the cast members.  OK, now I think I've had enough of Tosca ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Catfish Row in Lyon - France

Of all the big cities in France, Lyon has the best (relatively affordable) French restaurants. My last trip to Lyon will remain unforgettable because it was crowned by a lunch at the restaurant Christian Têtedoie. Good God!!! If you plan to go to Lyon next year to see Tristan und Isolde don't miss the opportunity to indulge yourself in some of those ridiculously delicious places ;)

OK, I won't talk about food, but rather about the Opéra National de Lyon, arguably the most exciting opera house in France right now. They are involved in many co-productions with the world's most prestigious opera houses and festivals, they have excellent orchestra led by Kazushi Ono (some years back Kent Nagano was the house conductor), and they are particularly blessed to have Serge Dorny as GM, because he's enterprising, pragmatic, mixes up cleverly the program of their opera-seasons...  To me he's a very example of how an opera house should be run (as opposed to the Paris Opera, for example)

Next two days, July 16 and July 17, Lyon will celebrate Porgy and Bess, by organizing a bunch of popular jazz concerts all over the city, and also by a massive public viewing of the production of Porgy and Bess premiered two years ago at Opéra National de Lyon, which will be live broadcast on Saturday  July 17  at 21:00 (cet), on big screens on the main city squares in 12 cities of the Rhône-Alpes region. There is a good chance that the show will be live webcast too -- I'll keep you posted...

You can find more detailed information on the cast and on the production team here. Besides these two shows, there will be another two at in September. In the meantime the production will travel to Edinburgh for 3 sold-out performances at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Pleased to notice the name of Gregg Baker in the cast of tomorrow's show [remember the awesome Amfortas from Bieito's Parsifal in Stuttgart that I mentioned here?!]

I struggled but finally managed to append a video excerpt from this production - enjoy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Aix 2010: Pygmalion

The last of five operas at this year's Festival in Aix-en-Provence is Pygmalion and is to be premiered coming Friday, July 16. This production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's  opera/ballet is directed by Trisha Brown and William Christie will conduct his amazing Les Arts Florissants. The cast includes the most brilliant Ed Lyon, as well as excellent Sophie Karthäuser, Karolina BlixtEmmanuelle de Negri. The show was pre-premiered last month in Amsterdam, received mixed reviews, but again everyone praised the brilliance of the singers...

Sophie Karthäuser and Ed Lyon in Trisha Brown's production of Pygmalion

Very good news is that Mezzo TV will provide us with live broadcast of the show on Tuesday, July 20 at 21:00 (cet).

Aix 2010: Alceste

Arte Live Web treated us royally this year and we could see live broadcast of three out of five operas created for the Festival in Aix this year.

The fact that the fourth opera presented at this year's festival --Gluck's Alceste, directed by Christof Loy-- won't be TV broadcast or webcast come like comes like "bad news".

Freiburger Barockorchester is conducted by maestro Ivor Bolton, and always brilliant Véronique Gens and an excellent Canadian tenor Joseph Kaiser are in the cast. The reviews are quite OK.
You could tell the critique became more careful when reviewing Christof Loy's work, as if they wouldn't want to repeat the last year's half-embarrassment when they collectively thrashed his Tristan in London, andonly a couple of months later the very same production picked up the Best New Opera Production Award for 2009 in the UK. ;)

A scene from Christof Loy's Alceste presented in Aix: Véronique Gens and Joseph Kaiser

 One thing is sure, everyone (critique, fans, colleagues...) is full of praise for Véronique Gens. The title role is apparently very hard on a soprano and it appears that the current state of her voice is perfectly suitable for Alceste. So, no TV broadcast, nor webcast planned -- I bet there will be a DVD out before the end of the year...

I found only one short video about Alceste on the site of France3, which is appended below.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Andromaque, Grétry...

I already mentioned here André Grétry, an 18th century Belgian-born French composer, who's sometimes called le Mozart français -- sort of equivalent to what's Vicente Martín y Soler in Spain. Grétry was also known as Marie-Antoinette's personal fave.

This year, Opéra Comique in Paris produced one Grétry's opera, and quite honestly, I wasn't impressed at all. I guess I expected too much after having listened to his other opera called Andromaque, in October 2009 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. I liked Andromaque because the music was pretty and interesting, the story pushed me to read more carefully the equally named tragedy by Jean Racine, on which the opera is based (wiki summary can be found here)... so the whole experience was enriching. In contrario, L'amant jaloux was a silly bore ;)

"La douleur d'Andromaque" (1783) by Jacques Louis David, Louvre (Paris)*

Now, almost the same production team who performed that Andromaque in concert in October 2009, directed by Georges Lavaudant, supplemented a scenic part and the full opera was presented  at the festival in Schwetzingen (Germany) in April 2010. The same show now arrived to Montpellier (South of France), where it was premiered last night...

Just saying...

On-line ticket sale for new Carmen directed by Calixto Bieito at GTL-Barcelona started yesterday (c.f. here).

In spite of all the media hype related to the Ring at the Met, La Scala/DSO - Berlin or even the one at the Paris Opera, I believe the major Wagnerian event next season is likely to be Tristan und Isolde with Gary Lehman and Ann Petersen, directed by Jossi Wieler and conducted by Kirill Petrenko. Tickets can be purchased on-line from the Lyon Opera website.

Tickets for the new show produced by Stefan Herheim, Lulu, are already available via DNO-Oslo or DKT-Copenhagen websites [latter website is a mess for non-Danish speaking opera cookies ;)]

To get your tics for the next Warlikowski event, The Rake's Progress, check out the DSO-Berlin website. N.B Ingo Metzmacher will be conducting the Staatskapelle

If you plan to go to Stuttgart to see Bieito's excellent Parsifal (with Honeck as brilliant!) or Herheim's enchanting Rosenkavalier, and be sure to have your tickets, book now!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best of 2010 (so far...)

Before we get completely soaked in all the wonderful Summer Opera Festivals, it's time to look back at what we've had in 2010, and to pick out the best of so many wonderful shows that I've been blessed to see this year.

Group A

It's not the end of the year so I won't make any top 10 list yet. Rather, I collect in Group-A the shows I think were the best, and in Group-B those that were excellent too, but remain in B only because A is too crowded ;)

Aix 2010 : Un Retour - El Regreso by Oscar Strasnoy

I know, I know -- who the heck is Oscar Strasnoy? 40 years old Argentine-French composer/conductor who lives both in Lyon and in Berlin; he's got excellent references, and out of three operas he composed and presented in big theaters so far, two were released this year.

Here we're talking about his third opera, premiered last week at the festival in Aix-en-Provence, and that we'll be able to see this evening, July 12 at 21:00 (Paris time), thanks to the coolest of all TV's, Arte, i.e. via its ArteLiveWeb portal.

 A pic from Un Retour - El Regreso © Elisabeth Carecchio

The opera is called Un Retour - El Regreso, based on the novel El regreso by Alberto Manguel, an Argentine-Canadian writer, who also adapted his work to shape it into libretto for this opera. Whatever indicator it may be for you, the French press was seduced by this 1 hour long chamber opera. A brief outline of the libretto can be found here.

If you like contemporary operas and if the excerpts from his previous works tickle your curiosity (c.f. here and here), then either go to ArteLiveWeb or see Un Retour - El Regreso here (embedded after the jump.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

¡¡¡Campeones del Mundo!!!

Congrats to all the Spanish bloggers, readers and occasional visitors!

Dima Tcherniakov created the finest Don Giovanni in business

I posted the link and embedded the video from ArteLiveWeb here. If you're still interested in seeing this wonderful production --targeting the adults who prefer to see more shades of gray in an opera production, rather than simple black/white portrayal of the characters--  then please do!

I saw it twice, plus one more time in fractions, thinking I might have been a bit too biased, as I globally like the Tcherniakov's work, and maybe his Don Giovanni wasn't all that good as I thought it was after seeing it only once. Well, sorry to all of you guys who disliked it, but after seeing it more than once I definitely think this is one of the finest shows we've ever seen in opera. Never did I see the singers act as good as professional actors in this sort of drama requiring classical acting, in which simplicity and spontaneity are essential, and which is so hard for many professional actors to achieve. Dima Tcherniakov made his crew do exactly that! They seemed spontaneous and natural.

Don Giovanni, July 5  2010 (Festival in Aix-en-Provence, via Arte) 

Director Dmitrii Tcherniakov
Conductor Louis Langrée

The action takes place in the house of Commendatore
Il Commendatore..... Anatoli Kotscherga
Donna Anna, his daughter..... Marlis Petersen
Don Ottavio, her new fiancé..... Colin Balzer
Zerlina, Donna Anna's daughter.... Kerstin Avemo
Masetto, Zerlina's fiancé..... David Bizic
Donna Elvira, Donna Anna's cousin..... Kristine Opolais
Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira's husband..... Bo Skovhus 
Leporello, a relative who lives in the house..... Kyle Ketelsen

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bondi's Tosca from Bayrische Opernfestspiele on Arte & Happy Birthday (41) to Jonas Kaufmann

Tosca from the Munich Opera Festival will be presented tonight at 9 pm (Paris time) on Arte. It's the same Luc Bondi production which opened the 2009-2010 season at The Met, but the cast tonight will be different: Karita Mattila (Tosca), Jonas Kaufmann (Cavaradossi), Juha Uusitalo (Scarpia)... and maestro Fabio Luisi will conduct the excellent Bayerisches Staatsorchester.

Here is a trailer:

As you might have noticed Puccini is not my cup of tea, and recently I realized that even Tosca became tedium rich opera for my system... BUT it's Kaufmann and I'm gonna see it. Hopefully Karita will sound better than on the recent recordings.  
Adrianne Pieczonka sounded gloriously last month in Berlin!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Broadcast from Salzburg and Bayreuth

Like every year, this year's 'important' festivals are those in Glyndebourne, Aix, Munich, Bayreuth and Salzburg (OK the one in Bregenz is apparently wonderful too, which I'll hopefully see a bit this year).

I very much enjoyed the Salzburger Festspiele last year and decided to return next August for about a week long stay. One of the cool things in Salzburg is that Siemens install a huge screen on the main town-square and practically every evening they show one opera for free to all the tourists and locals in town. Of course the sausages, brezels and beers are all over the place too. ;)
If you plan to go to Salzburg this summer, here is the program of free operas to see on the Town Square. Note in particular that the new production of Lulu will be live broadcast on August 1st at 8 pm (cet).

If you cannot make it to Salzburg or Bayreuth, one opera of each of the two festivals will be live broadcast via Siemens website. Last year I saw the premiere of Cosi fan tutte on that site, before actually going to Salzburg, and the quality was impeccable. You should just buy a ticket prior to the webcast,  which then allows you to see the show live and as many times as you want within 30 days following the live broadcast. They also provide you with libretto in three languages... They will update their website sometimes next week and if you're interested check out here.
The two operas to be broadcast this year are:
  1. SALZBURG: Lulu on August 1st, at 20:00 19:00 (cet)*. This new production should be good not only because Vera Nemirova will direct it but also because Patricia Petibon will sing the title role. If you can see it live in Salzburg it should be great because it will take place in the Felsenreitschule which is very wide but not too deep a theater, so wherever you're seated you're always near the stage.
  2. BAYREUTH: Die Walküre on August 21 at 16:00 (cet). I didn't see the Tankred Dorst's show (not my fave director), but I bet it will be very well sung. Christian Thielemann conducting the brilliant Bayreuther orchestra must be a treat too (this Ring from Bayreuth is released on CD, I listened to it several times and it's very good, imho)
* Just received a mail from Salzburger Festspiele saying:
Please be informed that all performances of Lulu will begin one hour earlier than previously planned (at 7.p.m. instead of 8.p.m.) due to the scheduled performance duration of 4 hrs. including 2 intervals.
 The longer duration of the performance is a result of our decision to present a version which includes a third act created by Friedrich Cerha.


Aix-en-Provence 2011

We already know the program for the Festival 2011 which will take place between July 5 and 25.

  1. New production of La Traviata will be directed by Jean-François Sivadier* (Oh my!), while Louis Langrée will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and the cast which includes Charles Castronovo, Ludovic Tézier, and Natalie Dessay [who will alternate with Jane Archibald]
  2. New production of La Clemenza di Tito will be directed by David McVicarSir Colin Davis will conduct the LSO
  3. Thanks to my eyes, is the name of an opera, composed by a 35 year old Italian composer/conductor Oscar Bianchi, which will will have its world premiere in Aix next year, in a production directed by Joël Pommerat who also wrote the libretto for this opera
  4. William Kentridge's production of The Nose is actually a coproduction of The Met, Aix, and Lyon. It was premiered this season at the Met and received excellent reviews. His awesomeness Kazushi Ono will conduct the Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon
  5. European Music Academy will present Acis and Galatea. The show will be directed and choreographed by Saburo Teshigawara (yess!), while the young Argentinian conductor Leonardo Garcia Alarcon will be in charge of music. 

*Sivadier is a guy who recently staged Carmen in Lille, that I suggested you to see in a free webcast (with the title role magnificently sung by Stéphanie d'Oustrac!, c.f. here) 

    Nightingale in Aix 2010: Une grosse tarte japonaise :)

    Pretty music by Stravinsky --superbly played by the orchestra of the Lyon National Opera and conducted by always reliable maestro Kazushi Ono-- and the string of wonderful singers compensated a theatrical void staged in a Disney-World like fashion by Robert Lepage.

    Nabil Suliman and Olga Peretyatko

    You can see this ~50 minute long opera on Arte Live Web for free. Fast forward to about 100th minute when The Nightingale actually begins and enjoy.
    In my humble opinion, what precedes this opera is far more interesting than The Nightingale itself. It's a selection of Russian songs that Stravinsky adapted for voice and orchestra, as well as the original songs he composed, all inspired by the Russian fairy tales. In that part Lepage too does a nice job by visualizing the stories by quickly mounting a shadow-theater. Only the last songs were spoiled by the excessive artistic gymnasts' performance in the same shadow theater...

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Juan Diego Florez: I wanted to be like Enrique Iglesias

    During his superb run as Giacomo, in an otherwise awful production of La donna del lago in Paris,  Juan Diego Florez spoke about his singing debuts and his boyish dreams to become a pop singer... like Enrique Iglesias.  Ahem :)

    A 4min30 excerpt of that interview (in Italian/Spanish and with French subtitles) after the jump...

    Stravinsky's Nightingale from Aix

    I didn't see last 20 minutes of Don Giovanni :(
    Will comment on the Tcherniakov's production --which I tenderly loved-- once I see these last 20 minutes and I'm a liiiittle less busy.

    Tonight, you can all try and see the Robert Lepage's production of The Nightingale

    Thanks to the coolest TV in the Universe, it's free and it will start at 8 pm (Paris time - c.e.t). Bless Arte Live Web ;)

    Information about the show can be found here. Our fave Kazushi Ono will conduct. With such a fantastic singers, I have no doubt that musicwise this will be 100 minutes of pure pleasure. As for the production itself, you already know that Robert Lepage's terabytes of computer images in an otherwise Zeffirelli's concept of theater are not what I like the most. So here is a hoping tonight we'll see a show in which the images do not hide the emptiness of content [like it was the case in the past, c.f. this].

    FYI, French press is full of praise for this production,  which is certainly pleasant but says very little about the real quality of the show [French critique is 'atrocious' for the most part]. A short video about the show can be found here.

    Ed: Olga Peretyatko and Elena Semenova are AMAZING singers. Nabil Suliman is very good too. In the show that we're about to see tonight they will combine live with the performance recorded last night. Olga complained on her blog about a sore throat she inadvertently woke up with yesterday, and the whole production team was freaking out all day... How it will all finish we'll see tonight. Good luck Olga [Удачи Оля!] :) 

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    We will barock you (3): Semele at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

    Semele,  Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (TCE), July 2, 2010

     Wallace, Croft, De Niese, Rousset, Genaux, Rose and Debono

    Christophe Rousset conductor
    David McVicar director

    Richard Croft Jupiter
    Peter Rose  Cadmus/Somnus
    Danielle De Niese  Semele
    Vivica Genaux  Juno/Ino
    Jaël Azzaretti  Iris
    Stephen Wallace  Athamas
    Claire Debono  Cupid
    Sébastien Droy  Apollo