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

Un samedi aprèsm

Poems for Piano and Voice by Hugo Wolf, Théâtre Athénée - Paris, October 23 2010

Shigeko Hata and Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Talking about Verdi...

Requiem, Théâtre du Châtelet - Paris, October 22, 2010

Brauer, Zeppenfeld, Gatti, Meli, Gubanova, Stoyanova

Daniele Gatti ..... conductor
Matthias Brauer ... chorus dir

Krassimira Stoyanova ..... Soprano
Ekaterina Gubanova ..... Mezzo-soprano
Stuart Neill Francesco Meli ... Tenor
Georg Zeppenfeld ..... Bass

Orchestre National de France
Chorus of Radio France

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grandissimo Claudio Abbado

Symphony #9 by Gustav Mahler, Salle Pleyel - Paris, October 20 2010

Picture I saw right after I got off the Métro - Etoile

Going to Pleyel I was a bit tired [with all the things I've done at work during the day...] but the moment I came out of the Métro stop Etoile and saw the above scene in front of me, in spite of its automny flavor, a good part of my fatigue was gone. That's that special effect Paris can have on you...

But hey, the night was supposed to be about a huge concert with Maestro Claudio Abbado  --in one of his rare appearances-- performing The Ninth with Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fidelio in Tours: excellent Delunsch, Wilde and Sidhom

Fidelio, Opéra de Tours, October 17 2010

Jean-Yves Ossonce ..... conductor
Marion Wassermann ..... director

Mireille Delunsch ..... Leonore
Sabine Revault d'Allonnes ..... Marzeline
Jean-Francis Monvoisin ..... Florestan
Scott Wilde ..... Rocco
Peter Sidhom ..... Don Pizzaro
Stanislas de Barbeyrac ..... Jacquino
Ronan Nédélec ..... Don Fernando

Orchestre Symphonique Région Centre-Tours
Chorus of Opéra de Tours

Neo-Futurism at Danish Royal Opera

Johan Reuter, Sine Bundgaard, and Johnny van Hal after la prima of Lulu at DKT, October 15, 2010

My first opera-trip to Copenhagen was actually in 2009 when I went to see their new production of Tristan og Isolde in which Stig Andersen directed a show depicting what happens backstage when the passionate wagnerian singers prepare to sing Tristan. The idea was maybe not original but I liked it even if the show was a bit too sluggish for my taste. That was my first encounter with their new stunningly beautiful Opera House.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lulu at The Royal Danish Opera

Lulu, Det Kongelige Teater - Copenhagen, October 15 2010

Stene, Lodahl, Reuter, Bundgaard, van Hal, Fremmerlid, Kristensen

Michael Boder ..... Conductor
Stefan Herheim ..... Director
 Heike Scheele ..... Set designer

Sine Bundgaard ..... Lulu
Randi Stene ..... Countess Geschwitz
Elisabeth Jansson ..... Theatrical dresser/Gymnast/Groom
Peter Lodahl ..... Painter/Negro
Johan Reuter ..... Dr. Schön/Jack the Ripper
Johnny van Hal ..... Alwa
Magne Fremmerlid ..... Animal tamer/Theatre manager/Athlete
Sten Byriel ..... Schigolch
Michael Kristensen ..... Prince/Marquis Casti Piani/Manservant
Anders Jakobsson ..... Professor Hunidei/Doctor/Puntschu
Lina Johnson ..... 15 year old girl
Elisabeth Halling ..... Her mother
Josefine Andersson ..... A craftsman
Waltteri Torikka ..... A journalist
Jakob Vad ..... A servant

Det Kongelige Kapel, The Royal Danish Orchestra

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jonasabend at Théâtre des Champs Élysées

The other day Elina Garanca was ill and had to cancel both her concerts in Baden Baden and at Pleyel, Paris. I can only imagine the mess the organizers at Pleyel had to deal with after that cancellation as she was coming with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra...

We kept our fingers crossed for tonight's liederabend with Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch, and hoped no last minute surprise --like last week  in Barcelona-- would stand on the way to a superb Liederabend. These two exceptional artists gave us a magnificent concert two years ago at Opéra Garnier, and the tonight's concert was just a confirmation that Jonas is at his best in this form of recital.

This was 1 hour and a half of pure beauty, in front of the crowd of 1,920.  They performed the full opus of Die schöne Müllerin in one go. You could hear a pin drop...

In the end, what to say? He really is an exceptional singer.

Have a look at his sched and if these two guys happen to perform somewhere near you, do not miss it. Pure gem!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wozzeck and Le Nozze live on TV in November

  1. November 3 at 20:30 (cet) on France3: revival of an ancient production of Le Nozze di Figaro live from Opéra Bastille in Paris [dir - Giorgio Strehler, cnd- Philippe Jordan, Cast: Ludovic Tézier, Barbara Frittoli, Ekaterina Syurina, Luca Pisaroni, Karine Deshayes, Ann Murray, Robert Lloyd...]
  2. November 26 at 17:00 (cet) on MezzoTV: so much spoken about Wozzeck, live from Bolshoi Theater in Moscow [dir- Dmitri Tcherniakov, cnd- Theodor Curretzis, Cast: Georg Nigl, Elena Zhidkova, Roman Muravitsky, Fredrik Akselberg...]

Vadim Repin at Pleyel

Orchestre de Paris conducted by Paavo Järvi and Vadim Repin perform right now at Pleyel and arte LIVE-WEB provides live broadcast on this link (also embedded below)

This concert will be available on the same link during next 6 months for free.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Busy Herheim - Lulu arrives to Copenhagen

Stefan Herheim --one of my absolute fave directors!-- is busy preparing the premiere of his Lulu in Copenhagen, which is supposed to be the operatic event in Europe this October. This will also be the first ever production of Lulu in Denmark.

8 shows series at the Danish Royal Opera opens next Friday, October 15, and Yours Truly will hopefully be there. ;)

After Copenhagen the same production [but with different cast] will travel to Den Norske Opera in Oslo where 10 more shows are scheduled between February and March 2011.
Moreover, the production will appear on the 2011-2012 program of Semperoper in Dresden.

Tough show in Basel: Aida directed by Calixto Bieito

Aida, Theater Basel, September 26 2010

Michelle De Young, Sergey Khomov, and Angeles Blancas

Maurizio Barbacini Gabriel Feltz ..... conductor
Calixto Bieito ..... director

Angeles Blancas ..... Aida  
Michelle De Young ..... Amneris
Sergey Khomov ..... Radamès 
Alfred Walker ..... Amonasro  
Daniel Golossov ..... Ramfis
Andrew Murphy ..... Il re
Karl-Heinz Brandt ..... Un messagero
Rena Harms ..... Una sacerdotessa

Chorus of Theater Basel
Sinfonieorchester Basel

Migration is the oldest action against poverty. It selects those who most want help. It is good for the country to which they go; it helps break the equilibrium of poverty in the country from which they come. What is the perversity in the human soul that causes people to resist so obvious a good?
    J.K. Galbraith in The Nature of Mass Poverty, Harvard University Press, 1979.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nearly perfect production of Roméo et Juliette in Amsterdam

Roméo et Juliette, De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, October 10 2010

Conductor ..... Marc Minkowski
Director ..... Olivier Py

Juliette ..... Lyubov Petrova
Roméo ..... Ismael Jordi
Frère Laurent ..... Nicolas Testé
Stéphano ..... Cora Burggraaf
Mercutio ..... Henk Neven
Tybalt ..... Sébastien Droy
Gertrude ..... Doris Lamprecht
Benvolio ..... Jean-Léon Klostermann
Paris ..... Maarten Koningsberger
Grégorio ..... Mattijs van de Woerd
Capulet ..... Philippe Rouillon
Le Duc/Frère Jean ..... Christophe Fel
Manuela ..... Oleksandra Lenyshyn
Pepita ..... Maartje de Lint
Angelo ..... John van Halteren

Residentie Orkest & Koor van De Nederlandse Opera

Otello at Théâtre des Champs Elysées: Queen Anja

Otello, Théâtre des Champs Élysées, October 9 2010

Daniel Harding ..... Conductor

Ben Heppner Franco Farina ..... Otello
Anja Harteros ..... Desdemona
Franco Vassallo ..... Jago
Alexey Dolgov ..... Cassio
Christina Dalestska ..... Emilia
Emanuele Giannino ..... Rodrigo
Stanislav Shevts ..... Lodovico
Giovanni Guagliardo ..... Montano / Herold

Mahler Chamber Orchestra
WDR Rundfunkchor Köln
Les Petits Chanteurs de Strasbourg - Maîtrise de l'Opéra national du Rhin

Sequentia perform the Rheingold from Edda

Edda - The Rheingold Curse, Cité de la Musique - Paris, September 24 2010

Benjamin Bagby ..... voice, lyre
Agnethe Christensen ..... voice (Brynhild), drum
Lena Susanne Norin ..... voice (Gudrun)
Elizabeth Gaver ..... fiddle
Norbert Rodenkirchen ..... flutes, lyre

Friday, October 8, 2010

Passion by Dusapin

Passion, Théâtre des Champs Elysées - Paris, Octobre 6 2010

Pascal Dusapin and Sacha Waltz

Franck Ollu ..... conductor
Sasha Waltz .... director & choreographer

Barbara Hannigan Lei
Georg Nigl Lui

Sasha Waltz & Guests
Vocalconsort Berlin
Ensemble Modern

October at Cité de la Musique

October, film-concert, Cité de la Musique, October 7 2010

October: Ten Days That Shook the World 
[Октябрь (Десять дней, которые потрясли мир)] by Sergei Eisenstein

Music by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestre National d'Île de France
Dmitry Yablonsky .... conductor

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Photo Gallery from Warlikowski's Macbeth

To all the folks who made a trip to Brussels to see the most unforgettable production of Macbeth at La Monnaie/De Munt last June, produced by a duo Krzysztof Warlikowski and Małgorzata Szcześniak, with a stunning scenic and vocal performance of all the cast members, and with a particularly inspired orchestra and chorus under the baton of maestro Paul Daniel: Denis Guéguin has set a website with a bunch of photo galleries from this show

You're welcome! I loved it too ;)

To all of you who didn't see the show, these photos might be interesting too.
In addition Andrew Richards writes on his blog about a somewhat painful but passionate process of creating this award winning show (see here, here, here, here
and especially here ).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Carmen in Barcelona

Carmen, Gran Teatre del Liceu - Barcelona, September 30 2010

Director ..... Calixto Bieito
Conductor ..... Marc Piollet

Carmen ..... Jossie Pérez
Don José ..... Brandon Jovanovich
Micaela ..... Maria Bayo
Escamillo ..... Jean-François Lapointe
Frasquita ..... Eliana Bayón
Mercédès ..... Itxaro Mentxaka
Le Dancaire ..... Marc Canturri
Le Remendado ..... Francisco Vas
Moralès ..... Alex Sanmarti
Zuñiga ..... Josep Ribot

Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu

La Prima of Metanoia in Berlin, tonight on Arte

The first new production at Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin is opening tonight: Metanoia is a world premiere, composed by Jens JoneleitChristoph Schlingensief [director of the (in)famous Parsifal in Bayreuth 2004] was supposed to direct the show but he unfortunately died of lung cancer in August this year (at the age of 49!)...

The show is therefore dedicated to the memory of Christoph Schlingensief. The production team decided not to name a new director, but decided to leave it nameless but they followed the Schlingensief's notes  about the way he envisaged the staging.

Annette Dasch in Metanoia at DSO Berlin (what about the hideous costumes?!) [Photo: © Lucie Jansch]

The underlying inspiration for this work is Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy. Metanoia is consisted of 5 scenes, each "exploring the interaction among individuals, society and art" [whatever that really means.]

Daniel Barenboim will conduct and the soloists will be Annette Dasch, Daniel Schmutzhard, Graham Clark, Alfred Reiter and Anna Prohaska.

Tonight [Sunday, October 3], right after the premiere at DSO Berlin, the world's coolest TV [Arte, of course] will broadcast the show. Set your DVR - Arte at 22:25 (cet) for 90 minutes of Metanoia!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Best of 2009-2010: Macbeth in Brussels, Stefan Herheim, and Theater Basel -- says Opernwelt and we agree

Opernwelt magazine polled the critics from German speaking countries and published their Best of 2009-2010 list:
  • Best opera production: Macbeth at La Monnaie in Bussels [dir Krzysztof Warlikowski, cond Paul Daniel] Sets & costumes: Małgorzata Szcześniak, Cast: Scott Hendricks, Iano Tamar, Carlo Colombara, Andrew Richards, Benjamin Bernheim
  • Best director: Stefan Herheim for Der Rosenkavalier at Staatsoper Stuttgart
  • Best Opera House: Theater Basel  and its director Dietmar Schwarz

and more...

Nuovi allestimenti in Europa - Ottobre 2010

Out of many new European opera productions to be premiered in October, I believe the most promising 5 should be:

  • Oct 15: DKT Copenhagen - Lulu [dir Stefan Herheim, cond Michael Boder] Cast: Sine Bundgaard, Randi Stene, Peter Lodahl, Johan Reuter, Sten Byriel, Johnny van Hal
  • Oct 23: BSO Munich - Rusalka [dir Martin Kusej, cond Tomas Hanus] Cast: Klaus Florian Vogt, Kristine Opolais, Nadia Krasteva, Günther Groissböck...
  • Oct 31: Oper Frankfurt - Die Walküre [dir Vera Nemirova, cond Sebastian Weigle] Cast: Eva-Maria Westbroek, Susan Bullock, Terje Stensvold...
  • Oct 17: Staatsoper Wien - Cardillac [dir Sven-Eric Bechtolf, cond Franz Welser-Möst] Cast: Juha Uusitalo, Juliane Banse, Herbert Lippert
  • Oct 17: Hamburgische Staatsoper - Die Götterdämmerung [dir Claus Guth, cond Simone Young] Cast: Christian Franz,Deborah Polaski, John Tomlinson, Petra Lang etc
New Herheim project with Heike Scheele designing the sets will be premiered in Copenhagen, but you can also catch the same show in Oslo in February 2011. It will be interesting to see what will Martin Kusej do to Rusalka in Munich, although the focus will most probably be on Vera Nemirova who received great review for her Rheingold in Frankfurt, and is now to unveil her take on  Die Walküre. Claus Guth is finishing his Ring Cycle in Hamburg which should be interesting. I take the risk and predict that Cardilac in Vienna might be a great surprise of October.

Not to forget the superb Don Giovanni [dir Tcherniakov] and Die Passagierin [dir David Pountney] that will be premiered in Moscow and in Warsaw respectively, both unveiled in July at the Festivals in Aix and Bregenz resp, or Die Fledermaus in Stuttgart, Passion in Paris, Roméo in Amsterdam, Boris in Turin, Orlando in Lille... and many other highly promising shows listed below [in chro.order]...

October... and the trees are stripped bare

Classical October in Paris looks busy [I guess I should reiterate that the following is my selection of events (classical music and opera) to see in Paris.]

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Komischer Meistersinger

Before claiming that Bieito's Aida [currently running at Theater Basel] is one of the 5 best operatic events this year*, we should check at least 5-6 new productions still to be unveiled this year, one of them being new Meistersinger von Nürnberg which opened the 2010-2011 season at Komische Oper Berlin last Sunday.

Andreas Homoki directed the show, Patrick Lange conducts, while in the cast you find Marco Jentzsch (Walther),  Tómas Tómasson (Sachs), Dimitry Ivashchenko (Pogner), Tom Erik Lie (Beckmesser), Ina Kringelborn (Eva) etc.

From Act-3 of the new Meistersinger directed by Andreas Homoki [© Komische Oper Berlin]
You probably already understood that Komische is one of my 5 favorite theaters in Europe so I obviously wish I could encourage you to go and see one of the eight remaining shows. [I will of course see it, but in November or December.]

Trailer attached below.

*I'm still to post a short review on that show. 
In addition to his Aida, I saw the "new" Bieito's Carmen at Liceu in Barcelona yesterday.  Both reviews - tomorrow.

More Verdi on TV

Are you watching Aida at the Rhine right now on this link?

FYI Arte TV will broadcast tomorrow, October 2, at 20:40 (cet), a new production of Rigoletto from  Teatro La Fenice. Directed by Daniele Abbado, the show will be conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, and the cast includes Désirée Rancatore, Eric Cutler, Roberto Frontali, among others.

More pics and video excerpts can be found on Désirée Rancatore's blog.