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