Despite its unbearable snootiness the Bayerische Staatsoper [BSO] in Munich remains one of those rare places in Europe where you can see the opera stars regularly singing in very good productions. Fidelio, Mitridate and Rusalka, all premiered last season, are good illustrations of how good and artistically healthy that opera house is [Fidelio was visually ruined by a memorably bad filming --if you only saw the webcast-- but its content is becoming more resonant with what the current economical situation entails...]
Months ago I've ordered the tickets for the new BSO production of Les Contes de Hoffmann [directed by Richard Jones, with our dear-dear Diana Damrau making her debut in four roles, with Rolando Villazon hopefully back to his memorable Hoffmann-mode, and with the rock-solid John Rellyea.] Unfortunately in late August I received a mail from BSO informing me that all seats were sold out to subscribers (sic!) Tough luck and I decided to go to Basel instead and see Wozzeck (FANTASTIC! - will blog soon about that one too) and Rusalka.
Happily, the world's best TV -- Arte, natürlich!-- is there to help. They will live broadcast Les Contes de Hoffmann from Munich on Monday, November 21, starting from 20:30 cet. Good!
Another good news to share is that the Birmingham Ring, created in the 90's by Graham Vick, was presented last week at La Cité de la Musique in Paris and Arte Live Web provided the live webcast, that will be available for about 6 months for free viewing (all four videos also embedded below)
This is orchestrally a thinned version, that Jonathan Dove adroitly and cleverly scaled down to about 20-30 instruments. The story is slightly alternated, cut at several places as to make the whole cycle manageable by the small sized theaters without ruining anything to the flow of dramatic action in all four operas. The cycle is called the Ring Saga. It is different, and you might actually like it!
Peter Rundel is a briliant conductor and the ensemble of singers is definitely interesting.
Yes, there is also Cherubini's Médée from Brussels also available for free viewing (La Monnaie rocks!), but I think I should write a few helpful lines to help you better "read" through this MAGNIFICENT production by Warlikowski.