Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Orlando from La Monnaie on Mezzo TV

Hope you all enjoyed this Orlando on Mezzo TV as much as I did. Brussels is really a miracle on the operatic map of Europe. Despite financial difficulties, they keep making the best shows in the world. Scenically this is not their best show but its musical content is absolutely splendid.
Yes, this is my favorite Handel opera!

Contrary to his Orlando Furioso last year in Paris, for his Orlando in Brussels --that was premiered only a week ago-- Pierre Audi did have a guiding idea, practically defined at the beginning of the show,  and it actually works well* [So even Audi's tired style gets better when staged at La Monnaie/De Munt.] The only problem is the snail pace of the dramatic action but thankfully the soloists are very engaging in incarnating their respective roles that eventually made the evening a passionate experience. The sets and costumes by Christof Hetzer definitely help supporting the overall atmosphere too (Hetzer usually works with David Hermann).

From Munich to Paris with love: Unforgettable ride of the Valkyries

Die Walküre in concert, Théâtre des Champs Élysées (TCE) in Paris, April 24 2012

Kent Nagano ..... Conductor 

Lance Ryan ..... Siegmund 
Anja Kampe ..... Sieglinde 
Ain Anger ..... Hunding 

Thomas J. Mayer ..... Wotan 
Michaela Schuster ..... Fricka 

9 Valkyries
Nina Stemme ..... Brünnhilde 
Danielle Halbwchs ..... Gerhilde 
Golda Schultz ..... Otlinde 
Heike Grötzinger ..... Waltraude 
Anaïk Morel ..... Schwertleite 
Erika Wueschner ..... Helmwige 
Roswitha C. Müller ..... Siegrune 
Okka von der Damereau ..... Grimgerde 
Alexandra Petersamer ..... Rossweisse 

Orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nixon in China for the people

And so, not only the Mezzo TV subscribers will be privileged to see the live broadcast of the new production of Nixon in China from the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, but also all the dear opera aficionados worldwide could see it live thanks to the best TV in the world and their Web-portal, Arte Live Web.

I reviewed the premiere, then went through several --mostly lazy-- official reviews, and I believe I should reiterate that the main quality of this production is that it wonderfully captured the theatrical atmosphere of the Nixons' visit that fits well the underlying music by Adams: the awkwardness of the situation in which the hypocrisy is a necessary means to bridging the gap between two totally different concepts of society, for (a) the greater good [world peace, prosperity...], (b) the political gains and a better place in history for both sides. And all that happens in the dictator's 'house'.

With the cast that will be nearly impossible to beat as far as this opera goes, I'd like to encourage you to spend three hours of your time (intermission included!) even if this music is not always close to your taste.

Video link is embedded below, and it will be available for free viewing 3 months following the live broadcast [Wednesday, April 18 2012, starting at 20:00 (cet)].

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

We Will Barock You: La Didone in Paris

La Didone, Théâtre des Champs Élysées (TCE), April 12 2012

Director ..... Clément Hervieu-Léger
Conductor ..... William Christie

Didone ..... Anna Bonitatibus
Enea ..... Krešimir Špicer 
Iarba ..... Xavier Sabata
Ecuba ..... Maria Streijffert
Cassandra, Damigella I, Dama III ..... Katherine Watson
Creusa, Giunone, Damigella II, Dama II ..... Tehila Nini Goldstein
Fortuna, Anna, Dama I ..... Mariana Rewerski
Venere, Iride, Damigella III ..... Claire Debono
Ascanio, Amore, Cacciatore ..... Damien Guillon/Terry Wey 
Anchise, Un Vecchio ..... Nicolas Rivenq
Ilioneo, Mercurio ..... Mathias Vidal
Corebo, Eolo, Cacciatore ..... Valerio Contaldo
Acate, Sicheo, Pirro ..... Joseph Cornwell
Greco, Giove, Nettuno, Cacciatore ..... Francisco Javier Borda 

Les Arts Florissants

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nixon in China opens at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris

Nixon in China, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, April 10 2012

Director ..... Chen Shi-Zheng
Conductor ..... Alexander Briger

Richard Nixon ..... Franco Pomponi
Pat Nixon ..... June Anderson
Henry Kissinger ..... Peter Sidhom
Mao Tse-tung ..... Alfred Kim
Chiang Ch'ing (Mme Mao) ..... Sumi Jo
Chou En-Lai .... Kyung Chun Kim
Mao's 1st Secretary ..... Sophie Leleu
Mao's 2nd Secretary ..... Alexandra Sherman
Mao's 3rd Secretary ..... Rebecca de Pont Davies

Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
Choeur du Châtelet

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

La Muette de Portici, Emma Dante, and the ghosts of the past

La Muette de Portici, Opéra Comique in Paris, April 5 2012 

Conductor ..... Patrick Davin 
Director  .....  Emma Dante

 Fenella ..... Elena Borgogni 
Alphonse ..... Maxim Mironov
Elvire ..... Église Gutiérrez 
Masaniello ..... Michael Spyres 
Pietro ..... Laurent Alvaro 
Borella ..... Tomislav Lavoie 
Selva ..... Jean Teitgen 
Lorenzo ..... Martial Defontaine 

Chorus and Orchestra of Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie 

The Power of Music:

Classical music is in Central Africa too.

Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste has been created from scratch, on a huge enthusiasm and perseverance by Armand Diangienda, and with a touching devotion of the locals to keep their orchestra alive.

Recently a German documentary Kinshasa Symphony attracted the attention of the worldwide press to this phenomenon.  60 minutes dedicated a whole segment to this gem (enjoy video attached below).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Benjamin Schad - winner of the 2012 Götz Friedrich Award

In honor to Götz Friedrich --the man who was the most inventive opera director during an era stretching from the 1960 to well in the 90's--  the Prize carrying his name is been attributed every year since 2000 to a young, talented, inventive opera director for his/her recent work.

For example, Sebastian Baumgarten won it in 2001 for his production of Tosca presented in Kassel (2000-2001), Stefan Herheim got one for his staging of I Puritani  at the Aalto Theater in Essen (2002-2003). Benedikt von Peter was awarded for Chief Joseph presented at Theater Heidelberg (2006-2007). Last among the better known directors to have won this prize is Johannes Erath -- for his Cendrillon given at the Staadttheater Bern (2007-2008).

Not every winner had a brilliant career after the Götz Friedrich Prize, but many did, and I believe this is a good radar for detecting brilliant young talents. It will be interesting to see what the last two winners will do in the future, two girls (!), Eva-Maria Höckmayr and Tabea Kranefoed.

This year's winner is Benjamin Schad for his production of The Turn of the Screw premiered on  February 2011 at the Trinity Church in Cologne.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Opulent Operatic Spring on DVD

This Spring many new DVD's are released with several truly excellent productions deserving to be a part of your collection.  A partial list with trailers attached below:

Lohengrin in Karlsruhe SC

Lohengrin, Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, April 1st 2012

Renatus Meszar, Susan Anthony, Heidi Melton,"Duke Gottfried", Lance Ryan, Jaco Venter

Director ..... Reinhild Hoffmann
Conductor ..... Justin Brown

Heinrich der Vogler    ..... Renatus Meszar
Lohengrin ..... Lance Ryan
Elsa von Brabant ..... Heidi Melton
Friedrich von Telramund    ..... Jaco Venter
Ortrud .....     Susan Anthony
Der Heerrufer des Königs ..... Seung-Gi Jung
Erster Edelknabe ..... Masami Sato
Zweiter Edelknabe ..... Meike Etzold
Dritter Edelknabe ..... Ulrike Gruber
Vierter Edelknabe ..... Unzu Lee-Park
Erster Brabantischer Edler ..... Doru Cepreaga
Zweiter Brabantischer Edler ..... Peter Herrmann
Dritter Brabantischer Edler    ..... Marcelo Angulo
Vierter Brabantischer Edler    ..... Alexander Huck