Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rienzi in Berlin: hot impressions

Just a "quick" post about the second show of Rienzi , finished an hour ago at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. This was my first Rienzi ever and I loved it.

Torsten Kerl proves once again that he is truly excellent a singers/actor - and trust me, Rienzi is a very devillish role to sing (I bet Ben Heppner --who screwed up Lohengrin last night-- would not be able to sing a third of it). BRAVO!

Camilla Nylund was on one of her good nights although the volume is not her forte  (which we already noticed in Paris when she was miscast as Salome). Since tonight`s was a high profile show she was only mildly booed, but the bravos were much-much louder. ;)

Kate Aldrich literally stole the show. That girl had to really dig deep to deliver such a level of intensity in an otherwise unsingable role of Adriano. Impressive effort from this "small" lady and well deserved standing O for her at the end of the show.

Someone should say to Sebastian Lang-Lessing that this production is not about him, nor about the orchestra only; and that he could show some more respect for singers (instead of covering them!). Other than that - a magnificent orchestra lead by an energetic young maestro.

Philipp Stölzl, as expected, soaked a load of boos which I of course disagreed with. I thought the show was brilliant and the director`s interpretation was...err..., say, gutsy. I could understand the boos though: Philipp didn`t leave any space to ambiguities --> his Rienzi is a nasty SOB, a dictator who deserved to end the way he did...Personally, I take my hat off to him for that ;)

As for the best choir in Germany, tonight they were the best choir in the world - and I am not exaggerating ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Last bit on Werther

Many mails asking "how to see Werther?"
You may of course see bits and pieces on YouTube, but if you're interested in experiencing a full/continuous flow of emotions click here and enjoy!

[Regards from Berlin (I hate snow)]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Paris Paris

Everybody knows how I passionately love Paris. By that I mean that I also love criticizing its bad sides, which are many [like in any other big city], but I always find a little corner, a little street, a little bit of history related to any given building or a façade, always something to remind me how blessed I am to be able to thoroughly enjoy this charm and beauty around me...

Last week I managed to visit Musée d'Orsay, one of my favorite places that I'm coming back to as if it was a shrine. It's an old Railway Station, very cleverly restructured  to host the most amazing permanent collection you could ever dream of. The collection is steadily updated and each visit is a new surprise (even if there were no updates I'd go anyway, to admire everything and especially my absolute favorite - Cézanne). This time I noticed a new painting by Pierre Bonnard called "Nu Bleu" [Naked Blue],

but that's not what I wanted to post about. Musée d'Orsay is currently hosting two exhibitions which will close in a week, so if you get a chance to visit Musée d'Orsay, with the same ticket you can visit these two gems too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Werther, I Capuleti, Gergiev, Tristan - for your eyes only...

The live broadcast of Werther from the Paris Opera last night was OK, although I must say that you lose quite a bit of atmosphere and musical quality wrt what you experience in the theater. If you missed it last night, you can still see it on Arte Live Web, where the video recording will be available for 60 days, and it's free.
On the same site you can also find the video of the last week concert of Prazák --a brilliant Czech string quartet-- recorded in Cité de la Musique.

3 more infos...

Liceu teaser for 2010-2011

I very much like the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona [in spite of the famously bad wine served there ;)]. Their clever PR staff made a teaser-announcement of their season 2010-2011 and it looks great.

Sept: Iphigénie en Tauride - Pina Bausch production
Sept/Oct: Carmen
Nov: Lulu
Dec: Falstaff
Jan/Feb: Anna Bolena
Feb/Mar: Parsifal
Apr: Cav Pag
Apr: El retablo de Maese Pedro (de Falla)
May: Der Freischütz
Jun/Jul: Ariane et Barbe-Bleu 
[Eva-Maria Westbroek will sing Dukas' Ariane - I'm already drooling ;)]  
+ 3 operas in concert version: Cosi fan tutte,Tamerlano, and Daphne

There're of course no details on the directors, conductors or casts; they only posted a promotional video on their YT channel which gives you some hints

And NOW when the detailed  program of the season 2010-2011 @ Liceu is available, all we can say WOWZA!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bad Times for the Paris Opera

Now we can assert that --with its new intendant Nicolas Joel-- the Paris Opera (ONP) is hitting one of its history lowest points. The appalling choices he made finally drag this once respectable theater to the bottom of the European Opera standards. Only one year ago it was totally different. It still floats because it's heavily subsidized and it is rich enough to afford to bring the big stars such as Jonas Kaufmann, Natalie Dessay, Anna Netrebko... who come to hide the artistic vacuum - i.e. this theater creates nothing! [in French it's called the cache misère]

A last drop in the cup full of anger was the tonight's premiere of the atrocious production of La Sonnambula. Maybe not because of the production itself, but rather because of the intendant's choice to stage this opera at the Opéra Bastille. With such an idiotic libretto, there is no alchemy that could convert this pile of inane text into anything dramatically acceptable as to be presented on the immense stage of la Bastille. These sugary arias are for the recitals, and this opera is maybe suitable for a smaller (provincial?) theater [if any!]...

Marelli's ideas lasted for one act and then his show went down in flames: it's naive, it's ridiculous, it's appalling...  Even if one adopts the attitude "Come on! It is belcanto. The stage direction doesn't matter there",  this "Titanic" would sink anyway.  Today's rumor was that Natalie Dessay might cancel her prima. After all the drama, she finally decided not to cancel, and now in retrospect I think she should have. Her singing was painful, she was screaming, pushing her voice to the point where you feel uncomfortable and the whole show turned in a big embarrassment. A badly staged crappy opera, with memorably bad singing.

Joel's incapacity to realize that this opera is by no means suitable for Bastille is beyond me. Would it be less awful if it was staged in Garnier? I don't know but in any case, with the current vocal state of la Nata nationale this production would s(t)ink anyway. Only Javier Camarena was relatively OK, but I'm not sure if that's really a compliment - considering the dreadfulness of this show.

Should I remind that the ONP purchased this production too? Yes, from the Royal Opera House where it was premiered EIGHT years ago!!

Yours Truly - angry and sad :(

Monday, January 25, 2010

What's on in Europa-Europa?

Apart from the sensational and jaw-dropping production of The Fairy Queen, as well as that excellent Norma, both premiered in Paris this month, the major European operatic event in January 2010 is undoubtedly the new production of Rienzi which was premiered last night at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. The German newspapers are already loaded with comments and critiques, reactions and simple articles about this apparently opulent and highly polarizing show. It's cut in half to last only 150 mins, in which Philipp Stolzl squeezed the elaborated parallel between Rienzi and Hitler --with all what this may entail-- pushing the boundaries far enough to spur some strong emotions, both positive and negative ones. Apparently during the show, as the new scenes unveiled, a good fraction of the audience openly booed, only to end the show with an unanimous outburst of applauses. That's what you get in Opera houses in Germany. :)

Pic lifted from the DOB web-site

Une soirée gentille à Pleyel avec King Arthur

Christophe Rousset devient une sorte de René Jacobs  dans le monde de la musique baroque. Son orchestre Les Talens lyriques est désormais un des plus connus au monde, en partie grâce à lui. De plus il a cette capacité et l'audace de proposer des chanteurs quasi-inconnus qui savent s'adapter à son interprétation de l'œuvre en question. C'était le cas ce samedi passé (23 janvier 2010)  à Pleyel pour la version de concert de "King Arthur" de Purcell.

Mussbach gives an intelligent new look to Norma at the Théâtre du Châtelet

The second viewing of Mussbach's production of  Norma in Châtelet is far more revelatory than the first one. The effect of surprise is now mostly gone and you start tackling deeper the director's ideas. Since being analytic is my job, it's normal that this side of me eventually defines my interaction with this production.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paris Classique in February 2010

My selection of good operas and concerts to see in Paris during February 2010.

In January the bar has been set very very high. But what to say about February? Look at the program in Pleyel, TCE, Opera Comique, Opera National de Paris, Cite de la Musique...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Re-Werther: you might wish to set your DVR

The world's coolest TV, Arte, made it possible for all of you guys --who don't receive their program in France or in Germany-- to see the live broadcast of that sensationally well sung Werther  from l'Opéra Bastille. The web site is ready

We learn that the webcast will be also available via the ONP web site, but from my experience you should take than only as a back-up option: their site is far too slow for that.

Ingo Metzmacher's got what l'Orchestre de Paris need

L'Orchestre de Paris has everything to be among the world's top orchestra and yet they are not. They are irregular: they can be near perfect but also messy and flat. They are good more often than not, but GREAT - very seldom, if you ask me. Still, each time you listen to them play you could tell that they have a ginormous potential and you kinda feel sorry that their performances don't match that potential. I believe they need a suitable music director to do that extra step and improve them to that level at which they become great. For years they've been lead by Christof Eschenbach and there are still many ups and downs, which makes me believe that Eschenbach is not the leader they actually need...

Tonight Ingo Metzmacher demonstrated how this orchestra can be conducted to sound as any world's top orchestra. He conducted firmly and carefully and they delivered a very-very strong performance of the Britten's  War Requiem. I'm a sucker for a big choir & big orchestra. Add to that the top notch soloists : Paul Groves, Matthias Goerne and Indra Thomas - and all my fatigue was gone the minute the concert had started.

As I said, Ingo did his magic and the orchestra sounded exceptionally good. OK, there's still room for improvement but if they played steadily like they did tonight I'd be their biggest fan.

Whoever invited Paul Groves to sing in this Requiem is a true connoisseur of voices: Paul's fitted like a glove for this part. Bravino! Matthias Goerne was very good too, but my heart was knocked by the voice of Indra Thomas. That girl can sing high with an astonishing ease, and yet her voice is plain/rich and powerful. Just like I love it. This was my first time to listen to her singing live and I want it more  :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mira Norma, Paulina Pfeiffer steals the show

We're being really spoiled this January in Paris. Tonight (errr... last night - January 18), we had one more premiere: this time it was a brand new production of Norma in Théâtre du Châtelet.

The director, Peter Mussbach, threw in a clever concept to make this mediocre libretto acceptable to the 21st century audience. He, of course, got booed at the end by the crowd of belcanto aficionados. Like I always say,  good theater shakes up habits and it must be booed by some :)

Apart from the clever staging, a big winner of the evening was Paulina Pfeiffer, yet another superbly singing Swede who we discovered tonight in a wonderful Adalgisa. Next big dramatic mezzosoprano to follow! Lina Tetriani also stands out with her well sung and convincing Norma.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The night I fell in love with the Queen

France loves England!

Better than this is impossible. To make the full (cca 4 hours long) play/opera, with such an enormous cast and such a respect for the work of Purcell - it's love!

It's the most remarkable combination of the baroque and modern expressions, a celebration of theater immersed in the total beauty of Sheakspearian expression and the sublime of Purcell's music.

Jonathan Kent just knows how to capture the best of British culture, and with the superb actors the success was almost guaranteed. Add to that lots of beautiful singing, the great orchestra lead by a living legend - Bill Christie.

I have a busy day today. Hope to post more on this tomorrow... Cheers

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Fairy Queen premieres tonight at Opéra Comique

Tonight is the première of the Jonathan Kent production of  Purcell's Fairy Queen at the Opéra Comique in Paris. With his Les Arts Florissants,  maestro William Christie will bring this semi-opera to life.

Hope I won't be too hard to please since I still am ecstatic about Werther with Sophie Koch and Jonas Kaufmann. Plus, I'm not too big a fan of baroque, and this is apparently a work of wagnerian length.  On the other hand every music played well sounds even better in this humanly-sized theater, which is the Opéra Comique; Jonathan Kent's introductory remarks are a big teaser for me; and then, listen to this beauty...

Video from the same production in Glyndebourne, posted on YouTube by OedipusColoneus

Off I go... Cheers!

Une soirée bourgeoise au Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

What would you otherwise call a pot-pourri of Spanish and South-American themes played by the Orchestre National de France and directed by Riccardo Muti? A concert which was predictably to end with  Ravel's Bolero, AND with flowers thrown on the stage (not at all a custom in Paris) to express admiration for "Oh Mutiii!"?

You could ask why the heck I did go if I knew it was gonna be so full of it. For some complicated reasons I had to go, but I also wanted to see/listen to  Xavier De Maistre, who often accompanies our fave Diana Damrau, who was the first French musician admitted to Die Wiener Philharmoniker, and who pursues a successful solo career as well.
It all ended as expected: Xave was indeed excellent, while the maestro did the routine job to collect the appearance fee [OK, I liked de Falla's suite too] :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Memorable night with smashing Werther and Charlotte

This was "one of those nights". If you can go and see it live at the Paris Opera, don't think twice - GO!

Super gutsy performance from Jonas Kaufmann: he was coughing between his arias but he sang every single note, and boy did he sing majestically! Sophie Koch was the best Charlotte I've ever seen. Magnificent Ludovic Tézier and Anne-Catherine Gillet  complete the superb cast.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

4e Biennale de Quatuors à cordes - en cours

Excellent programme de la 4e Biennale de Quatuors à cordes, actuellement à la Cité de la Musique.

Arte Live Web rediffusera quelques concerts en direct de la Cité :
Au passage, je signale que la vidéo de Rosmersholm d'Ibsen, mis en scène par S.Braunschweig au théâtre parisien la Colline et filmé le 10/01/2010, est disponible sur Arte Web.

La prima of Werther - tonight !

Tonight -at the acoustically horrendous hall of Opera Bastille- should premiere Werther, with excellent cast.

The rumor has it that both Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch are ill. The final dress rehearsal took place  behind the closed doors and no leak so far on whether or not Kaufmann will sing tonight.
Hoping for the best...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Le nouveau président croate est compositeur. How cool is that!?

Le 10 janvier 2010 Ivo Josipović, le candidat du Parti social-démocrate, a gagné le deuxième tour des élections présidentielles en Croatie
Ce qui est intéressant ce n'est pas seulement le fait qu'il est complètement novice en politique et affiche une détermination claire pour lutter la corruption à tous les niveaux de la société, mais aussi/surtout le fait qu'il est compositeur de la musique contemporaine. De plus quelques échantillons de sa musique, disponibles sur le web, me plaisent bien. En voici un :

Félicitations à lui et à tous les croates. Ça c'est vraiment COOL!

Anna Netrebko is indeed preparing Anna Bolena

Lekutski posted on YouTube an extensive interview from NewYork with Anna Netrebko for a Russian Television, and which was broadcast before the end of 2009.  In the video I add to this post she confirms that she's preparing the heaviest of the lyric soprano roles,  Donizetti's Anna Bolena

 According to unofficial information she's expected to sing it in Saint-Petersburg by the end of 2010, and then in 2011: January/February in Liceu (Barcelona), in March/April in Staatsoper (Vienna), and then at the opening of the Met season 2011-2012 .

In the above video she also explains the prejudices she's had to fight against, i.e. nobody believed she'd ever sing a Mozart role in Salzburg because the Russian singers are known to have heavy voices which don't fit with the lightness of Mozart.  Yeah right! :)

The interviewer is (very) annoying with all the questions probing/testing her Russian-ness, but that's what you get when you live abroad...
At the end, there is a little bit of crazy Anna too [ see this video ,  ffwd to 4min 35 ] ;)

Aix-en-Provence 2010, Cast Update

 Addendum to my previous post 

Don Giovanni • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Louis Langrée CONDUCTOR
Dmitri Tcherniakov STAGE DIRECTOR
Freiburger Barockorchester ORCHESTRA
Bo Skovhus (Don Giovanni), Kyle Ketelsen (Leporello), Colin Balzer (Ottavio), David Bizic (Masetto), Anatoli Kotscherga (Commendatore), Marlis Petersen (anna), Kristine Opolais (Donna Elvira), Kerstin Avemo (Zerlina)
July 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

Alceste • Christoph Willibald Gluck
Freiburger Barockorchester ORCHESTRA
July 2, 6, 8, 10, 13

Le Rossignol et autres fables • Igor Stravinsky
Opéra national de Lyon ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
July 3, 6, 7, 9

Pygmalion • Jean-Philippe Rameau
William Christie CONDUCTOR
July, 16, 19, 20, 21

El regresoOscar Strasnoy (World Premiere)
Roland Hayrabedian CONDUCTOR
Thierry Thieû Niang STAGE DIRECTOR
July 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sheakspeare returns to Opéra Comique

I figured the new production of The Fairy Queen, which is supposed to open at the Opéra Comique coming Saturday - January 16, is a co-production with the Glyndebourne festival where this production has been premiered past summer and then kept secret so it could come out on DVD after its run in Paris.

Opéra Comique is not too big a theater, but it is nevertheless surprising to see that all the shows of this production have been sold out LOOONG in advance [including the most expensive seats!!!]
Well, that's what Sheakspeare does for you :)

To prepare for The Fairy Queen on Saturday, here is what  Jonathan Kent had to say about his production, and William Christie about decrypting the Purcell's music.

Off night for Offenbach

The entire crew involved in  Marthaler/Niquet production of "La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein", premiered in Basle last December, came to Pleyel tonight to give us a concert version  of their show (in costumes).

From right to left: Norman Reinhardt, Anne Sofie von Otter, Agata Wilewska

Hervé Niquet : conductor
Anne Sofie von Otter : la Grande-Duchesse
Agata Wilewska : Wanda
Norman Reinhardt : Fritz
Rolf Romei : Prince Pauld
Karl-Heinz Brandt : Baron Puck
Christoph Homberger  : Général Boum

Anne Sofie von Otter is always kinda nice to see but she struggled through the show, with a few patches in which she was barely audible. And that in spite of Niquet taming the orchestra to play Offenbach pianissimo (how weird is that!?)

Agata Wilewska was OK, but I was only impressed by Norman Reinhardt (yet another good American tenor!). Bravo a Fritz! :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sensational Budapest Festival Orchestra at Pleyel

I listened to various orchestra conducted by Iván Fischer, but this was my first time listening to him conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Yes, it is a completely different experience and the memories from that Saturday, January 9 2010, will stay with me for quite some time.
You could feel a symbiosis of the conductor and his orchestra, a global technical prowess mixed with joy of all the musicians - the joy to play and share that moment in which the most sublime music is being produced. We shared that unique moment with them too, for which I am grateful to this  orchestra, its astounding conductor, and -of course- to Pleyel for making this all possible.

On the program: Richard Wagner - Siegfried Idyll, Wesendonck Lieder (with our fave Petra Lang), Igor Stravinsky - Petrushka.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Idyll will never Curb Your Enthusiasm

Last night I went to Pleyel to listen to this absolutely brilliant Hungarian orchestra (The Budapest Festival Orchestra) and their Maestro Ivan Fischer performing the most extraordinary Siegfried Idyll I've heard in my life. I'll hopefully drop a post about that tomorrow.

Coincidentally today I finally watched the Second Season of the funniest show ever, and guess what happens in the third episode ("Trick or Treat")?!  Larry David spins a good chunk of it around... yes, around the Siegfried Idyll!

"Julie" parigina al teatro Athénée

So I was at the prima of "Julie" last Friday, January 8. I am still going soft about the beauty and charm of the tiny cutie Athénée theater. If you're in Paris for more than a weekend, that's definitely one of those improbable addresses where you can taste some of the genuine French, Parisian charm.

The show -as expected- suffered from comparison with the knockout production I posted about  the other day [also available on DVD]. It isn't as good because the cast is not up to par and because not enough financial resources have not been put in to set the stage up. It was nevertheless a good show.

Was a pleasure to see Philippe Boesmans (composer) to show up at the curtain call. As for the singers, Agnieszka Slawinska, a young Polish soprano, stands out. Her two costars were OK too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Munich Opera Festival 2010: don't miss the deadline!

To score the tics for Munich Opernfestspiele is getting harder as the years go by and the festival gains momentum. Remember that the deadline to order your tickets is FEBRUARY 1.

The program is good as ever: 2 brand new productions, 5 productions premiered this season in BSO; add to that the last year's Lohengrin and 5 other/older productions - all with stunning casts... yes, you do want to go there next July :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Productions in Europe - January 2010

Undoubtedly the most expected is the new production of "Rienzi" by Philipp Stoelzl which will open on Sunday, January 24 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB), conducted by young & talented  Sebastian Lang-Lessing (replacing V. Jurowski tho!).
The cast looks good on paper too:  Torsten Kerl, Kate Aldrich, Camilla Nylund... and we should not forget the DOB Choir which Opernwelt Magazine voted as "Choir of the Year 2009" [Yours Truly will never forget their absolutely astounding performance in Tannhauser!].

One week later, in Freiburg will premiere the Calixto Bieito's production of "Le Grand Macabre" which I am more than sorry not to be able to see...

Julie by Boesmans and Bondy: an opera for posterity

So what about Julie? I saw this DVD a year ago or so. Since we have another production of this opera in Paris starting on January 8, I decided to see it again, to brush up on it.

3 general informations about this opera would be: (1) it is short - only 74 minutes long; (2) it is a chamber opera somehow following a Britten-like line of creation - I bet he would've loved it; (3) it is close to the Wagnerian vein too, as it combines an extraordinary libretto with the music that weaves through the text only to accelerate your dive into the psyche of each of three characters. This should be as close as you can get to the Wagnerian concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, and I'm pretty sure Wagner would have loved it too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rock français en anglais à Bayreuth

 Théorème : La musique populaire française qui date après 1980 est une catastrophe [tout est à jeter!]

Je dois préciser que dans la musique populaire je ne compte pas le french touch électronique, et le rock non plus. En effet, le rock français sait surprendre : c'est rare, mais ça arrive :)
Une telle récente surprise c'etait le groupe Phenix qui a produit le clip pour leur chanson Lisztomania entièrement à Bayreuth --> c'est pourquoi j'en parle ici:


Werther on ARTE TV

You can still see a pretty little opera by Shostakovich "Moscow Cheryomushki" (Москва Черемушки) produced by the Lyon Opera, and filmed past Tuesday, December 29 2009. It is free and it's on Arte Live Web (N.B. there're no subtitles).

On Tuesday, January 26, at 20:30 (C.E.T.), Arte TV will show "Werther", live from Opéra Bastille (ONP).

There are at least two reasons why programming "Werther" this year in ONP was... how should I put it?... was not a very clever thing to do:

1. Opéra Bastille hosted a BSO-Munich production of "Werther" in February and March 2009, which in spite of a starry cast -including R.Villazon, S.Graham, L.Tézier, A.Kucerova- was not a success [after only 3-4 shows (out of 10!) there were loads of free seats even though the most expensive tics were drastically slashed - by like 70%, 1 hour before each show]. There's no reason to believe that the audience will embrace "Werther" less than a year after its unmemorable run [ONP is already advertising 30-50% discount on seats in the 1st category]

2. This is not a new production! It is a revival of the Jacquot's "Werther", produced and run at Royal Opera House in 2005. To me it seems that the new intendant [Nicolas Joel] insisted on inserting this opera in the program 2009-2010, to emphasize the difference between him and his predecessor [Gerard Mortier]. The top national theater and one of the richest in the world deserves better than that...

Pic from The Guardian with Alvarez & Donose in Jacquot's Werther - ROH, 2005

HOWEVER, the cast will be very good:

Jonas Kaufmann Werther
Ludovic Tézier Albert
Sophie Koch Charlotte
Anne-Catherine Gillet Sophie

so I guess you should check out  the Arte website on January 26, at 20:30 (C.E.T.). Cheers!

Rolando Villazon, est-il Maradona operatique ?

Rolando -comme on le sait bien- est au repos forcé pendant presqu'une année entière durant laquelle il a subit une opération sur ses cordes vocales usées, abimées. Son retour est prévu pour le mars 2010 à Vienne, où il chantera le rôle de Nemorino dans "Elisir d'Amore", suivi par un Lenski à Berlin dans une production de "Eugene Oneguine", signée Achim Freyer [que j'ai secrètement aimée ;) ]. Puis une série des récitals*, dont 2 à Paris : d'abord au TCE et ensuite [seulement 3 semaines plus tard] à Pleyel.  Et hop, il enchainera par un coup d'Alfredo dans "La Traviata" à Zurich ecc ecc.

Ce qu'on apprend c'est que son retour sera accompagné par:

(A) la sortie d'un nouveau CD en février (ce qui est plutôt un best-of mais il aura néanmoins la promo à faire)

(B) enregistrement d'un nouveau CD avec les solistes de l'orchestre "Simon Bolivar" à Berlin, pendant le mois de mars

(C) engagement --à côté de la queen du crossover Katherine Jenkins-- dans une espèce de Reality Show à la télé anglaise qui s'appellera "Popstars to Operastars" où les chanteurs de la pop deviendront les stars d'opéra (Sic!)

Ça ne parait pas fou comme carnet pour un convalescent ?
Comme il s'agit de son deuxième repos forcé, et connaissant son engagement scénique extrême, je commence à soupçonner une "autodestruction préméditée" - d'où le titre de ce post. Espérons que j'aie tort ;  Rolando n'a même pas 38 ans...

* `récitals'  est une diablerie française: tous les noms en "al" deviennent en "aux" au pluriel [  animal -> animaux, canal -> canaux, capital ->capitaux,...] SAUF beaucoup d'exceptions importantes dont balS, récitalS, festivalS, carnavalS, régalS, choralS...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hojotoho! Heiahaha! - Wonderfully sung Walkure

It is hard to live by your own highest standard.

After their magnificent production of Das Rheingold, Carlos Padrissa and  La Fura dels Baus do not convince in Die Walkure [also released on DVD at the end of 2009].

Hadn't I seen Das Rheingold I guess I'd have liked this DVD far more than I actually do. In any case, this still remains a very good production; certainly worth your 4 hours (actually 4h30 if you count  "Making of" in).  This DVD will not be remembered for what La Fura did, but rather for a smashing performance of all the singers  [Peter Seiffert and Juha Uusitalo, in particular].

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gesamtkunstwerkish Rheingold of Fura dels Baus

As far as I can tell, this double DVD is the best release since the Copenhagen Ring (OK that Khovanshchina is close too).  La Fura dels Baus deftly crafted an outstanding piece of work: it is inventive, it is filled with brilliant ideas, it cleverly uses technology... In short, they managed to make  the Gesamtkunstwerk of our time. Moreover they did what seemed hardly possible, i.e. to shade a new light on this giant masterpiece. For that I am grateful to all the crew involved in making this production happen.


Take this Cecilia Bartoli!

It is unfortunate that the new CD by Simone Kermes has passed so quietly in France, with no fuss, publicity or excitement at all.  The reason is that around the same time Cecilia Bartoli released an album exploring a similar/same repertoire.
Not that I like that repertoire altogether but even after one listening, it is clear to me that Simone hugely outsings Cecilia. But the Bartoli marketing machine did all the PR so well that a casual listener  must have a feeling that Cecilia was actually better and that there is no need to bother listening to Simone's  CD Lava when Cecilia already did what's best in that repertoire! Life is hard...

I listened to Cecilia's concert many times and eventually decided I've had enough of her humming. Instead, I heard Simone Kermes live-singing only ones, in the Dussmann shop in Berlin, and she was great: fun, communicative, positively loopy and singing everything with a mighty punch.

Here is an aria which perfectly fits her temper on stage.

When you see Cecilia sing something this way, please do let me know to go check out her concerts again! ;)