Saturday, December 31, 2011

Alcina at Semperoper: birth of a great opera director -- Jan Philipp Gloger

Alcina, Semperoper Dresden, November 4th 2011

Director ..... Jan Philipp Gloger
Conductor ..... Rainer Mühlbach

Alcina ..... Amanda Majeski
Ruggiero ..... Barbara Senator
Bradamante ..... Christa Mayer
Morgana ..... Nadja Mchantaf
Melisso ..... Markus Butter
Oronte ..... Simeon Esper
Oberto ..... Elena Gorshunova
Chorista 1 ..... Manuel Günther
Chorista 2 ..... Michael Kranebitter

Staatskapelle Dresden

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cinderella for the people!

Laurent Pelly knows how to make the festive shows fly -- fun, witty, fast... and it is not surprising that his productions are celebrated at this time of the year.

The Lyon Opera reran this month his highly entertaining production of La Vie parisienne, and was once again met a great success with the crowd in Lyon (that show is available on DVD.)

I told you the other day that his terrific staging of Hänsel und Gretel from Glyndebourne is this week available for free viewing on The Guardian website.

Starting from today, and for the next few weeks, also his Cendrillon [by J. Massenet] can be seen for free on the website of La Monnaie/De Munt. This should be entertaining for children.
Alain Altinoglu, always strong in the French repertoire, conducts and the cast includes Rinat Shaham, Sophie Marilley, Eglise Gutierrez, Angélique Noldus, Nora Gubisch, Ilse Eerens, Lionel Lhote...
You can read a review by the fellow blogger NPW who saw the second show at La Monnaie.


Thursday, December 29, 2011


I am pretty sure we can all agree that the old film-operas are garbage and we all prefer DVDs of the actual theatrical performances. This is probably due to the fact that all these film-operas were HORRIBLY produced, with very creepy and/or cheesy acting, lip-synching...

But the things have changed since and the clever-talented directors make better productions and know how to make interesting operas and films. Kasper Holten --author of the best Ring on DVD to date-- and his team did a superb job: they shortened Don Giovanni to 105 minutes, freely translated it into English, lined up a fantastic cast of singers who can act and who actually do sing throughout the whole film.

Cleverly, they call it Juan and not Don Giovanni. In this way the traditionalists who might be... let me guess... who might be outraged, will calm down soon knowing that this is not Don Giovanni -- this is Juan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This and that...

First of all, important news is that the 2008 Glyndebourne Festival production of Hänsel und Gretel directed by Laurent Pelly and conducted by Kazushi Ono, with Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (!)Jennifer Holloway, Adriana Kučerová, Irmgard Vilsmaier, is available for free viewing on The Guardian website (c.f. here).
Videos will be available during the week of Christmas holidays only, so try not to miss it because the show is terrific.
If you cannot see it this week, the only alternative is DVD of the same production.

Other important and less important news worth sharing -- below...

The Magic Flute by William Kentridge finally came to Paris

Die Zauberflöte/La Flûte enchantée, Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, December 26 2011

Director ..... William Kentridge
Conductor ..... Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Tamino ..... Topi Lehtipuu
Pamina ..... Sandrine Piau
Papageno ..... Markus Werba
Papagena ..... Emmanuelle De Negri
The Queen of the Night ..... Jeanette Vecchione
First Lady ..... Claire Debono
Second Lady ..... Juliette Mars
Third Lady ..... Elodie Méchain
Sarastro ..... Ain Anger
Monostatos ..... Steven Cole
Priests and Armored Men ..... Renaud Delaigue, Alexandre Swan
Speaker of the Temple ..... Robert Gleadow

Ensemble Matheus
Chorus of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peter Konwitschny affair (updated...)

Just when we thought the Oper Leipzig became a new exciting place where the creativity meets excellence, we learned that Peter Konwitschny submitted his resignation letter to the house's intendant Ulf Schirmer. This is bad news for the Leipzig Oper and for all of us.

The news broke out on December 24, containing just a few dry lines, from which we could understand that Big Pete wanted to resign from his job as the house's chief director immediately -- starting from January 2012. Normally the contract would run until 2014.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We will barock you: L-Orlando, or Alexander Mørk-Eidem revisiting Handel's Orlando

Orlando, Komische Oper Berlin, December 21 2011

Director ..... Alexander Mørk-Eidem
Conductor ... Alessandro De Marchi

Orlando ..... Mariselle Martinez
Angelica ..... Brigitte Geller
Medoro ..... Susanne Kreusch
Dorinda ..... Ingrid Frøseth
Zoroastro ..... Andreas Wolf
Isabella, Zoroastro's Assistant ..... Bernd Stempel

Friday, December 23, 2011

PC TV Holidays

Gift to Bartók fans

The other day I blogged about the Bluebeard Castle, one of the most fascinating of all the operas.
I said that the Philharmonia was magnificent, even if Iván Fischer and  Budapest Festival Orchestra [BFO] remain unsurpassed as far as the music by Bartók is concerned.
Bartók is their home specialty, and they really bring it to a new level of skills and interpretation.

If you get a chance to listen to their live performance (Bartók or anything else), it's not to be missed.

I thought I'd share two `Bartóky' videos in this post that I found particularly interesting:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Opera meets Theater: Superb Neuenfels production of Reimann's Lear

Lear, Komische Oper Berlin, December 20 2011

Tómas Tómasson

Director ..... Hans Neuenfels
Conductor ..... Friedemann Layer
Co-director ... Henry Arnold

King Lear ..... Tómas Tómasson
King of France ..... Tilmann Rönnebeck
Duke of Albany ..... Hans Gröning
Duke of Cornwall ..... Christoph Späth
Earl of Kent ..... Thomas Ebenstein
Earl of Gloucester ..... Jens Larsen
Edgar, son of Gloucester ..... Martin Wölfel
Edmund, illegitimate son of Gloucester ..... Andreas Conrad
Goneril. daughter of Lear ..... Irmgard Vilsmaier
Regan, daughter of Lear ..... Erika Roos
Cordelia, daughter of Lear ..... Caroline Melzer
Fool ..... Elisabeth Trissenaar
Servant ..... Volker Herden
Knight ..... Michel Podwojski

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vasily Petrenko in Paris

Wallin-Sibelius-Tchaikovsky, Salle Pleyel in Paris, November 30 2011

Vass Petrenko

Conductor ..... Vasily Petrenko
 Soloist/Violin ..... Joshua Bell

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra

Ô petite étoile du destin... Simon Rattle, Magdalena Kozena

L'étoile, Staatsoper Unter den Linden im Schiller Theater, Berlin, December 19 2011

Conductor ..... Simon Rattle
Director ..... Dale Duesing

King Ouf I ..... Jean-Paul Fouchécourt
Lazuli ..... Magdalena Kožená
Princess Laoula ..... Juanita Lascarro
Siroco ..... Giovanni Furlanetto
Prince Herisson de Porc-Epic ..... Douglas Nasrawi
Aloès ..... Stella Doufexis
Tapioca ..... Florian Hoffmann

Staatskapelle Berlin

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Macbeth in Leipzig: The Great Dictator by Peter Konwitschny

Macbeth, Oper Leipzig, December 15 2011

Conductor ..... William Lacey
Director ..... Peter Konwitschny

Duncan ..... Bert Franzke 
Macbeth ..... Marco di Felice
Banquo ..... James Moellenhoff
Lady Macbeth ..... Amarilli Nizza
Macduff ..... Giuseppe Varano 
Malcolm ..... Norman Reinhardt
Kammerfrau der Lady .... Jean Broekhuizen

Chorus of the Oper Leipzig (Alessandro Zuppardo)

Infernal Dance by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen

Bluebeard Castle/Le Château de Barbe-Bleue (in concert), Théâtre des Champs Elysées, November 15 2011

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Carole Bouquet, Michelle DeYoung, John Tomlinson

Conductor ..... Esa-Pekka Salonen

Judith ..... Michelle DeYoung
Kékszakállú ..... John Tomlinson

Prologue ..... Carole Bouquet

Monday, December 19, 2011

One more Christmas gift to traditionalists: La Forza del Destino from Paris

I said I would not blog about the sad-sad production of La Forza del Destino, recently premiered at the Paris Opera, but since the video-links of the show appeared and the run of this appalling production is over, I'll just put in my two sentences and let you enjoy or "enjoy" this thing.

Curtain calls after the show on November 17 2011 at Opéra Bastille: Vladimir Stoyanov, Philippe Jordan, Patrick Marie Aubert, Violeta Urmana, Zoran Todorovich, Kwangchul Youn, Nadia Krasteva [the best soloist, Nicola Alaimo, not in the photo]

In all honesty, I went to see this show hoping it would change my too strong opinion about this opera --one of the dumbest operas of all times-- and that I'd find a way to convince myself that, musically, this opera was indeed one of the greatest works done by Giuseppe, as the numerous Verdi aficionados often suggest.

While I knew nothing would change the incongruities of the libretto, and that this kind of staging would only emphasize them, I thought the performers would make this giant snoozer miraculously enjoyable.  Hélas, hélas!

Kwangchul Youn was obviously fantastic and Nicola Alaimo excellent, but all in all I spent 5 very long hours [2 intermissions] fighting the snooze-balloons, survived them all, only to hear "Pace, pace mio Dio!" and say -- Never Again!

Premiere of Orpheus in der Unterwelt: Stölzl meets Offenbach backstage

Orphée aux enfers, Staatsoper Unter den Linden im Schiller Theater, Berlin, December 16 2011

Conductor ..... Julien Salemkour
Director ..... Philipp Stölzl

Eurydice ..... Evelin Novak
Public opinion ..... Cornelius Obonya
Orpheus ..... Stefan Kurt
Pluto ..... Ben Becker
Jupiter ..... Gustav Peter Wöhler
Styx ..... Hans-Michael Rehberg
Juno ..... Irene Rindje

Staatskapelle Berlin
Staatsopernchor (Frank Flade)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

La Traviata in Berlin: Omer Meir Wellber, Christine Schäfer, and Francesco Demuro - Bravi Tutti!

La Traviata, Staatsoper Unter den Linden im Schiller Theater - Berlin, December 17 2011

Conductor ..... Omer Meir Wellber
Director ..... Peter Mussbach

Violetta Valéry ..... Christine Schäfer
Flora Bervoix ..... Maraike Schröter
Annina ..... Rowan Hellier
Alfredo Germont ..... Francesco Demuro
Giorgio Germont ..... Alfredo Daza
Gaston ..... Paul O’Neill
Baron Douphol ..... Bernd Zettisch
Marquis d'Obigny ..... Arttu Kataja
Dr. Grenvil ..... Andreas Bauer

Staatskapelle Berlin

Macbeth in Muti's house: When in Rome do as the Romans do

Macbeth, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, December 9 2011

Director ..... Peter Stein
Conductor ..... Riccardo Muti

Macbeth ..... Dario Solari
Banco ..... Riccardo Zanellato
Lady Macbeth ..... Tatiana Serjan
Dama di Lady Macbeth ..... Anna Malavasi
Macduff ..... Antonio Poli
Malcolm ..... Antonio Corianò

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro dell’Opera
(Roberto Gabbiani)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Peter Konwitschny is doing fine

I saw his new production of Macbeth two nights ago in Leipzig [and LOVED it!] Konwitschny himself was watching the show. I was too close to take photos, but I'm happy to share this good news with you.

CC pic taken after the Thursday show

More on the show... soon!

Christmas gift to traditionalists: The Flying Dutchman -- free only this weekend

Recently premiered production of The Flying Dutchman with a superb Manuela Uhl is available for free ONLY this weekend (December 17 and 18, 2011)

Mark Rucker (Dutchman) and Manuela Uhl (Senta)

The show has been recorded on November 29 at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège

Dir- Petrika Ionesco, Cnd- Paolo Arrivabeni, Cast: Mark Rucker, Manuela Uhl, Alistair Miles, Corby Welch, Joëlle Charlier, and Yuri Gorodetski 

Video is embedded below:

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Apparently the rehearsals leading to the premiere of The Queen of Spades in Graz [trailer here] were very intense and Peter Konwitschny (one of the rare true artists among opera producers) simply burned out. He was hospitalized for exhaustion before the premiere, and he's been staying at that same hospital in Graz for more than six weeks already -- which obviously means that his health problems were very serious.

Konwitschny is the artistic director of Oper Leipzig, where the preparations of his new production of  Macbeth are underway. The premiere is scheduled for December 10, and will most probably happen without Big Pete.
Get well soon, big man! We need you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Are you ready for la bellezza scaligera?!!

I am just too busy to blog and there would be many things to blog about: Rusalka and Wozzeck from Basel (great!), a few superb shows from Berlin, a couple of excellent concerts from Paris, great Alcina from Dresden...  I will NOT blog about the tragically bad new productions from Paris, such as Faust or/and La Forza del destino.

BUT, tonite is the night of La Prima della Prima: Don Giovanni from La Scala. I was told it was not inventive (after Calixto Bieito, Martin Kusej, and Dmitri Tcherniakov it is hard to keep up the quality level) but Robert Carsen shows are always intelligent and pleasant to see. Plus a superb cast will make us forget one of the biggest let-downs in recent years -- the live broadcast of Don Giovanni from The Met.

Monday, November 21, 2011

One more proof of greatness: Ruslan and Lyudmila directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov

Dmitri Tcherniakov is one of the five best opera directors today, and this new production of Ruslan and Lyudmila --by which the new Bolshoi Theater in Moscow reopened its gates to the opera lovers-- is one of numerous proofs that this man is uncommonly gifted, clever, audacious (in any sets of circumstances) -- in short, a genius.

You should keep in mind that the Moscow opera goers are far more conservative than those filling up the seats at the Paris Opera, and that the Bolshoi is even more conservative than The Met. With that in mind one starts watching this fascinating production and realizes how smoothly Tcherniakov leads his public to make them open up and start thinking about this opera as of something that is not taken out from the shelves and unfolded for their entertainment, but of something that is close to them, talks to them.

From the production photos alone, the show seemed to be one of those tired historic opulent productions, but 10 minutes in the show and you understand it's just the costumes that have been used to appropriately depict a traditional wedding in contemporary Russia... 

Notice that Tcherniakov started using video in a way similar to what Denis Guéguin does in  Krzysztof Warlikowski productions. Also the photos leaked prior to the premiere resembles the trick Stefan Herheim used before unveiling his Lohengrin in Berlin [when the photos mislead us to believe that the show was going to be traditionalist.]

And so, while the new productions at the Paris Opera look like tired copies of already notoriously stale productions broadcast from the Met, The Bolshoi here makes a quick leapfrog by rethinking through this Pushkin inspired opera that Tcherniakov prepared together with Vladimir Jurowski who made the score sound refreshing, and with a superb line up of singers: Mikhail Petrenko, Albina Shagimuratova, Charles Workman, Yuriy Mynenko (!), Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Almas Svilpa, Vladimir Ognovenko, and Elena Zaremba.
Tcherniakov and Jurowski are this new creative and open Russia. 

Now, do read the synopsis before watching Ruslan and Lyudmila in the video attached below. Enjoy :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oh là là !

I don't know if there is anything even remotely positive to say about "Celles qui aimaient Richard Wagner", a recently released film by Jean-Louis Guillermou about... well, about Richard Wagner -- I guess.

The story conveyors are certain Judith (young) and Brigitte (aged), diehard Wagner fans, both socially rather inapt, living stuck between their own lives and the life of fantasies built on a biography of Richard Wagner [OK, it's more about Judith, but the episode with Brigitte helped highlighting the Wagnerites' weirdness... or so I understood!]

As for the horny Richard, he had a magic formula: just approach any attractive woman, whisper on her ear that she's your new muse, and she's instantly blinking with 'green lights' (oh yes, there's a background-sound from the prelude to Tristan each time he's about to knock one)... and so on... aren't you yawning already?!

100% of dialogs sound annoyingly artificial [Aaah Richard! Je vous appartiens!], and occasionally unintentionally hilarious [HE: "Vous me semblez toute chavirée ma chère!" SHE: "Ce ne sont que ces chaleurs trop vives qui m’indisposent."]

The director often lets Roberto Alagna (alias Joseph Tichatschek) act on his own, without proper guidance, and since Roberto has next-to-zero naturalness in his acting the result is very far from flattering (see a tiny excerpt here.) Even worse is Stéphane Bern (a well known French TV/radio talk show presenter) who impersonates a spoiled but grotesque King Ludwig II.

And so, with a few decent actors and with these personalities unsuccessfully trying to do the acting job, with evidently not enough money invested in the project to back the director's ambitions (costumes and makeup from a second rate theater), in addition to the impossible dialogs, somewhere half-way through the movie you start doubting if the whole thing isn't just a big fat parody. Then you start taking it all lightly and chuckle more and more often... but soon it all becomes more serious and you realize that it's just that -- a horribly bad movie.

Below is a trailer and there are a few theaters in France and another few elsewhere in Europe where you can still catch this thing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Una Notte di Bel Canto: Théâtre des Champs Élysées Re-Opens

I Capuleti e i Montecchi (in concert), Théâtre des Champs Élysées, November 11 2011 [11/11/11]

Olga Peretyatko - Giulietta

Evelino Pidò ..... Conductor

Anna Caterina Antonacci ..... Romeo
Olga Peretyatko ..... Giulietta
Juan Francisco Gatell ..... Tebaldo
Carlo Cigni ..... Lorenzo
Giovanni Battista Parodi ..... Capellio

Orchestra et Chorus of the Opéra de Lyon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Œdipus gouges out his eyes at the Best Opera House in 2011 - Free video for your eyes only

Starting from tonight [November 12, 2011] at 20:00 (cet) you can watch the video of the barely finished run of the new production of Oedipe -- a wonderful opera by George Enescu presented at the Best Opera House in 2011, La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels.

From Oedipe at La Monnaie [photo ©Berndt Uhlig]

The reviews were full of praise for the opera itself, for Peter de-super-Caluwe who lead the project to resuscitating this rarely performed opera, for Leo Hussain and his enthusiastic, passionate albeit accurate conducting, and for the singers/actors who gave this opera new life.
As expected, many negative reviews for Alex Ollé and Valentina Carrasco from La Fura dels Baus, who produced the show, who make the grand scene too grandioso-s  for the opera crowd, but I am sure it was "special" [I absolutely LOVED their Le Grand Macabre at La Monnaie a couple of years ago; the same show will be presented next week at Liceu in Barcelona!]

Ah yes, the link is HERE and note that the video will be available for free viewing three weeks only!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Le Nozze di Figaro - Les Noces Liegoises

After their really bad production of Otello, I stopped mentioning the webcast projects by Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège. However, since Anne-Catherine Gillet --a wonderful Belgian soprano-- sings the role of Susanna in their new production of Le Nozze di Figaro, I cannot but encourage you to give it a try and watch the video of the show that was live webcast less than 2 weeks ago.

ACG is a true Mozartian gem and although she sounds 5 times better in auditorium than on any video or CD, it is a treat anyway. If you get a chance to listen to her singing live, do not miss it!

From Le Nozze di Figaro at ORW in Liège: Cinzia Forte, Anne Catherine Gillet, and Jennifer Rivera

Another good reason to see this show is that Jennifer Rivera --a superb American mezzo-- is quite obviously enjoying herself in the role of Cherubino. Other cast members are good too: Mario Cassi, Cinzia Forte, Wiard Withold...   

Le Nozze are always fun to see, especially when the cast is this cool.

Directed by Philippe Sireuil and conducted by Christian Zacharias, the video of the full performance can be found on this link (embedded below is only a trailer)

Lulu in Paris: Talented Mr. Decker (2)

Lulu, Opéra Bastille in Paris, October 28 2011

Conductor ..... Michael Schønwandt
Director ..... Willy Decker

Lulu ..... Laura Aikin
Gräfin Geschwitz ..... Jennifer Larmore
Eine Theatergarderobiere, Ein Gymnasiast, Ein Groom ..... Andrea Hill
Der Maler, Der Neger ..... Marlin Miller
Dr Schön, Jack ..... Wolfgang Schöne
Alwa ..... Kurt Streit
Der Tierbändiger, Ein Athlet ..... Scott Wilde
Schigolch ..... Franz Grundheber
Der Prinz, Der Kammerdiener, Der Marquis ..... Robert Wörle
Der Theaterdirektor, Der Bankier ..... Victor Von Halem
Eine Fünfzehnjährige ..... Julie Mathevet
Ihre Mutter ..... Marie-Thérèse Keller
Die Kunstgewerblerin ..... Marianne Crebassa
Der Journalist ..... Damien Pass
Ein Diener ..... Ugo Rabec

Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And the Winners of the Concours Régine Crespin are...

I do not believe in singing competitions, or better, I don't believe their results are realistic. There are so many factors entering the selection process and the selection of the winners, that taking the results seriously is just silly. Importantly, the finalists are all good, they are all under 30, and they will hopefully enjoy some media exposure that they most certainly deserve.

Of 45 selected singers selected for the First Concours Régine Crespin --organized by the Long-Thibaud Foundation-- and after two rounds of competition the jury, chaired by Alexander Pereira (new director of the Salzburger Festspiele), decided the 6 finalists who would sang at the big public concert at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

And so the final concert took place yesterday - Saturday, November 5th 2011, with Betrand de Billy conducting the Orchestre National de France  and with Sophie Koch who hosted the evening. Each of the 6 finalists -- Marina Bucciarelli, Marie-Adeline Henry, Julia Lezhneva, Roman Burdenko, Kihwan Sim, Ida Falk Winland -- sang two arias.

Finalists: Marina Bucciarelli, Marie-Adeline Henry, Julia Lezhneva, Roman Burdenko, Kihwan Sim, Ida Falk Winland

Arte-Live-Web (again them!) live broadcast the concert and the video is embedded below.
The Top-3 are:

  1. Kihwan Sim [La calunnia è un venticello (Il barbiere di Siviglia) - 0:34:15, Ombre di mia prosapia (La Gioconda) - 1:40:05]
  2. Roman Burdenko  [Si puo? Si puo? (Pagliacci) - 0:12:58, Kto mozhet sravnitzya (Iolanta) - 1:21:30]
  3. Ida Falk Windland [Je marche sur tous les chemins (Manon) - 0:49:40, Glitter and Be Gay (Candide) - 1:55:15 ]
where the numbers indicate the time-mark starting from which you can see/hear the corresponding aria in the video below.

 Congratulations to all 6 finalists and to the winners in particular!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

La Clemenza di Tito in Paris: Talented Mr. Decker

La Clemenza di Tito (La clémence de Titus), Opéra Garnier in Paris, September 12 2011

Willy Decker ..... Director
Adam Fischer ..... Conductor

Klaus Florian Vogt ..... Tito
Hibla Gerzmava ..... Vitellia
Stéphanie d'Oustrac ..... Sesto
Allyson McHardy ..... Annio
Amel Brahim-Djelloul ..... Servilia
Balint Szabo ..... Publio

Chorus and Orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris

Friday, November 4, 2011

Semper Rusalka in Dresden (take two)

Rusalka, Semperoper Dresden, November 3 2011

Conductor ..... Tomáš Netopil
Director ..... Stefan Herheim
Set Design ..... Heike Scheele

Prinz ..... Zoltán Nyári
Rusalka ..... Tatiana Monogarova
Die fremde Fürstin ..... Anda-Louise Bogza
Wassermann ..... Georg Zeppenfeld
Ježibaba ..... Tichina Vaughn
Erste Elfe ..... Vanessa Goikoetxea
Zweite Elfe ..... Barbara Senator
Dritte Elfe ..... Sofi Lorentzen
Jäger, Priester ...... Gerald Hupach
Metzger ..... Torsten Schäpan
Polizist ..... Friedrich Darge
Mr. High (Chorsolist) ..... Michael Auenmüller
Mr. Low (Chorsolist) ..... Jun Seok Bang
Der Apotheker (Chorsolist) ..... Jae-Suk Kim
Der Besserwisser (Chorsolist) ..... Alexander Schafft

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden (Pablo Assante)
Staatskapelle Dresden

Don Carlo in Berlin -- one to remember [Runnicles et al]

Don Carlo, Deutsche Oper Berlin, November 2nd 2011

Conductor ..... Donald Runnicles
Director ..... Marco Arturo Marelli

King Philip of Spain ..... Roberto Scandiuzzi
Don Carlo ..... Massimo Giordano
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa ..... Boaz Daniel
Inquisitor ..... Ante Jerkunica
A monk ..... Ryan McKinny
Elisabeth of Valois ..... Lucrezia Garcia
Princess of Eboli ..... Anna Smirnova
The page Thibaut ..... Hila Fahima
Count of Lerma / Herold ..... Matthew Peña
A voice ..... Kathryn Lewek
Flemish deputies ..... Alexey Bogdanchikov
Flemish deputies ..... Hyung-Wook Lee
Flemish deputies ..... Simon Pauly
Flemish deputies ..... Jörn Schümann
Flemish deputies ..... Marko Mimica
Flemish deputies ..... Tobias Kehrer

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin (William Spaulding)
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Rake's Progress in Lille

The Rake's Progress, Opéra de Lille, October 16, 2011

Tom and Anne -- Alek Shrader and Christiane Karg

  David Lescot ..... Director
  Arie Van Beek ..... Conductor

Alek Shrader ..... Tom Rakewell
Christiane Karg ..... Anne Trulove
Alan Ewing ..... Trulove
Christopher Purves ..... Nick Shadow
Frances McCafferty ..... Mother Goose
Anne Mason ..... Baba-Turk
Alasdair Elliott ..... Sellem

Orchestre de Picardie
Choeur de l’Opéra de Lille (Yves Parmentier)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homoki le Grand: The Bartered Bride at the Komische

The Bartered Bride, Komische Oper Berlin, November 1st 2011

Vasek, Janik, Maestro Vedernikov, Marenka, Kecal, and Ludmila

Director ..... Andreas Homoki
Conductor ..... Alexander Vedernikov

Krušina ..... Tom Erik Lie
Ludmila ..... Gertrud Ottenthal
Mařenka ..... Christiane Kohl
Mícha ..... Carsten Sabrowski
Háta ..... Caren van Oijen
Vašek ..... Thomas Ebenstein
Jeník ..... Timothy Richards
Kecal ..... Jens Larsen
Zirkusdirektor ..... Peter Renz
Esmeralda ..... Anastasia Melnik

November 2011 in Europe: New Productions

Apart from the new Ruslan and Lyudmila at the Bolshoi (produced by the most unpredictable and supremely talented Dimitri Tcherniakov), there are several very interesting new productions to be premiered in Europe this November. Sebastian Baumgarten will present his Carmen at the Komische in Berlin, and potentially good should also be new Ariadne auf Naxos in Cologne. I wonder what peculiarity will have new Queen of Spades that Peter Konwitschny is preparing in Graz (c.f. rehearsal pics here. Gotta love that man!)

Creativity and the deepest human touch should be the epithets for the new Eugene Onegin at ENO, directed by  Deborah (Dido and Aeneas) Warner, and for the new Marthaler show in Basel -- Lo stimolatore cardiaco.

Ordered according to their premiere, an extensive selection of new productions to be presented in theaters across Europe this November includes:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Singing City (updated)

You remember the superb production of Parsifal directed by Calixto Bieito?

No, I have no news about the potential DVD release, but the documentary filmed during the production creating process has been actually released on DVD.
I purchased a copy today at the Dussmann store in Berlin (German equivalent to the FNAC, Virgin, Feltrinelli...) It's also available on amazon. It's in German with English subtitles.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Les contes d'Hoffmann anglo-bavarois (trailer added)

Yes, all the eyes and ears of the opera world will be in Munich for the tonight's opening of the Richard Jones production of Les contes d'Hoffmann.
Yours Truly will not be there, but I should remind you that Arte-TV will broadcast the show only 3 weeks after the premiere: Monday, November 21 at 20:40 (cet) Thursday, December 29 at 22:00 (cet)

Note also that the tonight's premiere will be live broadcast on the BR-Klassik website starting from 19:00 (cet).

Always wonderful Diana Olympia Damrau [debut in 3 roles -- she already sang Olympia in Mannheim]

Like Krzysztof Warlikowski, Richard Jones too seems to have been inspired by Amy Winehouse -- one of the most fascinating pop personalities of our time. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

More on Bolshoi... and Руслан и Людмила

If you did not see the re-opening gala concert at The Bolshoi Theater, you can still do it on Arte Live Web (c.f. also video here). I usually dread those concerts but when I saw that Dmitri Tcherniakov directed the show, I obviously rushed to see it and, yes Dima The Great did a very good job by actually making sense of the evening. He gave credit to everyone involved in the process of creating the theatrical magic, to the workers who for the past 6 years were working hard to construct that great building, to all the folks working backstage, and to all the artists. At the same time he recounted the history of The Bolshoi Theater --one of the greatest temples of Russian culture that resisted all the radical changes in Russia since 1824 to this day.

There was too much ballet for my taste, but as we all know the Russians love ballet... so not much surprise there!

Tcherniakov talking to the press about his new production -- Ruslan and Lyudmila

Operatic bits were OK. Placido Domingo did not show up, and I guess Angela Gheorghiu would have done much better if she followed the example and skipped the event too. She did not prepare ONE aria she was supposed to sing there. And it was not some tricky unknown piece that needed a heck of a work to prepare, but it was the Lisa aria from The Queen of Spades. Angie literally appeared with the score in hands and she would look at it like every 5 seconds. She clearly didn't bother to work on the pronunciation either... and so, to me, her appearance was borderline disrespectful (considering the importance of the event, the worldwide coverage...)
Check out here -- her aria starts at 1:37:10. [Note in particular the annoyed looking Galina Vishnevskaya after Miss Gheorghiu finished singing. She didn't clap.]

The same aria would have been gloriously sung by Krassimira Stoyanova, Anja Harteros, Svetlana Ignatovich, or Olga Guryakova, Renée Fleming...

Obviously there was no Anna Netrebko, Olga Borodina, Ekaterina Gubanova, or Tatiana Monogarova, Olga Peretyatko... which might partly be due to the Moscow/Petersburg petty quarrels (I speculate!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jones' Macbeth in Lille

Macbeth, Opéra de Lille, May 15 2011

Director ..... Richard Jones [Geoffrey Dolton]
Conductor ..... Roberto Rizzi Brignoli

Dimitris Tiliakos ..... Macbeth
Susan Maclean ..... Lady Macbeth
David Lomeli ..... Macduff
Dimitry Ivashchenko ..... Banco
Bruno Ribeiro ..... Malcolm
Miriam Murphy, Julie Pasturaud ..... Lady Macbeth’s servants
Patrick Schramm ..... A doctor, A servant, A herald
Vincent Vantyghem ..... A murderer

Lille National Orchestra & Lille Opera Chorus

The Bolshoi Theatre re-opens: Gala for the people!

After 6 years of painful works and lots of scandals along the way, The Bolshoi Theater is finally set to open its gates to the public.

Tonight's opening will be accompanied by a big gala concert, and the first premiere is scheduled for next Wednesday: Ruslan and Lyudmila by Glinka, with Russia's best Dmitri Tcherniakov directing, and with Vladimir Jurowski conducting the show.

As for the Gala Concert, Arte Live Web will live broadcast it tonight [Friday, October 28] starting from 20:40 (cet) -- video is embedded below. What would be a gala concert without Angela Gheorgiu and/or Placido Domingo?! So yes, they will both be there, in addition to Dmitri Hvorostovski, Natalie Dessay, Violeta Urmana... Enjoy!

O Schönheit at Théâtre du Châtelet

Cycle Mahler, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, October 27 2011

Daniele Gatti, Stephen Gould, and Marie-Nicole Lemieux

Conductor ..... Daniele Gatti
Contralto ..... Marie-Nicole Lemieux
Tenor ..... Stephen Gould
Violin ..... Frank Peter Zimmermann

Orchestre National de France

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Malena Ernman, Peter Mattei, and Krassimira Stoyanova

I said I was not much interested in the CD business, but I do follow the new releases when I can. Before summer 2011 I recommended you a few superb recording, and I still believe all three of them are magnificent -- each in its own way. 

Some CD's are great for the way the program presented on them is interpreted and those are that I like the most. Christine Schäfer, René Pape and Anna Larsson (among others) are the true geniuses of interpretation. They manage to turn their 'imperfections' to their advantage that add to their already extraordinarily humanized way of singing the known songs or arias.

But then you have those who have an uncommon sense of musicality, who dare to sing the known stuff in their own, recognizable, way -- that actually gives a whole new flavor to the songs and arias they sing. Malena Ernman and especially Peter Mattei are good examples of that kind of singing. They both recently released new CD, and both contain several very interestingly performed tunes.
Krassimira Stoyanova, instead, is a quite different case: a singer who managed to avoid the stardom, and almost stealthily impose herself as one of the best living singers.