Saturday, July 9, 2011

What was good this year so far?!

In spite of what might look like a proliferation of artistry in opera, the genre still remains dead-locked, notoriously conservative form in which art is most often reduced to pedantry, or to a mere entertainment.

I didn't blog about bad surprises this year, and I'm still unsure if it's worth talking about Salomé and The Queen of Spades in my beloved Komische Oper in Berlin, or a pathetic recreation of a 40 years old production of Le Nozze di Figaro (suffocated) in a vast hall of Opéra Bastille,  about Dan Jemmett who in one year changed from a delightfully inventive producer to the author of an amorphous pile of kitschy boredom, or the Paris Opera staging one of the lousiest operas ever composed, Luisa Miller, with a phenomenal Krassimira Stoyanova almost looking like condemned to sing in what must be one of the crappiest productions ever, and so on and so on... Without mentioning the TV set-backs from London and Vienna with major snoozers Adriana Lecouvreur and Anna Bolena respectively, or the money wasting useless machinery in uninspiring Die Walküre live broadcast from The Met...

All in all, it's been less good a year for me so far, as far as opera is concerned, especially when compared with the last 4-5 years.

I guess I did well by not blogging about those numerous disappointments. ;)

A scene from Act-2 of Castellucci's production of Parsifal at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels

Happily, there were some truly wonderful shows that made me stick to the opera genre.
The best musical treat was definitely Barenboim conducting the Staatskapelle in Wozzeck during the Festtage in Berlin. Of all the singers I was the most impressed by Anna Larsson (Kundry) and Stephen Gould (Tannhäuser).
The most filling, illuminating, intriguing... artistic event in opera --that seemed like a life changing experience to many people-- took place last January in  Brussels: Romeo Castellucci's Parsifal.

So my list of good shows so far this year looks as follows:

1. Parsifal (Castellucci and Haenchen) at La Monnaie in Brussels

2. -

3. Wozzeck (Breth and Barenboim) at UDL in Berlin
3. Parsifal (von Peter and Kober) at Theater Basel
3. Kat'a Kabanova (Marthaler and Netopil) at Opéra Garnier in Paris

4. Götterdämmerung (McVicar and Letonja) at ONR in Strasbourg
4. Hérodiade (Schlömer and Jurowski) at the Flanders opera in Ghent
4. Tristan une Isolde (Olle and K.Petrenko) at Opéra National de Lyon

5. Eugene Onegin (Herheim and Jansons) at De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam
5. Parsifal (Guth and Gatti) at Opernhaus Zurich
5. Tristan une Isolde (Vick and Runnicles) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin

6. Turandot (Aznar and Kawka) at Opéra de Dijon
6. Walküre (Cassiers and Barenboim) at UDL in Berlin
6. Macbeth (Jones and Rizzi-Brignoli) at Opéra de Lille

7. Tristan und Isolde (Wiegand and Solyom) at the Weimar Oper
7. Les Huguenots (Py and Minkowski) at La Monnaie in Brussels
7. L'elisir d'amore (Brunel and Allemandi) at Opéra de Lille

8. Siegfried (Krämer and Jordan) at Opéra Bastille in Paris
8. Giulio Cesare (Pelly and Haïm) at Opéra Garnier in Paris
8. Tannhäuser (Konwitschny and Schneider) at Semper Oper in Dresden


  1. What about Teatro Real and Saint Françoise de Asisse?

  2. Hi encabe. Un-very-fortunately I couldn't go to Madrid because of work... Will come next season for Warlikowski and Marina. Cheers

  3. Thanks a lot for all the reviews, OC! That's a great list, and I'm happy Castellucci got the gold. Just a little surprised that Bieto didn't make it, though :-)

  4. Ops... Just realized his Aida (Basel) and Parsifal (Stuttgart) were produced in 2010, sorry...