Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rigoletto aus Bayern

In a little more than an hour time (at 18:00 cet), the Bavarian State Opera will live stream their new production of Rigoletto, produced by Árpád Schilling (excellent theater director who makes his operatic debut with this production), always reliable Marco Armiliato and a superb cast including Franco Vassallo, Dmitry Ivashchenko, Joseph Calleja, Patricia Petibon and Nadia Krasteva.

Here is your link and the trailer plus a short film about the production is attached below.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

La Traviata Bruxelloise

The World's best TV --Arte of course!-- will be live broadcasting the new production of La Traviata from the World's best opera house -- La Monnaie/DeMunt -- in a little more than an hour time [20:00 CET].

Andrea Breth, one of the most talented and most accomplished theater directors today, produced the show [I saw her recent Wozzeck and Lulu at the Staatsoper in Berlin (UdL) and loved them both immensely; I also saw (with some delay) her Kat'a Kabanova also staged in Brussels, that matched in quality the famous Christoph Marthaler production -- which should be by now in textbooks], Adam Fischer conducts the LaMonnaie orchestra, which will be a curiosity on its own [Fischer is huge in Mozart operas, and I can only guess the level of subtleties in conducting La Traviata],  and the cast looks exactly what you would expect from the incomparable Peter de Caluwe: the role of Violetta will be sung by a lesser known Simona Saturova, Alfredo by always passionate Sébastien Guèze, Giorgio by our top-fave Scott Hendricks, and the cast for smaller roles is quite delicately composed too.

So, after two horrid live streamed production from the Munich Opera and tragic productions from The Met [live broadcast in the cinemas all over the world, unfortunately], here is the second super-promising show from Brussels that gives us hope that opera is not dead art [unforgettable production of Lulu in October was also produced at LaMonnaie/DeMunt].

Arte Live Web video is embedded below. Enjoy ;)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chinatown on Ice

Today, November 25 2012, at 19:00, the Munich BSO will live stream their recent production of Turandot, directed by La Fura dels Baus. The story was recounted intelligently giving this opera a breath of life, traditionalists hated it -- which means that it is probably worth watching.

Masters for the positively spectacular shows -- from Turandot by La Fura dels Baus

Even if synonymous for a mix of pompous and pathos, Turandot is nevertheless one of the least annoying operas by Puccini. Unfortunately it is far too often reduced to a parade of kitsch culminated by the Turandot's scream-fest [In questa reggia] to appreciate its musical qualities, despite a few well-known arias [Nessun dorma by Kalaf and Signore, ascolta!/Tu che di gel sei cinta by Liu].

A much-much better Turandot opera --in my opinion-- is the one by Ferruccio Busoni that we were privileged to see last year in Dijon, in a terrific production by Cisco Aznar and with terrific Sabine Hogrefe (Turandot) and Thomas Piffka (Kalaf). 

So for La Fura it might be good fun after all. Ah yes, if you did not listen to Yonghoon Lee singing before then you should definitely tune in tonight at 19:00 (CET) and watch the show on this link!

Dir- Carlus Padrisa (La Fura dels Baus), cnd- Marco Armiliato, Cast: Iréne Theorin, Yonghoon Lee, Serena Farnocchia, Alastair Miles, Markus Eiche...


Trailer and an interview with Carlus Padrisa (who explains the main lines of his production) are attached below.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Parsifal anyone?!

New production of Parsifal was premiered a few days ago. Directed by Philip Stölzl the premiere was also a convenient way to celebrate 100 years of Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB). This is the first premiere since the phenomenal Dietmar Schwarz became the general manager of DOB.

Today's Berliner Morgenpost dedicated a whole section to DOB, the premiere of Parsifal and the postpremiere party.

I'm off to see the second show. Too bad our fave T.H. Mayer won't be singing but the brilliant A. Marco-Buhrmester  will sing the role of Amfortas instead... Well AMB was Klingsor in Lyon last spring and now he steps in as Amfortas.
 Klaus Florian Vogt, Evelyn Herlitzius, Thomas Jesatko, Matti Salminen... it should be great. Plus it will be good to see if Runnicles will be as extraordinary as in Tristan or a little less great like in Die Walküre.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Night with Siegfried

Tonight, Tuesday October 23, starting from 19:00 (cet) Mezzo TV will live broadcast the Milan premiere of Siegfried, the third opera of the Guy Cassiers production of Der Ring des Nibelungen [this must be one of the finest Ring productions so far].

On case you cannot receive Mezzo TV, check out your local cinemas -- many will be broadcasting the premiere too.  Details about the cast can be found here [I'll just note that three top fave singers will be performing -- Anna Larsson, Nina Stemme and Johannes Martin Kränzle; plus Lance Ryan is always superb as Siegfried].

Photo from Guy Cassiers production of Siegfried [©Monika Rittershaus]

Unlike the previous two operas --that yours truly saw in Berlin and immensely enjoye-- this opera [Siegfried] was already premiered in Berlin before Milan [attached below is a clip from the Berlin premiere].

Monday, October 22, 2012

Superb Macbeth directed by van Hove; one more winner for Opéra de Lyon

Macbeth, Opéra National de Lyon, October 21 2012

Director ..... Ivo van Hove
Conductor ..... Kazushi Ono

Macbeth ..... Evez Abdulla
Banco ..... Riccardo Zanellato
Lady Macbeth ..... Iano Tamar
Suivante de Lady Macbeth ..... Kathleen Wilkinson
Macduff ..... Dmytro Popov
Malcolm ..... Viktor Antipenko

Orchestre et Chœurs de l'Opéra de Lyon

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ninanana Ninanana - Nina Stemme

Tristan und Isolde (in concert), Salle Pleyel in Paris, October 13 2012

Conductor ..... Mikko Franck

Tristan ..... Christian Franz
Isolde ..... Nina Stemme
King Marke ..... Peter Rose
Kurwenal ..... Detlef Roth
Brangäne ..... Sarah Connolly
Melot ..... Richard Berkeley-Steele
A young sailor ..... Pascal Bourgeois
A shepherd ..... Christophe Poncet
A steersman ...... Renaud Derrien

Choeur de Radio France (Brigitte Clair & Matthias Brauer)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (OPRF)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lulu opened in Brussels: Warlikowski is a genius

Yes, I was at the premiere of Lulu in Brussels today-- one of the most outstanding productions created so far anywhere and by any theatrical standard.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to film this show properly because many things happen simultaneously on the stage and  details really matter...
The emotion that was created at the theater today was truly extraordinary and the show reminded us once again that "Theater is Life" -- that vortex of emotion was so remarkable and we all --who were actually there-- shared something truly unique today. Thank you to everyone who made this possible! 

If you can possibly make it and see this show in Brussels, at La Monnaie/De Munt, don't think twice! Just go! Barbara Hannigan delivers the performance of her life -- helped by a fantastic cast, and guided by a super-inspired Warlikowski --who channeled the 'Edgar Degas' side of him-- and his extraordinary team. Claude Bardouil made the finale of Act1 extra-fascinating. Paul Daniel and all the artists were just magnificent.   

Pavlo Hunka, Charles Workman, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Dietrich Henschel, Barbara Hannigan, Christian Longchamps, Malgorzata Szczesniak, Paul Daniel, Frances Bourne and the brilliant kids from the Koninklijke Ballet School in Antwerp

This is a whole different level of theatrical creativity that resonates so wonderfully with opera. I'll try and write a few paragraphs tomorrow (or Tuesday) although I feel that by trying to describe it I could ruin it [if that makes sense to you].

There are many reasons why La Monnaie/De Munt is the best opera house in the world today, and this new Lulu is about to become one of them [reasons].

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Warlikowski event No.2 in 2012: Bruxelles, le centre du monde lyrique

After Boris Godunov in Madrid and Jenufa in Zurich, the third event in Europe this fall --that is not be missed-- is also expected to be among the top 3 in 2012 [although I don't believe that Poppea e Nerone could be beaten by anyone or anything - including Warlikowski himself] -- it is a new production of Lulu in Brussels.

The Warli team [Krzysztof Warlikowski, Malgorzata Szczesniak, Felice Ross, Denis Guéguin] is busy preparing the premiere and the cast looks excellent on the paper. Is it possible to resist one of the finest singers today (born to sing the 20th century repertoire!) -- Barbara Hannigan?! Her take on Lulu should be a blast!
Lothar Koenigs was supposed to conduct but due to an accident he had to pull out. Paul Daniel, whose Macbeth [also in Brussels] will remain one of my most memorable moments at the opera, will conduct instead.

As usual, all Warlikowski events should be seen in auditorium, rather than in video (it is a totally different experience), but if you cannot make it to Brussels mark November 8 in your calendar when you could see the video-stream of the show on La Monnaie/De Munt website. Video will be free and available for three weeks.

But if you can make it to Brussels, please do so! You will definitely feel richer for a special theatrical - operatic experience.

I would also like to encourage you to read the interview with Warlikowski prepared a few weeks ago by Christian Longchamps.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Boris Godunov in Madrid

Boris Godunov, Teatro Real in Madrid, October 3 2012

Director ..... Johan Simons
Conductor ..... Hartmut Haenchen

Boris Godunov ..... Günther Groissböck
Fyodor ..... Alexandra Kadurina
Yenia ..... Alina Yarovaya
Yenia's nurse ..... Margarita Nekrasova
Prince Shuisky ..... Stefan Margita
Chelkalov ..... Yuri Nechaev
Pimen ..... Dmitry Ulyanov
Grigory ..... Michael König
Marina Mnishek ..... Julia Gertseva
Rangoni ..... Evgeny Nikitin
Varlaam ..... Anatoli Kotscherga
Misail ..... John Easterlin
Innkeeper ..... Pilar Vázquez
Simpleton ..... Andrey Popov
Nikitich ..... Károly Szemerédy
Mitiushka ..... Fernando Radó
Court Boyar ..... Antonio Lozano
Boyar Khrushchyov ..... Tomeu Bibiloni
Levitski ..... Ángel Rodríguez
Chernikovski ..... Rodrigo Álvarez

Coro y Orquesta Titulares del Teatro Real
Children Chorus - JORCAM

Stéphane Lissner to run the Paris Opera from September 2015

La gioia! 

Stéphane Lissner, who I praised here on several occasions --last time it was about his projects at La Scala for 2012-2015-- will be the new general director of the Paris Opera starting from September 2015!

That is very good news as the creative art might be coming back to Bastille and Garnier.

I did not want to blog about all the ghastly productions created at the Paris Opera over the past few years. I think it is fair to say that the quality level of new productions presented last year was the history lowest (Manon, Faust, La Forza del Destino, Cav/Pag, Hippolyte et Aricie -- hard to pick the worst). The decision of the French Ministry of Culture to say goodbye to Nicolas Joël was the only rational outcome after the "artistic" choices he imposed on the Paris Opera over the past 3-4 years.

Musica Sola also describes the last trick Joël wanted to pull out in order to make his sacking look like his personal choice...  Sorry Nick, it's a Red Card! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012


A MAJOR bummer: I missed the train to Zurich, and so this time I will not be able to see Jenufa at the Opernhaus Zürich [theater run by our fave Andreas Homoki!].

Inside the Zurich Opera (photo I took last time I was there, in July 2011)

I will have to wait until the Zurich Opera Festival in July to actually see the show.

I have no one to blame  for coming late to La Gare de l'Est but myself. The ticket I had was a "special fare", valid only for the train I missed.  If anyone reading this post is in Zurich and wants to see Jenufa tonight (Sunday, Oct 7) let me know and I'll send you my electronic ticket.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Don Carlo in Amsterdam: Talented Mr. Decker and Amazing Mr. Maltman

Don Carlo, De Nederlandse Opera (DNO) in Amsterdam, May 13 2012

Director ..... Willy Decker
Conductor ..... Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Filippo II ..... Mikhail Petrenko
Don Carlo ..... Massimo Giordano
Rodrigo ..... Christopher Maltman
Il grande inquisitore ..... Sir John Tomlinson
Elisabetta di Valois ..... Camilla Nylund
La principessa d'Eboli ..... Ekaterina Gubanova
Un frate ..... Andrea Mastroni
Tebaldo, paggio d’Elisabetta ..... Eugénie Warnier
La contessa d'Aremberg ..... Mariëtte Oelderik
Il conte di Lerma/Un araldo reale ..... Rudi de Vries
Una voce dal cielo ..... Lisette Bolle

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Koor van De Nederlandse Opera

Thursday, October 4, 2012

News You Can Use

I skipped the whole summer of opera streaming, so I'm now trying to catch up when I can.
I am halfway watching the absolutely dreadful production of Ariadne auf Naxos presented at the Salzburg Festival 2012 and I hope I'll have enough courage to finish it. I should see Die Zauberflöte where my absolute fave singer (Georg Zeppenfeld) was apparently great. Die Soldaten could be interesting too.  Le Nozze di Figaro from Aix en Provence 2012, produced by Richard Brunel, should be a treat to see too, but I most regret the new Jan Philipp Gloger production of The Flying Dutchman in Bayreuth. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to see it next year... OK, this last was not streamed or broadcast.

What good to expect to see in one of these live broadcasts in 2012-2013?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cosí fan tutte in Nancy

Cosí fan tutte, Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, September 30, 2012

Lionel Lhote, Gaëlle Arquez, Gyula Orendt, Tito Muñoz, Marie Adeline Henry, Julien Behr and Clémence Barrabé

Director ..... Jim Lucassen
Conductor ..... Tito Muñoz

Fiordiligi ..... Marie Adeline Henry 
Dorabella ..... Gaëlle Arquez 
Despina ..... Clémence Barrabé 
Ferrando ..... Julien Behr 
Guglielmo ..... Gyula Orendt 
Don Alfonso ..... Lionel Lhote 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Schreker Opera in Amsterdam: Der Schatzgräber

Der Schatzgräber, De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, September 23 2012

Director ..... Ivo van Hove
Conductor ..... Marc Albrecht

Els ..... Manuela Uhl
Elis ..... Raymond Very

 Der Narr ..... Graham Clark
 Albi ..... Gordon Gietz
Der Junker ..... Mattijs van de Woerd
Der Wirt ..... Andrew Greenan
Der König ..... Tijl Faveyts
Die Königin ..... Basja Chanowski
Der Kanzler/Der Schreiber ..... Alasdair Elliott
Herold / Der Graf ..... André Morsch
Der Magister/Der Schultheiss ..... Kurt Gysen
er Vogt ...... Kay Stiefermann
Ein Landsknecht ..... Peter Arink
Erster Bürger ..... Cato Fordham
Zweiter Bürger ..... Richard Meijer
Mezzo Sopran Solo ..... Marieke Reuten
Alt Solo ..... Inez Hafkamp   
Alt Solo ..... Hiroko Mogaki
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Koor van De Nederlandse Opera [Alan Woodbridge]

Sunday, September 23, 2012


And so I succeeded to come to Amsterdam and get to see the last show of this gem-opera, in a production that is supposed to be one of the most significant operatic events this fall in Europe. Good!

About the show, hopefully tonight.

Important detail: I just checked and the "Musiektheater" wifi connection is free AND fast. Love De Nederlandse Opera! Cheers

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Requiescat in pace: Ulrike Hessler

Terrible news from Dresden where one of the most sensitive to creativity among the artistic directors of big opera houses today, Ulrike Hessler, died from cancer at the age of 57.

She's been working at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for many years, where she could see the process in which a stale conservative theater transformed into one of the most artistically compelling places in the world.

She became the general director of the Semperoper in 2010, and introduced changes that started feeling like Dresden was about to host the new best Opera House in the world. She brought the new boost to creativity, openness to young and talented directors, refused to make Semperopera a stage to big stars while regularly taking calculated risks with something new, different, special... All that while delivering the highest musical and theatrical quality that no other opera house can match today (except perhaps Brussels, Madrid, Basle while run by Schwarz, and to a lesser extent Lyon and Berlin).

My modest experience with this great theater run by this mighty lady included: a perfectly cast (!) superbly performed Rusalka staged by Herheim, followed by the first opera staged in a big venue by the phenomenal Jan Philipp Gloger (unforgettable Alcina!), audaciously programmed Tannhäuser, staged by Peter Konwitschny for Good Friday 2011 (!), and finally a splendid production of La Clemenza di Tito (that I will try and blog about sometimes in the weeks to come) in which the delightfully talented Bettina Bruinier was given the opportunity to show that creativity can still be infiltrated in this operatic masterpiece by Mozart.

Just see the program of the Semperoper and you will soon understand why this opera house under Ulrike Hessler became so special.

It is a sad day for all of us who still believe that opera can be artistically worthy of attention and where the creativity can find its way despite the ultraconservative public that fear anything that even looks like a change.

She will be missed!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Daniel Barenboim, who brings harmony in the place of discord

Huge props to Danny Boyle for staging the magnificent opening ceremony of the 30th Olympics in London last night. By far the best one I could see in my life.

The level of cheesiness was reduced to an absolute minimum [only the "Hey Jude" part was streaming with cheese], and his team managed to stage the show without an epsilon of kitsch -- which must be the first time to happen in modern Olympic history. 

Loved the transition from the rural to industrial England (with Kenneth Branagh reciting the lines from The Tempest), and especially the director's choice to celebrate the NHS, which is a crown of humanistic idea of a civilized society. Even that was made without pathos, but entangled in the fantasy world of the children's storybooks.

The storytelling depicting our times through gigantic names of the British pop, rock, punk... music was extraordinary!

LSO made a notable appearance during the show: at the beginning conducted by François-Xavier Roth, and later on --in the segment with Rowan Mr Bean Atkinson-- under Sir Simon Rattle.

As I am a huge huge admirer of Daniel Barenboim I was holding back my tears when I saw him carrying the Olympic Flag together with other seven extraordinary persons of our time. The world recognized this huge musician who is 5 times larger than life by a phrase "Daniel Barenboim, who brings harmony in the place of discord".

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Götterdämmerung from Munich

Andreas Kriegenburg is a very good opera director who started his career at a theater workshop in East Germany, and soon showed  that beyond his ``know how" in building the sets, there was a true talent for theater. Today he is one of the world's leading opera producers. His production of Otello in Berlin and especially his Wozzeck in Munich will remain as examples of how an opera director should work in order to make the shows both spectacular, innovative and dramatically engaging -- which is today almost impossible to see in any of the big opera houses worldwide.

Although the Munich Opera is getting increasingly fancy and less and less artistically compelling, the Kriegenburg Ring is definitely on the short-list of 'must see'  new opera productions in Europe. So we are lucky to be given to see today the live streaming from the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich of the new production of Götterdämmerung, with arguably the best Ring conductor today (contrary to the heartkess rendition of you-know-who), Kent Nagano, who will be leading the superb BSO orchestra, and a terrific cast that includes:   
Stephen Gould Siegfried, Nina Stemme Brünnhilde, Eric Halfvarson HagenWolfgang Koch Alberich, Michaela Schuster Waltraute, Iain Paterson Gunther, Anna Gabler Gutrune, Eri Nakamura WoglindeAngela Brower Wellgunde, Okka von der Damerau Floßhilde, Norn(s) Jill Grove, Irmgard Vilsmaier, Jamie Barton

It starts at 5 p.m. (CET). Here is your link.

Below are video clips (trailers, excerpts) from all four operas of the Kriegenburg Ring.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two words

Poppea e Nerone

Stage before the beginning of Part-Two of Poppea e Nerone in Madrid

La prima starts in a little more than an hour.

You could NOT imagine what acrobacy with my work and time I had to make to come to Madrid for the show... Suffering for art, indeed ;) Cheers

Monday, June 11, 2012

More on the Tcherniakov production of Il Trovatore: production photos and video excerpts

As I already said in my blog-post after the yesterday's premiere, this show is among the very best of what opera can offer you this year, so if you possibly can, do go to Brussels and see this gem while it's on the program -- it will never be as good on video as it is in a live performance.

Production photos are added below [all ©Bernd Uhlig] and, thanks to the reader Claire, we learn that a video --produced by and containing several excerpts from the show-- is also available. The video is actually an interview with Marc Minkowski. It is not embeddable but here is your link.

You can also listen to an interview with Scott Hendricks on the FM-Brussel radio.

Congrats to Janai, Anthony and Enhbat -- Winners of Operalia 2012!

Operalia 2012 took place last week in Beijing and finished yesterday, Sunday June 10th, with a final concert that was live broadcast on Medici TV and is now available for free viewing (here is your link).

The winners are 

1st prize: Enhbat Amartuvshin (baritone-Mongolia), Anthony Roth Costanzo  (countertenor-USA) and Janai Brugger-Orman (soprano-USA)

2nd prize: Yunpeng Wang (baritone-China), Brian Jagde (tenor-USA) and Guanqun Yu (soprano-China),

3rd prize: Roman Burdenko (baritone-Russia) and Nadezhda Karyazina (mezzo-Russia)

Other prize winners are

Il Trovatore premiered in Brussels: Tcherniakov hits a big show again, Scott Hendricks too

Il Trovatore, La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels, June 10 2012

Director ..... Dmitri Tcherniakov
Music direction ..... Marc Minkowski

Il Conte di Luna ..... Scott Hendricks
Manrico ..... Misha Didyk
Azucena ..... Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo
Leonora ..... Marina Poplavskaya
Ferrando ..... Giovanni Furlanetto

La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

Friday, June 1, 2012


There is something positively operatic, sincere, that happens when listening to Isabelle Geffroy, a.k.a. Zaz. It's like with Lucio Dalla, with Jamie Cullum, with early Regina Spektor...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Farnace for the people

Tonight May 30 at 8 p.m. (cet) you may watch the live-webcast from Opéra National du Rhin - Strasbourg, of their new production of Farnace, a Vivaldi opera that I don't particularly like but I'm sure that always phenomenal Max Emanuel Cencic will find a way to make it extra-exciting. The rest of the castt looks good on paper too.

Ruxandra Donose and Max Emanuel Cencic [photo ©Alain Kaiser]

I'm still to see Giulio Cesare that was live webcast three days ago from Salzburg, mainly because our fave Christophe Dumaux ;)

Farnace, May 30 2012, at 20:00 Paris time
dir- Lucinda Childs, cnd- George Petrou (Concerto Köln), cast: Max Emanuel Cencic, Vivica Genaux, Ruxandra Donose, Mary Ellen Nesi, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Carol Garcia, Juan Sancho]

Video embedded below.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Così or not Così

Così fan tutte, Théâtre des Champs Élysées, May 22 2012

Jérémie Rhorer..... Director
Eric Génovèse [Valérie Nègre] ..... Director 

Camilla Tilling ..... Fiordiligi 
Michèle Losier ..... Dorabella 
Claire Debono ..... Despina 
Bernard Richter ..... Ferrando 
Markus Werba ..... Guglielmo 
Pietro Spagnoli ..... Don Alfonso 

Le Cercle de l'Harmonie 
Choeur du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ascolta! Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio... Trebs time!

Live stream from the Bavarian State Opera of  I Capuleti e i Montecchi --the famous Bellini's take on Romeo and Juliet-- is about to start. The libretto of this opera is maybe not as bad as that of Norma, but it is awful anyway. However, there are some terrific tunes that will hopefully be well sung by Anna Netrebko and Vesselina Kasarova. Dimitri Pittas, Ante Jerkunica and Paul Gay complete the cast.

The production must be 'harmless' --Vincent Boussard is a specialist for what you can call "safe nice shows"-- so the traditionalists and conservatives won't be outraged.  Here is your link 
[libretto here]

Netrebko was terrific in this role a few years ago in a Robert Carsen production in Paris -- she and Joyce DiDonato rocked Bastille.

Trailer of this [Munich] production is attached below...
Udachi Anna!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Amsterdam DC

Hello from --always great fun to visit-- Amsterdam where the Nederlandse Opera revived their good production of Don Carlo produced by the Talented Mr. Decker, and Yours Truly wouldn't want to skip as the cast looks terrific on paper (I love-love Katya Gubanova, Chris Maltman and Misha Petrenko). Massimo Giordano is in the title role, instead of the previously scheduled Andrew Richards who had to pull out due to throat infection. Massimo was excellent in Berlin so it should be goood!  I am  also curious to hear what Yannick Nézet-Séguin made of this perilous score.

Very good show. The production is not matching the greatness of the legendary Konwitschny show but it is clever and stylish at the same time -- which is what Decker always manages to do in his peculiar way. It is also much much better than the tired Met/ROH production that flooded the world n DVD and the HD broadcast to the movie theaters. 

The cast is really brilliant with Chris Maltman killing Posa [this must be unbeatable singing/acting of this role -- this man is über-talented]. Camilla Nylund was amazing too -- the role of Elisabetta seems like written for her. Bravi tutti! Yannick Nézet-Séguin came with his orchestra and it shows -- extraordinary precision and they obviously practiced a lot to give DC a fresh look. YNS has a very lyric approach to the score and it often sounds different from what we're used to. Will hopefully blog tomorrow more. Cheers

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Alcina in Bordeaux: Envoûtant!

Alcina, Opéra national de Bordeaux, May 2 2012

Director ..... David Alden
Conductor ..... Harry Bicket

Alcina ..... Elza van den Heever
Morgana ..... Anna Christy
Ruggiero ..... Isabel Leonard
Bradamante ..... Sonia Prina
Oronte ..... Alek Shrader
Melisso ..... Wojtek Gierlach
Oberto ..... Mélody Louledjian

Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine
Choeur de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

100 years of the Théâtre des Champs Elysées

TCE will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, and the expectations for the season 2012-2013 were very high. They unveiled their program last night that you can browse on this link which in addition to numerous super-promising concerts, recitals and what not... contains  also a very good operatic program:

6 scenic operas

October 2012: Médée (by Charpentier) [dir- Pierre Audi, cnd- Emmanuelle Haïm, cast: Michèle Losier, Stéphane Degout, Anders Dahlin, Sophie Karthäuser, Laurent Naouri...]

November 2012: Medea (by Dusapin) [dir- Sasha Waltz, cnd- Marcus Creed, cast: Caroline Stein. Thomas Lehmann, Laura Erceg-Simon... Vocalconsort Berlin, Sasha Waltz & Guests]

December 2012: Médée (by Cherubini) [dir- Krzysztof Warlikowski, cnd- Christophe Rousset, cast: Nadja Michael, John Tessier, Vincent Le Texier, Varduhi Abrahamyan...]

February 2013: La Favoritae [dir- Rita de Letteriis, cnd- Paolo Arivabeni, cast: Alooce Coote. Ludovic Tézier, Celso Albelo. Giacomo Prestia, Loïc Felox, Judith Gauthier]

April 2013: Don Giovanni [dir- Stéphane Braunschweig, cnd- Jérémie Rhorer, cast: Markus Werba, Miah Persson, Daniel Behle, Myrto Papatanasiu, Robert Gleadow, Nahuel Di Pierro, Serena Malfi, Steven Humes]

and 14 operas in concert (with many rarities):