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):

Norwegian Sensibility

Leif Ove Andsnes, Théâtre des Champs Élysées (TCE), March 26 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

An Inconvenient Parsifal: From Opera de Lyon 2012 to The Metropolitan Opera in New York 2013

Parsifal, Opéra National de Lyon, March 25 2012

François Girard ..... Director
Kazushi Ono ..... Conductor

Nikolai Schukoff ..... Parsifal
Elena Zhidkova ..... Kundry
Gerd Grochowski ..... Amfortas
Georg Zeppenfeld ..... Gurnemanz
Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester ..... Klingsor
Kurt Gysen ..... Titurel
Tehmine Yeghiazaryan ..... Flowermaiden 1
Ivi Karnezi ..... Flowermaiden 2
Katharina von Bülow ..... Esquire 2 / Flowermaiden 3
Heather Newhouse ..... Esquires 1 / Flowermaiden 4
Sonja Volten ..... Flowermaiden 5
Ulrike Helzel ..... Une voix / Flowermaiden 6
Daniel Kluge ..... Grail Knight 1
Lukas Schmid ..... Grail Knight 2
Olesiy Palchykov ..... Esquires 4
Pascal Pittie ..... Esquires 3

Orchestre, Chœurs et Maîtrise de l'Opéra de Lyon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

At least 5 superb shows to see for free on the Internet

This never replaces the experience of sparkling creativity that you might feel at La Monnaie opera in Brussels, for example, but it can be a good cultural complement to the (unsatisfactory?) offer at your local opera house.

Think to contribute, if you can, and subscribe to Medici TV for at least a month. They make many videos of the top quality shows available for us and for all the viewers worldwide and they need subscribers...

Below is the list of 6 brilliant shows with links (well the first on the list is not great but there are too many flashy names to ignore it)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Orlando Paladino-San: Too busy but fun

Orlando Paladino, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, March 19 2012

Jean-Christophe Spinosi ..... conductor
Kamel Ouali ..... director
Nicolas Buffe .... sets & costimes 

Kresimir Spicer ..... Orlando
Bruno Taddia ..... Pasquale
Anna Goryachova ..... Alcina
Ekaterina Bakanova ..... Angelica
Joan Martín-Royo ..... Rodomonte
Pascal Charbonneau .... Medoro
Raquel Camarinha ..... Eurilla
David Curry ..... Licone
Adam Palka ..... Caronte

Monday, March 19, 2012

Warlikowski News

We all love Krzysztof Warlikowski and his incomparably profound theater.

If you can get to the Théâtre de Chaillot in Paris and see his Contes africains d'après Shakespeare then please do: it is really a special event.

Otherwise, you could connect to the BSO website  next Saturday, March 24 2012, at 7 p.m. (CET) and watch his --Brokeback Mountain inspired-- production of Eugene Onegin.
[dir- Krzysztof Warlikowski, cnd- Pietari Inkinen, cast: Simon Keenlyside, Pavol Breslik, Ekaterina Scherbachenko, Alisa Kolosova, Heike Grötzinger, Ain Anger, Ulrich Reß] 

Finally, the must see show 2012 should be his new production of Poppea e Nerone (based on L'incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi) that will be premiered on June 12 at the Teatro Real in Madrid. The ticket sales will open next Tuesday, June 27!

Don Giovanni in Paris: Peter Mattei, Bernard Richter, Philippe Jordan... and übertalented Michael Haneke

Don Giovanni, Opéra Bastille in Paris, March 15 2012

Bernard Richer, Véronique Gens, Peter Mattei, Philippe Jordan, Patricia Petibon, David Bizic

Michael Haneke ..... director
Philippe Jordan ..... conductor

Peter Mattei ..... Don Giovanni
Paata Burchuladze ..... Il Commendatore
Patricia Petibon ..... Donna Anna
Bernard Richter ..... Don Ottavio
Véronique Gens ..... Donna Elvira
David Bizic ..... Leporello
Nahuel Di Pierro ..... Masetto
Gaëlle Arquez ..... Zerlina

Orchestre et choeur de l'Opéra national de Paris

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ring Ring

I was planning to see two Rings this year, one of which would be one of four reruns of the London Ring next September-October. Since I always prefer a creation (or at least the productions I didn't see before) my main target was actually the Munich Ring.

Reasons (besides the obvious one -- new production)?
I liked the previous work of the director [Andreas Kriegenburg], the cast is great --similar to the one we saw recently performing in Paris, except that the whole thing most probably sounds better at the Bayerische Staatsoper because of its exceptionally good acoustics-- and  finally, because Kent Nagano handles Wagner operas in a peculiar & passionate way; his conducting is accurate and 'modern'...

From Die Walküre recently premiered at the BSO in Munich (Andreas Kriegenburg production)

And so, a year ago, when the program for the Festspiele 2012 was announced, I promptly sent out my application for the tickets hoping to benefit from their usual "first came, first served" rule... Alas, today I received a "sorry mail" and so no Munich this year!

My first spontaneous reaction obviously involved a few expletives, but on the second thought there is no need to be spoiled. This may even be a blessing in disguise. Other places in Germany propose full Ring cycles too.  Time to discover places, creative works of others... So what are the options? Frankfurt, Essen, Hannover, Freiburg and even Mannheim! See below the list with links to all operas.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Andris Nelsons and his Tristan in Paris

Tristan und Isolde in concert, Théâtre des Champs Élysées (TCE), March 11 2012

Addition to your fave list: Andris Nelsons

Andris Nelsons ..... Conductor

Lioba Braun ..... Isolde
Stephen Gould ..... Tristan
Matthew Best ..... King Marke
Brett Polegato ..... Kurwenal
Christianne Stotijn ..... Brangäne
Ben Johnson ..... Melot
Benedict Nelson ..... seaman

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stefan Herheim and La Bohème

I still believe it's a shame that Stefan Herheim wasted his huge talent on this pile of obsolete cheese [no good if opera is ever to evolve away from cheese and triviality (but that's another story...)], but if there is anything that could make me endure Mimi(mimimi...) and Rodolfo for all four Acts, it's the Herheim's regie.

From the Herheim's production of La Bohème at Den Norske Opera, January-March 2012

Since the run of that new production at Den Norske Opera in Oslo is over, and the DVD is in preparation (to be released later this year), the Norwegian TV NRK2 will broadcast the show tonight [Sunday, March 11 2012] at 21:10. [Try this link or google to find another source of live stream]

Pics and more about this production can be found on wagneropera, and the trailer is given below.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A touch of Bayreuth in Paris: Gatti conducts Parsifal (2)

The concert performance of Parsifal that I blogged about a few days ago has been recorded and is now available on Arte Live Web for free (see below).

 Modulo Gurnemanz the cast is very good and somewhat peculiar [Detlef Roth, in particular, is on the lighter side of your usual Amfortas but he manages to absorb the role in his own way resulting in a refreshing interpretation], and Daniele Gatti again delivers a superb version of what I believe is the greatest opera of all times.

N.B. he conducts the entire Parsifal without the score.

Video embedded below. Enjoy!

Parsifal in Lyon (first photos)

Last night the best opera house in France --run by Serge Dorny-- premiered the long awaited production of Parsifal directed by François Girard. I did not see the show yet but will try and see it during this first run. It is a new production that was carefully prepared, rehearsed, and required lots of technical stage problems to be solved so that the premiere that was scheduled for March 6th had to be canceled (there is lots of blood and it was hard to contain it correctly and assure the safe replacement of the decor).
Now all is fine, first news say that the premiere was glitchless, Kazushi Ono [a meticulous man with a huge heart] his orchestra and the singers apparently great...
The cast indeed looks superb on the paper,
Nikolai Schukoff (Parsifal), Elena Zhidkova (Kundry), Gerd Grochowski (Amfortas),  Georg Zeppenfeld (Gurnemanz), Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester (Klingsor), Kurt Gysen (Titurel)...
 I'm especially pleased to see that our fave Georg Zeppenfeld sings one of the toughest bass roles in Lyon. I am quite confident his will be one of the history best interpretations of Gurnemanz.

This is the production that will travel to The Met next year and will be broadcast to the cinemas around the world. It will also be presented at the Canadian Opera Company.

More production photos below [©Philippe Merle] Production photos below look inviting:

Winds of change in Europe: Barrie Kosky, Dietmar Schwarz

Many things are about to change in good European opera houses. Hopefully Kasper Holten will manage to shake a little bit the temple of conservatism in London which would also leave the Paris Opera as the sole Bastion of stale conservatism among big opera houses in Europe (I know, I know... that's already the case!)

Real changes are about to happen in... in Berlin, of course! Starting from 2012-2013 Barrie Kosky will become the general director of the Komische Oper in Berlin, and Dietmar Schwarz will take the top spot of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB).

Barrie is a brilliant director who spent years in theaters and in opera producing business. Dietmar Schwarz, on the other hand, is a Mortier-kind of genius who is probably the most responsible for the fact that the Theater Basel was elected the best opera house in Europe two years in a row. His openness to the world of theater thrusted Bieto,  Hermann, Bosse, Goerden, von Peter... and many other extraordinarily talented directors to the world of opera. In doing so he never sacrificed the musical excellence of the opera house [one of the currently best singers in the world, Svetlana Ignatovich, forged her skills in Basel].
Kosky replaces Homoki who in turn becomes the general director of the Opernhaus in Zurich [Zurich will likely become one of the top operatic hot spots in Europe (see their new season here)]. Schwarz will replace Kirsten Harms --who rescued the Deutsche Oper after the unfortunate episode with  Thielemann-- and even though I am not fan of her productions, I admire her tenacity and ability to very cleverly adapt to the conditions in Berlin and run judiciously the Deutsche Oper. Ah yes, she's also the one to be thanked for insisting to bring Donald Runnicles to DOB. Runnicles nowadays fascinates everyone, and even the hard core conservatives --who religiously admire everything labeled Thielemann-- finally agree that Runnicles is "as good" - which is telling a lot. So kudos to Kirsten Harms and all the best in whatever she decides to do in the future.

I'd rather talk about the Komische and Barrie Kosky...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Gerard Mortier is a genius. He not only changed the operatic world, but he still keeps the level of creativity, musical and theatrical excellence that even those with multiple times higher budgets (such as the case with the Paris Opera for example) do not come even close to the level of homogeneity in quality, structural diversity of the operatic seasons in Madrid year after year.

Like in previous years, the program for 2012-2013 at Teatro Real in Madrid contains something for everyone. It's the top notch in every aspect, and there are no overrated stars to hide the misery of the productions... It's just great!

We notice that the two production that Mortier mounted while he was running the Paris Opera will find their way to Madrid: Wozzeck staged by Christoph Marthaler and Macbeth by Tcherniakov. In addition to the groundbreaking production of Don Giovanni by Tcherniakov, Teatro Real announces several new productions including Boris Godunov directed by Johan Simons (no less!) and Die Zauberflöte by Robert Carsen (and with Berliner Philharmoniker performing under Sir Simon Rattle), Cosi fan tutte by Michael Haneke... and more (see below)

Operas in concerts are terrific too with the outstanding cast for Parsifal in particular.

A touch of Bayreuth in Paris: Gatti conducts Parsifal

Parsifal (in concert), Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, March 6 2012

Daniele Gatti .....  Conductor
Christopher Ventris ..... Parsifal
Mihoko Fujimura ..... Kundry
Kurt Rydl ..... Gurnemanz
Lucio Gallo ..... Klingsor
Detlef Roth ..... Amfortas
Andreas Hörl ..... Titurel
Michael Laurenz, Robert Jezierski ..... chevaliers
Manuel Günther, Andreas Früch ..... écuyers
Julia Borchert, Katharina Peetz ..... écuyères et filles-fleurs de Klingsor
Martina Rüping, Carola Guber, Christiane Kohl,
Jutta Maria Böhnert ..... filles-fleurs de Klingsor

Orchestre National de France
Chœur de Radio France (Matthias Brauer)
Maîtrise de Radio France (Sofi Janin)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dido and Aeneas for history

Dido and Aeneas, Opéra Comique in Paris, March 5 2012

Deborah Warner ..... Director
William Christie ..... Conductor

Malena Ernman ..... Dido
Nikolay Borchev ..... Aeneas
Judith Van Wanroij ..... Belinda
Hilary Summers ..... Sorceress
Lina Markeby ..... Second Woman
Céline Ricci ..... First Witch
Ana Quintans ..... Second Witch
Marc Mauillon ..... Spirit
Ben Davies ..... Sailor

Fiona Shaw ..... Prologue
Orchestre et chœur Les Arts Florissants

Monday, March 5, 2012

Le Nozze à l'ancienne

Le nozze di Figaro, Staatsoper UdL im Schiller Theater, February 26 2012

Thomas Langhoff ..... director
Daniel Barenboim ..... conductor

Artur Rucinski ..... Il conte di Almaviva
Dorothea Röschmann ..... La contessa di Almaviva
Anna Prohaska ..... Susanna
Vito Priante ..... Figaro
Christine Schäfer ..... Cherubino
Katharina Kammerloher ..... Marcellina
Abdellah Lasri ..... Basilio
Maurizio Muraro ..... Bartolo
Narine Yeghiyan ..... Barbarina
Olaf Bär ..... Antonio
Paul O’Neill ..... Don Curzio

Staatskapelle Berlin

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"The merry widow" - Grahamless and joyless

Die lustige Witwe/La veuve joyeuse, Opéra Garnier in Paris, March 2 2012

Asher Fisch    ..... Conductor
Jorge Lavelli ..... Director

Harald Serafin  .....  Baron Mirko Zeta
Ana Maria Labin  ..... Valencienne
Bo Skovhus  ..... Graf Danilo
Susan Graham Noëmi Nadelmann ..... Hanna Glawari
Daniel Behle  ..... Camille de Rosillon
Edwin Crossley-Mercer  .....  Vicomte Cascada
François Piolino  ..... Raoul de Saint-Brioche
Francis Bouyer  ..... Bogdanowitsch
Claudia Galli  ..... Sylviane
Francis Dudziak  ..... Kromow
Andrea Hill  ..... Olga
Fabrice Dalis  ..... Pritschitsch
Michèle Lagrange  ..... Praskowia
Franz Mazura .....  Njegus

Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus


Lucio Dalla 1943-2012

One more true artist has just left us.