Vieni, o stella: No. 7 from La donna del lago, Act 1 (Vocal Score)

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Indeed, this is a question that we might ask about Mozart and Beaumarchais, Purcell and Virgil, Monteverdi and Homer, as the transformation of a literary text into an opera invariably reminds us of the fundamental irrationality of the genre, the sheer folly of having characters sing rather than speak, and the impact this necessarily has on the spoken word. How do we judge the success of such an enterprise? Is it possible to judge the newlycreated work on its own terms, without comparing it to the original, particularly when the characters and situations have acquired cultural meaning and significance over the centuries that transcends the original?

Who is not beguiled by the notion of the brilliant young librettist and composer Arrigo Boito, tempting Verdi out. Just as Iago must only declaim and snicker. Just as Otello, now warrior, now cast down into the filth, now as ferocious as a savage, must sing and howl; so, Desdemona must always sing.

Yet even with Boito rather than the beleaguered Piave at the helm, it is essential to recognise that the Shakespeare to which he and Verdi so often refer in their correspondence had — since the early seventeenth century — undergone a continual process of metamorphosis and reinvention. Restoration audiences in mid-seventeenth century England, for instance, preferred happy endings, female actresses, elaborate stage machinery, and insisted on a far greater role for music and dance.

With Falstaff, however, the adaptation process seems to have been particularly creative. By then Boito understood well the necessity of tightening, simplifying, or telescoping aspects of the plot, and eliminating or fusing together characters. Of the 23 characters in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff retains only But what is perhaps most fascinating about the libretto is that Boito goes back even further than Shakespeare to the fourteenth century and the writings of Giovanni Boccaccio, sprinkling the libretto with antiquated language.

Nonetheless, there is something about Falstaff — the English setting, the quicksilver pace, the earthiness, the domineering presence of the eponymous hero, and the fairy world in Act III that seems — well — Shakespearean. Types are so various! The opera is completely comical. Amen indeed. The action takes place in Babylonia, without and within the city walls. The city, ruled by Belshazzar, is under threat of attack by the Persian Prince Cyrus and his general, Gobrias. Within Nitocris, the mother of Belshazzar, reflects on the precarious nature of human power — comparing empires to the ages of man.

She contrasts the temporary nature of earthly authority with the permanent power of God. Cyrus rallies his troops for one last battle, promising scant resistance from the feasting, drunken Babylonians. The soldiers prepare to enter the city. Gobrias fears their mockery is justified but Cyrus vows they shall be defeated by their own hubris. Gobrias is fighting to avenge his son, for whose death he holds Belshazzar responsible; revenge is the only hope left to him.

Cyrus assures Gobrias that he has a plan: he will drain dry the Euphrates and that night they will enter the city along the dry river bed, while the Babylonians are feasting. A rejuvenated Gobrias is ready for the fight. Within The feast is at its height. Belshazzar asserts that wine raises men to the status of gods. He mocks a non-existent God and challenges Him to show his power. In the next moment, he sees writing appear on the palace wall. He helps his fellow Babylonians to read the strange text that, at first, only he can see.

When Nitocris arrives, she informs her son that only Daniel can explain the meaning of the text. Scorning the material rewards offered by Belshazzar, Daniel glosses the words:. Within Daniel, a captive Jewish prophet, consults his books for confirmation that the hour of liberation for his people is at hand.

His people celebrate. Belshazzar and his fellow Babylonians are feasting in the palace. His mother interrupts the party, decrying the excess. Their ensuing argument leads Belshazzar to provoke the disapproving Jews by drinking from their sacred vessels. Your kingdom will be divided among the Medes and Persians Nitocris begs her son to repent, hoping God will prove merciful.

Inside the city walls, Cyrus, Gobrias and the Persian army seek out the enemy. That night, Nitocris is unable to sleep, her mind oscillating between hope and terror — between images of her son repenting and those of him dying a violent death.

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Daniel counsels against optimism, suggesting that Belshazzar cannot change his fundamental nature. The Jews celebrate their imminent deliverance. Belshazzar prepares for his last stand, resolved to go out fighting.

OPERA & OPERETTA (Naxos) - Kampanj - NaxosDirect

Cyrus enters and Belshazzar is killed. Gobrias rejoices in the death of his enemy, while Cyrus makes preparations for ruling the city. As the Jews prepare to depart, all praise the power of God and Cyrus assumes the Babylonian throne. Ever since the writing of musical drama began, somewhere around the end of the sixteenth century, the relationship between composers and their librettists has been a tricky one.

Certain partnerships, it is true, are made in heaven. We think of Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte in this context or of Verdi and Arrigo Boito, blessed in each case by a shared understanding of the unique character of the operatic project in hand. Less fortunate librettists find themselves brutally cast aside by the composer after a single commission, whatever its ultimate success. In the case of George Frideric Handel, the most valuable of such relationships involved someone with no need to make money as a librettist, since he had plenty enough to spare.

Charles Jennens was the grandson of a Midlands ironmaster, owner of foundries in Birmingham where the Industrial Revolution was beginning its earliest phase. The upwardly-mobile Jennenses had bought themselves a country estate, Gopsall Hall in Leicestershire, where his parents took care to bring him up in the style becoming a gentleman.

Sent to Balliol College, Oxford, he developed a passion for book-collecting and went on to assemble a library of over 10, volumes. These included. His own words were to be thus transfigured when, in the summer of , he gave Handel the text of an oratorio based on the story of David and King Saul in the biblical First Book of Samuel. The epic grandeur of the narrative, rich with vivid episodes and striking characters, were as inspiring to Handel as the elegance and fluency of its versification, and Saul, thanks partly to Jennens, is a truly astounding achievement.

The relationship between composer and librettist was polite rather than intimate. It never stopped him, however, from finding fault with Handel, criticising him for everything from his readiness to borrow ideas from other composers to his all-or-nothing impetuosity when working on a new score. What seems to have divided Handel and Jennens much less than we might imagine was their very different outlook on politics. Jennens opposed their claim to the throne, remaining sympathetic to the exiled Stuarts.

From the outset of their collaboration, Jennens took the opportunity to promote this subversive partisanship through certain of his Handelian texts. In Messiah meanwhile, scriptural verses focus on the mystery of the Eucharist and its. When, in the summer of , Jennens furnished Handel with a new oratorio, Belshazzar, the drama was still more overtly political in its subtext.

The plot here is loosely based on events in the Book of Daniel, concentrating on the hubris and folly of Belshazzar, King of Babylon, who chooses to feast on the sacramental vessels of the captive Jews while his city is besieged by the Persians, and is duly punished by the Almighty. In the original bible story, a generally garbled version of historical events, it is King Darius of Persia who kills Belshazzar and seizes his kingdom. Jennens, taking hints from Herodotus and Xenophon, replaces him with the actual conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus the Great, shown throughout the oratorio as a heroic warrior, in virtuous contrasts with the debauched and vacillating Belshazzar.

Handel seized avidly on this new libretto, which Jennens was careful to give him act by act, rather than all at once. Only on 2 October, acknowledging the last portion of text, does Handel politely suggest a few cuts. Handel, for his part, clearly saw in Belshazzar a world of. If the dreams of Charles Jennens as Jacobite and Non-juror, underscoring the text of Belshazzar, never ultimately came about, then at least he had helped his beloved composer in shaping a masterpiece.

Among his many books is Handel: the man and his music. He is the recipient of many distinguished literary awards. Here is the conquering Persian king Cyrus the Great and his carousing, wine-quaffing adversary, Belshazzar, king of Babylon. There is the treacherous noble Gobrias, God-fearing Queen Nitocris and the soulful Jewish prophet Daniel contemplating the liberation of his people. And here are the choruses of Jews, Babylonians, Medes and Persians to make up the numbers and increase the noise. The Bible in general, and Revelations in particular, takes a very hard line on this ancient seat of a world-spanning empire.

They were right to do so. Here on the desert plains sixty miles south of Baghdad, where the sun turns horizons into dazzling pools of mercury, was where human history began. Having succeeded to the throne in BC and plundered much of Egypt and Syria, he threw himself into a monumental building programme. It resulted in a cityscape of towering temples, shrines and palaces clad in blue-glazed tiles, resplendent in gold, silver and bronze, all encircled by city walls so massive, according to the Greek geographer Strabo, that two chariots, each drawn by four horses, could pass each other with ease on the road that ran atop them.

The fifth-century BC Greek historian, so often lampooned for his tall stories and his love of the fantastical, was writing less than a century after the fall of Babylon and devoted ten pages to the city in his Histories. Apart from the usual Herodotean cocktail of fact, likely fantasy and a digression into sex to keep his audience on the edge of their seats, he ranged widely over all aspects of life in the city, from its general geography, street plan and the tradition of brick-baking to the main crops grown wheat, barley, millet, sesame and dates , the multiple uses of the palm tree food, wine and honey , religion, medicine and the types of boats used on the Euphrates.

Only then was she set free. Herodotus ended his apocryphal anecdote with a characteristic boom-boom flourish. Herodotus described the Persian king draining the Euphrates into a nearby lake and forcing an entrance along the riverbed. Another source for this history-making conquest of Babylon is the famous Cyrus Cylinder, currently residing in the British Museum.

Marduk, the great lord, established as his fate for me a magnanimous heart of one who loves Babylon, and I daily attended to his worship. In fact, this was rather more than an imperial boast. Cyrus was deliberately couching his conquest in the traditional language of Babylonian kingship. Taking his lead from Daniel, Jennens has the wine-addled Belshazzar witness a disembodied hand writing on the wall of his royal palace on the eve of his downfall.

The writing is indeed on the wall. Thou, O Jerusalem, shalt be rebuilt; O Temple, thy foundation shall be laid. A statesman who can unite in admiration leaders as ideologically removed from each other as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and David Ben-Gurion of Israel must be remarkable indeed. As for once mighty, now ruined Babylon, the war-torn, weather-worn city has seen it all before. Having survived the storms of Cyrus in BBC, Alexander the Great in BC and most recently the Americans in , it still slumbers beneath the desert sun, awaiting its next conqueror with perfect equanimity.

He has lived and worked in Iraq for much of the past decade. The Philip Johnson building that houses the David H. Koch Theatre and is home to the New York City Ballet felt like a natural place to look for inspiration. Johnson was not only a great friend of George Balanchine and an influential architect, he championed the architects of the Bauhaus, like Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, in the U.

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I am fascinated by that Bauhaus art period and by abstract minimalist painters like Josef Albers and Barnett Newman. WASHA examines the power and impact music has on us, and how we express this in our own very unique and individual ways. Clay will look at the way we alter and shift in the presence of pain and grief. The duet will explore a relationship dynamic based on living with someone you love that is suffering.

When do their monsters start becoming yours? At what point do you start wearing their demons as your own? Like clay, we sometimes mould ourselves to fit another, in order to ease pain and suffering. We search for them in close-up, as we search for our hands in a dream. Together we carry our memories — each a unique map of scars and stories imprinted on our brains — through the trinity of past, present and future, bringing ourselves both comfort and discomfort, burden and blessing.

One morning, Philemon gets up as ever, going through his morning ritual, preparing breakfast in bed for Matilda before heading off to catch the bus to work. At the bus stop, Philemon realises he has left his briefcase behind. He returns home. There he discovers Matilda in bed with another man.

Simon jumps out of the window, leaving behind his suit. Matilda begs Philemon for forgiveness. He tells her to take care of the Suit, takes his briefcase and goes to work. At dinner that evening, Philemon insists that the Suit sits down to dinner with them and that must Matilda treat it as an honoured guest. That night Matilda cannot sleep, her dreams haunted by the Suit.

The following morning the daily ritual is played out, but now with the Suit as a guest. When they go for a walk in the park, Philemon insists the Suit accompanies them. In the park, Matilda is overcome with shame and tries to keep the Suit hidden from the eyes of passers-by. Nearby a band strikes up and people start to dance. Matilda persuades Philemon to dance with her. For a moment it feels as though their marriage is as it was. But when the next dance begins Philemon insists that Matilda now dances with the Suit.

She does so until she can bear it no longer and she runs back home. Philemon returns to find his wife dead. He is left alone with the Suit. The Suit is co-commissioned by the Barbican. Not only that, we are, each of us, to participate. Although, rest assured, only the professionals will be taking to the stage.

Still, every body in this space is crucial to the alchemical wonder to follow. For art does not occur in a vacuum. It is a living, breathing exchange of ideas, intentions and emotions — of energy. Thus, last year, guests enjoyed spectacular performances by Company Wayne McGregor, which was then celebrating its 25th anniversary, and dancers from The Royal Ballet, featuring superstars such as Alessandra Ferri who returns this year and the freshly appointed Patron of Dance The Grange, Edward Watson MBE, who co-curated the programme with McGregor, too.

The architecture and design of space intrinsically informs and contributes to the creative process, and the way you perceive your work. And the latter, which is focused on memories — their making and unmaking — will alight. Yet while inevitably suffused with torment, the process promises catharsis, too. Earlier this year, Founder and Artistic Director, Pancho, commissioned November to make a piece on his fellow dancers. This stylistic fusion is also evident in The Suit, the riveting, balletic interpretation of a short story by South African author, Can Themba, by lauded, literary-specialist choreographer, Cathy Marston that she created with Ballet Black.

I had to identify with a cheating woman, but. These references are more authentic from his experience … All of [Ballet Black] were totally invested in the emotional journey and very focused — a lovely atmosphere to work with. Away from the stages and rehearsal spaces, Ballet Black and both Company and Studio Wayne McGregor invest heavily in future generations of dancers. This dedication to inspiring and empowering young people is enshrined in ethos of The Grange and interwoven into its Dance offering, too.

As you settle into your seat, remember that you too have something to offer — your humanity. They have conveyed inspirations, thoughts, feelings and memories to the dancers, who will embody those concepts, enhancing each gesture with individual expression. And you will engage with their efforts, and feel, well, however you are moved to: there is no improper reaction. Let go. Experience freely.

For then, these tiny energetic sparks will flow forth, nourishing the artists, travelling beyond. In this way, together, we conspire in artistry. Suze Olbrich Suze Olbrich is a freelance journalist, and editor of literary journal, Somesuch Stories. Overture from the film Rhapsody in Blue Warner Bros. Could You Use Me? The Man I Love? Shall We Dance? John Wilson is a natural musical miracle. While still at school he conducted a piece orchestra and choir for a concert version of West Side Story.

Can you remember the moment when you first heard Broadway music? I played Broadway music before I ever heard it because I was asked to play the drums in a local amateur production of Oklahoma. The head of music for the area, Mr Barratt, was the conductor and that was my introduction to Broadway music. Were you invited back? Whenever I could get a lift to rehearsals I was there. Where did they take place? Village hall, church hall. Back in those days, especially in the North, there was amateur music making, amateur Gilbert and Sullivan, Broadway shows and brass bands — every town, village and area had five or six groups — even the tiny place where I come from, which is a little strip of suburbia between Newcastle and Durham had 4 amateur theatre groups, and even an amateur grand opera and I remember doing Cavalleria Rusticana in the first half and Trial by Jury in the second.

Who taught you the piano? Me, it just seemed logical. I had piano lessons when I went to the Royal College of Music with a wonderful guy, Alan Rowlands who became a dear friend, but I never liked having lessons, I never liked being told what to do… What about music at home?

Not formally, absolutely not, but my mother was bought up in the 40s and 50s so she got lucky with the pop music of her youth, Cole Porter and George Gershwin and all the movies and if she saw one coming on TV or the radio, she would sit me down. When did you become interested in other classical music? I was there four nights a week. And I used to go to concerts — there were visiting orchestras. I had a mate from school called Johnny Shakesby and his Dad was the local vicar, a kindly man and he could see that I was musical.

They had a family subscription to the orchestral concerts in Newcastle and they gave me one of their tickets. The sound of those great. I recognised that these performances were special because there was a certain commitment in the playing whether it be a Mozart piano concerto or a number from Singing in the Rain. The styles are all different, but the commitment is the same. Were you composing at this time?

I did my degree in composition because I was going to be an arranger and an orchestrator. Was this a stimulating, fruitful friendship, of composer and conductor with shared passions and ideals? His father died when Richard was 12 and he was fascinated. That was the start of our year friendship until the day he died.

Richard lived in New York and when he was England he used to stay with a friend, which was no longer an option, so he stayed with me. A few years later a house divided into. I bought the upstairs and he bought the downstairs. He only spent half his years there, but he was a kind of kindred spirit, and was one of the most gifted musicians I ever met. We worked together on a few occasions. He was also the funniest man — it hurt laughing with Richard. What was it like conducting your first opera? It was Madama Butterfly at Glyndebourne and I was glad that I arrived at that opportunity having done several hundred symphony concerts as a professional conductor.

Do you find it easy conducting Cole Porter one night and Puccini the next? What do you look for in a voice? I saw an opera with Sir Thomas Allen on stage for the first twenty minutes and he made the greatest impression of the whole evening. How would you describe yourself in musical terms? Musical competitions are seen by many as necessary but unrepresentative in an art form where direct comparison is subjective and direct competition unartistic. However, they can provide a supportive showcase for burgeoning talent and are often the first opportunity a singer has to perform in public in a fully professional context.

This competition is shaped in such a way as to reflect the artistic vision behind The Grange Festival, whilst being mindful of the needs of the wider musical world of the 21st century. In order to achieve this, some basic tenets are necessary: powerful vocal communication is transformative to a listener; beauty of sound and strength of projection will be points of reference; clarity of intention, flexibility of delivery, comprehensibility, personality and a passion to communicate should also all be considered as fundamental requirements.

A great singer encapsulates all these and more. This competition encourages judges to focus on all these in their deliberations. The art of singing is also the craft of singing. Different periods of music give singers a variety of opportunities and require diverse strengths. Earlier repertoire lays great store in skills of rhetoric, declamation, improvisation and imagination, where later music focusses on legato line, colour and power.

Variety of repertoire is therefore encouraged at each stage of the competition. Singers have one thing available to them which is not available to all other musicians: words. This competition will be concerned as much with celebration of text as celebration of sound. It is intended that every competitor reaching the final stage should be considered a winner. Both the semi-finals and finals will be high-profile public events in London.

The award of The Grange Festival contracts, as well as prize money to the three highest placed finalists, also makes this competition an important and useful showcase for young singers on an international level. More important, I believe, is what a singer does with the voice given them: how it is used technically and artistically and whether or not he or she seeks to communicate with it.

Singing has to be about communication — through voice, text, music, body, heart and soul. The orchestra for the Final is The Academy of Ancient Music, celebrated as one of the finest period instrument ensembles in the world. The Final of the competition will be accompanied by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Appropriate repertoire for the competition is anything composed up until , including therefore Purcell, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Rossini, Beethoven, early Donizetti.

Applicants are encouraged to be imaginative with their choices, not limited to these composers but also to be aware of the special opportunities provided in collaborating with period instruments, whose core values are most potently demonstrated in music from the Baroque and Classical periods.

Founded in , this was the original instrument through which McGregor evolved his distinctive visual style, revealing the movement possibilities of the body in ever more precise degrees of articulation. McGregor has made over thirty works for the company and today it continues to be his laboratory for ambitious and experimental new choreography, touring his work across the UK and around the world. It encompasses his own touring company of dancers, Company Wayne McGregor; creative collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science; and highly specialized learning, engagement and research programmes.

In April Studio Wayne McGregor moved into its own newly created studio space at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a shared space for making where the creative brains of the day can exchange knowledge and invent together. Kevin Volans b. Osvaldo Goliyov b. Ariel Guzik b. Thomos Oboe Lee b. His first opera Powder her Face has been performed more than two hundred times worldwide. Much of his music has been choreographed for ballet. He regularly conducts for orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw, and there have been many international festivals dedicated to his music.

Appearances as a pianist include recitals at Carnegie Hall and the Barbican. His many awards include the Sonning Prize and the Grawemeyer Award. He coaches piano and chamber music annually at the International Musicians Seminar. Christopher Ainslie started his singing career as a chorister in Cape Town, and now lives between the USA, Germany, and the UK, performing at leading venues around the world. In he joined the Bolshoi Theatre School in Brazil and graduated in Alongside his professional dance career, Joshua is a freelance teacher and rehearsal director.

Joshua joined Company Wayne McGregor in Rebecca joined Company Wayne McGregor in Claire Booth is known internationally for her commitment to an astonishing breadth of repertoire, together with the vitality and musicianship she brings to performance. Camille grew up in Johannesburg and came to dance at a very early age through her mother, a contemporary dancer and choreographer.

In her final year at school she was awarded the second prize in the Junior Girls Division at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. Camille joined Company Wayne McGregor in Born in Manchester, Jordan started dancing at the age of Dance Awards from Youth Dance England. He has also taught extensively in the UK. Jordan joined Company Wayne McGregor in Lucy Carter is a multi-award winning, critically acclaimed Lighting Designer. Upon completion of his The End of Longing Playhouse. In partnership with The Sixteen, he has set benchmark standards for the performance of everything from late medieval polyphony to.

Under his leadership The Sixteen has established its hugely successful annual Choral Pilgrimage, created the Sacred Music series for BBC television, and developed an acclaimed periodinstrument orchestra. Born in Turin, he received his conducting and composition degree from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and graduated in Musicology from Turin University.

He has performed with all the leading UK opera houses and has also had an extensive international career at the Bayreuth Festival, where he has performed over a hundred and twenty times and at The Metropolitan Opera, where he has performed 82 times. She has performed as a dancer and singer in the Broadway musicals Wicked —15 and The Lion King — Louise Dearman is a leading actress and international concert soloist. In loving memory of the late Beverly Sills, I present a tribute to her magnificent career. Selections are from:. Eight tenors and 72 high C's in Fille du Reggiment aria:.

I came across this lovely tenor on the internet. The second podcast dedicated to "chest voice. This is volume one of the "chest voice" podcasts. More cabalettas for you, and here, in correct order, are the artists involved:. My affectionate tribute to the many fine artists from the Cetra-Soria label. Included are such artists as:.

Merrill, Warren, L. Guelfi, MacNeil, Silveri, Taddei. A compilation of arias and scenes as sung by famous mezzos in roles that might be considered "mean. Here they are:. If you see a sick comment from a sick person named Adolf, do not worry. I delete these comments immediately. I must be doing something right! The second volume of some of my favorite commercial recordings,featuring:. Artists included are:. The excellent Ponto company has released their 4 CD set of many interesting excerpts.

Number 50 in their catalogue. These are live scenes featuring many fine artists as follows:. A compilation of 15 tenors singing the famous Boheme aria. Included are the following artists:. I found the error,but rather than redo the narration, here are the selections,not in the correct order, as I could not recover the order,but you can get more information at least:.

An exciting compilation of 12 sopranos singing the Odabella aria and cabaletta from my personal favorite early Verdi opera, "Attila. The opera excerpts are from:. The songs are by Schubert, Brahms, and Pfitzner. I think you will enjoy these 17 tenors singing the famous aria from Gounod's "Faust" and will be able to understand how various tenors approach the top note, because that alone is quite interesting;of course, you might be hearing some of these artists for the very first time, and I think you will be pleased. I was so thrilled at Joyce Di Donatos' fabulous rendition of the final aria of Cenerentola at her recent recital, that I decided to do a comparison of several other mezzos in this same scene.

They are as follows in order:. I sincerely hope you enjoy the podcast! Scenes from operas in the "Verismo Style" sung by some of the great Italian interpreters,including:. An exciting and emotional scene from Act Three of "Siegfried" as interpreted by 11 different baritones: Conductor listed also. An affectionate tribute to the very great Magda Olivero,who will celebrate her 97th birthday on March The selections included in this podcast range from to !!

A compilation of material as sung by Leyla Gencer, one of the most interesting and versatile artists who never recorded commercially, but since collectors know she is the veritable "Queen of the Pirates," there is a wealth of material available:. Selections that feature eight of the most exciting divas of the past. Many of them are not as well-known as I believe they ought to be;nevertheless,their delivery is so emotional, and their exciting voices will thrill you:. A comparison of famous divas singing the aria "La mamma morta" from Giordano's "Andrea Chenier. Marisa Galvany Re-done.

Direct download: More nuttiness in opera. The Beautiful Voice of Pavel Lisitsian. Opera Craziness,Volume One. Finales of Verdi Operas, part two. Verdi Opera Finales, Part One. Yeletsky's beautiful aria. Birgit Nilsson as Elektra A Great Forza del Destino. Gianni Raimondi. Turandot Act One Finale. Addio del Passato. Caruso in Song. Operatic Trios. Bulent Bezduz, a great new voice! Renata and Charlie. Who is that lady with Charlie??????????????? Romeo et Juliette. The Wonderful Rita Gorr. A tribute to the great mezzo Rita Gorr. Besides the un-Romantic brutal slapping of Dorliska Mr.

The entire cast in the Act II finale As usual in Pesaro there were fine singers who created this evening of pure delight. Of particular note was young Georgian soprano Salome Jicia as Dorliska who raged and spat in secure Rossinian language, and Russian tenor Dmitry Korchak who delivered Torvaldo with aplomb though missing was an innocence and charm we might have liked in this young lover.

Pesaro regular, bass Carlo Lepore convinced us as the duplicitous gatekeeper we sympathized with his employer. The greatest pleasures of the evening were being in the Teatro Rossini, a typical Italian horseshoe theater of perfect size for minor Rossini, the able orchestral playing of the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini under conductor Francesco Lanzillotta who found the real Rossini, and most of all it was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to explore the ideals and the potential of opera semiseria in this production of undeniable charm.

Coro del Teatro della Fortuna M. Agostini; Orchestra Sinfonica G. Teatro Rossini, Pesaro, August 18, Impeccable casting — see photos. The comedy's huge success in Milan won a military draft exemption for the 20 year-old Rossini, and thus assured the world of its most impressive catalog of operas. La pietra del paragone is a bit like Cenerentola — which of the rich count's pursuers should he marry? There are two who care about his money and position, and one who cares about him.

July 25, 2010

And so the antics continue, musical and physical, for another couple of hours. From the beginning Pier Luigi Pizzi never lets up, discovering new ways to animate the cubby holes of his set, including a swimming pool on the patio of his two story Malibu spread it is very California. The scene-stealing count is into physical culture, and plays it to the hilt, illustrating the role's narcissism with absolutely splendid fioratura. Gianluca Margheri as Conte Asdrubale Each of the gold diggers has a champion, one a pretentious poet, the other a pretentious journalist.

Vieni, o stella: No. 7 from "La donna del lago", Act 1 (Vocal Score)

A hunting party ends up in a duel, the heroine concocts a trick of her own to seal the deal with the count. And the antics never stopped. It was slapstick humor and physical humor that somehow never became tiresome well, there were those who nodded off in our row and that sometimes motivated involuntary guffaws. This Pizzi production has indeed become a classic. Not to be outdone Rossini proved himself unstoppable in musical antics, from patter arias, to patter duets and trios, not to forget a quintet with tons of patter.

Vocal ornamentation flew around the stage and into the house via the much-used walkway fronting the pit. And the young composer from Pesaro gave his true lovers spectacular arias to cap the show — and that brought huge applause from the excited house those who were still awake. With the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale of the RAI the maestro balanced the fever pitch of the musical and stage antics with workable tempos and measured energy, even finding elusive hints of the great Rossini from time to time.

The three amazing buffos were Florentine bass baritone Gianluca Margheri as the super cool count, Benevento near Naples baritone David Luciano as the slimy journalist and Melzo-born near Milan bass baritone Paola Bordogna, a Pesaro mainstay, as the truly terrible poet.

All three are splendid singers as well as real performers who epitomize a new generation, or re-birth of buffo. The ingenue diva, a charming performer, boasts splendid high notes. Adriatico Arena, Pesaro, August 17, That of Rossini in French and that of Lord Byron in English, Russian, Italian and Spanish , the battles of both Negroponte and of Missolonghi re-enacted amidst massive piles of plastic water bottles thousands of them that collapsed onto the heroine at Mahomet II's destruction of Corinth.

We were all eager participants, harangued lengthily and forcibly by a high priest of the Greeks to accept martyrdom. This famed theater collective had envisioned the production of this musical reproduction of the event with deft, intellectual whimsy, finding in the plastic water bottle metaphor sufficient depth to intrigue if not enlighten the audience for the nearly five hour duration of the performance. Not to mention several important, enigmatically-imaged banner filled parades through the audience.

Rossini had broken new ground in Maometto II , thinking in larger and more complex dramatic blocks. This magnificent aria earned the one huge ovation of the evening. Georgian bel canto diva Nino Machaidze suffered as only great Rossini divas may. This remarkable artist brought a musical intelligence that informed every phrase, suffusing the complex vocal lines with a unique expressive gravitas in richly colored voice. It was indeed a brutal conflict of love and duty, all the more so because Mahomet, Luca Pisaroni, was very handsome in his red regalia, imposing in stance, and convincing in voice Mr.

Pisaroni is a well-known Neapolitan Maometto II as well. Rossini proved the enlightenment of this Muslim general who conquered Corinth by giving him an aria in which, stating his love of the arts, he declares he will not destroy Corinthian monuments. There was some applause. As expected from a symphony orchestra there was elegance of tone, limpidity of texture, and an easy virtuosity, attributes that responded to the transparency and clarity of score imposed by conductor Roberto Abbado.

With such resources Mo. The maestro achieved the rare and ephemeral plateaux of sustained lyricism that create absolute opera. Each August we Rossinians make our pilgrimage to Pesaro, his birthplace, in search of such transcendental evenings. The Greeks and the Turks, and there were a lot of them, were energetically enacted by the fine chorus of Teatro Ventidio Basso the opera house of Ascoli Piceno, a small city in Le Marche, the same province as Pesaro.

Coro del Teatro Ventidio Basso. Adriatic Arena, Pesaro, August 16, We, all of us -- the cast and audience -- were enthralled. It was never mere musical color, it was always word and phrase, a relentless concentration of affects from beginning to end. He bases much of what he does on Strehler's minimalistic principles and physical theater convictions. Gruber creates a theatrical language of abstractions, both in positioning and posturing. It is entirely presentational, eschewing all sense of an actual world, remaining always an imaginary, artistic world where the word itself is the only reality.

Both were consummate performers. There were many memorable scenes, among them the spellbinding duet as Nerone expounds the sensual splendors of Poppea to his poet friend Lucano, sung by English tenor Oliver Johnston. Hammer however in her program booklet remarks reveals herself needlessly pretentious as well as condescending to these superb young artists. By definition any Ruth Berghaus production is mythic, and not just because this mega famous stage director was intimately associated with Bertolt Brecht's Berliner Ensemble and his and East Germany's didactic Epic Theater.

Berghaus thinks and acts in epically scaled proportions. Berghaus insisted on an equal balance of the musical and theatrical elements of opera. This in the light of "regietheater" which she more or less founded wherein the director is free to modify period, locale, even the story itself to didactic ends. At the same time the music and text usually are sacrosanct, and must not be altered.

All this plays out brilliantly in this production of Elektra from Dresden's Semperoper, where it remained in the repertoire until The orchestra sits, dramatically, on the stage! Strauss deemed that an expanded orchestra is necessary to create the colors necessary to his telling of this Greek tragedy, thus it becomes an absolute necessity for a Berghaus production. With this outsized orchestra needing to sit on the stage Elektra's cellar could only perch above the orchestra.

So Mme. Berghaus simply transforms Elektra's prison into a perch from which the sisters see a world beyond their imprisonment and terror, and from which they search their salvation in the person of their brother Oreste who will murder his and their mother. It becomes therefore perfect Brechtian Epic Theater -- theater as a catalyst for change and renewal.

With the orchestra on yhe stage displacing traditional operatic staging convention the primary Brechtian precept was present -- distancing the spectator and I indeed struggled with this distance from the work of art in order that he might understand, and presumably act on its message rather than to be absorbed into its world. These many years later, and in a different and far advanced social and political structure I struggled to transform such didactic theater into contemporary art.

For me however it remained very much a period piece, evoking impotent nostalgia for the avant-garde of the ephemeral ideals of a failed world, and a longing for real, contemporary avant-garde operatic art. This Lyon revival was very well cast, and convincingly conducted. It was a quite powerful if cold experience.

Opera Nouvel, Lyon, France, March 17, His staging of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde was a part of the Bayreuth Festival, and is his only staging of an opera. Though a prolific playwright and dramaturg becoming finally the artistic director of the Berliner Ensemble, he himself staged few plays and then only in the last 15 years of his life. Rather he introduced multiple perspectives into his theater works, destroying linear storytelling and, in fact, drama itself in search of abstracted associations. Theater's "fourth wall" was in fact an often visible scrim, referenced early in the evening by Isolde placing her hands directly on the [not merely imaginable, but quite real] fourth wall to indicate its boundary and, in fact, significantly, the box's separation from the audience itself.

The famed love scene of the second act was realized as two simultaneous monologues, the lovers met by placing their hands on an imaginary wall that isolated each from the other. The dreamy intensity of the love duet was rendered by the protagonists kneeling side by side, in separate prayers to love. Ann Petersen sings the "Liebestod" The stage box became Tristan's decaying chateau in the delirium, its floor now strewn with dead leaves, Tristan resting in a dilapidated easy chair.

Blocks of intense color, first red then gold heralded Isolde who shed several cloaks to deliver, finally her "Liebestod" in a golden gown, motionless, breaking through the fourth wall at last, singing directly to us. The squares of color, large and small, throughout the opera -- on the walls, floor and ceiling -- visually created the suggestion of separated emotional spaces, reinforcing the abstractions of the dramatic spaces of the protagonists. The staging itself kept each of the protagonists in oblique, abstractly linear movement, intersecting only in the rare moments of action.

If nothing else the production itself made a splendid evening of abstract visual art, and this alone was sufficient to propel it to mythic status. Separating the protagonists, isolating each in a unique space placed enormous responsibility on its artists to create individual theatrical and musical worlds -- it is certainly a very difficult requirement, and it may simply have demanded too much.

If hopefully this responsibility was fulfilled in Bayreuth back in it was not just now in Lyon. On the stage the singers were left helplessly on their own, conductor Hartman Haenchen absorbed in a quite detailed reading of Wagner's score, a reading that excluded the sweep of sensual poetry, the dynamic force of poetic delirium and the depth of tragic, Romantic love. Chorus and Orchestra of the Opera de Lyon.

Opera Nouvel, Lyon, France, March 18, Back to the operatic days when the book took top billing and the composer's name was in the fine print. When Mr. Pommerat turned 40 years-old he made a pact with a group of actors to create a show each year for 40 years.

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  8. Thus he has a lot of experience creating shows and intends to create a lot more. He authored a Pinocchio in This Aix Pinocchio is big, great big and truly magnificent. It is grand opera complete with a ballet! Thus it was to that world that the mostly French audience of this international festival ascended. It is a perch that makes an intellectual, or theatrical game of animating fancy theatrical and musical genre with low-life characters, values, aspirations and situations. But not without intervention from much higher forms of life and art.

    Like Mr. Like la grande musique classique oft referred to in Mr. Maybe here is where the actual music of the evening might be mentioned. The sound world accompanying Mr. This fine composer gamely built the complex world of Mr. Boesmans took a bow at the end of the show, sadly missing from the opening night accolades to the stage was Mr. Pommerat himself. The music was always attractive, as was of course Mr. And, yes, the ballet — that was scene 16 of 24 , about the place of the traditional grand opera fourth act ballet.

    A group of ragamuffins were called onto the stage to seemingly rap dance to the howling klezmer band an accordion, saxophone and violin who were in fact on-stage much of the evening, chiming in charmingly in all sorts of occasions. His spoken French was brilliantly clear, as was his sung French to the degree that it was not included in the supertitles. She created a real Pinocchio, that is she found the brashness, the brattiness, the intelligence, the soft spots and finally the dignity of the brat becoming a real boy on his way to a classical music concert.

    A superb performance. As usual at the Aix Festival casting was exemplary, mastery of vocal technique a given, appropriate colors of voice in place, physique and personality of actor in harmony with character. The visual language is minimalism, the colors black and white, light and dark, stark and bright.

    The effects were huge, the moments were precise, the video seamlessly integrated to deploy massive, epic images. It was everything you expect from the minimal means of studio theater magnified with taste and intelligence to technically complex grand opera proportions. Orchestre Klangforum Wien. This new production by the Aix Festival was awaited with bated breath, Tcherniakov no stranger at the Aix Festival with two recent, unforgettable Don Giovanni under his belt, and the Aix Festival debut and role debut of conducting star Pablo Heras-Casado.

    The bar has been set always deeper into re-imagining the piece, and now Dimitri Tcherniakov has simply knocked the bar off its pinnings. It is the naked destruction of a human psyche, Carmen is merely its means. Not only the male anima is destroyed by an unfathomable sensation of maybe love, so also is the female anima destroyed. The tragedy sinks to the most elemental level of human existence, feeling laid bare. It is ugly, not cathartic. Maybe you will be able to — there are five more performances and the production will travel to Luxembourg.

    I could not find a Carmen , this staging was not a real, working metaphor. But yes, the experience was pure gesamtkunstwerk , and high art, very high art. Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado gave corpus to the stage. It was orchestrally full-throated, forcing out always intense feeling, i. He took the Seguidilla to impossible hysterical frenzy, rendered the third act idyll as intense uncertainty, promise and frustration. As Tcherniakov laid naked his victims, the maestro flayed their feelings. The extent of these changing emotions were exponentially explored, her persona and her voice able to find always another elaboration, another level of feeling, another release of spirit.

    American tenor Michael Fabbiano has the young tycoon swagger, the thirst for the ultimate experience, the blatant bravery, the unstoppable drive, the hidden vulnerability and the final weakness of all heroes. May you too beware of self discovery. Jose'e graduation. Sung by French-Danish soprano Elsa Dreisig she used a bell-like purity of tone, in fact of metallic strength to push her husband into finding deeper feelings for her, i.

    The smugglers were simply magnificent, the quintet a masterpiece of execution. Essentially the same set as his Don Giovanni which he used for his two distinctively different stagings perhaps Tcherniakov will use this set as well to stage a second edition of this Aix Carmen. There will always be something more to say. But were we enlightened? His accomplishment was to take all the fun out of this over-indulged dramma giocosa and let us know that it makes a very significant point that we all are Don Giovanni. It was not a political statement. Philippe Sly as Don Giovanni, David Leigh as the Commendatore And finally the Don was delivered to his fate by taking all his clothes off except his briefs which were more or less the discretely placed loin cloth of the Christian crucifixion.

    As usual the Aix Festival casting was impeccable. Impeccable for this concept. Young Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly was the Don. This unique artist projects deep energy and unstoppable force. His youthful physique projected an innocence for the Don of this concept. Wigged with long hair, his final image was absolutely Christ-like. An announcement was made before the performance that he was ill, but would perform. Perhaps intended, perhaps because of illness Mr.

    This was the moment in the performance when the extraordinary communicating power of this young artist was most apparent. Unlike the usual equality of master and servant in Mozart, Mr. Slovakian tenor Pavol Breslik made the arias of a beautifully voiced Don Ottavio among the high points of the evening. In harmony with the concept the Commendatore, sung in beautiful, youthful tone by American bass David Leigh, morphed into one of the universal crowd.

    Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto who makes her debut at the Met this fall, sang Donna Anna in a full throated voice of both power and agility. Overheard comments at intermission lamented pitch problems in both voices though I did not notice such issues. As usual Zerlina and Masetto went through their paces. Director Sivadier presented them with the formidable challenge of singing their duets placed on opposite sides of the stage. All splendid singers they came together wonderfully in the their second act chance encounter finding a gorgeous musical sublimity that we wish for and sometimes get in Mozart operas.

    His orchestra, comprised of players on 19th century instruments, made a dark, scratchy sound continuum that compounded the stultifying austerity of the directorial concept. The bright colors on the stage offered little relief. In recent years the Aix Festival has focused on Stravinsky, having presented enlightened productions of his pre-American period operatic works — the Peter Sellars production of Oedipus Rex last year and the Robert Lepage production of Le Rossignol in As for Coeur de Chien McBurney worked with British set designer Michael Levine for this new production, and much the same setting resulted — a white platform and solid white walls.

    But the walls are really paper walls that at strategic moments are torn through. This as opposed to the unit set of the famed David Hockney production one fondly recalls. The production was precisely conducted by Swedish maestro Elvind Gullberg Jensen replacing Daniel Harding who withdrew because of an injured wrist. The careful conducting seemed at odds with, and far away from the energy and brutality of the physical production, i. Evidently McBurney perceives Stravinsky and Auden, intellectually important, culturally alienated emigrants, as wanting to reveal and illustrate the inherent shallowness of the broader American civilization.

    Stravinsky the neo-classicist is not universally admired, the detail and repetitiveness of his compositions in this period verging on the psychotic according to some critical estimations. American bass baritone Kyle Ketelsen sculpted Nick Shadow on a level and energy far exceeding that of his compatriots. Chorus: English Voices; Orchestre de Paris. An incredible feat! The Aix Festival opened five operas, all new productions, on five consecutive evenings. Erismena in Aix was an incredible feat, captivating its audience for nearly three hours, evoking a thunderous applause.

    Its dramatis personae seducing us with their airs and ariosos, their elaborate recitatives and a final madrigal sung by its two sets of lovers, four soprano voices interweaving with such sweetness that we too drowned in their eternal raptures of love. It took a long time to get to that madrigal, but no one minded.

    It was the youth and the charm and the excellent artistry of these artists that made the inanities of Venetian opera into high art and great entertainment. Two violins and two wind players added a plentitude of additional colors for the concerted pieces. There were always new combinations to support the complications on the stage — from the roughness of Baroque violins, the violence of the cornetti, the sweetness, then unleashed chirping of the flutes, the warmth of full ensemble, the thundering intended of the organ.

    It was a very busy pit, Mo. It was concentrated, joyous music making. The platform On stage there was nothing but a suspendible platform of transparent metal mesh, two elevated doorways, a canopy of suspended light bulbs and five or so cafe chairs from a junk pile somewhere. Think minimalism but do not think it was minimal.

    Moving these elements every which way as the situations changed throughout the evening was a monumental task. And there was a multitude of lightbulbs, some of which even knew to burst with a bang when there was a revelation down below! The production requirements and accomplishments were formidable. There was no metaphor.

    The imagined story of pseudo-Roman history was told as written in this abstract, contemporary setting, French director Jean Bellorini moved his actors on and off the sometimes suspended platform, carefully established a space for each of the arias, changed his actors positions in direct dialogue to punctuate statement, and displaced them in a sudden blackout into a pool of light to utter an inner thought. Bellorini also masterminded the lighting that was of formidable complexity and huge effect.

    The bows This weighty production effort was effectively absorbed, even eclipsed by the individual performances. These four artists delivered the final, mesmerizing, four part madrigal. The man who lost it all but gains a daughter and an heir, the Median king Erimante was solidly sung and acted by Russian bass-baritone Alexander Miminoshvili. New Zealand tenor Jonathan Abernathey was the strong voiced, virile lieutenant to King Erimante, these the two male voiced male roles.

    The program booklet included a two-page, small print synopsis of the story of the opera. No one but no one could have made heads or tails of it. This excellent production took it all in stride and made an evening of admirable, comprehensible and highly amusing theater. Orchestre Cappella Mediterranea. This Marseille edition achieved an artistic stature rarely found hereabouts, or anywhere.

    Roubaud is a minimalist. Eschewing all metaphor he favors image. Thus in recent stagings he has made much use of video washes projected onto substantial, abstract architectural shapes. His stagings occur in abstract ambience rather than specific locale. For this Don Carlo he was joined by long term collaborators, Avignon based set designer Emmanuelle Favre and Marseille based costume designer Katia Duflot.

    The video designer was Virgile Koering of Montpellier origins. Finally he imagined a video procession of Flemish youth marching to their martyrdom. Nothing more. Yolanda Auyanet as Elisabetta, Teodor Llincal as Don Carlo Based on intimacy and privacy such conceptual simplicity informed every scene. Don Carlo lay supine at the feet of Elisabetta for much of their fraught, post Fontainebleau encounter this was the 4 act version. Eboli lay supine at the feet of Elisabetta to confess her betrayal. Every scene deployed its actors in abstract, emotionally charged positions, or abstract, strategically defined positioning rather than in active dramatic encounter.

    Dramatic moments were indeed pointed, but only to extend possibility of amplitude and expansion of the existential moment. And that they did without exception. If bass Nicolas Courjal is too young to be an actual Philip II, he is vocally able to find an immediacy of plight with an energy and passion that were not resignation.

    Italian mezzo Sonia Ganassi as Eboli unleashed sophisticated, mature vocalism and Rossinian confidence plus solid, secure high notes to make Eboli grovel magnificently in self pity. And he was well able to appropriately soften and manipulate his tone as needed, This solid Don Carlo was the powerful catalyst for Elisabetta, Eboli, Rodrigo and Philip II to achieve the epitome of great lyric theater — a seemingly infinite state of simultaneous, suspended realities.

    Most recently a huge fire in provoked a major, five-year renovation of the hall and stage that reopened in While the current theater does not have a pit of sufficient size to host full-scale Romantic orchestras to compensate harps and percussion instruments are placed in the baignoires boxes stage level over the pit often resulting in bizarre acoustics. This theater like no other offers the possibility of achieving the epitome of the operatic ideal.

    These moments occurred in the few, very few periods when the frenetic movement on the stage relaxed somewhat, when storytelling phobia quieted a bit, when the singers could remain still long enough to expound the Pushkin story in the glories of the play of Russian phonemes. Italian conductor Paolo Arrivabeni well supported these successful soliloquies in a somewhat restrained reading of the score.

    Perhaps he was attempting to mitigate the scenic hyperventilation. Tikhomirov is of imposing stature and imposing voice. He finds much subtlety in the Boris personage, and as well assumes much of the stature needed to illuminate such a conflicted ruler. Tenor Luca Lombardo brought a blatantly evil spirit into his character portrayal of Shuisky. Bass Wenwei Zhang enacted a splendid Varlaam, the drunken friar. For the role to achieve its full and intended effect it must be sung by a young boy. Tenor Jean-Pierre Furlan embodied a ribald, ambitious, rough-voiced Grigory — a nervous wreck.

    This Grigory was definitely not a subtle schemer who you might believe could rally revolutionary forces. The Innocent, sung by tenor Christophe Berry, was in strident tone and grotesquely staged body movements. Scene changes were long, noisy and off-putting in this two and one-half hour sitting no intermission. Evidently Mr. Ionesco was taken by the intense poses he found in Russian frescos, poses that he induced his actors and the chorus to imitate.

    This came across as blatantly naive, caricatured acting in incessant movement. It was laughable until it became unwatchable. Like Carmen, Billy Budd is an operatic personage of such breadth and depth that he becomes unique to everyone. This signals that there is no Billy Budd or Carmen who will satisfy everyone. And like Carmen , Billy Budd may be indestructible because the opera will always mean something to someone.

    Case in point — the new Deborah Warner production of Billy Budd at the Teatro Real in Madrid where Billy is ambitious and assertive, where his nemesis Claggart is a sadistic brute and where his alter ego Captain Vere is a weak, uncertain young man. Warner does indeed make the case, sort of, that Billy Budd may be read in such light. Thus the spaces were wide open, there were huge platforms that moved up and down.

    The copious ropes and webs were metaphors of human entanglement and imprisonment rather than the essential tools of sailors — the means they used to move their ship and their lives. Officers and sailors of the HMS Indomitable There was impressive scenographic rhetoric, the deck of the aircraft carrier the full stage rose to reveal a hundred or so suspended hammocks a reference to the 18th century , the suspended command bridge of the ship was swung back and forth in a brutally thwarted mutiny, and finally Billy Budd disappeared up a ladder into the fly-loft for the hanging one heard the clicks of the safety lines being attached.

    There was impressive musical rhetoric emanating from the pit as well, Teatro Real music director Ivor Bolton incising precise musical shapes from his excellent players. The flute solos of the Billy death oration eschewed the mystical pull of death, invoking instead nervousness and certainty. And the maestro brought the full, massive orchestral force to a shattering fortissimo that made the presaged death of Billy a truly huge, indeed monumental moment. His was an impressively powerful reading of the Britten score in detached, mannered moments rather than in a flow of emotional atmospheres.

    It was a beautifully sung, total performance that alone was the soul of this evening. There was no intimation of the intense, human conflicts that torment Claggart, well sung by British bass Blindlay Sherratt but in absolutely one-dimensional tones. The casting, mostly British, of Billy Budd was uniformly top notch, evidently fulfilling the needs and wishes of the production. The orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Real are estimable, its aspirations to producing fine opera were palpable. Redburn: Thomas Oliemans; Mr. Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real.

    Teatro Real, Madrid, February 12, The entire twentieth century saw but three 3 performances in this European capital. Just now, in this twenty-first century, it returned for five performances, its long absence s due to the years the operatic public has preferred operas it finds dramatically more engaging. The passions are hugely powerful, most notably of course in the protagonist who is no longer loved, wrongfully accused and then, no longer a queen, a sore loser. Plus a plentitude of trios, quintets and finales with chorus. It falls to the ambitious queen Anna Bolena to hold all this together by sheer force of artistry and personality.

    La Mosuc is an accomplished bel canto heroine of rich low notes, a full middle voice and beautiful high notes, notably a resplendent high E-flat that we heard over and over throughout the evening. You might wish for more dramatic heft and particularly for ornamentation that arises more naturally out of the vocal line, nonetheless her Anna Bolena was a satisfying tour de force. Turkish bass-baritone Burak Bilgili cut the imposingly wide figure of Henry VIII well enough without establishing a force of personality, histrionically or vocally to ground his participation in this passionately complicated long story.

    Vick based his staging on his assessment that the two women Anna and Jane use the bed to get themselves to the throne and the king Henry VIII uses the throne to get to the bed. Thus there was first a huge baldaquin bed, then later a huge sculpted head of blindfolded Justice followed by a huge stage wide sword that fell, and finally a crown of thorns, etc. Chorus of the Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos.

    In this resurrection of the most famous opera of the seventeenth century he evidently also sleeps with Hercules. He must also deal with the wrath and suicide of his wife Isifile, and in turn he must deal with the wrath of Medea. Jason is, however, a mere counter-tenor soprano who produces very lovely straight tones in a beautiful warm voice. It was a long evening, very long, at the Opera des Nations in Geneva, a new, all wood stadium-like theater with minimal public spaces by the suburban UN complex, the temporary home of Geneva Opera. You already may have the idea that Italian stage director Serena Sinigaglia went for broke in sexual matters.

    Besides intermittent posturing and sex acts they moved the props and scenery on and off the stage. As well Mo. There was a well-endowed double continuo plus a few viols and recorders to add occasional color and heft to the orchestral interludes. And of course just enough percussion to create a cute storm. Kristina Mkhitaryan as Isifila on right with supernumeraries Thus the charm of the performers was all there was to carry the evening — and this was limited. Geneva Opera apprentice artist Mary Freminear born in Alabama enchanted us in her very cute cupid body suit and mask. Opera apprentice artist who sang Demo, the hunch-backed, stuttering servant to Egeo.

    The un-self-conscious energy of these two young artists created a perfect balance of character to the Cavalli music. This male soprano had the difficult task of balancing his youth and voice with the heroic demands of his character. Some of the casting however was inexplicable, like veteran bass Willard White as Oreste.

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    Cappella Mediterranea. There is no bigger or more prestigious name in avant-garde French theater than Romeo Castellucci b. The Honegger work with its book by Paul Claudel was born in a Europe of clashing ideologies — political, artistic, technical, cultural — on the verge of self destruction. In fact the Prologue to the oratorio was added in A time somewhat like the current moment in our now far larger world.

    For Castellucci theater is a unique language, well beyond the mere abstraction of musical language. To music Castellucci adds a tangible, physical world — real and simulated. There is the technical world that manipulates and colors the physical world and finally there is an interactive, interpretive world of infinite emotional perspectives. The curtain rose in silence, a class of twenty-four 17 year-old girls studied silently in classroom made of reinforced concrete with period radiators and banks of neon lights. A bell rang, the girls sprang to life, noisily exited the class room and building.