BREAKING NEWS: Opera & Ballet http://feed.informer.com/digests/LGBZAJQZUY/feeder BREAKING NEWS: Opera & Ballet Respective post owners and feed distributors Tue, 06 May 2014 13:36:52 +0000 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Past and furious https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/past-and-furious/ parterre box urn:uuid:8a7ba636-0afd-7b31-36a2-6aa724ccc8ea Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:04:25 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/past-and-furious/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/figaro-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/figaro-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/figaro-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/figaro-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/figaro-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/figaro-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>An &#8220;opera critic&#8221; is still terrified of productions that closed a generation ago.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-64708" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/excesses-720x480.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="480" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/excesses.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/excesses-300x200.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/excesses-210x140.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" />Yes, the above was published <strong>today</strong>. There are people in this world who are still afraid of <strong>Peter Sellars</strong>.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHgYgFlLoas&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHgYgFlLoas</a></p> Porgy and Bess https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/porgy-and-bess-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:e2c67452-3f54-dc32-83de-c09cbcaaf447 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 20:00:12 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/porgy-and-bess-2/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>A second helping of The Gershwins&#8217; gorgeous folk opera from the Met.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-64695" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-0-720x480.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="480" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-0.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-0-300x200.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/porgy-0-210x140.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /><a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/free-live-audio-streams/">The live broadcast begins at 7:25 PM</a>.</p> <p>Photo: Ken Howard / Met Opera</p> Sneer and sneer again https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/sneer-and-sneer-again/ parterre box urn:uuid:e64e3404-677d-ec21-85ef-a5f4b8ed2404 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 18:10:32 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/sneer-and-sneer-again/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/header-sanders-pape-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/header-sanders-pape-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/header-sanders-pape-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/header-sanders-pape-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/header-sanders-pape-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/header-sanders-pape.jpg 1101w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>Separated at smirk: base <strong>George Sanders</strong> and bass <strong>René Pape</strong>.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-64700" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sanders-pape-720x468.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="468" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sanders-pape-720x468.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sanders-pape-300x195.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sanders-pape-768x499.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sanders-pape-210x136.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sanders-pape.jpg 1101w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2HUhXRHBVE&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2HUhXRHBVE</a></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=euJgMmkS4LE&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=euJgMmkS4LE</a></p> Storm of the century https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/storm-of-the-century/ parterre box urn:uuid:f3b57d7a-1852-2e86-0259-d6d682d5af06 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 16:24:37 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/storm-of-the-century/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>A sense of celebration was definitely in the air last Thursday at the Vienna State Opera.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-64689" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-1-720x480.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="480" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-1-720x480.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-1-300x200.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-1-210x140.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/frau-1.jpg 749w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" />As <a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/10/lady-sings-the-green/">reported here</a> last Thursday marked the 100 year anniversary of the premiere of <strong>Richard Strauss</strong>’ most complex opera, <em>Die Frau ohne Schatten</em> at the Vienna State Opera, and they celebrated it the big way by mounting the first revival of <strong>Vincent Huguet</strong>’s production on that particular day.</p> <p>In case you were not aware, Huguet’s creation itself was an important milestone, as it was commissioned to commemorate Vienna State Opera’s 150th anniversary when it opened with star-studded cast last May, many of which returned for this revival.</p> <p>My colleague <strong>Christian Ocier</strong> wrote a fascinating and elaborately detailed <a href="https://parterre.com/2019/06/04/what-we-do-in-the-shadows/">review</a> of the first run–an essential read for his insights into the production and particularly the star-studded cast – so I would focus more on the artists new to this revival and other production matters specific to that day.</p> <p>Before we begin, perhaps it is worthwhile to look back at the long history of <em>Die Frau ohne Schatten</em> at Vienna State Opera. The company presented eight new productions over 100 years, starting with the premiere on October 10, 1919 under <strong>Franz Schalk</strong> with the top stars of the House at that time; <strong>Karl Aagard Østvig</strong> and <strong>Maria Jeritza</strong> as the Emperor and Empress, <strong>Richard Mayr</strong> and <strong>Lotte Lehmann</strong> as the Dyer and his wife, and <strong>Lucie Weidt</strong> as the Nurse completed the cast. That production run pretty much for every year for the next ten years, in a total of 39 shows.</p> <p>Three years later, Lehmann returned as the Dyer’s wife in a new production conducted by <strong>Clemens Krauss</strong> alongside <strong>Josef Kalenberg</strong>, <strong>Viorica Ursuleac</strong>, <strong>Gertrude Rünger</strong> and <strong>Josef von Manowarda</strong>.</p> <p>The great Strauss conductor and his close friend <strong>Karl Böhm</strong> led the next new production right smack in the middle of World War II in 1943, with <strong>Torsten Ralf</strong>, <strong>Hilde Konetzni</strong>, <strong>Elisabeth Höngen</strong>, <strong>Josef Herrmann</strong> and <strong>Else Schulz</strong>.</p> <p>Twelve years later, as part of the Vienna State Opera reopening celebration, Böhm was back in the podium with one of the greatest Die Kaiserins ever, <strong>Leonie Rysanek</strong>, alongside <strong>Hans Hopf</strong>, <strong>Elisabeth Höngen</strong>, <strong>Ludwig Weber</strong>, and <strong>Christel Goltz</strong>, in a production by <strong>Rudolf Hartmann</strong>. A recording of this was released by Orfeo; and that same year Böhm recorded his famous Decca studio recording with the same forces, albeit with Vienna Philharmonic and <strong>Paul Schöffler</strong> as Barak.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=06DDrFJC7L0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=06DDrFJC7L0</a></p> <p>The occasion of Richard Strauss’ 100th birthday (June 11, 1964) saw a brand new mounting staged and conducted by <strong>Herbert von Karajan</strong> assembling luxurious cast including <strong>Jess Thomas</strong>, Rysanek, <strong>Grace Hoffman</strong>, <strong>Walter Berry</strong> and <strong>Christa Ludwig</strong>, with <strong>Lucia Popp</strong> and <strong>Fritz Wunderlich</strong> in minor roles! DG released a recording of this event.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0wBzbkKA9w&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0wBzbkKA9w</a></p> <p>Incidentally, two years later Böhm led a similar cast (Rysanek, Berry and Ludwig) through <strong>Nathaniel Merrill</strong>’s staging for the Met premiere, one of the first successes in the Lincoln Center location.</p> <p>Böhm returned one more time, 34 years after the wartime show, to headline what was arguably the most successful staging <em>Die Frau ohne Schatten</em> in Vienna – that of <strong>Helge Thoma</strong> – again with Rysanek and Berry, plus <strong>Matti Kastu</strong>, <strong>Ruth Hesse</strong> and the formidable Färberin in <strong>Birgit Nilsson</strong>; this went on for 40 performances over 15-year period.</p> <p>The first revival of that production in the fall of the same year landed on another recording, this time for DG, with the same cast as the premiere, except for <strong>James King</strong> as Kaiser instead. The last new production in Vienna was 20 years ago, when <strong>Giuseppe Sinopoli</strong> rounded up <strong>Johan Botha</strong>, <strong>Deborah Voigt</strong>, <strong>Marjana Lipovšek</strong>, <strong>Falk Struckmann</strong> and <strong>Gabriele Schnaut</strong> in <strong>Robert Carsen</strong>’s mounting.</p> <p>A sense of celebration was definitely in the air last Thursday, as prior to the performance Vienna State Opera director <strong>Dominique Meyer</strong> gave a lengthy speech detailing the significance of that day – including some of the history above – and presenting conductor <strong>Christian Thielemann</strong> with a copy of the premiere score of <em>Die Frau ohne Schatten</em>. (Please correct me if I was mistaken here as I don’t understand German!)</p> <p>Like Ocier, the greatest element of the performance that day to me was indeed the majestic conducting of Thielemann leading the Staatsoper in a reading that fully realized the complexity and colorfulness of the score. The climaxes were powerful and shapely, the many chamber-like moments were in turn delicate and mesmerizing, and there was a sense of pressing urgency that made the whole performance truly engrossing. I particularly loved the Orchestral Interlude in Act 2 with its very vivid rendition of the Falcon calls by the flute; it almost felt that there was one flying above me!</p> <p>To my ears, surprising as it might sound, Thielemann’s craft seemed to be forward-looking; in his hands Strauss’ dense scoring and his stretch of tonality anticipated the Second Viennese School much more than full-blown Romanticism. As I sat third row behind him, I was able to observe how his calm and elegant gestures (compared to, say, <strong>Kirill Petrenko</strong>) were able to generate the loudest noises from the orchestra; it was all truly fascinating!</p> <p>Polish bass-baritone <strong>Tomasz Konieczny</strong>, whom Ocier <a href="https://parterre.com/2019/07/23/the-journey-is-the-destination/)">interviewed here</a>,a newcomer to this revival, made a scene-stealing turn as Barak the Dyer. Konieczny was no stranger to the role, having sang it in the <strong>Guy Joosten</strong> mounting for Deutsche Oper am Rhein in 2008 and its subsequent revivals. Here his voice sounded warm and round, and even more winning was his interpretation of the role. For a singer acclaimed for his Alberich,</p> <p>Konieczny turned a surprisingly tender and caring take as the family man longing for children. His scenes where he tucked his wife to sleep (even after she rejected him) or with his brothers and the beggar children were absolutely moving and joyful. His Barak was almost too saintly, albeit still human, as evident when Konieczny flashed his Alberich rage in the end of Act 2, after Barak found out that his wife had no shadow!</p> <p>So wholesome was Konieczny’s Barak that it had unintended consequence to me, namely my slight disappointment with <strong>Nina Stemme</strong>’s Färberin. It pained me to say this as she was one of the main reasons for me to make the trek here to see the show.</p> <p>Not content with merely playing the overbearing wife, she upped the ante and stretched the interpretation so far that it felt as if Barak married Elektra (Elektra had reason to kill, Färberin did not!) There was so much hardness in the reading that I felt rather unnecessary, and when she threw blank stares, she looked more like deranged psychopath.</p> <p>I even thought (I’m aware I might be alone in this) that her steely voice might be affected by that, as while it was still powerful and impressive (particularly in arduous Act 2), it lacked some warmth and color I usually associated with her. She backed down for the last act, but by then it was too little too late. Nevertheless, her duet with Konieczny towards the end was stirring and beautifully performed, it redeemed the performance somewhat.</p> <p>The other fresh face to this production was the villainous Nurse, sang by <strong>Mihoko Fujimura</strong>, who made role debut. While she sang earnestly, unfortunately her voice sounded very underpowered especially in the lower register and she lacked presence as the evil masterplan. Her big scene in Act 3 leading to the Nurse’s banishment came and went without much impact.</p> <p>I was pleasantly surprised with <strong>Camilla Nylund</strong>’s Kaiserin that perfectly negotiated the demands of the score. Her entrance aria “Ist mein Liebster dahin” delivered with clarity and bell-like lyrical voice, as if matching the white dress she was wearing, and after she came down to the human world and traded the color to bright red, the voice significantly turned dramatic and much weightier.</p> <p>In this staging Huguet set the story almost from Kaiserin’s perspective; that red dress that she wore was focal point in every scene she appeared, and Nylund completely commanded the stage in that manner. Not even three loud thuds resulting from the failure of the stage screen to lift up bothered her during her long soliloquy scene in Act 3!</p> <p>After <a href="https://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/die-staatsoper/aktuelles/detail/news/auch-der-kaiser-ist-ein-mensch/">much hoopla</a> for <strong>Andreas Schager</strong>’s role debut as Kaiser on this auspicious day (he was my other main reason for attending the show) you could imagine my disappointment not to see his name on the board when I got to the Vienna Opera House (His cancellation was announced two days prior!)</p> <p>Luckily, <strong>Stephen Gould,</strong> who assumed the role during the first run, was in town for <em>Ariadne auf Naxos</em>, and he did perform Kaiser that night with ease and power, sounding both heroic and noble in his delivery. I thought it was worth to point out that he sang Kaiser and Bachus, two of Strauss’ toughest tenor roles, in subsequent nights as the result of this substitution! A truly commendable achievement for the American heldentenor!</p> <p><strong>Clemens Unterreiner</strong> rounded up the new cast with his dignified performance as Geisterbote.</p> <p>Many had been said about Huguet’s production; they mostly revolved around the words “safe” and “traditional”, and I thought there were a lot of truth in those criticism. I particularly loved the use of specific colors to characterize the leading roles in <strong>Clémence Pernoud</strong>’s costumes; the aforementioned red for Kaiserin, noble green for Kaiser, blue for both Barak and his wife (the color turned to gold when the Färberin was under temptation), and obviously, black was the only color appropriate for the Nurse.</p> <p><strong>Aurélie Maestre</strong>’s set design was evocative in conjuring up images of mythical fantasy land where Strauss and Hofmannsthal set the story upon with Oriental flavor; the pavilion in the beginning and the rock wall formation of Keikobad’s Temple looked like they were lifted straight up from Chinese paintings. Equally dreamy was the arrival of the Empress and the Nurse to that temple via a boat with single lantern, reminiscent of similar scene from <em>The Phantom of the Opera</em>!</p> <p>However, despite such pretty backdrops, Huguet seemed to be reluctant to embrace the magical aspects of the story and resolved to strip out pretty much actions related to them, resulting in occasionally inconsistent dramaturgy. For example, while the Nurse didn’t do any magic earlier in Barak’s place, she was shown to be casting a spell that transformed Barak’s hut into glowing lava at the end of Act 2!</p> <p>Even more puzzling was his decision to infuse a secondary storyline – the visions of war – in the already complicated tableau, substituting Kaiser’s hunting lodge scene in Act 2 with remnants of war, with Kaiserin was seen to be helping a young wounded soldier. Barak and his wife also separately ended up with displaced people in the beginning of Act 3. Although it had been suggested that this was representative of the trouble times of the genesis of the opera, I thought that it could also depict the trying times during its history above.</p> <p>Nonetheless, the juxtaposition of the mythical world and the gloomy aftermath of war oftentimes threatened to confuse the audience unfortunately. It certainly had the effect of weakening the narrative. Equally damaging was some of the staging quirks such as the full-frontal nudity of the man that the Nurse conjured for the Dyer’s wife; it felt so gratuitous given the seriousness surrounding that scene!</p> <p>If these all were sounding like a lot of nitpicks, it was because I held this cast and the production team in the highest regards, given the pedigrees of everyone involved. Don’t get me wrong, this was still one hell of a show, albeit imperfect, and kudos to Vienna State Opera for celebrating it in such a grand way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> First half of November https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/16/first-half-of-november/ operaramblings urn:uuid:814166a1-a9c8-4992-06d4-b1aa55c0a26e Wed, 16 Oct 2019 14:14:43 +0000 I think it&#8217;s time to get back to doing two listing posts per month as the schedule is getting pretty busy. On November 1st at 8pm Karina Gauvin is appearing at Koerner Hall with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in a &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/16/first-half-of-november/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>I think it&#8217;s time to get back to doing two listing posts per month as the schedule is getting pretty busy.</p> <p>On November 1st at 8pm Karina Gauvin is appearing at Koerner Hall with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in a programme of opera arias from 18th century St. Petersburg.  The following night at 7.30pm, in Mazzoleni Hall, the Glenn Gould School has its fall production.  This time it&#8217;s Jonathan Dove&#8217;s <em>Siren Song</em>.  Curiously UoT Opera is also doing a work by Dove this season.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26715" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/16/first-half-of-november/karina_gauvin/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg" data-orig-size="580,385" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Karina_Gauvin" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26715 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg?w=584" alt="Karina_Gauvin" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/karina_gauvin.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-26711"></span>LooseTEA&#8217;s Anne Frank double bill <em>Singing Only Softly</em> plays November 2nd to 4th at Heliconian Hall.  That&#8217;s at 7.30pm.  The 3rd also sees Russian soprano Hibla Gerzmava in recital at Koerner Hall at 7pm.</p> <p>Also on the 3rd, at 3pm,  quartet Charsu, a contemporary classical music quartet, make their debut at the Aga Khan Museum with a program that features vocal and instrumental music by contemporary Iranian and Canadian composers; inspired by Iranian poetry and folklore.  Charsu consists of Asal Iranmehr (piano), Anoush Taba’ï (clarinet). tenor Jonathan MacArthur and cellist Dobrochna Zubek. Tickets are $30 &#8211; $40 and available at <a href="https://agakhanmuseum.org/programs/charsu" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://agakhanmuseum.org/programs/charsu</a>.  They include all day admission to the museum.</p> <p>On the 5th there&#8217;s a lunchtime concert in the RBA featuring the COC Ensemble Studio.  The program will include works from Tapestry&#8217;s 40 year catalogue plus music by Ian Cusson.</p> <p>On the 7th at 9pm Against the Grain have their monthly <em>Opera Pub</em> and the following night at 8pm Tongue in Cheek productions are teaming up with Opera 5 to present <em>Eight Singers Drinking</em>.  There&#8217;s a line up of eight very decent singers plus cocktails.</p> <p>On the 11th Soprano Monica Whicher and pianist Steven Philcox will be joined by COC Orchestra Concertmaster Marie Bérard for a recital called <em>Of War and Peace</em>.  That&#8217;s 7.30pm at Walter Hall.</p> <p>On the 13th Soundstreams begin a run of a show called <em>Two Odysseys</em> in the Ada Slaight Hall at the Daniels Spectrum. It’s a double-bill of two music dramas: <em>Pimooteewin, The Journey</em>, a setting of an ancient Cree story from North America, sung and narrated in the Woodland Cree dialect; and <em>Gállábártnit, The Bear</em>, a setting of an ancient Sámi story from the Nordic countries, sung and narrated in Northern Sámi.  There will be a narrator, singers, dancers, choir and chamber orchestra.  This one is on the 13th to 16th at 8pm and the 17th at 2pm.</p> Katya Kabanova, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, 12 October 2019 http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2019/10/katya-kabanova-staatsoper-unter-den.html Boulezian urn:uuid:a406e737-eac8-0023-9962-3e5e3d3faa25 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 13:13:21 +0000 <br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Katěrina Kabanova – Eva-Maria Westbroek</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Marfa Ignatěvna Kabanicha – Karita Mattila<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Varvara – Anna Lapkovskaja<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Boris Grigorjevič – Simon O’Neill<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Váňa Kudrjáš – Florian Hoffmann<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Tichon Ivanyč Kabanov – Stephan Rügamer<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Savël Prokofjevič Dikoj – Pavlo Hunka<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Kuligin, Passer-by – Viktor Rud<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Glaša – Emma Sarkisyan<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Fekluša – Adriane Queiroz<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Woman – Liane Oßwald<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Andrea Breth (director)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Annette Murschetz (set designs)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Silke Willrett, Marc Weeger (costumes)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Alexander Koppelmann (lighting)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Staatsopernchor Berlin (chorus director: Martin Wright)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Staatskapelle Berlin</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Thomas Guggeis (conductor)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-57dl1dHNoKw/XacWB-N0M4I/AAAAAAAAGSg/Xsjrld1SARY-FbTU3cPQDGzNzFmoPemJwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-57dl1dHNoKw/XacWB-N0M4I/AAAAAAAAGSg/Xsjrld1SARY-FbTU3cPQDGzNzFmoPemJwCLcBGAsYHQ/s640/2.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Katya Kabanova (Eva-Maria Westbroek)<br />Images: Bernd Uhlig, from the 2014 premiere</td></tr></tbody></table><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Given the success of <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2011/04/wozzeck-staatsoper-berlin-16-april-2011.html">Andrea Breth’s Berlin Staatsoper production of Wozzeck</a>, it was perhaps not surprising to emerge from this <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Katya Kabanova</i> feeling similarly drained. It had not previously occurred to me to consider the points of affinity between these two tragic operatic masterpieces of similar length, written at a similar time – Berg started composition considerably earlier and completed his work later – but Breth’s approach played a suggestive role. For redemption, spiritual uplift, any such glimmer, one would likely have sought in vain – certainly at its conclusion. Where <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Wozzeck</i>’s expressionism was tempered or expanded by something one might characterise, with certain reservations, as realism – not that the opera ‘itself’ lacks that too – here it is perhaps the other way around, Janáček’s drama extended in its final act by something that, if not quite expressionistic, certainly went beyond the realm of realism conventionally understood. The storm and its aftermath are, in any case, clearly not intended purely in meteorological terms; here, however, Breth’s ritualistic stylisation affords opportunity, without abdication of tragic content, for a form of starkness somewhat different from that more readily encountered.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">There, as at the opening, we see action, movement, that seems either to tend towards or away from a tableau: secularised, doubtless, like Janáček’s outlook itself, yet not without a sense, for better or ill, of the religious. This, it seems, is a grim, difficult world in which women especially, but many men too, are cowed by social and political rather than more strictly theological constructs. ‘Modesty’ of female dress is clearly no matter of choice; likewise, the shrouded identity, if one may call it that at all, of many of the women we see. Repression and hypocrisy are, at least in considerable part (for perpetrators, that is, not for victims). And, of course, whatever the social similarities Breth suggests with <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Wozzeck</i>, heightened by a destitute Eastern Bloc setting perhaps even going beyond that chosen by <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2011/04/katya-kabanova-opera-national-de-paris.html">Christoph Marthaler for Paris</a> several years ago, a major distinction remains the centrality of women to Janáček’s opera. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">If anything, Breth pushes that further. We see Katya treated to the point of torture by domestic incarceration in a cupboard (or is it a refrigerator?). We witness perhaps a truly formidable Kabanicha, a fur-clad Karita Mattila, rule the roost and let her guard down in private: second-act drunkenness leading to an extraordinary scene with Dikoj, in which, rather than reject his advances, she joins him on the dinner table to masturbate him, only to react with anger when his stamina proves insufficient for her needs. And we see, likewise at beginning and close, a small girl led across the stage in quasi-religious procession. Who is she? Is she one of the female characters, whose life might have turned out differently, had it not been for this vicious society and ideology? Is it a baby girl Katya might have lost? There are various possibilities open to us; if only there had been to her.<o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EOzDyse25mU/XacWAN_tvPI/AAAAAAAAGSc/-BeRMeQifJIX6yiTGCyrSpG2-dIjSHKPACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EOzDyse25mU/XacWAN_tvPI/AAAAAAAAGSc/-BeRMeQifJIX6yiTGCyrSpG2-dIjSHKPACLcBGAsYHQ/s640/1.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">A particular strength of Thomas Guggeis’s conducting of the Staatskapelle Berlin lay in kinship with Breth’s conception. No one in his right mind would eradicate Janáček’s lyricism from the orchestra, let alone from the vocal line. (How could one, anyway?) That said, these remained brief moments of thwarted possibility amongst a notably dark account of the score, its niggling motivic, even cellular, possibilities pointing already to the Dostoevskyan world of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">From the House of the Dead</i>. If there were times, especially during the first act, when I missed a little in the way of more conventional musical narrative, it seemed to me that this was very much an aesthetic choice – and one that had me ask why, the answers seeming more than justifiable in context. When the storm came, the unleashing of orchestral power – almost a tone poem with voices – said what must be said. As, of course, in her conception, did Kabanicha at the close.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Mattila’s delivery of her final line, thanking the people for their efforts, offered an unanswerable summation not only of her richly expressive vocal portrayal; not only of her imperious stage presence, unquestionably possessed of a complicated back-story concerning whose nature we could only speculate; but also of work and tight-knit production as a whole. Equally impressive was Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role, a character whose soul as well as her vocal line would constantly take flight, as much in societal repression as in those few, rare – in every sense – moments of free expression. Katya’s, Westbroek’s, and Janáček’s humanity shone through, extreme difficulties notwithstanding, indeed in many ways very much on their account. Simon O’Neill, if a little lacking in stage credibility, sang clearly and convincingly as Boris. Florian Hoffmann and Anna Lapkovskaja made for a lively, engaging pair of ‘secondary’ lovers; at least there was some hope remaining of matters turning out better in their case. Pavlo Hunka’s Dikoj and Stephan Rügamer’s Tichon proved keenly observed throughout. All, then, contributed intelligently and movingly to the greater dramatic conception. What a conception that continues to be.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Boulezian/~4/pY8je9UjoPA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Dark eyes https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/dark-eyes/ parterre box urn:uuid:44f01ff0-5d9f-b9b5-9006-a92c2cb23d01 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:00:32 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/16/dark-eyes/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dmitri-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dmitri-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dmitri-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dmitri-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dmitri-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dmitri.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>Born on this day in 1962 baritone <strong>Dmitri Hvorostovsky</strong>.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QeKn6V2wag&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QeKn6V2wag</a></p> <p>On this day in 1972 conductor <strong>Henry Lewis</strong> made his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting <em>La Bohème</em> on what was his 40th birthday.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2jT5Uv8WHM&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2jT5Uv8WHM</a></p> <p>Birthday anniversaries of writers <strong>Oscar Wilde</strong> (1854) and <strong>Eugene O&#8217;Neill</strong> (1888).</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK8HGKNveEQ&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK8HGKNveEQ</a></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=koJXKClSACE&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=koJXKClSACE</a></p> Donizetti's Don Pasquale packs a psychological punch at the ROH http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/10/donizettis_don_.php Opera Today urn:uuid:b4521dce-cbdb-b6de-9058-111ec6ae39c6 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 09:39:01 +0000 Is Donizetti’s Don Pasquale a charming comedy with a satirical punch, or a sharp psychological study of the irresolvable conflicts of human existence? Onstage This Week: Joffrey's "Jane Eyre" Debut, The Mariinsky Heads to California and More! https://www.pointemagazine.com/ballet-listings-oct-14-20-2640974579.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:9ce079ed-f6e1-d1c8-c26a-e1a0e7b8d814 Tue, 15 Oct 2019 18:20:49 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21994911/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.<br/></p><hr/><h3>Cathy Marston's "Jane Eyre" Makes Its Joffrey Debut </h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="CIGCXA1571166320" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pdTvh_ivL9A?rel=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>British choreographer Cathy Marston's <em>Jane Eyre </em>made its <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/onstage-this-week-abt-presents-the-american-premiere-of-cathy-marstons-jane-eyre-and-more-2638663763.html" target="_blank">U.S. debut</a> at American Ballet Theatre last spring. Now, the ballet makes its way to Chicago. The Joffrey Ballet presents Marston's retelling of Charlotte Brontë's trailblazing novel<em> </em><a href="http://joffrey.org/jane" target="_blank">October 16-27</a> at the Auditorium Theatre. </p><h3>The Mariinsky Heads West </h3><br/><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="M7X4HZ1571166320"><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="true" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/SCFTA/videos/2388912548036420/"></div></div><p>Following its run of <em>Paquita </em>at The Kennedy Center, the Mariinsky Ballet heads to California to present another Russian classic—<em>La <em>Bayadère</em>—</em>at Segerstrom Center for the Arts <a href="https://www.scfta.org/events/2019/mariinsky-ballet" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 16-20</a>. Catch a glimpse of the glamorous Marius Petipa ballet, set in India, in the above video. <em></em></p><h3>The Ashley Bouder Project Brings Five New Works by Female Choreographers to Akron, OH</h3><br/><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="THWSHP1571166320"><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="true" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/balletinyourcityandbeyond/videos/397145867881969/"></div></div><p>On <a href="http://balletinthecity.org/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 18</a>, Ballet in the City brings a group of ballet stars to Akron, OH, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Ashley Bouder Project. The program will feature commissioned works by five female choreographers: <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/annabelle-lopez-ochoa" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Annabelle Lopez Ochoa</a>, <a href="https://zipporakarz.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Zippora Karz</a>, <a href="http://catherinemeredithdance.com/index.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Catherine Meredith</a>, <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/zhong-jing-fang-abt-2468304368.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Zhong-Jing Fang</a> and <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/julia-erickson" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Julia Erickson</a>. Audiences can also see <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/ashley-bouder" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Ashley Bouder</a>'s <em>In Pursuit Of </em>performed by a group of New York City Ballet dancers. Catch a glimpse of Fang's new work for former ABT dancer Elina Miettinen above. </p><h3>George Balanchine and Paul Taylor Share the Stage at Miami City Ballet</h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5LVD1Q1571166320" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y5Xpr_ukQAY?rel=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>Miami City Ballet is opening its 2019/20 season with a bang. The triple bill program, running <a href="https://www.miamicityballet.org/slaughter" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 18-20</a> at the Miami Arsht Center and then at numerous venues through November 10, features George Balanchine's jazzy and theatrical <em>Slaughter on Tenth Avenue </em>alongside his<em> </em><em>Stravinsky Violin Concerto </em>and Paul Taylor's <em>Mercuric Tidings</em>. </p><h3>Milwaukee Ballet Celebrates 50th Anniversary Season with "Coppélia" </h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="AA1RD71571166320" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/T1wmAARujsM?rel=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>Milwaukee Ballet launches its 50th anniversary season with a run of <em>Coppélia </em><a href="https://www.milwaukeeballet.org/performance/coppelia" target="_blank">October 17-20</a>. <em>Coppélia </em>is the perfect choice to celebrate the company's history; it was Milwaukee Ballet's first full-length ballet, originally performed in 1970. Get into the <em>Coppélia </em>spirit, and catch a glimpse of Milwaukee Ballet's brand new building, the Baumgartner Center for Dance, in the above trailer. </p><h3>Wendy Whelan Tours to UCLA in "THE DAY"</h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3B3IN11571166320" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wBm21WjrB2Q?rel=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p><a href="https://cap.ucla.edu/calendar/details/the_day2" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 18-19</a>, New York City Ballet associate artistic director <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/wendy-whelan" target="_self">Wendy Whelan</a> joins celebrated cellist Maya Beiser onstage at the Center for the Art of Performance UCLA in<em> THE DAY</em>, choreographed by postmodern icon Lucinda Childs. Exploring memory and resilience, this multi-genre collaboration between Beiser and Childs features music by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang. <em></em></p><h3>Louisville Ballet Presents World Premiere by Andrea Schermoly</h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="04K3UD1571166320" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6f_5qkev8aY?rel=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>Louisville Ballet's season opens <a href="https://www.louisvilleballet.org/season-tickets/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 18-19</a> with a triptych of diverse works featuring George Balanchine's <em>Serenade</em>, Stanton Welch's <em>Velocity </em>and the world premiere of Andrea Schermoly's <em>at High</em>. Schermoly<strong>, </strong>a former dancer with Boston Ballet and Netherlands Dance Theater, is Louisville Ballet's resident choreographer. <em></em></p><h3>Penny Saunders World Premiere Joins Yuri Posskhov's "Firebird" at Grand Rapids Ballet</h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ZPGCCV1571166320" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LWvC8j63_Kg?rel=0" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>Grand Rapids Ballet presents Firebird <a href="https://grballet.com/1920season/firebird/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 18-29 and 25</a>. This mixed-bill program includes Yuri Possokhov's <em>Firebird, </em>GRB artistic director James Sofranko's <em>Mozart Symphony, </em>Adam Houghland's <em>Cold Virtues </em>and the world premiere of <em>Again </em>by GRB choreographer in residence Penny Saunders. Hear Saunders talk about her creative process in the above video.</p><h3>Island Moving Company Caters to Audiences of All Ages in Two Distinct Programs</h3><br/><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4UI0QF1571166320" id="5df38"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B3nIVEUnV1p/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">Island Moving Company on Instagram: “IMC in an exciting NEW venue! Two shows, one stunning location. You won’t want to miss it! More info at islandmovingco.org (link in bio)…”</a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>Newport, RI-based Island Moving Company presents two programs this week at the Newport Congregational Church. The Nature of Light, features works by IMC artistic director Miki Ohlsen, José Limón, Colin Connor and IMC associate artistic director Danielle Genest, and runs <a href="https://islandmovingco.org/performances-events/the-nature-of-light/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 17-19</a>.</p><p>IMC is also offering something for younger audiences. The company's new <em>Alice in Wonderland</em>, featuring choreography by Ohlsen, Genest and Nancy McAuliffe, makes its debut <a href="https://islandmovingco.org/performances-events/alice-in-wonderland/" target="_blank">October 17-20. </a></p> What opera is this, anyway? https://parterre.com/2019/10/15/what-opera-is-this-anyway/ parterre box urn:uuid:12f3512d-df2e-2692-24a7-633e0aa053b7 Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:41:00 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/15/what-opera-is-this-anyway/"><img width="720" height="246" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/what-opera-is-this-anyway-720x246.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/what-opera-is-this-anyway-720x246.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/what-opera-is-this-anyway-300x103.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/what-opera-is-this-anyway-768x263.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/what-opera-is-this-anyway-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/what-opera-is-this-anyway.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>&#8220;I showed up at dress rehearsal and doggone it, they were doing <em>Turandot</em> instead. Was my face ever red!&#8221;</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64667" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/san-diego-star-tenor.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="502" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/san-diego-star-tenor.jpg 640w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/san-diego-star-tenor-300x235.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/san-diego-star-tenor-210x165.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />The <em>San Diego Union-Tribune</em> actually <a href="https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/columnists/story/2019-10-14/column-san-diego-operas-aida-star-tenor-has-a-wild-story-to-tell">straightens out the confusion</a>, but La Cieca hopes you, the cher public, can offer more wild stories based on this photo and headline.</p> American Ballet Theatre's Fall Season Honors Herman Cornejo https://www.pointemagazine.com/abt-fall-season-2019-2640874118.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:78d4a7f3-5134-e57a-8128-debc08a8afdb Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:31:56 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21994201/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's <a href="https://www.abt.org/performances/fall-season/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">October 16–27</a> run honors principal <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/herman-cornejo" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Herman Cornejo</a>, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/herman-and-erica-cornejo-2640845077.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">pas de deux with his sister</a>, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo. <br/></p><hr/><h3>None</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="CTQVU51571155519" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="2a2e0" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21994301/980x.jpg"/><p>The season's second world premiere is by former ABT corps dancer <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/gemma-bond" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Gemma Bond</a>, who will be making her main-company choreographic debut to Benjamin Britten's <em>Suite on English Folk Tunes.</em> The season also includes the New York premieres of Jessica Lang's <em>Let Me Sing Forevermore</em> and <em>New American Romance</em> by ABT principal <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/james-whiteside" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">James Whiteside</a>, as well as revivals of George Balanchine's <em>Apollo</em> and Clark Tippet's <em>Some Assembly Required.</em> </p> AtG’s La Bohème https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/15/atgs-la-boheme/ operaramblings urn:uuid:27fc9d5f-5ffb-f8a1-2d32-d645b56bd175 Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:29:37 +0000 Couldn&#8217;t make it to the Tranzac?  Too busy to watch the livestream on Sunday?  No problem. <p>Couldn&#8217;t make it to the Tranzac?  Too busy to watch the livestream on Sunday?  No problem.</p> <iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='584' height='329' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/WsZyhSxRpCI?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;start=248&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe> Shout it out loud https://parterre.com/2019/10/15/shout-it-out-loud-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:ce467697-bfd1-7c30-5b59-a2f9a7b04498 Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:00:37 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/15/shout-it-out-loud-2/"><img width="720" height="487" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-720x487.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-720x487.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-768x519.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-210x142.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top.jpg 812w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>On this day in 1976 soprano <B>Hildegard Behrens</b> made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Giorgetta in <I>Il tabarro</I>.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-64656" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-720x487.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="487" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-720x487.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-768x519.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top-210x142.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/behrens-top.jpg 812w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" />At the same performance <strong>Neil Shicoff</strong> made his debut as Rinuccio in <i>Gianni Schicchi.</i></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=svhfeZdu64Q&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=svhfeZdu64Q</a></p> <p>Birthday anniversaries of soprano <strong>Margaret Burke Sheridan</strong> (1889)&#8230;</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofx11K-zcqE&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofx11K-zcqE</a></p> <p>&#8230;mezzo-soprano <strong>Bruna Castagna</strong> (1905)&#8230;</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LXNh1-vHX0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LXNh1-vHX0</a></p> <p>and mezzo-soprano <strong>Oralia Dominguez</strong> (1925).</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRJ1Pr2AgOk&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRJ1Pr2AgOk</a></p> <p>Photo: James Heffernan</p> 6 years of opera, innit? https://dehggial.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/6-years-of-opera-innit/ opera, innit? urn:uuid:49ee84b2-2ac0-aa34-af79-8ace543ebede Tue, 15 Oct 2019 07:00:20 +0000 So many things have happened in 6 years&#8230; with me, with the world and, obviously, with the blog. Whenever I look back I return heartened, because imagine if it all stayed the same? Which is, of course, not how life goes, even when you&#8217;re living in less Interesting times than we currently do. Blogwise, 2019 is [&#8230;] Rameau - Les Indes Galantes http://npw-opera-concerts.blogspot.com/2019/10/rameau-les-indes-galantes.html We left at the interval... urn:uuid:65aca79c-bf67-7f87-52c4-66476db8f872 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 21:11:00 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif;">ONP Bastille, Monday September 30 2019</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Conductor: Leonardo García Alarcón. Production: Clément Cogitore. Choreography: Bintou Dembélé. Sets: Alban Ho Van, Ariane Bromberger. Costumes: Wojciech Dziedzi. Lighting: Sylvain Verdet.<br /><b>PROLOGUE</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Hébé: Sabine Devieilhe. Bellone: Florian Sempey. L'amour: Jodie Devos.<br /><b>ENTREE I – Le turc généreux (The Generous Turk)</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Osman: Edwin Crossley-Mercer. Émilie: Julie Fuchs. Valère: Mathias Vidal.<br /><b>ENTREE&nbsp;II – Les incas du Pérou (The Incas of Peru)</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Huascar: Alexandre Duhamel. Phani: Sabine Devieilhe. Don Carlos: Stanislas de Barbeyrac.<br /><b>ENTREE&nbsp;III – Les fleurs (The Flowers)</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Tacmas: Mathias Vidal. Ali: Edwin Crossley-Mercer. Zaïre: Jodie Devos. Fatime: Julie Fuchs.</span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>ENTREE&nbsp;IV – Les sauvages (The Indians)</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Adario: Florian Sempey. Damon: Stanislas de Barbeyrac. Don Alvar: Alexandre Duhamel. Zima: Sabine Devieilhe.</span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Cappella Mediterranea. Namur Chamber Choir. Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine/Paris Opera Children’s Choir. Compagnie Rualité dancers. </span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EzkxeyuC6Fw/XaSSBmkLF-I/AAAAAAAADXU/ujQWZ3BPc3EksZLsfbjDD7f5Lgfw8V5VwCEwYBhgL/s1600/Screenshot%2B2019-10-14%2Bat%2B16.18.46.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="898" data-original-width="1303" height="137" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EzkxeyuC6Fw/XaSSBmkLF-I/AAAAAAAADXU/ujQWZ3BPc3EksZLsfbjDD7f5Lgfw8V5VwCEwYBhgL/s200/Screenshot%2B2019-10-14%2Bat%2B16.18.46.png" width="200" /></a></div>This one is going to be long, I'm afraid, but as one of the reasons I keep this blog is to recall, as a substitute for my failing memory, what I witness, I want to have a full record of what, to me, with my dual interest in opera and art, was an important event (even if I should hope it will remain available in video on one support or another). It will be available in full until October 2020 <a href="https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/091145-000-A/les-indes-galantes-de-rameau-a-l-opera-de-paris/" target="_blank">here</a>.<br /><br />Clément Cogitore (b. 1983), whose work until now has included film, video, installations and photography but (so I understand) no stage directing, is not so much the <i>enfant terrible</i> as the <i>enfant chéri</i> of French contemporary art. His career has been what the French might call a <i>parcours sans faute,&nbsp;</i>i.e. it has gone without a hitch: <i>Grand Prix</i> of the Salon de Montrouge, for years Paris's main emerging artists' fair, Cannes Film Festival, Villa Medici, all at 27, followed by a solo show at the Palais de Tokyo, France's largest and most important contemporary art venue; exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt-Berlin, the Kunsthalle-Basel, MoMA in New York; the Ricard Prize for contemporary art, best first French film in 2016, <i>Prix Lumière</i>, '<i>Cesar</i>' award (the 'French Oscar') for the best first film, <i>Prix Marcel Duchamp</i> in 2018... In 2017, for the Paris Opera's 'Troisième Scène' ('Third Stage': its multimedia platform) a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h9HP-VOJv4&amp;t=140s" target="_blank">short video of the <i>Entrée des Sauvages</i> from <i>Les Indes Galantes</i></a>&nbsp;using 'krump' urban dance scored such a hit and created such a buzz that he was asked to direct the whole work on stage, at the Bastille, to open the 2019-2020 season. That, at any rate, is what I was told, though I've wondered, looking at the dates, if the ONP had actually asked M. Cogitore to make the video as a kind of 'teaser', having already decided he'd direct the full&nbsp;<i>ballet héroïque</i> later on.<br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mtf4ULat03E/XaSPMY-9zuI/AAAAAAAADW8/WDVsNFSuNh8IqOk_MfQ3r_KtQswzRsUawCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Screenshot%2B2019-10-14%2Bat%2B16.05.52.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="582" data-original-width="539" height="200" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mtf4ULat03E/XaSPMY-9zuI/AAAAAAAADW8/WDVsNFSuNh8IqOk_MfQ3r_KtQswzRsUawCLcBGAsYHQ/s200/Screenshot%2B2019-10-14%2Bat%2B16.05.52.png" width="185" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rameau</td></tr></tbody></table><div style="text-align: left;"></div>Accolades and awards notwithstanding, this seemed to me, for various reasons, a high-risk project. We all know from our experiences in the house that directors from the theatre or cinema may have trouble adapting to opera and its peculiar conventions, singers who are not necessarily natural actors, and action the timing of which is out of their control. There's obviously a vast difference between directing a five-minute video clip over recorded music, and directing over three hours of opera, live on stage. All the more risky for someone who has never directed a non-stop, full-length performance before. Cogitore himself has said how hard it was for him to come to accept the imperfections of live theatre - the impossibility of doing a second or third take. And&nbsp;<i>Les Indes Galantes</i> is not a gritty drama like say, <i>Elektra</i> or <i>Jenufa</i> or <i>Lulu</i>, but an 18th-century <i>ballet héroique:&nbsp;</i>a prologue and (in this production) four tenuously-linked tableaux with scarcely any plot. What might a young contemporary artist make of that? To cap it all, the weird decision was made to stage the production at the Bastille, not the Palais Garnier, which is already, with 1,800 seats, big for baroque. Again, Cogitore has admitted he had underestimated the challenge that represented. As Rameau is one of my favourite composers and I also take a keen interest in contemporary art, I personally was 'rooting' for success and hoping that Cogitore would turn out to be a genuine genius and carry it off. But I was aware that not only was his production much-awaited, but that there was the further risk that people would be waiting in ambush, sharpening their <i>Schadenfreude</i>.<br /><br />In the event, this has been one of those productions the audience loves but the press is somewhat sour and sniffy about. Unusually, at the <i>première</i>, Clément Cogitore was (so I read: I was at the second night) greeted at the curtain with wild applause. There was even, rare in Paris, something of a standing ovation (on subsequent nights as well, whether or not the director was present). Professional critics and some online armchair ones have complained that it isn’t this or it isn’t that but I liked it for what it was. To me, this was a handsome, monumental production, surprisingly conservative, respecting the period form - a series of tableaux, as in an exhibition, with a strong dance component - of the original work and, without ideological tub-thumping, gently, subtly modernising the genre and drawing links between the enlightenment ideas of the original and a selection of current issues. Cogitore has said that he has, as director, no lessons to give and, as a spectator, none to take. Questions such as refugee crises, racism, religious extremism, religious hypocrisy, arranged marriage, forced prostitution, sexual tourism and the arrogance of the west with regard to other regions, were raised relatively quietly, even with a degree of humour not touched on in the reviews I've read (sometimes this production is funny), leaving open the many ambiguities for us to think about and work through ourselves.<br /><br />Recognising that <i>Les Indes Galantes</i> was presented, in its day, not as 'opera' but, as I mentioned above, a <i>ballet héroique</i>, the production is constructed around various forms of urban dance, the names of them as exotic to me as the <i>Indes</i> to an 18th-century Frenchman, by Bintou Dembélé, involving not only the dancers, but also the chorus and soloists, sometimes to comic effect. Cogitore's fundamental concept was that of 'dancing on a volcano' - the tensions underlying contemporary societies, the fragility of the social contract, the potential, at any moment for eruptions of violence between citizens and the state. (Fortunately, he's too intelligent to have roped in France's <i>gilets jaunes</i> or Greta Thunberg.)&nbsp; The minimal, dark set centres, therefore, on a large, smoking hole - the mouth of the volcano - put to various uses, and aesthetically makes interesting use of the interplay of light from a variety of sources on stage - not just the stage lights themselves, but electric torches, light boxes, frontal head-lamps, mobile phones, fire, LEDs, coloured bulbs and so on - with the smoke.<br /><br />As the show has been screened and remains available over the next 12 months, many people will have seen it by now, but just for the record (if you've seen it, you can skip these bullet points)...<br /><ul style="text-align: left;"><li><b>When the curtain rises on the <i>Prologue</i></b>, we see only the smoking volcano and a scattering of 'naked' dancers (actually in lightly 'tattooed' body-stockings)&nbsp;curled up on the floor. Hébé emerges, an Anna Wintour figure in gold-brocade couture coat and dress and high heels, and summons her followers to take part, not in a festival, but in a fashion show. Racks of clothes are wheeled in, Hébé/Anna selects or rejects them and the dancers are dressed. <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div>I took this process as an image of primitive mankind dividing into diverse races and nationalities. Voguing begins on podia, with dancers falling backwards into attendants' arms as they are 'shot' by the flashes. Bellone arrrives in full dictatorial cape with riot police carrying spears and transparent shields; the models change into police uniforms and stumble round in them awkwardly until shunted off into the volcano. L'Amour is invoked and appears from the rear, <i>à contre jour</i> against a light box, swathed elaborately in yards of floating gauze, like the <i>pièce de résistance</i>&nbsp;(or should it be&nbsp;<i>pièce montée</i>?) bride that crowns every collection. She sends cupids - little children in body-stockings like the dancers' - with electric torches to enlighten the four corners of the globe. By this stage, some of the unifying <i>partis-pris</i> of the production have already been established: the cheerful mixing of contemporary&nbsp;<i>couture&nbsp;</i>or equally contemporary hoodies and trainers with 18th century fabrics, finishes (e.g. the period detail on the riot police's otherwise modern uniforms) and forms, the presence of musicians (in this case a bagpiper) on stage, the sharing of usually exclusive roles...</li><li><b>The set is cleared for <i>Le Turc Généreux</i></b> by stagehands in full, hooded, flame-retardant, fluorescent orange safety suits that, in the storm, will double as sou'westers. They have frontal headlights inside their hoods - we don't see their faces. Dancers are still voguing (sometimes in this <i>Entrée</i> the libretto uses the verb 'voguer', to sail, so I wondered if this was a <i>clin d'oeil</i>) when the handsome Osman strolls in in black trousers, tee-shirt and gabardine, hands in his pockets. Emilie, wearing a short brocade dress and knee-high boots, joins in the semaphoric dancing, and one of Eros's little emissaries conjures up a storm by blowing a tin whistle. In the first of a number of impressive visual 'moments,' a giant, hydraulically-operated robot arm descends slowly into the volcano and pulls out the upturned, broken hull of a boat, and the sou'wester-clad stagehands mime hauling the castaways, in contemporary layers of tracksuits, hoodies and bomber jackets, out of the pit. Gold foil safety blankets are distributed by men in germ-proof, disposable white overalls with masks, and draped over shoulders. Emilie and Valère are reunited by the generous Turk. The blankets are used to shroud the boat, making it seaworthy again, it is righted, a chorus of Europeans advances into the house to sing 'Partez', and the child/cupid plays a tambourine over the final hornpipe. None of these references (so I assume) to the current refugee crisis and the roles played by Turkey and Europe in it was hammered home. It was more as if they were floated, with a light but deft touch, and left in the air for us, the audience, to deal with.</li><li><b>In <i>Les incas du Pérou</i></b>, the 'Culte fatal' referred to in the text is taken in its modern sense: Huascar is the charismatic but hypocritical leader of a religious cult. Four riot police line up to guard the stage, with spears, in heavily-frogged uniforms. Carlos is also in full uniform. Phani wears a black leather jacket and jeans. In a true <i>moment de grâce</i>, she sings 'Viens, Hymène' seated alone at the front of the stage while a lone dancer, bare-chested, circles around in a sort of moon-walk, but on points in trainers. I was told by someone who actually knows about these things that this fascinating dancer was called Charles Riley Jr., known as Lil Buck, and that his dance style, from Memphis, Tennessee, is called 'jookin'. The combined aria and dance reduced the house to pin-drop silence until loud applause broke out at the end, holding up the <i>continuo</i>&nbsp;till it died down. During Huascar's magnificent 'Soleil, on a détruit tes superbes asiles', his followers circle in slow motion, zombie-like. The steely robot arm returns, this time bearing a giant LED screen draped in sheets, showing, so I concluded, once the sheets are drawn off, footage of sunspots. As he conducts his mesmerised followers through 'Clair flambeau du monde', mouthing the words to help them, they film him with their smartphones. When the earthquake starts, the screen turns red over a furious break dance with long swirling dreadlocks to rhythmic screams from the chorus, until the riot police close in with their torches. Little cupid re-appears from the light box at the rear, we see the dancer on points again in silhouette, and Huascar disappears into the mouth of the volcano.</li><li><b>The slaves in the harem in <i>Entrée III : Les Fleurs</i></b> are scantily-clad girls in red-lit glass cases, a picture of boredom as they gyrate in their cages while men prowl around, hands in pockets, eyeing them up, or just sit when business is bad. 'Prince déguisé', Mathias Vidal as Tacmas isn't absolutely convincing in drag: torrents of black hair, a gash of red lipstick, floating black lace <i>négligé</i>, a yard or so of black-stockinged legs and stilettos. Ali, his favourite, sings his asides to the <i>continuo</i> players on the left of the stage. Tacmas shows Zaïre his portrait on Instagram. As the scene changes for the <i>Fêtes persanes</i>, the break-dancing is so furious that dancers fall flat on their backs, exhausted. An old-fashioned carousel rises out of the opening in the stage - horses, a car, a plane, a tiger... - lit with gently-changing coloured bulbs, and a chorus of parents and children in everyday clothes amble in. One of the 'safety guys' in orange turns out, on lowering his hood, to be a flautist (and a little later, a piccolo-player). Like the Pied Piper, he charms the children into a round dance ending on the carousel before piping them to sleep. In another moment of visual magic, the 'Papillon inconstant' rises high over the stage, draped in flowing gauzes, like L'Amour in the <i>Prologue</i>, but this time endlessly long and trailing and looking part chrysalis, part butterfly - or 'like a squid,' as my incorrigibly prosaic neighbour put it bathetically. A camp fire is lit, and parents and children sit round it until the party breaks up, barriers are erected and the fire is put out. Why, in this <i>Entrée</i>, parents and children all look so glum and listless, was unclear to me. Perhaps there's a message there (about paedophilia? I admit wondering, what with the Pied Piper leading them all a dance...) but if so I didn't get it.</li><li><b>The central platform rises to disclose, for the opening of <i>Les Sauvages</i></b>, a circular prison with neon bars. There are riot police on podia in the corners, who sometimes break into a brief, jerky dance, and (real) trumpeters and drummers on the roof. Behind the bars, the '<i>sauvages</i>' pace round while Damon and Alvar sing their duet. At 'C'est Zima que je vois', she appears as a cheerleader in gold lamé with golden pompoms and five identical colleagues all, like Sabine Devieilhe, pregnant at the time of the performance, with identical baby-bumps, miming as Zima sings. This time, our little cupid whirls a Maori-style wind instrument on a cord round his head, before the magical 'Hymène, Hymène...' once more reduces the house to breathless silence. As the prisoners regain their liberty, the prison sinks to make way for the now-famous krump or krunk battle to 'Forêts Paisibles', the singers joining in, with shouts, cries and whoops, ending with raised fists, and long, wild applause and cheering from the house. After some milling around and stamping as the people test their freedom, Anna/Hébé, backed by banks of dim spots, reappears from the volcano, in her stiff blond wig and&nbsp;<i>haute couture</i> brocade, to sing&nbsp;'Reignez, plaisirs et jeux' as we watch a slow-motion riot with neither side, youths or police, actually touching. The robot arm descends once more bearing a large, warm, bright lamp - the sun as enlightenment? - to clear the stage and, during the final <i>chaconne</i>, Hébé (in a nod, I suspect, to musicals which, says Clément Cogitore, however bad things are, reassure us everything's alright) calls the cast on - riot police, fashionistas, shipwrecked refugees, 'safety men', the soloists having their own stab at urban dancing... for their 'curtain calls', and at the very end, L'Amour in his/her gauzes appears before the light box to bow, to a huge triumph by Paris's standards.</li></ul><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OqklpgBWsMI/XaTjib0MpyI/AAAAAAAADXg/cRF-z8Fw7wkDKd1gkmNYDROx0NvrAj1lwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Screenshot%2B2019-10-14%2Bat%2B22.06.59.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="812" data-original-width="1600" height="162" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OqklpgBWsMI/XaTjib0MpyI/AAAAAAAADXg/cRF-z8Fw7wkDKd1gkmNYDROx0NvrAj1lwCLcBGAsYHQ/s320/Screenshot%2B2019-10-14%2Bat%2B22.06.59.png" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Sabine Devieilhe, pregnant, is tossed in the air by the dancers<br />(photo copyright Little Shao/ONP)</td></tr></tbody></table>To perform the work at the Bastille (2,750 seats), Leonardo García Alarcón conducted an orchestra of nearly sixty musicians in a pit raised so high that he was visible to the waist from the stalls and, I suppose, obscuring the view for people near the front. This gave us a rich, warm, round sound, and though some critics have complained that his Rameau was unidiomatically italianate, I can only take their word for it. It sounded flawless to me, though, even from row 13, a little distant until my ears adjusted. The cast was certainly one of the best I've heard in Rameau, with Sabine Devieilhe, pregnant or not, leading the pack with some really gorgeous sounds, but the others only a nose behind, whether in <i>bravura</i> (or perhaps I should write '<i>bravoure</i>') passages or, perhaps even better, in the gentler numbers, whether solo or in ensemble. So musically, overall, it could hardly have been better, except for the size of the house. As I said, from the parterre where I was, the sound seemed at first distant, and at least some of the singers audibly tired themselves straining to be heard, Stanislas de Barbeyrac in particular, hoarse well before the end.<br /><br />In all this was a very fine new production, better, in my view, than the 'picture-postcard' one by Andrei Serban we used to have at Garnier under Christie, familiar from DVD, and it's occurred to me since that Clément Cogitore, who rose to the considerable challenge and has scored a popular hit if not a critical one, may find himself with a major new string to his bow - a career in opera directing, if he wants one. But nothing about the evening explained that weird decision to stage the work at the Bastille.</div> Chelsea Opera Group perform Verdi's first comic opera: Un giorno di regno http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/10/chelsea_opera_g.php Opera Today urn:uuid:88c4a600-adcb-7bba-e7d4-d41c2d23efd1 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 18:20:35 +0000 Until Verdi turned his attention to Shakespeare’s Fat Knight in 1893, Il giorno di regno (A King for a Day), first performed at La Scala in 1840, was the composer’s only comic opera. Hvorostovsky's hometown to honor late singer on his birthday http://barihunks.blogspot.com/2019/10/hvorostovskys-hometown-to-honor-late.html Barihunks urn:uuid:88bde3c2-19d2-d843-f5ee-d01d499605e9 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 17:56:00 +0000 <table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-17_Io6xNn_o/XaS1H7YiDNI/AAAAAAAAo9A/Lk3Dj3kJMJg7AtHiZ-O35PQr-oglxdYEACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/DH.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="727" data-original-width="1600" height="181" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-17_Io6xNn_o/XaS1H7YiDNI/AAAAAAAAo9A/Lk3Dj3kJMJg7AtHiZ-O35PQr-oglxdYEACLcBGAsYHQ/s400/DH.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><b>Statue of Dimitri Hvorostovsky in Krasnoyarsk</b> <i>(Photos: TASS)</i></td></tr></tbody></table><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">On October 16th, the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia will hold a celebration of the life of Dmitri Hvorostovsky on what would have been his 57th birthday.&nbsp; The celebration will occur at the monument which was erected in his honor </span></span><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">in the park near the Siberian Institute of Art, where the artist studied.</span></span></span></span><br /><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">Hvorostovsky was born and educated in </span></span></span></span><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">Krasnoyarsk and lived there until</span></span></span></span></span><span title=""> the mid-1990s.</span> <span class="" title="">The 11 1/2 foot (3.5 metres) tall sculpture at the site was designed by </span><span class="" title="">Moscow sculptor Vladimir Usov. </span></span><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">Hvorostosky sang a farewell concert in his hometown in June 2017.</span></span>&nbsp; </span><span class="" title=""></span></span><br /><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">According to Hvorostovsky’s last will, his body was cremated and the ashes were placed into two urns. One was buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery (the final resting place of the most outstanding artists, cultural personalities, scientists, politicians, and military heroes), and the other was flown to Krasnoyarsk for burial. The airport in </span></span><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">Krasnoyarsk was also named in his honor.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><br /></span></span></span></span><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">Dmitri Hvorostovsky performs in Krasnoyarsk:</span></span></span></span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="247" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w6_1CFclvZI" width="455"></iframe></span></span></span></span></div><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""></span></span><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">After being diagnosed with a brain tumor in June 2015, Hvorostovsky died on November 22, 2017 in London.&nbsp; </span></span><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title=""><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">There were memorial concerts in his honor at The Royal Opera in London and at Zankel Hall in New York City.</span></span></span></span><br /><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">He was born on October 16, 1962 and shot to fame in 1989 when he won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in a legendary showdown with Bryn Terfel. Hvorostovsky sang two arias from Verdi, Rodrigo's aria "O Carlo, ascolta" from <i>Don Carlo</i> and "Eri tu che macchiavi" from <i>Un ballo in maschera</i>, as well as "Ja vas lyublyu" from Tchikovsky's <i>Queen of Spades</i>. The late, great soprano Elizabeth Soderström, who was one of the judges in 1989, famously marked a series of exclamation marks on her scorecard as she listened to Hvorostovsky sing. The music world was instantly abuzz with stories about a baritone who looked as beautiful as he sounded.</span></span><br /><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">After his brain cancer diagnosis, he cancelled concerts in Kaliningrad, Minsk, the Georges Enesco Festival, Tanglewood and Vienna, as well as the Met's performance of Tchaikovsky's <i>Eugene Onegin, </i>but made a brief return for a concert in Toronto and appeared at the Met Gala to a rousing ovation.</span></span><br /><br /><span class="tlid-translation translation" lang="en"><span class="" title="">His extensive discography includes 30 recitals, numerous complete operas on CD and DVD, and the award-winning film "Don Giovanni Unmasked" where he performed the dual roles of Don Giovanni and Leporello. On November 10, 2017, five days before his death, his first recording of Verdi's <i>Rigoletto </i>was released, on which he sings the title role. </span></span><div class="blogger-post-footer"><p><a href="http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=http://feeds.feedburner.com/MichaelColbrunosMountainViewCemeteryBioTour"><img src="http://buttons.googlesyndication.com/fusion/add.gif" width="104" height="17" style="border:0" alt="Add to Google Reader or Homepage"/></a></p></div> English National Ballet’s Christmas at the Coliseum http://www.balletnews.co.uk/english-national-ballets-christmas-at-the-coliseum/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:6c48fb1e-6d40-f826-999d-e498e4893fa6 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 17:47:25 +0000 This Winter at the London Coliseum, English National Ballet presents&#160;Nutcracker&#160;(11 December – 05 January) and&#160;Le Corsaire&#160;(8-14 January) alongside three special gala performances...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/qQDf5wm5nBg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Liszt: O lieb! &ndash; Lieder and Mélodie http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/10/o_lieb_lieder_a.php Opera Today urn:uuid:e8e61cb8-a6f9-4789-fb1e-db9bf6060bfa Mon, 14 Oct 2019 16:40:00 +0000 O Lieb! presents the lieder of Franz Liszt with a distinctive spark from Cyrille Dubois and Tristan Raës, from Aparté. Though young, Dubois is very highly regarded. His voice has a luminous natural elegance, ideal for the Mélodie and French operatic repertoire he does so well. With these settings by Franz Liszt, Dubois brings out the refinement and sophistication of Liszt’s approach to song. First and foremost https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/first-and-foremost/ parterre box urn:uuid:4f8a37a3-cf45-118b-ed6b-a88d056eff45 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 15:00:22 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/first-and-foremost/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-header-768x261.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-header-210x71.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>They say you never forget your first.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64632" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-518.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-518.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-518-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/jessye-518-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />My first encounter with Jessye Norman is vividly imprinted in my mind. I was a teen who had become interested in opera a year or two earlier. I turned to PBS and caught the final moments of the New York Philharmonic’s opening night concert featuring Jessye as guest artist with <strong>Zubin Mehta</strong> conducting.</p> <p>I’m not sure how much of Isolde’s Transfiguration I heard. I don’t remember her voice. What I remember is the look on her face. She was in another world. And so was Mehta. As the final chord finished, the audience burst into rapturous applause but Jessye and the maestro were still somewhere else. I thought how wonderful it must be to achieve such transcendence. I was utterly beguiled.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKKEupnO8_0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKKEupnO8_0</a></p> <p>Later, I saw her again on the Met’s televised Ring Cycle. I got permission from my parents to stay up late each night and watch all four instalments (I was groggy in school the following mornings but it was totally worth it). It was a transformative experience, though obviously not just because of Jessye’s participation.</p> <p>It was during the <em>Walküre </em>broadcast that I actually got to register her voice. I had been previously enamoured with her glamour. But when I paid attention the voice, I knew that I had chosen well. Jessye would be my diva for life.</p> <p>It’s not surprising that I was enchanted by her glamour. With her majestic presence, sculpted face, magnetic eyes, dazzlingly radiant smile, and a heavy dose of that indescribable “it” factor, Jessye had glamour for days. Through the course of her career, she cultivated it.</p> <p>And it is fair to say that, by the 1990s she had overshot on the glamour mark. She had crossed the line into affectation. But in later years, she found a happier balance and her persona was more down to earth. She settled as a gracious goddess.</p> <p>Intertwined with her glamour was her grandeur, of which she had enough for ten historic divas, and her charisma. It was that charisma that captured the imagination. I believe it is that charisma that has contributed to the remarkable outpouring of tributes in the wake of her sudden passing.</p> <p>The <em>New York Times</em> published not <a href="https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2019%2F09%2F30%2Fobituaries%2Fjessye-norman-dead.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR305l32BB4cTBJNMTtf1CMYo-PBPaIs_gMk8Mwuqp9ogtC-xzvEyW8J-_A&amp;h=AT0rk6OM_S38yXFy22v7Y9hBzzgrOb4OPYBhyOwypFNXOmzifmwCWalBPZ96bBf">one</a>, not <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/arts/music/jessye-norman-dead.html">two</a>, but <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/arts/music/jessye-norman-greatest-performances.html">three</a> articles on the following day. <em>The Guardian</em> posted <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Guardian%3A+jessye+norman&amp;rlz=1C1GCEU_enCA821CA821&amp;oq=The+Guardian%3A+jessye+norman&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64l2.6031j0j9&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8">six items in two days</a>. The news made it to TV. CNN posted two separated articles. Social media is still grieving.</p> <p>No, I’m not forgetting her voice. That instantly recognisable voice. Comparisons are pointless; there was no other like it. Superlatives abounded when people tried to describe it. I once it heard it described as the “dark continent”. In addition to its distinctive tone – both molten and shimmering – there was the remarkable range, from the low D to high C.</p> <p>There’s no doubt that she was quite at home in mezzo soprano music. She was a true soprano, but best described as a Falcon. The voice didn’t soar endlessly on top. In her prime, it stopped soaring around a high A, give or take a semi-tone depending on the day.</p> <p>The lower centre of her voice meant that her voice thrived around F and F# where most sopranos are negotiating their <em>passaggio</em>. Her unique voice, combined with her adventurous musical tastes, resulted in a fascinating career.</p> <p>It has been said that Jessye had the career that she wanted. She famously said that pigeonholes are only comfortable for pigeons. But the start of her career was rather conventional in a way that harkens back to how star careers in the first half of the 20th century.</p> <p>When she was coming up, there were no artist apprenticeship programs so she wasn’t singing comprimario roles while preparing for her big time career. And she got noticed right away. So, no Gutrune or Third Norn for her.</p> <p>She won the Met Council Auditions in 1968 but the definitive moment in launching her career was winning the ARD International Competition in Munich. Following that win, at age 24, she was given her big break with a single performance of Elisabeth in <em>Tannh</em><em>ä</em><em>user </em>at the <strong>Deutsche Oper. </strong></p> <p>She had no stage rehearsal and she was grateful to <strong>Elisabeth Grummer</strong> who gave her pointers on how to navigate the raked stage, having sung in the production before. The performance was enough of a success that the intendant, <strong>Egon Seefehlner</strong>, was in her dressing room with a contract during the intermission between the second and third acts. She replied that she should probably talk to her father before signing.</p> <p>A flurry of debuts followed. Within a few years, she made debuts in Florence, London, Milan and Paris. And she didn’t step in gingerly. Her roles were Aida, Cassandre and Selika. Not yet 30, she had already sung on more storied stages than most. At the Deutsche Oper, she was put on a dramatic soprano track.</p> <p>And after a few years, she hit the stop button. She disappointed Seefehlner by turning down his offer of Ariadne and quitting the opera stage altogether. By age 30, she had no more opera contracts left and focused solely on concerts and recitals.</p> <p>During her hiatus, she figured out her unique voice. It had always been remarkable instrument of seemingly endless potential, but it was also unfinished. She notably had pitch problems, especially in the upper mid-voice. By the Eighties, her “golden decade”, she was at her zenith.</p> <p>She dropped conventional soprano roles like Aida. In 1980, she made her return to the opera stage in Vienna, once again invited by Seefehlner, in the role of Ariadne. A new chapter had begun. From then on, she focused on low-lying soprano roles like Ariadne, Sieglinde, and Cassandre. She also embraced mezzo roles like Didon and Jocasta. She caused a sensation at the <strong>Op</strong><strong>éra Comique</strong> with Purcell’s Dido.</p> <p>Missing among her flurry of debuts in European capitals was an appearance at the <strong>Metropolitan Opera</strong>. According to her book, <em>Stand up Straight and Sing,</em> there had been offers but nothing mutually acceptable had been found. But finally, in 1983, her debut came in her country’s most important stage.</p> <p>And what a debut: the opening night of the Met’s Centennial season. The production, a stodgy <em>Les Troyens,</em> was the biggest in the Met’s repertoire. Her co-stars, <strong>Placido Domingo</strong> and <strong>Tatiana Troyanos,</strong> were as major as they come.</p> <p>But she still stole the evening. The <em>New York Times </em>published an article called “In the Wake of a Triumph”, catching up with her the following day. She would be a dominant figure at the house, and a favourite of <strong>James Levine,</strong> for the following 13 years.</p> <p>All the while, her concert work was prominent in her schedule. She became a leading component of the song repertoire. Out side of the recital hall, she became a Mahler specialist. If she had done nothing but sing Mahler, she would have left an indelible mark.</p> <p>She carried on the tradition <strong>Kathleen Ferrier, Maureen Forrester </strong>and <strong>Christa Ludwig</strong>. The warmth of tone, the generous phrasing, and most crucially, the utter sense of repose, made her an ideal interpreter. She had just the right vocal colour and range for the music, and unlike contraltos, her voice didn’t hit a ceiling on the highest phrases, allowing the music to shimmer and float. Her recording of “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” with <strong>Irwin Gage</strong>, made while only 26, displays an artist of remarkable maturity.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESn_feF9h6Y&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESn_feF9h6Y</a></p> <p>I’ve never heard the alto solo of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony, the “Ullricht” sung quite like this. The opening notes evoke a pipe organ. The control of the line is sovereign – grave with emotion, ethereal as it ascends – yet the expression is urgent. It is about as idea a rendition of any vocal piece I’ve heard.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=jspevbNJdKg&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=jspevbNJdKg</a></p> <p>She sang a fair amount of Italian music, but it wasn’t her musical home. She notably recorded a couple of early Verdi operas, and Aida was a frequent role in the first few years. Later, she recorded Santuzza. But I never found her stylistically at home in that music, the single exception being the alto part in Verdi’s <em>Requiem. </em></p> <p>She sang the soprano role a few times and there is recorded evidence that shows she was worth hearing in the part. But at the 1981 Edinburgh Festival, the scheduled mezzo had to drop out and <strong>Margaret Price</strong> was already in town or nearby. So, Price sang the soprano part and Jessye learned the mezzo part. She put down one of the finest renditions of the part on recording, commanding in her solos, and perfectly calibrated with Price in duets.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOp7q-ZZIpY&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOp7q-ZZIpY</a></p> <p>?t=917</p> <p>Jessye only sang in languages she spoke. This meant that she was also persuasive with the text. But it also created frustrations. Many of us wanted to hear her in Russian music. She longed to sing Russian music, she said. And according to her autobiography, she even hired a Russian tutor to accompany her on tour. But it never worked out; she was too busy in her career by then. So, we never got Mussorgsky’s Marfa.</p> <p>The frustrations went the other way too. Many Janacek fans were disappointed that the Met premiere of <em>The Makropulos Affair</em> was given in English, and they blamed Jessye who insisted on it.</p> <p>Like any legendary diva, she had her share (OK, more than her share) of idiosyncrasies, whether it was in her stage manner, her not-quite-from-Georgia accent, or her musical choices. But her charisma swept everything and everyone along with her.</p> <p>Her <em>Carmen</em> recording was controversial. She sang possibly the slowest rendition of the Habenera on record but she did it with musicality and flare. Music fans will all have their own examples of pieces in which Jessye sang too slowly, or too grandly, or with too much self-consciousness.</p> <p>But she always made a compelling case. She worked hard to present the most polished, convincing case for her particular musical vision. One didn’t have to like it, but the finished product demanded respect.</p> <p>One thing that was undeniable was her musical curiosity. She had a connoisseur’s taste in music. The conventional operatic and song repertoire provided her with ample opportunity to explore the different facets of her voice and artistry. But she went further than the conventional. She embraced Berg and Schönberg. In the latter part of her career, she collaborated with contemporary composers. She branched out into blues and jazz.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=S400_grs9sk&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=S400_grs9sk</a></p> <p>Dramatically, she had a limited interpretive palette. Grandeur was her strength; vulnerability was not. I often wished that she had essayed a few villains. Her imposing grandeur would have translated into fierce drama. Many of us hoped for a late career Klytemnästra but she wasn’t interested.</p> <p>Her lack of vulnerability resulted in some glorious singing that didn’t necessarily hit the dramatic mark. Her Judith enters Bluebeard’s castle as a regal queen, rather than an apprehensive bride. Her recorded Elsa threatened to overwhelm her Ortrud. Her Sieglinde was proud, an unknowing daughter of a god. It wasn’t dramatically to every taste but it was gorgeously intoned.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY7MBJRvpoQ&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY7MBJRvpoQ</a></p> <p>In my early days of opera fandom, I saw her a few times in concert. I enthusiastically bought a front row ticket to a concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and <strong>Gunther Herbig</strong> in which she sang Wagner’s <em>Wesendonck Lieder</em> and Isolde’s Transfiguration. The seat was too close. I could feel the sheer amount of sound she produced penetrate my torso.</p> <p>Her recitals introduced me to world of the song repertoire. Without her influence, I would have probably stuck to Puccini’s and Verdi’s greatest hits. But she introduced me to the lieder of Schubert and Schumann, Ravel and Chausson. Her attention to text and ability to create a world out of the smallest songs made her a magnificent interpreter of songs.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaDlo7rapvg&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaDlo7rapvg</a></p> <p>She also introduced me to the world of spirituals. She brought her greatest passion to these songs and used her monumentality to give them compelling weight. She made a case for these songs to be considered as seriously as those of her beloved Brahms.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxvYSKs1QDQ&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxvYSKs1QDQ</a></p> <p>In addition to the opera and concert stage, Jessye was frequently called upon to sing at important public occasions. She sang for presidents and monarchs (apparently president <strong>Jimmy Carter </strong>had made her promise to sing at his funeral). She closed the opening ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympic games. She famously draped herself in the French flag and sang the “La Marseillaise” for the bicentennial of French revolution.</p> <p>Outside of the music world, she was always and unabashedly interested in social issues. She proudly recognised her African American heritage. “I do not consider my blackness a problem. I think it looks rather nice”, she said.</p> <p>Her passion for human rights and her stature as a singer who had captured the public’s imagination outside of the classical music world came together at <strong>Nelson Mandela’s</strong> 70th Birthday Tribute concert.</p> <p>It was an 11-hour concert at Wemblely Stadium. The performers were the most popular musicians of the day: <strong>Sting, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel. </strong>Jessye was the final performer. The audience was drunk and rowdy. <strong>Dire Straits</strong> had finished their set and out walked this opera singer who was likely unfamiliar to many in the audience.</p> <p>Jessye sang her signature “Amazing Grace” without accompaniment. Not only was she unaccompanied but she also dared to sing the song as slowly as probably any of them had ever heard it. The audience was noisy at first – they were in the mood to party – but she won over the crowd through the sheer power of her voice and force of her personality. They listened raptly. Fireworks followed.</p> <p>Thank you, Jessye.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=beJMovVXbf0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=beJMovVXbf0</a></p> Ray of ‘Light’ https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/ray-of-light/ parterre box urn:uuid:bc1b2b3f-6bc6-a243-cdee-9406cb72c667 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:00:26 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/ray-of-light/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>An opera company presenting a Broadway musical that centers around a woman of a certain age travelling to Italy with her young daughter might seem more a vehicle for a great diva of a certain age.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64638" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-00.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-00.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-00-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-00-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />We live in cynical times. Nothing brings attention to this more than a group of people singing at the top of their lungs about the beauty of love and life.</p> <p>Cynical, too, we seem, when at first glance an opera company presenting a Broadway musical that centers around a woman of a certain age travelling to Italy with her young daughter seems more a vehicle for a great diva of a certain age who’s not interested in downshifting into character roles and the great operatic gorgons.</p> <p>I would also imagine many in the audience at the Music Center last night thought themselves far too cynical to fall for a musical with lines like, &#8220;I would sail across the world for just the color of your eyes.&#8221; But that, my beloveds, is exactly what happened last night at LA Opera when <strong>Adam Guettel</strong>’s musical <em>The Light in the Piazza</em> triumphed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.</p> <p>I can’t say I’m a fan of many modern Broadway shows. But <em>Light in the Piazza</em> appeared early on my radar and sparked my interest enough to acquire the cast album.</p> <p>It’s a unique piece that isn’t easily understood from just listening to a playlist I remember the televised performance from Lincoln Center (nearly scuppered by the most incompetent sound engineering I’ve ever heard in a live broadcast) and saw the national tour when it came to Los Angeles with <strong>Christine Andreas </strong>(who was the Laurie in the <em>Oklahoma!</em> in my first Broadway show. Talk about full circle!)</p> <p>My right eyebrow raised slightly when I read that <em>Piazza </em>was finally getting a production in London at the Royal Festival Hall for a limited engagement last June starring <strong>Renée Fleming</strong> and Disney ingenue <strong>Dove Cameron</strong>. Ms. Fleming had already headlined two Broadway shows which closed earlier than anticipated in spite of acclaim.</p> <p>Still, I shouldn’t have been surprised since she had recently released a Broadway album where the lead track was none other than the 11 o’clock number “Fable” from <em>Piazza</em>.. The aforementioned eyebrow reached farther heavenward when it was announced that this <em>The Light in the Piazza </em>production would be joining the repertory of LA Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Opera Australia in a veritable world tour. Yet, I thought, what great diva doesn’t deserve one?</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64640" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-02.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="348" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-02.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-02-300x202.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-02-210x141.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The story is fairly simple. A well-heeled housewife from Winston-Salem, <strong>Margaret Johnson</strong>, takes her adult daughter Clara on a tour of Italy to visit the places she honeymooned with her husband. There the daughter meets <strong>Fabrizio Naccarelli</strong>, whose father runs a local haberdashery.</p> <p>The young couple are instantly smitten and contrive to marry. Margaret doesn’t know how to convey to this charming, and increasingly affectionate, Italian family that Clara suffered an accident as a child and is developmentally challenged.</p> <p>Surprisingly or not the one time Clara’s condition makes itself apparent the family takes it as just another moment of Mediterranean temperament. Then Margaret feels her child may have found a safe harbor at last. More machinations follow, naturally, but I don’t want to spoil all of it.</p> <p>Mr. Guetell’s score is exceptional, an amalgam of Broadway and chamber opera interpreted through a sieve of Sondheim and Britten and Debussy and a dozen other musical influences. Yet it retains a very original voice through its often surprising harmonic structures and the composer’s own opulent lyrics which help to stop time and examine the inner lives of all the characters simultaneously.</p> <p>Also I think this is one of the only shows I’ve ever heard where the protagonists display their emotions solely through wordless vocalise. It’s a challenge to pull off and requires special certainty and strong work. Rhythms are often extremely tricky but there’s also an overwhelming romanticism in the music not only for the flowering of love but love remembered and lost.</p> <p>The Royal Festival Hall in London has no wing space apparently so scenic designer Robert Jones had to design a clever unit set to evoke all of Florence and some of Rome. A simple.Bayreuth disc fashioned in Italian marble was surrounded by two scoops of terra-cotta scenery that I kept waiting to revolve but never did.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64641" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-03.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-03.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-03-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/light-03-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The evocative lighting of <strong>Mark Henderson</strong> helped to conjure the many changes of scene. Anyone recalling <strong>Michael Yeargen</strong>’s original production with its wide open spaces filled with golden light and massive porticos would be surprised to discover how well this piece adapts to a human scale and doesn’t need much scenery at all. It’s all in the music.</p> <p>Director <strong>Daniel Evans</strong> kept everything moving smoothly through the many scenes and gave everyone the space to shine at the right moments. His play with Clara’s hat caught in the wind was especially ingenious as were the staging of Margaret’s two phone calls home. There was a lot of movement on stage because of the quick changes of locale but he always knew how to keep the audience focused.</p> <p>Interesting that the production team chose to use supertitles for the musical numbers to make certain the audience could understand the lyrics. But more interesting that absolutely none of the lyrics or dialogue in Italian where translated. The authors aren’t afraid to have the Italian characters sing and speak in their own language and regardless of whether you can understand the colloquial Italian you can certainly comprehend the intent.</p> <p>The Naccarelli family were led by esteemed Scottish soprano <strong>Marie McLaughlin</strong> and Tony winner <strong>Brian Stokes Mitchell</strong>. Ms. McLaughlin was equal parts charm and motherly steel and stopped the show cold with her famous interjection in the number &#8220;Auitami&#8221;: “I don’t speak English but I have to tell you what’s going on”.</p> <p>Mr. Mitchell brought an old world courtliness and an abundance of slow burn sex appeal to his interactions with Ms. Fleming. The kiss they share late in the show was played masterfully for both its sensuality and then innocence. Perfectly judged. His baritone is still clear and warm and he’s a no nonsense singer.</p> <p>The younger Naccarellis were the clownish Giuseppe played by <strong>Liam Tamne</strong> like a louche buffoon and his wife Franca was <strong>Celinde Shoenmaker</strong>. Vocally strong, especially in the ensembles, and appropriately predatory, she also got some of the flashiest frocks to model.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmxHjb4ZD-U&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmxHjb4ZD-U</a></p> <p>Ms. Cameron and <strong>Rob Houchen</strong> made an exciting and believably young pair of lovers. Ms. Cameron, I was surprised to discover later, is only 20. Her performance was fully committed and showed a real understanding of the kind of anxiety that could spill over in Clara at any time.</p> <p>Her outburst during &#8220;Octet&#8221; brought the right kind of cold shock to the proceedings. Her singing showed rare poise and an easy accomplishment. The voice is strong and sweet right up to the top. Her showcase in the title song was especially moving.</p> <p>Mr. Houchen played Fabrizio as a boy who’s not yet in control of his emotions let alone his limbs. Gangly and understatedly charming, he made the concerns from both their parents over the wedding more palpable. His singing voice was true and he has easy facility at the top and with his head voice which made his rendition of &#8220;Love to me&#8221; the real devastation it should be in the last act.</p> <p>I don’t think anything prepares you for how hard that little song lands. Most especially because the masterful underscoring goes on for pages during the dialogue, teasing your ear, until the singing actually starts. He was also completely believable in Italian never once betraying an accent in all the dialogue and lyrics.</p> <p>It’s almost surprises me to say how easily <strong>Renée Fleming</strong> fit into this ensemble cast. Everyone, save Mr. Mitchell, started in London and have reassembled now. She never seemed as if she was out of her element in any way and consistently gave both a vocally and dramatic performance full of nuance and an abundance of inflection.</p> <p>The Carolina accent was light and used only in the dialogue. Naturally she got the best of costume designer <strong>Brigitte Reiffenstuel</strong>’s work to model and she had an inordinate amount of quick changes that she carried off with aplomb. Her ensemble in the last scene, of course, was the best of all.</p> <p>Vocally, she was in sovereign form right from the start in the big ensemble. In “Statues and stories” which opens the show, it was impressive to hear her ring out over the cast with little effort. All evening she did so much with the sung text and often took two phrases in a single breath.</p> <p>The contemplative “Dividing day” surged with longing and long, long, phrasing. Even more impressive was at the climax of “Fable” in the last scene where there was a bigger ritard than I’ve ever heard and Fleming leaned into her &#8220;Amami Alfredo&#8221; voice for those final high G’s. Gooseflesh. No kidding.</p> <p>She’s as good as you can imagine and very natural. For someone who was such and acclaimed Tatyana, Marschellin, Mozart’s Countess, it shouldn’t surprise but it does because all those roles are almost like acting in slow motion where here we’re in real time. Her comic skills can’t be faulted either.</p> <p>Especially touching were the two tense conversations with her husband back home played by a gruff <strong>Malcolm Sinclair</strong>. Through Fleming’s performance you could see that even though all pretenses had fallen she still did love her husband in spite of herself. It’s a great portrayal that deserves to be seen.</p> <p>I especially want to praise the work of the LA Opera orchestra here, 38 musicians under the direction of Kimberly Grisby. Here’s the thing that hit me the hardest last night. When <em>Piazza</em> was first televised it was nearly at the 500 performance mark (I have a bootleg I enjoy regularly) but I don’t care how skilled any performer or musician is there’s a point when routine sets in and habits, even if they’re good ones, become second nature.</p> <p>And who knows how many performances the National Tour had given by the time I saw the show here at the Ahmanson Theater?</p> <p>Saturday night at the Dorothy Chandler this music was fresh. Fresher even than the original cast recording (and we know the kinds of conditions those are made under).</p> <p>Ms. Grisby led the string-heavy ensemble in a luscious reading that brought out all those gentle, lilting, melodies and then opened the floodgates on all the yearning. It was so much more present than I had ever heard it before and returning to these other performances now will only be like facsimiles.</p> <p>Thanks to Ms. Cameron there were an abundance of young people in the crowd including the tween daughter (and her mom) who had flown from three states away because they couldn’t get tickets for the performances in London. Neither knew much about the show or Guettel, or Fleming for that matter, but I saw them both wipe their eyes at the end of the evening.</p> <p>They weren’t alone, either.</p> <p>Photos by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging and Dewynters London.</p> The Wurm turns https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/the-wurm-turns-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:09d34223-31d4-24c2-87f0-df55d4f42b8f Mon, 14 Oct 2019 13:00:32 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/the-wurm-turns-2/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p><I>Luisa Miller</i> snowballs toward disaster and death.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64624" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-0.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-0.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-0-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-0-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />I have always celebrated <em>Luisa Miller</em> as the opera where Verdi came into his own as a mature artist. We have the Donizetti-esque bel canto of Act One, moving to darker and more complex themes in Act Two, and finally reaching the magnificent Act Three father-daughter duet followed by the lovers’ death scene that I would argue is as good as anything Verdi wrote thereafter.</p> <p>We get to observe the composer move from the “galley years” early Verdi style to the far deeper, more complex music of his mature years that would soon bring us <em>Rigoletto </em>and <em>La Traviata</em>. And he does it over the course of the 2 hours and 45 minutes of <em>Luisa Miller</em>.</p> <p>Lyric Opera of Chicago has only produced <em>Luisa Miller </em>once before, a single run in 1982. This is the first of what Lyric promises to be a yearly series of the early operas of Verdi, and this musically satisfying evening was an exciting kickoff to the series.</p> <p>Conductor and Lyric Music Director Designate <strong>Enrique Mazzola</strong> started us off with a rousing overture, beautifully contrasting the quiet moments with powerful, crashing climaxes. The playing of the Lyric Opera Orchestra was remarkable in the overture and the rest of the opera, finding moments of rapturous delicacy as well as the dark, foreboding themes as the plot darkens.</p> <p>Based on Schiller’s play <em>Kabale und Liebe</em> (Intrigue and Love), <em>Luisa Miller’s </em>plot is fairly standard 19th century fare involving innocent romance foiled by the cruelty of the morally bankrupt court of Count Walther. The contrast between the simple faith-based lives of Miller and his daughter and the desperate intrigues of the upper-class characters could not be clearer (a frequent theme of Schiller’s works.)</p> <p>Luisa loves a young man named Carlo, not knowing that her love is actually Rodolfo, son of the powerful Count Walther. Walther, seeking to marry Rodolfo to a wealthy Duchess to consolidate his power, resolves to destroy Louisa’s romance through the machinations of his crony, the appropriately named Wurm.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64625" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-1.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-1.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-1-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-1-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The tragedy is set in motion as Wurm forces Luisa to write a letter denying her love for Rodolfo and professing a passion for Wurm. Luisa submits in order to save her father, imprisoned by the Count. It all snowballs toward disaster and death.</p> <p><strong>Krassimira Stoyanova</strong> is excellent in the title role, vocally opulent and tossing off high notes with ease and beauty of tone. She navigates the coloratura fireworks of Act one’s “Lo vidi, e il primo palpito” with solid technique and flair, managing to bring much needed heart to the opening scene’s “Happy Peasant Birthday Party” antics.</p> <p>I thought she was working a bit too hard to convey the character’s youth and innocence in the first act, but, as the opera turns darker, she brought a touching sense of vulnerability and delicacy that was musically and dramatically effective. Her phrasing and musical instincts were stellar throughout, and her final cries of “la man, Rodolfo!” tugged at the heart</p> <p>Bass-baritone <strong>Christian Van Horn</strong> was a marvelous Count Walther, using his booming voice and menacing physicality to potent effect. His was a Count who, though outwardly dignified, seethed with desperation trying to cover up his murder of the previous Count. This character is too often played as a cardboard villain, and Van Horn wisely avoids that trap, creating a three-dimensional character.</p> <p>I was equally impressed by the Lyric debut of bass <strong>Solomon Howard</strong> as Wurm. Howard has a splendid ease in producing dark, fluid, full-throated low notes, and he has a handsome presence and is physically expressive. He, too, avoids “twisting his mustache” in his lust for Luisa.</p> <p>Lyric stalwart<strong> Quinn Kelsey</strong> brings a real loving sensitivity to Louisa’s father Miller, whether he is defending her from Wurm’s desire or expressing deep affection as he begs Luisa not to kill herself in their Act Three duet. Verdi had a real passion for father-daughter relationships, and the duet was moving and dramatically powerful. Kelsey’s voice sounded a bit smaller last night than usual, and could have used a more expansive sound, particularly in Act One.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64626" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-2.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-2.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-2-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/luisa-2-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Russian mezzo <strong>Alisa Kolosova</strong> was a rich-toned and effective Duchess Federica, haughty and furious as Rodolfo’s “woman scorned.” Ryan Opera Center member <strong>Kathleen Felty</strong> was touching as Luisa’s friend Laura.</p> <p>This brings us to a serious miscasting mistake that came close to spoiling the drama. <strong>Joseph Calleja</strong>, a tenor I have often enjoyed and admired, is here a dramatic cipher. Yes, he sings sweetly throughout (except for a ghastly crack near the end of Act One), but there is no evidence of the mercurial Rodolfo’s fire or passion here—the characterization is bland and dull.</p> <p>Even his famous aria “Quando le sere al placido” was sung with great beauty but no sense of emotion. And in the scene that follows, where Rodolfo furiously threatens to kill Wurm, Calleja expresses no more than a mild pique. There was an alarming lack of physical expressivity as well, Calleja wandering aimlessly about the stage in some of director Francesca Zambello’s most awkward blocking. All evening I kept thinking that Calleja was trying to sing Rodolfo in the elegant French style instead of singing with Italianate emotionality.</p> <p>The San Francisco Opera production worked very well for the scenes at Miller’s, less so for the court scenes. There were a number of beautiful images, mostly provided by <strong>Mark McCullough</strong>’s striking lighting. There were some odd images as well, as when the Duchess arrived riding on a large statue of a horse. <strong>Michael Yeargan</strong>’s set worked well except for the intrusive crane that carried paintings depicting the background of each scene. <strong>Dunya Ramicova</strong>’s costumes were appropriate and effective.</p> <p><strong>Francesca Zambello</strong>’s direction told the story quite well, but was plagued by singers upstaging themselves at odd angles. And in the last scene, she has the poisoned Rodolfo lumbering about, completely oblivious to Luisa begging him to take her hand.</p> <p>The Lyric Opera Chorus sang wonderfully throughout, though they were often blocked into distracting groups in the background while the principals sang downstage of them. Still, Zambello kept the story moving well toward its shattering ending and created a very moving tableau as the final curtain fell.</p> <p>I am hoping Lyric will bring <em>Luisa Miller</em> into its standard repertory so it won’t wait in the wings for another 37 years! It’s rousing, blood-and-thunder Verdi and deserves to be heard more often.</p> <p>Photos: Todd Rosenberg</p> News, news, news https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/14/news-news-news-2/ operaramblings urn:uuid:cd62eb10-0038-d1b8-f93d-ee0e0d9f7abc Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:39:53 +0000 Various new production and season announcements&#8230; LooseTEA Theatre have announced their season.  November 2nd to 4th, at Heliconian Hall, there&#8217;s a double bill of Anne Frank operas.  Singing Only Softly music by Cecilia Livingston, libretto by Monica Pearce and Alaina Viau &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/14/news-news-news-2/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Various new production and season announcements&#8230;</p> <p>LooseTEA Theatre have announced their season.  November 2nd to 4th, at Heliconian Hall, there&#8217;s a double bill of Anne Frank operas.  <em>Singing Only Softly</em> music by Cecilia Livingston, libretto by Monica Pearce and Alaina Viau will be presented with <em>The Diary of Anne Frank</em> by Grigory Frid.  The singers are Sara Schabas and Gillian Grossman and Cheryl Duvall will be at the piano.  Alaina Viau directs.  December 3rd to 5th , also at Heliconian, they will present the production version of <em>Carmen #YesAllWomen.  </em><a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2016/11/23/looseteas-carmen/">(My thoughts on a 2016 WIP version)</a>.  This version will combine voices (Erica Iris and Keith Klassen), chamber orchestra and turntables (SlowPitchSound).  The libretto is by Alaina VIau and Monica Pearce, the music by Samuel Bisson.  Alaina Viau directs and Scott Christian conducts.  Tickets for both shows are available at <a href="https://looseteamusictheatre.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=5300a95684fd96fd2634d9235&amp;id=ac5bf8b5fb&amp;e=0f60456d4a">www.looseteamusictheatre.com.</a></p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26705" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/14/news-news-news-2/loosetea/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png" data-orig-size="580,326" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="loosetea" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png?w=580" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26705 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png?w=584" alt="loosetea" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/loosetea.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-26696"></span>Toronto City Opera gave announced their 2019/20 season.  Offenbach&#8217;s <em>Les contes d&#8217;Hoffma</em>n will play at the Al Green Theatre on November 21st, 23rd and 24th.  Mascagni&#8217;s <em>Cavalleria Rusticana</em> will run at the Fleck Dance Theatre on May 28th, 30th and 31st.  Casts and stage director(s) are yet to be announced but Jennifer Tung will conduct with Ivan Jovanovic at the piano.  There&#8217;s also a fund raiser with Kristina Szabò at the Arts and Letters Club on Sunday at 2pm.  <a href="http://torontocityopera.com/">Details, tickets etc</a>.</p> <p>Julien Bilodeau&#8217;s opera <em>Another Brick in the Wall; The Opera</em>, based on the Pink Floyd album is coming to Toronto.  It will play at Meridian Hall from November 13th to 23rd.  The cast includes Nathan Keoughan, France Bellemare, Caroline Bleau, and Jean-Michel Richer.  Dominic Champagne directs and Alain Trudel conducts.  Tickets via Ticketmaster.</p> Giovane e prode è desso https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/giovane-e-prode-e-desso/ parterre box urn:uuid:1bdf3bc7-a42c-5329-ff7f-f1936dd47996 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:00:03 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/14/giovane-e-prode-e-desso/"><img width="720" height="246" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-header-720x246.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-header-720x246.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-header.jpg 1000w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>On this day in 1964 the Metropolitan Opera&#8217;s opening night a new <strong>Nathaniel Merrill</strong> production of <em>Aida</em>. </p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64618" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-518.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-518.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-518-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bergonzi-518-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><br /> Aida: Birgit Nilsson<br /> Radamès: Carlo Bergonzi<br /> Amneris: Irene Dalis<br /> Amonasro: Mario Sereni<br /> Ramfis: Giorgio Tozzi<br /> King: John Macurdy</p> <p>Conductor: Georg Solti</p> <p>Director: Nathaniel Merrill<br /> Designer: Robert O&#8217;Hearn<br /> Choreographer: Katherine Dunham [Debut]</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K7JoHea9lY&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K7JoHea9lY</a></p> <p>On this day in 1961 <strong>Frank Loesser</strong>&#8216;s musical <em>How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying</em> opened on Broadway.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoJWzTasHE4&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoJWzTasHE4</a></p> Mark Padmore reflects on Britten's Death in Venice http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/10/mark_padmore_re.php Opera Today urn:uuid:632e2b2c-4a59-8d76-75f5-98e5f498f168 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 23:10:56 +0000 “At the start, one knows ‘bits’ of it,” says tenor Mark Padmore, somewhat wryly, when I meet him at the Stage Door of the Royal Opera House where the tenor has just begun rehearsals for David McVicar’s new production of Death in Venice, which in November will return Britten’s opera to the ROH stage for the first time since 1992. Who’s that girl? https://parterre.com/2019/10/13/whos-that-girl-3/ parterre box urn:uuid:73b38e23-70a0-7f69-b498-6c90fa46895f Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:23:04 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/13/whos-that-girl-3/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/asmik-manon-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/asmik-manon-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/asmik-manon-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/asmik-manon-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/asmik-manon-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/asmik-manon-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>Here&#8217;s a look at the genuinely sensational performance by <strong>Asmik Grigorian</strong> in a new <em>Manon Lescaut</em> in Frankfurt.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKMh9Q7NEq0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKMh9Q7NEq0</a></p> Strictly Come Dancing 2019 | Week 4 Results http://www.balletnews.co.uk/strictly-come-dancing-2019-week-4-results/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:e1c8f0c8-843e-ee23-333b-4cfd940bdfd3 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 19:00:10 +0000 Plus the It Takes Two line-up for next week Dev Griffin&#160;is the third celebrity to depart the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Graziano Di Prima, Nancy Xu &#8211; (C) BBC &#8211;...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/MXVyEPAi6p4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Contemplating the Beyond: Věc Makropulos at the Opernhaus Zürich https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/ operatraveller urn:uuid:228cfbb4-ebfb-4617-dac3-fcce2c8045cc Sun, 13 Oct 2019 18:45:01 +0000 Janáček – Věc Makropulos Emilia Marty – Evelyn Herlitzius Albert Gregor – Sam Furness Dr Kolenatý – Tómas Tómasson Vítek – Kevin Conners Krista – Deniz Uzun Baron Jaroslav Prus – Scott Hendricks Janek – Spencer Lang Count Hauk-Šendorf – Guy de Mey Stage Technician – Ruben Drole Cleaning Woman – Irène Friedli Maid – [&#8230;] <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Janáček – <em>Věc Makropulos</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Emilia Marty – Evelyn Herlitzius</strong><br /> <strong>Albert Gregor – Sam Furness</strong><br /> <strong>Dr Kolenatý – Tómas Tómasson</strong><br /> <strong>Vítek – Kevin Conners</strong><br /> <strong>Krista – Deniz Uzun</strong><br /> <strong>Baron Jaroslav Prus – Scott Hendricks</strong><br /> <strong>Janek – Spencer Lang</strong><br /> <strong>Count Hauk-Šendorf – Guy de Mey</strong><br /> <strong>Stage Technician – Ruben Drole</strong><br /> <strong>Cleaning Woman – Irène Friedli</strong><br /> <strong>Maid – Katia Ledoux</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Zusatzchor des Opernhauses Zürich, Philharmonia Zürich / Jakub Hrůša.</strong><br /> <strong>Stage director – Dmitri Tcherniakov.</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Opernhaus Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland.  Sunday, October 13th, 2019.</strong></p> <p>What happens to a person when she discovers her days are numbered?  Some might not give a damn anymore and take the opportunity to tell others how they really feel.  Others might do one of those things they’d always longed to do but never had the chance.  Or in the case of EM, in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new staging of <em>Věc Makropulos</em> at the Opernhaus Zürich, you might write your pre-departure ‘to do’ list and hire a group of actors to act out Karel Čapek’s play on which the opera is based.  As the curtain rose, a movie accompanied the prologue, revealing a text in Czech outlining a terminal cancer diagnosis.  Initially, we don’t know for whom, but EM’s chain smoking suggests that it might be for her.</p> <p><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4712" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2953" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D2Xs&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1303297186&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0025&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg?w=723" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-4712" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg?w=300&#038;h=250" alt="" width="300" height="250" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg?w=300&amp;h=250 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg?w=600&amp;h=500 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_280.jpg?w=150&amp;h=125 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a></p> <p>Tcherniakov sets the action in a drawing room, one where Evelyn Herlitzius’s EM holds court.  As the characters come to life before us, we witness what is, effectively, a fairly conventional staging of Čapek’s text with Janáček’s music.  Tcherniakov brings out the black comedy at its core – the audience audibly reacted to the implausibility of someone living over three hundred years with laughter.  He populates the stage with flesh and blood characters who react to and engage with the text in a highly believable manner.  As the evening progresses, we become aware that everything is not quite as it seems.  It might be the sight of the cast professionally tidying up the piles of papers at the end of Act 1, or how the set expands to reveal the characters milling around in the corridors outside the room in Act 2.</p> <p><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4711" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2953" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D2Xs&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1303297186&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0025&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg?w=723" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-4711" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg?w=300&#038;h=250" alt="" width="300" height="250" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg?w=300&amp;h=250 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg?w=600&amp;h=500 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_269.jpg?w=150&amp;h=125 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a></p> <p>But Tcherniakov has a trick up his sleeve.  He creates a truly remarkable <em>coup de théâtre</em> for the final scene.  It’s taking all I have not to write about it, but this is a moment that really benefits from revealing its truth to the audience in a completely unexpected way.  The result is a stroke of genius that’s devastating and deeply moving, especially as it finds its focus in Hertlizius’s searing incarnation of EM’s final moments.  Tcherniakov gives us a meditation on what it means to be facing the end, to reflect on a life well lived, and to acknowledge the finality of death, finding meaning at a time where there’s no more time to do so.  This is a completely overwhelming piece of theatre.</p> <p><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4710" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2953" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D2Xs&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1303297186&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0025&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg?w=723" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-4710" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg?w=300&#038;h=250" alt="" width="300" height="250" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg?w=300&amp;h=250 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg?w=600&amp;h=500 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_247.jpg?w=150&amp;h=125 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a></p> <p>And yet, its effect was compounded by Herlitzius in the central role and Jakub Hrůša’s intensely idiomatic conducting, along with the contributions of a very good ensemble cast.  Herlitzius simply <em>is</em> EM.  What makes her interpretation so powerful is that total connection between the music, the text, and their physical manifestations.  She uses her substantial soprano totally at the service of the music, text and character, bringing out a wealth of detail.  The desperation as she sang of her initial wish to live for another three hundred years was tangible, thanks to the way she shaded the tone, using the size of the voice to overwhelm the listener.  Or that tired exclamation of ‘Elina Makropulos’, the life literally fleeing her body, the voice losing colour.  The autumnal warmth of her soprano was most certainly there, but so was the sheer stage presence, the ability to hold our attention and pull us in – to move us and to make us feel.  This was the work of a truly great singing-actor, nowhere more so than in that unbearably moving final scene.</p> <p><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4709" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2953" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D2Xs&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1303297186&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0025&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg?w=723" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-4709" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg?w=300&#038;h=250" alt="" width="300" height="250" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg?w=300&amp;h=250 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg?w=600&amp;h=500 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_176.jpg?w=150&amp;h=125 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a></p> <p>Getting to hear this score in a house of this size was a physically exhilarating experience.  Under Hrůša’s direction, the rhythmic impetus of the prologue was irresistible.  His conducting brought out the angularity of the orchestral writing, that constant simultaneous rhythmic tapestry, and made it sound so natural.  He also dug deep, bringing out the sadness and melancholy within, that acknowledgement through aching lyricism that this really is the end.  The house orchestra played with an impressive transparency of texture, crucial in allowing the multiple instrumental voices to emerge.  There were a couple of brass accidents along the way – the trumpets were a bit stretched by some of the higher passages – but generally, the quality of the orchestral playing and the sheer range of sonorities that Hrůša elicited from them was most impressive.</p> <p><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4708" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/konica-minolta-digital-camera-8/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg" data-orig-size="2362,4291" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;4&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;DYNAX 7D&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1127326813&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;80&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;800&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0125&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg?w=165" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg?w=564" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-4708" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg?w=165&#038;h=300" alt="" width="165" height="300" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg?w=165&amp;h=300 165w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg?w=330&amp;h=600 330w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_171.jpg?w=83&amp;h=150 83w" sizes="(max-width: 165px) 100vw, 165px" /></a></p> <p>The remainder of this ensemble cast was admirable.  Sam Furness made his role debut as Albert Gregor.  It’s a big sing and sits high for his youthful tenor.  He was an energetic stage presence but it did sound like the role took him to his current limits, the tone becoming drier as the evening went on.  He’s clearly a promising artist but I worry that this role was on the heavy side for his undoutedly attractive tenor.  Kevin Conners and Guy de Mey both brought singing of wit and character to their roles, both savouring the text impressively.  As Krista, Deniz Uzun brought a sappy, orange-toned mezzo and coped admirably with the high-lying tessitura.  An announcement was made for Scott Hendricks, singing with a cold, as Baron Prus, but it was hardly necessary.  While the tone was understandably somewhat grainy, he sang with strength and metal.  Tómas Tómasson hectored forcefully as Dr Kolenatý, yet never compromised the integrity of the tone, while Spencer Lang brought a plangent, youthful tenor to Janek.  In the further supporting roles, I was impressed by Katja Ledoux as the Maid.  She’s the owner of a sunny mezzo I would certainly like to hear more of.</p> <p><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4707" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/contemplating-the-beyond-vec-makropulos-at-the-opernhaus-zurich/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2953" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D2Xs&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1303297186&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0025&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg?w=723" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-4707" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg?w=300&#038;h=250" alt="" width="300" height="250" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg?w=300&amp;h=250 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg?w=600&amp;h=500 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/die_sache_makropulos_c_monika_rittershaus_137.jpg?w=150&amp;h=125 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a></p> <p>This was a transformative afternoon in the theatre.  We were given one of those total operatic experiences where a visionary staging, outstanding conducting and a magnetic central performance came together, the kind of evening that one longs to yet experiences all too rarely.  Indeed, it was very well sung across the board and, in Herlitzius’s EM, one was very much aware of being in the presence of greatness.  There are only two performances of this show left.  Anyone who loves truly great music theatre needs to see it.</p> <p><em>If you value the writing on this site, you can help expand its coverage by joining the <a href="https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3724545">Patreon community</a> and helping to support independent writing on opera.  Alternatively, you can support operatraveller.com with a one-off gesture via <a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&amp;hosted_button_id=B2ZJE5AHE36JJ">paypal</a>. </em></p> Nothing to fear https://parterre.com/2019/10/13/nothing-to-fear/ parterre box urn:uuid:be78144a-b2da-7cc8-2145-00a9ff452762 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 17:10:20 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/13/nothing-to-fear/"><img width="518" height="359" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/leona.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/leona.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/leona-300x208.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/leona-210x146.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /></a></p><p>Happy 70th birthday soprano <strong>Leona Mitchell</strong>.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynMdCyNUvZM&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynMdCyNUvZM</a></p> <p>On this day in 1965 soprano <strong>Renata Scotto</strong> made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cio-Cio San.</p> <p><strong>Louis Snyder </strong>in the <em>New York Herald Tribune</em>:</p> <blockquote><p>A much-heralded Italian soprano, Renata Scotto, long heard about but never heard in New York, finally made her Metropolitan Opera debut Wednesday night in the title role of the season&#8217;s first performance of &#8220;Madama Butterfly.&#8221; It was an occasion for rejoicing, and there was plenty of it in the form of applause and welcoming shouts to the new artist, who above all, is distinctly an individual.</p> <p>Miss Scotto, as a prima donna, harks back to the days when it was assumed that, to be imported by the Met, you had substantial voice and experience, and the New York test was one of communication of personality. Wednesday night, Miss Scotto arrived with all three, and if she went her own way in portraying Cio-Cio-San-that is, outside the proscribed bounds of the effective Aoyama production-hardly anyone cared.</p> <p>For she sings musically and affectingly, with pathos and color and humor in the voice, in a manner to enfold the listener in the first row of the orchestra or the last row of the family circle, Miss Scotto is a singer for all price ranges. And they let her know it Wednesday night after &#8220;Un bel di&#8221; with as loud an ovation as has been heard in the House this or maybe even last season. It would seem to be a case of instant love between Miss Scotto and the New York public.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi4n2YbQPd8&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi4n2YbQPd8</a></p> <p>Born on this day in 1912 composer Hugo Weisgall.</p> The Bassarids https://parterre.com/2019/10/13/the-bassarids/ parterre box urn:uuid:6128a6ce-b12e-65a4-7a13-5efc87826462 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:51:16 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/13/the-bassarids/"><img width="720" height="274" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-720x274.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-720x274.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-300x114.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-768x292.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-210x80.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids.jpg 1082w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>Video webcast from the Komische Oper, Berlin.</p> <p><img src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-518.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="360" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64604" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-518.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-518-300x208.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bassarids-518-210x146.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><a href="https://operavision.eu/en/library/performances/operas/bassarids-komische-oper-berlin#" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Joined in progress</a>!</p> <p>Photo: © Monika Rittershaus</p> Barihunk duo in Spontini's rarely perfomed "Fernand Cortez" http://barihunks.blogspot.com/2019/10/barihunk-duo-in-spontinis-rarely.html Barihunks urn:uuid:8aa509e0-b0ff-b13f-cc5e-b7c33d3cc120 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:34:00 +0000 <table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UBdDn3WxyOU/XaNQ_UyySoI/AAAAAAAAo8Y/TrSzTUSN4iM5SJRk9_xdu4jly9hi0DhnACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-10-13%2Bat%2B9.23.10%2BAM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1040" data-original-width="1388" height="298" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UBdDn3WxyOU/XaNQ_UyySoI/AAAAAAAAo8Y/TrSzTUSN4iM5SJRk9_xdu4jly9hi0DhnACLcBGAsYHQ/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-10-13%2Bat%2B9.23.10%2BAM.png" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Gianluca Margheri as Moralez in Fernand Cortez</td></tr></tbody></table>Spontini's rarely performed opera Fernand Cortez is being performed at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with barihunks Gianluca Margheri as Moralez and André Courville as the Mexican High Priest.<br /><br />Following on from the triumph of Gaspare Spontini's opera Vestale, he was asked to compose a new opera for the Paris Opèra. The request came from Napoleon, whose favorite composer was Spontini.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mqztUj7AzoI/XaNRW19bX1I/AAAAAAAAo8g/KLx9zKGlKKMCatggBF0ZktnuT-vzXfctQCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-10-13%2Bat%2B9.25.50%2BAM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="784" data-original-width="964" height="325" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mqztUj7AzoI/XaNRW19bX1I/AAAAAAAAo8g/KLx9zKGlKKMCatggBF0ZktnuT-vzXfctQCLcBGAsYHQ/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-10-13%2Bat%2B9.25.50%2BAM.png" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">André Courville as the Mexican High Priest in Fernand Cortez</td></tr></tbody></table>The choice was for the story of Fernand Cortez, a legendary 16th-century Spanish captain involved in the conquering of Mexico. Well aware of the power of art as a vehicle for propaganda, Napoleon aimed to obtain public support for his military campaign in Spain. The protagonist of the opera, a wise and magnanimous man, whose only desire was to free the Mexican people from the slavery imposed by the superstitious indigenous religion, in fact represented the perfect match for Napoleon, who - like Cortez - wanted to appear as a representative of civil and liberal values.<br /><br />Fernand Cortez made its debut at the Opèra on November 28, 1809. The sumptuous staging, grandiloquent orchestra, spectacular special effects - such as the charging of real horses on the stage - war-like choirs, barbarous dances and even a sentimental touch provided by the love between Cortez and the young indigenous Amazingly, guaranteed the opera its hoped-for success.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0ii7yldbvz0/XaNRiHge3TI/AAAAAAAAo8k/JkBPDKbfnCghFJ1exxyQXneIHeY6uWeSgCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-10-13%2Bat%2B9.22.33%2BAM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1040" data-original-width="1388" height="298" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0ii7yldbvz0/XaNRiHge3TI/AAAAAAAAo8k/JkBPDKbfnCghFJ1exxyQXneIHeY6uWeSgCLcBGAsYHQ/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-10-13%2Bat%2B9.22.33%2BAM.png" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Gianluca Margheri rehearsing Moralez in Fernand Cortez</td></tr></tbody></table>The glory of Napoleon was greatly exalted, and Fernand Cortez became the symbolic opera of his empire. The popularity of the piece declined with the waning of the French army's fortunes in Spain and Portugal.<br /><br />The opera was last performed at the Theater Erfurt in 2006 and has never been performed with a professional company in the United States. Remaining performances at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino are on October 16, 20 and 23. Tickets are available <a href="https://www.maggiofiorentino.com/en/events/fernand-cortez-2/">online</a>.<br /><br />A new production of the opera will be performed at the Theater Dortmund from May 21 through June 12, 2020. <div class="blogger-post-footer"><p><a href="http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=http://feeds.feedburner.com/MichaelColbrunosMountainViewCemeteryBioTour"><img src="http://buttons.googlesyndication.com/fusion/add.gif" width="104" height="17" style="border:0" alt="Add to Google Reader or Homepage"/></a></p></div> Rusalka – Dream or Nightmare? https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/ operaramblings urn:uuid:9d222cf1-ddbe-f748-c81b-43bb34d59051 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:51:13 +0000 David McVicar&#8217;s production of Dvořák&#8217;s Rusalka opens with a prelude while the overture plays.  We see the Foreign Princess and the Prince.  She appears to be upbraiding him and he is drinking hard.  Are we seeing a failed/forced marriage that &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>David McVicar&#8217;s production of Dvořák&#8217;s <em>Rusalka</em> opens with a prelude while the overture plays.  We see the Foreign Princess and the Prince.  She appears to be upbraiding him and he is drinking hard.  Are we seeing a failed/forced marriage that in reality the Prince made rather than some preferred alternative?  Is what we see over the next three and half hours some dream version of what might have been?  In this most Freudian of operas, why not?</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26687" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/19-20-02-mc-d-0171/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper coopershoots.com&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;0171 \u2013 \u0160tefan Koc\u00e1n as Vodnik in the Canadian Opera Company\u2019s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael Cooper&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569438474&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;19-20-02-MC-D-0171&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19-20-02-MC-D-0171" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26687 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg?w=584" alt="19-20-02-MC-D-0171" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0171.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-26680"></span>What we do see, at first glance, is a classic fairy tale version of Rusalka.  We aren&#8217;t on the streets of Brussels or in the basement of Fritzl.  Water sprites are water sprites, goblins are goblins and princes are princes.  But perhaps all is not so straightforward.  There&#8217;s a very clear sexual tension going through everything that happens and even the &#8220;pool in the forest&#8221; is not quite what it seems.  It seems rather to be the remains of some sort of hydroelectric project and the dam/generating room is inhabited by Ježibaba who always appears to be accompanied by smoke as well as rather cool crows.  She is the guardian of the liminal space between the human and the spirit worlds.  Is she also symbolic of the transformation of natural energy to industrial energy?  There is a very fin de siècle zeitgeist in this production.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26688" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/19-20-02-mc-d-0253/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg" data-orig-size="580,870" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper coopershoots.com&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;0253 \u2013 Sondra Radvanovsky as Rusalka in the Canadian Opera Company\u2019s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael Cooper&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569438474&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;19-20-02-MC-D-0253&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19-20-02-MC-D-0253" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg?w=200" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26688 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg?w=584" alt="19-20-02-MC-D-0253" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg?w=100 100w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0253.jpg?w=200 200w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Act 1, on the face of it, is classic but the cavortings of the various sprites are highly sexualized; waggling their backsides and showing their underwear etc.  The use of dance and dancers is beautifully integrated, much helped by the energetic and skilful participation of the trio of wood nymphs sung/danced by Anna-Sophie Neher, Jamie Groote and Lauren Segal.  In the middle of all this cavorting the basic conflict of Rusalka&#8217;s wish to enter the human world and the Vodnik&#8217;s foreboding plays out.  Sondra Radvanovsky, in the title role, sings with great beauty and a very clean sound.  The famous <i title="Czech language text">Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém </i>(Song to the Moon) is very beautiful.  Štefan Kocàn is, at once, a very sympathetic and a rather sinister Vodnik with a really solid bass voice. Ježibaba, played by Elema Manistina, is a sort of steam punk witch surrounded by her very dark and threatening familiars.  She plays it very straight which makes Rusalka&#8217;s (literally) first faltering steps all the more moving.  The first introduction of Pavel Černoch as the Prince shows him to have a very secure and rather beautiful tenor.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26689" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/19-20-02-mc-d-0362/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019 coopershoots.com&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;0362 \u2013 (l-r) Elena Manistina as Je\u017eibaba and Sondra Radvanovsky as Rusalka in the Canadian Opera Company\u2019s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael Cooper&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569438474&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;19-20-02-MC-D-0362&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19-20-02-MC-D-0362" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26689 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg?w=584" alt="19-20-02-MC-D-0362" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0362.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Act 2 opens in the kitchen.  It&#8217;s a really tall, narrow space and Lauren Eberwein&#8217;s Turnspit is energetically stuffing a goose.  There are enormous carcasses hanging from the ceiling and guts.  It&#8217;s all a bit reminiscent of the movie <em>Delicatessen</em>.  Anyway there&#8217;s some very fine singing from Lauren and from Matthew Cairns&#8217; Gamekeeper.  Ensemble Studio members, past and present, are a huge part of this show.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26690" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/19-20-02-mc-d-1318/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg" data-orig-size="580,870" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019 coopershoots.com&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;0520 \u2013 (sitting centre) Lauren Eberwein as the Turnspit and Matthew Cairns as the Gamekeeper in the Canadian Opera Company\u2019s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael Cooper&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569438474&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;19-20-02-MC-D-1318&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19-20-02-MC-D-1318" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg?w=200" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26690 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg?w=584" alt="19-20-02-MC-D-1318" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg?w=100 100w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0520.jpg?w=200 200w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>The great hall, when we move to it, is stunning.  It&#8217;s high and has the appearance of almost disappearing into the distance.  Also more dead animals.  The basic drama of the Prince, Rusalka and the Foreign Princess (the very capable Keri Alkema) plays out straightforwardly enough with, given what else has been going on, remarkably few sexual antics (which rather reinforces my thoughts about the prologue).  The ballet in the middle of the Act is quite brilliant.  It&#8217;s the best use of classical ballet I&#8217;ve seen at the COC (where dance is not usually a strongpoint).  The choreography is by Andrew George and it cleverly combines absolutely classic 19th century pointe with an emphasis on the salacious aspects of the audience reaction to ballet in that period; all those shocking short skirts and muscular buttocks.  The dancers aren&#8217;t credited in the programme which is a shame as they are really good and crucial to the production.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26691" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/19-20-02-mc-d-0647/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg" data-orig-size="580,846" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019 coopershoots.com&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;0647 \u2013 Keri Alkema as the Foreign Princess (background), Pavel \u010cernoch as the Prince and Sondra Radvanovsky as Rusalka in the Canadian Opera Company\u2019s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael Cooper&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569438474&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;19-20-02-MC-D-0647&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19-20-02-MC-D-0647" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg?w=206" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26691 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg?w=584" alt="19-20-02-MC-D-0647" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg?w=103 103w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0647.jpg?w=206 206w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Act 3 is tricky.  It&#8217;s main purpose is to resolve what has gone before and it takes a while to do it.  It&#8217;s where more &#8220;conceptual&#8221; productions tend to come unstuck.  Here it&#8217;s workmanlike, if not as inventive, as what has come before.  There&#8217;s some comic relief in the scene with Ježibaba, the Gamekeeper and the Turnspit.  Anna-Sophie Neher does remarkably well in a dance heavy cameo.  There&#8217;s much fine singing.  And so we progress to the &#8220;resolution&#8221; in which, as the Vodnik says, &#8220;All sacrifices are futile.&#8221; The Prince chooses death.  Rusalka commends his soul to God, and returns to her place in the depths of the lake as a demon.  It&#8217;s not a comforting dream.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26692" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/19-20-02-mc-d-855/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg" data-orig-size="580,428" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019 coopershoots.com&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;0855 \u2013 Sondra Radvanovsky as Rusalka (centre) in the Canadian Opera Company\u2019s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael Cooper&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569438474&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Michael Cooper 2019&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;19-20-02-MC-D-855&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19-20-02-MC-D-855" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26692 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg?w=584" alt="19-20-02-MC-D-855" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19-20-02-mc-d-0855.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>So the production works at two levels.  There&#8217;s nothing there to upset the traditionalists but there&#8217;s much to think through if that&#8217;s your thing.  The singing is really good across the board from stars like Radvanovsky and Černoch to the many young singers who make such a fine job of the supporting roles.  The COC Orchestra plays fabulously for Johannes Debus.  It&#8217;s another of those productions  where director and conductor seem to be on the same page to good effect.  The dance elements are imaginative, brilliantly performed and well integrated into the action.  It&#8217;s a very good evening at the opera.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26693" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/13/rusalka-dream-or-nightmare/2019-10-10-rusalka-054/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg" data-orig-size="580,580" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="2019-10-10-Rusalka-054" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26693 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg?w=584" alt="2019-10-10-Rusalka-054" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/2019-10-10-rusalka-054.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Dvořák&#8217;s <em>Rusalka </em>plays at the Four Seasons Centre until October 26th.</p> <p>Photo credits: Michael Cooper (1 to 6); Chris Hutcheson (last)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Distilled Drama: Káťa Kabanová at the Staatsoper Berlin https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/ operatraveller urn:uuid:7aef59e4-aa94-3df1-6db4-f088208f6450 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 09:26:51 +0000 Janáček – Káťa Kabanová Savël Prokofjevic Dikój – Pavlo Hunka Boris Grigorjevič – Simon O’Neill Kabanicha – Karita Mattila Tichon Ivanyč Kabanov – Stephan Rügamer Káťa – Eva-Maria Westbroek Váňa Kudrjaš – Florian Hoffmann Varvara – Anna Lapkovskaya Kuligin – Viktor Rud Glaša – Emma Sarkisyan Fekluša – Adriane Queiroz Staatsopernchor Berlin, Staatskapelle Berlin / [&#8230;] <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Janáček – <em>Káťa Kabanová</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Savël Prokofjevic Dikój – Pavlo Hunka</strong><br /> <strong>Boris Grigorjevič – Simon O’Neill</strong><br /> <strong>Kabanicha – Karita Mattila</strong><br /> <strong>Tichon Ivanyč Kabanov – Stephan Rügamer</strong><br /> <strong>Káťa – Eva-Maria Westbroek</strong><br /> <strong>Váňa Kudrjaš – Florian Hoffmann</strong><br /> <strong>Varvara – Anna Lapkovskaya</strong><br /> <strong>Kuligin – Viktor Rud</strong><br /> <strong>Glaša – Emma Sarkisyan</strong><br /> <strong>Fekluša – Adriane Queiroz</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Staatsopernchor Berlin, Staatskapelle Berlin / Thomas Guggeis.</strong><br /> <strong>Stage director – Andrea Breth</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Staatsoper, Berlin, Germany.  Saturday, October 12<sup>th</sup>, 2019.</strong></p> <p>The opening of Andrea Breth’s staging of <em>Káťa Kabanová</em>, originally produced for La Monnaie – De Munt in 2010 and tonight revived by Michael Csar, is certainly arresting.  The auditorium was plunged into darkness and the opening measures emerged from nothingness, seemingly emerging from the darkest place.  As an illustration of Káťa’s despair, it definitely provided an effective way of setting the scene for the evening ahead.  <em>Káťa Kabanová</em> is a piece where the mighty Volga river is ever present, whether in Váňa’s opening ode, or at the end when Káťa flings herself into it.  Yet it’s an aspect completely missing from Breth’s staging.  Instead, she distils and frames the drama to its very minimum – even going so far as to perform the piece without intermissions.  That isn’t to say that water isn’t present on stage – a bath takes a prominent place at the front of the set, while the opening of Act 2 was accompanied by pouring rain on stage.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4700" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4700" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4700" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_34/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: B.Modra,E.M. Westbroek,A.Lapkovskaja,E.Sarkisyan, D.Polaski, S.R\u00fcgamer&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331580159&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;120&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;1250&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.005&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_34" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4700" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_34.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4700" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>Breth gives us a world almost completely devoid of goodness.  Simon O’Neil’s Boris is quite brutal to Florian Hoffmann’s Váňa in their Act 2 duet, though this felt gratuitous and not especially convincing, particularly as it made it hard to believe why Eva-Maria Westbroek’s Káťa would fall for such a brute.  Perhaps, though, this was the point.  In Breth’s world, Káťa is highly damaged, destined to go from one dysfunctional relationship to another.  It’s just that this portrayal seemed to jar with the expansive lyricism of the love music.  Similarly, Karita Mattila’s Kabanicha, initially uptight, her hair tied up impeccably, was seen to be quite keen on a physical relationship with Pavlo Hunka’s Dikój, one that involved her literally getting her leg over him on a table while strangling herself with his suspenders.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4699" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4699" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4699" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_82/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;3.5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: P.Hunka,F.Hoffmann,E.M. Westbroek, D.Polaski, S.R\u00fcgamer, B.Modra,A.Queiroz,&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331583765&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;150&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;1250&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.016666666666667&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_82" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4699" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4699" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>Breth does give us some memorable stage pictures.  The interior of the church in Act 3, occupied by women entirely dressed in black, or the Kabanicha burying a child as the others went about their business around her, immune to the horror.  At the same time, the stage felt cluttered, with the extraneous action distracting from the principals who were often left to gesticulate or writhe around the floor at the front of the stage.  Still, it’s a serviceable staging.  One that distils the drama, even if along the way not everything convinces.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4697" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4697" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4697" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_63/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: E.M. Westbroek, A.Lapkovskaja&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331580665&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;110&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;640&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0125&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_63" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4697" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_63.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4697" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>What did convince, though, was Westbroek’s commanding assumption of the title role.  Her Káťa was always deeply felt and honestly sung, paying scrupulous attention to dynamics and phrasing with generosity.  Nowhere more so than in her big Act 3 monologue, which she sang with uninhibited freedom.  The role sits in a good place for her silky soprano with a metallic core, though it must be admitted that the top now sounds short, with pitching in the uppermost reaches rather approximate.  That said, I was completely won over by how Westbroek sang her role with such big-heartedness and dedication of feeling, making her Káťa so poignant in this brutal world.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4696" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4696" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4696" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_57/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: E.M. Westbroek, R.Trekel&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331584303&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;105&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;2500&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.016666666666667&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_57" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4696" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_57.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4696" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>Mattila gave us a terrifically spiteful Kabanicha, spitting the text out with sheer malice.  The registers have now parted company in her soprano, that trademark lunar duskiness is still there but she also made considerable use of a pungent chestiness.  Her stage presence is undimmed, utterly magnetic, even when not singing.  What will stay with me is how she sang those closing phrases, draining the tone of colour and emotion, leaving this spectator with the impression that Káťa’s loss was just one event among many others.  O’Neill coped heroically with the demanding tessitura of Boris’s music.  It sounded to my ears that the voice took a little while to find the core, sounding somewhat wiry initially.  He warmed up nicely as the evening progressed, singing with bright, clarion heft and impressive cutting power.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4695" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4695" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4695" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_55/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: P.Cernoch,R.Trekel,A.Lapkovskaja,E.M.Westbroek, D.Polaski,P.Hunka&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331583904&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;105&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;1250&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0125&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_55" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4695" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4695" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>The remainder of the cast reflected the high standards expected at this address.  Anna Lapkovskaya was an enthusiastic Varvara, singing with extrovert freedom but with a relaxed approach to pitching.  Hoffmann sang Váňa in an easily-produced, sandy tenor with a simple lyricism.  Pavlo Hunka gave us a resonant Dikój, while Stephan Rügamer sang Tichon with a characterful tenor.  In the smaller roles, the veteran Emma Sarkisyan sang Glaša with a still fruity contralto, while Viktor Rud, even in his short phrases, gave notice of a handsome musicality.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4695" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4695" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4695" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_55/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: P.Cernoch,R.Trekel,A.Lapkovskaja,E.M.Westbroek, D.Polaski,P.Hunka&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331583904&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;105&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;1250&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0125&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_55" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4695" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_55.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4695" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>Thomas Guggeis led a Staatskapelle on excellent form, notable for a deep pile carpet of string sound that resulted in long-breathed, aching phrases with searching portamenti.  Other than some very slight scrappiness in the very high violin writing, the quality of the orchestral playing was first-rate.  Guggeis brought out the uniquely Janáčekian combination of angularity and long-lined lyricism.   Yet, I wasn’t always convinced by Guggeis’s conducting in the same way as I felt about the staging.  While he always allowed the singers through, it felt that his direction was prosaic, lacking in tension, that irresistible sense of a horrible drama driving to its tragic conclusion.  There was much beauty along the way, but it didn’t quite crackle in the way one would ideally hoped it would.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4699" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4699" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4699" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/10/13/distilled-drama-kata-kabanova-at-the-staatsoper-berlin/katja_82/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg" data-orig-size="3543,2362" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;3.5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 5D Mark II&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Staatsoper Berlin\rKatja Kabanova\rMusikalische Leitung: Sir Simon Rattle\rInszenierung: Andrea Breth\rB\u00fchnenbild: Annette Murschetz\rKost\u00fcme: Willret \/ Weeger\rLicht: Alexander Koppelmann\rDarsteller: P.Hunka,F.Hoffmann,E.M. Westbroek, D.Polaski, S.R\u00fcgamer, B.Modra,A.Queiroz,&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1331583765&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;copyright: Bernd Uhlig,Warthestrasse 70, D-12051 Berlin\r POSTBANK BERLIN Blz: 10010010Konto Nr.: 349860101\rIBAN DE19 1001 0010 0&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;150&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;1250&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.016666666666667&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="KATJA_82" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4699" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/katja_82.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4699" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Bernd Uhlig 2014</figcaption></figure> <p>On the whole, despite some reservations, this was a satisfying evening.  The staging and conducting were never less than serviceable and the orchestral playing was superb.  It was well sung, again with some reservations, throughout the cast and notable for a heart-rending account of the title role from a singer who really did give so much of herself to us.</p> <p><em>If you value the writing on this site, you can help expand its coverage by joining the <a href="https://www.patreon.co Love is fleeting, but revenge is forever! http://www.taminophile.com/2019/10/love-is-fleeting-but-revenge-is-forever.html Taminophile urn:uuid:e201afda-2d56-7cd2-b060-63118cf467dd Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:47:54 +0000 <span style="font-size: large;">Or <i>I'm sorry, but I miss the trills</i></span><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VqLCXaA6uY8/XaLTJTrm1cI/AAAAAAAAChU/ZuKdtmUVx7oNzvAC6OKtnR2yZteE4rDVQCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Trovatore-shangaycom-DiLunaLeonora.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1172" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VqLCXaA6uY8/XaLTJTrm1cI/AAAAAAAAChU/ZuKdtmUVx7oNzvAC6OKtnR2yZteE4rDVQCLcBGAsYHQ/s320/Trovatore-shangaycom-DiLunaLeonora.jpg" width="234" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Ludovic Tézier as DiLuna and <br />Maria Agresta as Leonora<br />Photo:&nbsp; Teatro Real</td></tr></tbody></table>I recently watched another wonderful production on <a href="http://operavision.eu/">OperaVision</a>, as it had been far too long since I'd witnessed any opera.&nbsp; Or done much writing, for that matter. This was <i>Il&nbsp;Trovatore</i> from Spain's Teatro Real. I believe it was streamed live in June and will be available to view until next June.<br /><br />Caruso is said to have opined that all you need to produce <i>Il&nbsp;Trovatore</i> is the four best singers in the world. While most of the singing was pretty darn good, I wouldn't call these the best singers in the world. My favorite was the Azucena of Ekaterina Semenchuk. Very robust, healthy, and beautiful sound throughout, and a very affecting performance. Ludovic Tézier as Count di&nbsp;Luna was a fine singer, but a bit distracting to watch. I wondered whether he was in pain at times. Maria Agresta is a name I knew, but I don't believe I'd ever seen her before. Her Leonora had some very fine moments, and overall I like her singing, but I really missed the trills and fioritura required of the role. (In fact, none of the singers seemed able to trill.) Ferrando was quite well sung by Roberto Tagliavini. Tenor Francesco Meli, never a real favorite of mine, was adequate as Manrico, but he did have some beautifully tender moments vocally. <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; text-align: right;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RT2xjx6ozf0/XaLTY8pQ9hI/AAAAAAAAChY/XPPLMcN3cKQ7Cqln-tCGjD7NxkWe71ZpACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Trovatore-TheLondonMagazine-Azucena.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="444" data-original-width="696" height="204" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RT2xjx6ozf0/XaLTY8pQ9hI/AAAAAAAAChY/XPPLMcN3cKQ7Cqln-tCGjD7NxkWe71ZpACLcBGAsYHQ/s320/Trovatore-TheLondonMagazine-Azucena.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Ekaterina Semenchuk as Azucena<br />Photo:&nbsp; TheLondonMagazine.org</td></tr></tbody></table>In fact, there were many tender moments in this traditionally "park and bark" opera, thanks to the music direction of Maurizio Benini and the production of Director Francisco Negrín. Both of Leonora's arias, which are glorious to hear when sung well but not always very interesting to watch, were a pleasure. We could see in her first aria the young girl Leonora is instead of the middle-aged woman it takes to sing that difficult role, and in her last act aria the tormented woman she has become. I was also deeply moved when Azucena sang "Ai nostri monti" to the ghost of her son. <br /><br />Oh yes. There were ghosts in this production. Two of them, to be exact. Unless you count the very fine men's chorus, which was all made up to look like zombies, whether they were soldiers or gypsies. (The women's chorus was also quite good.) There were quite a few things I didn't understand, but I found the flame that remained lit on state for the entire opera effective. There was a moveable column that confused me, although I will say I liked that in the last act, it had projections of flames on it as the pyre was being prepared for Azucena's execution. <br /><br />I gripe about a few things, and those more in-the-know about current European opera production might mock my traditional viewpoints (for the record, I had more complaints about a Met production of <i>Il&nbsp;Trovatore</i> I saw several years ago than this), but I do recommend viewing this opera if you have a few hours to spend at your computer. In the end, the tender moments and most of the singing win the day.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pSUeJdSCu2U/XaLTrF6aUiI/AAAAAAAAChk/pxtXrb60TtcH7KeGhzaOGzYnflV-u3x7gCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Trovatore-shangaycom-LeonoraConvent.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="637" data-original-width="940" height="432" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pSUeJdSCu2U/XaLTrF6aUiI/AAAAAAAAChk/pxtXrb60TtcH7KeGhzaOGzYnflV-u3x7gCLcBGAsYHQ/s640/Trovatore-shangaycom-LeonoraConvent.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Leonora's convent scene<br />Photo:&nbsp; Teatro Real</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Taminophile/~4/mvbOnjI00tE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> A humourless hike to Hades: Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld at ENO http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/10/_my_preparatory.php Opera Today urn:uuid:9ca61eba-840d-33f3-8e39-dd95d9312141 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:41:02 +0000 Q. “Is there an art form you don't relate to?” A. “Opera. It's a dreadful sound - it just doesn't sound like the human voice.” Turandot in HD 2019 http://medicine-opera.com/2019/10/turandot-in-hd-2019/ Neil Kurtzman urn:uuid:fe237474-8041-4e0c-afcf-f88c5ed7c910 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 00:30:14 +0000 The Met seems to have only a couple of dozen operas in its standard repertory, so when it not staging something that will likely never return (eg, Philip Glass&#8217; Akhnaten) it must repeat itself. Such repetition is especially noticeable on its HD telecasts. Today Franco Zeffirelli&#8217;s literal recreation of ancient Peking was the first of... <p>The Met seems to have only a couple of dozen operas in its standard repertory, so when it not staging something that will likely never return (eg, Philip Glass&#8217; <em>Akhnaten</em>) it must repeat itself. Such repetition is especially noticeable on its HD telecasts. Today Franco Zeffirelli&#8217;s literal recreation of ancient Peking was the first of this season&#8217;s HD production. It was last on the big screen 10 years ago.</p> <p>Puccini&#8217;s last opera has an unusual history at the Met. It was performed 27 times between November 1926 and January 1930. It then vanished until February of 1961. The reason for the opera&#8217;s reemergence was Birgit Nilsson, especially when she was paired with Franco Corelli. She dominated the title role like Caesar did Gaul. The opera then became a regular on the list of the world&#8217;s most performed operas. Today&#8217;s Met appearance was #331 by the company.</p> <p>The story is an unusual one for Puccini. There&#8217;s no one in who can fully engage the audience&#8217;s empathy. The two principals are world class narcissists. Liu, the slave girl, is a stock operatic foil. The success of the show depends on a soprano with  a battleship voice and a tenor who can not be blown away by her. The choral part is the most expansive Puccini ever wrote and the orchestral part needs a vigorous hand with the baton. If you remember Nilsson and Corelli in this work, nothing will ever be up to that standard. And today&#8217;s show while quite good didn&#8217;t reach the impossible level of Nilsson and Corelli..</p> <p>Christine Goerke has a solid dramatic soprano and can portray Turandot with authority and skill; but she won&#8217;t blow the roof away. Yusif Eyvazov inevitably suffers from being married to Anna Netrebko. He&#8217;s not a spinto tenor even though he&#8217;s singing spinto roles at the Met. His voice is too light for Calaf and it has a gravelly sound. His high notes lack ping. Surprisingly, he was at his best with the opera&#8217;s biggest hit tune &#8211; Nessun dorma. Why Eyvazov replaced Roberto Aronica who was originally announced for the telecast of <em>Turandot</em> is not known to me.</p> <p>Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto was convincing as Liu. She&#8217;s been singing light soprano roles up til now. But her sound suggests that she could move to heavier roles. At age 37 her best years are just ahead of her.</p> <p>This coming January bass-baritone James Morris will mark 50 years of singing with the Met. At first he sang small roles. After a decade with the company he had moved to leading roles. He eventually became the dominant Wotan of his time. Remarkably, at 72 years his voice still sounds first rate. Today&#8217;s performance by Morris was his 1018th outing with the Met.</p> <p>Ping, Pang, and Pong were well performed by Alexey Lavrov, Tony Stevenson, and Eduardo Valdes, respectively; but they remain a hindrance to the action. I think Puccini would have cut their parts extensively had he lived to finish the opera and had a chance to revise it.</p> <p>The Met&#8217;s fine chorus was easily up to the challenge of their big part in this opera. They&#8217;ve done it so often that its firmly in their vocal chords. The Met&#8217;s new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conducted this piece for the first time with the company. It was his first Puccini opera in New York. His reading was direct and, as near as I can tell from a remote movie theater, compelling and spot on. In summary as good a performance as one can expect without two superstars in the two main roles. Worth a trip to the movie house, but not a special one to New York.</p> <p>A brief note on the <em>How to Pronounce Turandot War</em>. Angel Blue who made her first appearance as telecast host was hitting the final<em> t</em> in Turandot like a jackhammer. She was understandably a little nervous in her new role as host, but she was certain about that final <em>t</em>. The singers were less so. It was missing more than half the time Turandot&#8217;s name was sung. I&#8217;m told that no one pronounces it at La Scala. No one did on line at the Met in the 50s when all the standees were wondering when the Met would bring back the opera.</p> <p>Also, three deaths of artists associated with the Met. Franco Zeffirelli was 96, Jessye Norman was 74, and Marcello Giordani was only 56.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Metropolitan Opera House<br /> October 12, 2019 Broadcast</p> <p>TURANDOT<br /> Giacomo Puccini/Franco Alfano-Giuseppe Adami/Renato Simoni</p> <p>Turandot&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Christine Goerke<br /> Calàf&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Yusif Eyvazov<br /> Liù&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Eleonora Buratto<br /> Timur&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.James Morris<br /> Ping&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Alexey Lavrov<br /> Pang&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Tony Stevenson<br /> Pong&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Eduardo Valdes<br /> Emperor Altoum&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Carlo Bosi<br /> Mandarin&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Javier Arrey<br /> Maid&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Maria D’Amato<br /> Maid&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Meredith Woodend<br /> Prince of Persia&#8230;&#8230;..Sasha Semin<br /> Executioner&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Arthur Lazalde<br /> Three Masks: Elliott Reiland, Amir Levy, Andrew Robinson<br /> Temptresses: Natalia Alonso, Jennifer Cadden, Oriada Islami, Sarah Weber-Gallo</p> <p>Conductor&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Yannick Nézet-Séguin</p> <p>Production&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Franco Zeffirelli<br /> Set Designer&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Franco Zeffirelli<br /> Costume Designer&#8230;&#8230;..Anna Anni<br /> Costume Designer&#8230;&#8230;..Dada Saligeri<br /> Lighting Designer&#8230;&#8230;.Gil Wechsler<br /> Choreography &#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Chiang Ching<br /> Stage Director&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Paula Suozzi<br /> Video Director&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Gary Halvorson</p> Agrippina https://joycedidonato.com/2019/10/12/agrippina-7/ Joyce DiDonato urn:uuid:dbe8cf85-69e2-b67e-a964-4f0307a96ed7 Sun, 13 Oct 2019 00:02:34 +0000 Royal Opera House Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor <p><a href="https://www.roh.org.uk/productions/agrippina-by-barrie-kosky" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Royal Opera House</a></p> <p>Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor</p> Strictly Come Dancing 2019 | Week 4 http://www.balletnews.co.uk/strictly-come-dancing-2019-week-4/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:15462093-dffd-edf5-af1f-6697715b7b8e Sat, 12 Oct 2019 19:36:27 +0000 This was a week where the tables were turned, and it was the professional dancers who couldn’t quite believe the performances from their celebrity partners. Katya was in tears &#38; couldn’t speak...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/EvJ_1lIm7a4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> SF Opera's Le Nozze di Figaro Review https://operatattler.typepad.com/opera/2019/10/sf-opera-marriage-of-figaro-review.html The Opera Tattler urn:uuid:650416d4-58f1-6dad-5770-a8e20b3f810a Sat, 12 Oct 2019 16:16:15 +0000 * Notes * Le Nozze di Figaro opened at San Francisco Opera yesterday in a fresh new production, the first in decades. The performance marks the start of revamps for all three Mozart/Da Ponte operas from director Michael Cavanagh and... * Notes * Le Nozze di Figaro opened at San Francisco Opera yesterday in a fresh new production, the first in decades. The performance marks the start of revamps for all three Mozart/Da Ponte operas from director Michael Cavanagh and set designer Erhard Rom, each set in the same American estate over the course of 300 years. "Well, I hope it doesn't have screen savers" was my spouse's comment as we drove over to the War Memorial, after I mentioned this. As the overture played a few hours later, we looked at each other and silently laughed, the graph paper scrim showed architectural drawings that bounced around during the music. Thankfully, that was it for animated projections, and the set (pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) is easily and quietly maneuvered. The scene between Marcellina and Susanna in Act I ("Via resti servita, madama brillante") was moved into and out of a kitchen and was particularly deft. Placing the action in the Mid-Atlantic states but still in the late 18th century works perfectly well, Contance Hoffman's costumes are eye-catching, I loved the bright pink with Prussian blue accents that Cherubino initially wears, and enjoyed Barbarina's complimentary bodice in a similar pink with blue stripes and polka dots. You could tell at a glance who she was even though she stood with the chorus. Maestro Henrik Nánási, who had such a memorable debut in Elektra a few seasons ago, conducted a rapid and transparent orchestra. Bryndon Hassman's fortepiano continuo was very amusing, wittily commenting on the comedy unfolding on stage. The opera is cast well, suiting each role quite convincingly. From Natalie Image as a cute-as a-button Barbarina (her "L'ho perduta, me meschina" was utterly lovely) to dependable Bojan Knežević as her drunken father Antonio, everyone looked and sounded pretty fantastic. Mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi is an adorable Cherubino, I loved hearing her legato sound in "Non so più cosa son" and "Voi che sapete che cosa è amor." Soprano Nicole Heaston is a stately presence as Countess Almaviva, while baritone Levente Molnár very much embodied a blustering and jealous Count. Soprano Jeanine De Bique (pictured with Michael Sumuel, photograph by Cory Weaver) is a perfectly sweet and bubbly Susanna, and though her stature is not unlike Ms. Heaston's, her voice is a complete contrast, which made the Act IV shenanigans all the more realistic. Bass-baritone Michael Sumuel's beautifully burnished sound occasionally got lost in the orchestration, but is very pleasant. He is charming in the title role, and his Act IV aria "Aprite un po' quegli occhi" was one of the best of the evening. * Tattling * There were a lot of people in attendance for the opening performance of this new production, but there was noticeable attrition at the intermission. Box X was reduced by one third by the last act, which I didn't mind at all since one person that left rustled paper more than once during Act II. You don’t need analyzing https://parterre.com/2019/10/12/you-dont-need-analyzing/ parterre box urn:uuid:35ab6311-853f-2455-5809-82e58e12aff9 Sat, 12 Oct 2019 16:04:24 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/12/you-dont-need-analyzing/"><img width="720" height="246" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ethel-header-720x246.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ethel-header-720x246.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ethel-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ethel-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ethel-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ethel-header.jpg 1516w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>On this day in 1950 <strong>Irving Berlin</strong>&#8216;s musical <em>Call Me Madam</em> opened at the Imperial Theatre, to run 644 performances.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9duy-Cz4Ds&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9duy-Cz4Ds</a></p> <p>Born on this day in 1935 tenor <strong>Luciano Pavarotti</strong>.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J7JM0tGgRY&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J7JM0tGgRY</a></p> Strictly Come Dancing 2019 | The Merch http://www.balletnews.co.uk/strictly-come-dancing-2019-the-merch/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:04c0a85f-8b35-7a9a-0fa1-1b9e945f33b9 Sat, 12 Oct 2019 15:47:34 +0000 Here&#8217;s a sparkle-tastic curated edit of Strictly merchandise for 2019. The Official Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Annual The classic, Keep Calm Strictly version The Official Strictly Come Dancing...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/jgPYGLYKqmk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> What’s old is new https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/ operaramblings urn:uuid:61023138-1d1a-0e38-442e-1d8d04e8e01f Sat, 12 Oct 2019 15:33:47 +0000 Back to the Tranzac last night for the first Toronto performance of Against the Grain&#8217;s national tour of the Joel Ivany transladaptation of Puccini&#8217;s La Bohème which started it all back in 2011.  The Tranzac has changed a lot and &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Back to the Tranzac last night for the first Toronto performance of Against the Grain&#8217;s national tour of the Joel Ivany transladaptation of Puccini&#8217;s <em>La Bohème</em> which <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2011/06/04/against-the-grains-boheme/">started it all</a> back in 2011.  The Tranzac has changed a lot and so, of course, has Against the Grain.  The room is way smarter, they brought in a proper piano to replace the one that Topher plonked the first performance out on (and which memorably accompanied <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2015/05/02/fuhrerbunker/">Jonathan MacArthur&#8217;s rather startling Hitler</a> a few years later).  And not in any way to knock that first cast it&#8217;s a sign of AtG&#8217;s rising stature that this time they are fielding a cast that would not be out of place in most regional houses in Canada.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26673" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/op190927_dsc3511-nef/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;3.5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON Z 7&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569610484&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Photography by Biliana Panic&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;26&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;3200&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.008&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;OP190927_DSC3511.NEF&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="OP190927_DSC3511.NEF" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26673 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg?w=584" alt="OP190927_DSC3511.NEF" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3511.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-26667"></span>The piece has been mildly updated with the obligatory Trump joke but it&#8217;s still essentially the same. It still makes good use of the space.  The jokes still work.  It still tugs the heart strings the way <em>La Bohème</em> should.  And it still, inevitably, shifts the words and vowels in a way that makes getting that characteristic Puccini sound just that bit harder.  So it&#8217;s greatly to the credit of Jonelle Sills as Mimi and Marcel d&#8217;Entremont as Rodolfo that the ringing Italianate sound is there in both the solo arias and the duets.  They are very fine indeed.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26674" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/op190927_dsc3608-nef/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg" data-orig-size="580,870" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;4.5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON Z 7&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569612793&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Photography by Biliana Panic&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;57&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;4000&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.008&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;OP190927_DSC3608.NEF&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="OP190927_DSC3608.NEF" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg?w=200" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26674 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg?w=584" alt="OP190927_DSC3608.NEF" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg?w=100 100w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3608.jpg?w=200 200w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>The guys are great too.  Clarence Frazer is a very solid Marcello and there some fun comic touches from Andrew Adridge as Schaunard and Giles Tomkins as Colline.  Greg Finney does what he does best which is bumble.  He&#8217;s quite at home both as the landlord Benoit and the hapless Alcindoro.  Perhaps inevitably, Danika  Lorèn as Musetta comes close to stealing the show with some very fine singing, the customary flirting with the audience and a session with Marcello on the bar that took me right back to when my rugby club, the Nomads, used to hang out there.  David Eliakis had a decent piano to work with and made the most of the score despite being somewhat awkwardly placed relative to the action.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26675" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/op190927_dsc3744-nef/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg" data-orig-size="580,870" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;4&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON Z 7&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569616658&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Photography by Biliana Panic&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;180&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;3200&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.00625&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;OP190927_DSC3744.NEF&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="OP190927_DSC3744.NEF" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg?w=200" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26675 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg?w=584" alt="OP190927_DSC3744.NEF" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg?w=100 100w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc3744.jpg?w=200 200w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Anything not to like?  Maybe actually these singers are a bit too good for a small space like the Tranzac?  It comes close to being overwhelming.  So, no, nothing not to like really.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26676" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/banff-centre-2019-la-boheme-legion-against-the-grain-theatre-opera/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;4.5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D850&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569620297&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Photography by: Jessica Wittman Banff Centre. Publication in whole or in part must include photo credit. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited.&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;24&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;6400&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.008&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26676 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg?w=584" alt="Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4362.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><a href="http://againstthegraintheatre.com/la-boheme/">Against the Grain&#8217;s version of Puccini&#8217;s La Bohème</a> continues at the Tranzac Club until October 25th before heading off to the Yukon.  If you can&#8217;t make the show in person there&#8217;s a live stream on CBC on Sunday 13th October avaialbal on CBC Gem and their Youtube channel.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26677" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/12/whats-old-is-new/banff-centre-2019-la-boheme-legion-against-the-grain-theatre-opera-2/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D850&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1569621222&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Photography by: Jessica Wittman Banff Centre. Publication in whole or in part must include photo credit. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited.&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;38&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;6400&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.008&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26677 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg?w=584" alt="Banff Centre 2019, La Boheme, Legion, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/op190927_dsc4398.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Photos are from the Banff performance courtesy of the Banff Centre.</p> Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust: “D’amour l’ardente flamme” (Joyce DiDonato, John Nelson) https://joycedidonato.com/2019/10/11/berlioz-la-damnation-de-faust-damour-lardente-flamme-joyce-didonato-john-nelson/ Joyce DiDonato urn:uuid:b5131d82-a5c4-bde1-a2cd-57e22a7be575 Sat, 12 Oct 2019 04:37:13 +0000 Dog Ownership and Survival http://medicine-opera.com/2019/10/dog-ownership-and-survival/ Neil Kurtzman urn:uuid:0d4642ce-4dcc-e21e-a810-2b51bb45777b Sat, 12 Oct 2019 01:41:00 +0000 The title of this piece is that of an article in the American Heart Association&#8217;s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The findings below are taken from that article. WHAT IS KNOWN Dog ownership has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk. A series of studies has suggested associations of dog ownership with lower blood pressure... <p>The title of this piece is that of <a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005554?af=R%2F&amp;" target="_blank" rel="noopener">an article</a> in the American Heart Association&#8217;s journal <em>Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes</em>. The findings below are taken from that article.</p> <h3 id="d3e297" class="article-section__title to-section ">WHAT IS KNOWN</h3> <ul class="NLM_list-list_type-bullet"> <li> <p class="inline">Dog ownership has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk. A series of studies has suggested associations of dog ownership with lower blood pressure levels, improved lipid profile, and diminished sympathetic responses to stress.</p> </li> <li> <p class="inline">The evidence regarding dog ownership and mortality has yielded conflicting results. Whereas the association between dog ownership and mortality has been explored since the 1980s, living in a home with a dog has been associated with improved survival in some studies with others arguing a neutral effect.</p> </li> </ul> <h3 id="d3e314" class="article-section__title to-section ">WHAT THE STUDY ADDS</h3> <ul class="NLM_list-list_type-bullet"> <li style="list-style-type: none;"> <ul class="NLM_list-list_type-bullet"> <li> <p class="inline">Pooling the data of 3 837 005 participants, dog ownership was associated with a 24% risk reduction for all-cause mortality as compared to nonownership (relative risk, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.67–0.86).</p> </li> <li> <p class="inline">In analyses of studies evaluating cardiovascular mortality, dog ownership conferred a 31% risk reduction for cardiovascular death (relative risk, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.67–0.71; <i>I</i><sup>2</sup>, 5.1%).</p> </li> <li> <p class="inline">Dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death over the long term, which is possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality. These results hold implications for future studies on lifestyle interventions.</p> </li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>While this is a very interesting it&#8217;s impossible to draw a firm cause and effect relationship between owning a dog and living longer, most likely because of a decrease in CV mortality. I&#8217;d like to believe such is the case and perhaps it is. There could be a selection bias such that people with better prognoses decide to get a dog. Also, owning a dog may require that the two legged member of the pair or group to be more active which could promote CV health.</p> <p>Regardless of the reality of dog ownership and reduced death rate, having a canine companion seems sufficient reward on its own irrespective of any beneficial effect on one&#8217;s heart. Some things are good in themselves and need no additional justification. Having a dog is one of these.</p> After Saving a Man's Life on the Subway Tracks, Former ABT Dancer Gray Davis is Now a Deputy Sheriff https://www.pointemagazine.com/gray-davis-ballet-deputy-sheriff-2640933735.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:a677c295-5049-ed0e-cec8-d125ac03b652 Fri, 11 Oct 2019 20:57:23 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21989958/origin.png"/><br/><br/><p>When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office. </p><p>Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/cassandra-trenary" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Cassandra Trenary</a>, to many he's best known for <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/abts-gray-davis-heroically-saves-man-from-subway-tracks-2434797742.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">saving the life of a man</a> who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/abt-dancer-subway-hero-2501355681.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">heroic effort earned him</a> the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.</p><hr/><h3>None</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="663DYP1570831521" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="0b0bb" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21990141/980x.png"/><p><strong>What was the hiring process like? </strong></p><p>Everybody has this idea of police work, which is branded pretty harshly in the media, but in my interview with the chief deputy she wanted to know how well I deal with people and how I communicate. She also wanted to know about my life experience. Obviously she was shocked to find out what I used to do, but I think ultimately it got her excited. I told her that I'd travelled the world as a dancer and met so many different types of people, and I think that they liked that.</p><p><strong>Did your ballet experience come in handy when training physically for the job? </strong><br/></p><p>They try to keep it as close to a bootcamp as possible, so it's very physical. You also have to learn the law, and there's shooting and driving, so they really throw a lot in there. I'm using every bit of physical skill that I have. And I still like to work out, but obviously I work out very differently for this profession than I did the last one. They both require strength, but when I was dancing I concentrated on lengthening, and now I'm actually trying to put on weight. But having the flexibility has been great so far. I'm running a lot, and also doing ground training, defensive tactics, where dance comes in very handy. </p><h3>None</h3><br><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="G13KK41570831521" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="0a8ad" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21990154/980x.jpg"/><h3>None</h3><br/><p><strong>When you left ABT in 2018, did you have a sense of what would come next? </strong></p><p>When I was a young dancer, I was always worried that when the day came for me to retire, I wouldn't be ready. But luckily, when the time came I had no hesitations. I feel like I accomplished everything that I wanted to, and had no regrets. But I just didn't know what I wanted to do afterwards. I did some teaching for a few months in South Carolina, where I'm from. One night I was talking to my brother-in-law, who's in law enforcement, and he suggested it to me, and it kind of took off from there. I had one meeting with the sheriff and the chief deputy here in Abbeville, and the ball got rolling really quickly. <strong><strong></strong></strong></p><h3>None</h3><br/><p><strong>Do you think that the experience of saving a man's life on the subway tracks made you more interested in this career path? </strong></p><p>Definitely. To help save somebody was a great feeling that I want to replicate as much as possible. In this job you get to do it almost every other day, without any kind of recognition, though each person appreciates what you do in their own way. What happened in the subway was one of those things that happened without thinking, but since being on the job here I've already had that same feeling so many times.</p><p><strong>Other than the physical aspect, do you see any similarities between ballet and law enforcement? </strong></p><p>No matter how you're feeling or what kind of mindset you're in, you're expected to deliver 110 percent onstage. And this job is exactly the same way. These two professions go hand in hand in that they're both a job and a lifestyle. I'm really lucky to have had two jobs that I'm so passionate about.</p><h3>None</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8FGWTJ1570831521" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="3d560" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/21990158/980x.jpg"/><h3>None</h3><br/><p><strong>What do you miss most about dancing? <br/></strong></p><p>I miss the people for sure. ABT has the greatest people, and I miss my friends. But of course I still go and see Cassie all the time. I also miss the traveling. But ballet is still a part of my life. I'm teaching at English Theatre Arts in Greenville, SC, and my work schedule allows me to go around and teach in other places. </p><p><strong>After taking such an unusual career path, is there any advice that you give your students when they're thinking about their futures? </strong><br/></p><p>I tell them the same thing that my ballet teacher told me when I was in high school. He said that it doesn't matter whether you're going to be a dancer or a doctor or a lawyer; your work ethic starts in the classroom. Everything you're working for starts here, today, so treat it as seriously as possible. I think that's held true, because that mindset and work ethic has helped me get through every day.</p></br> Madama Butterfly https://parterre.com/2019/10/11/madama-butterfly-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:31b177ed-9b08-3736-004c-0d47e4ac8488 Fri, 11 Oct 2019 19:40:47 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/11/madama-butterfly-2/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-broadcast-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-broadcast-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-broadcast-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-broadcast-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-broadcast-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-broadcast-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>Puccini&#8217;s perennial tearjerker returns to the Met repertoire tonight.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-64585" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-518.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-518.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-518-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/butterfly-518-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The<a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/free-live-audio-streams/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> live streaming broadcast</a> begins at 7:25 PM.</p> <p>Photo: Richard Termine</p> ‘In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music’ in South America & United States https://joycedidonato.com/2019/10/11/in-war-and-peace-harmony-through-music-in-south-america-united-states/ Joyce DiDonato urn:uuid:fc0b87d4-108f-a050-2ad9-9066a68248c6 Fri, 11 Oct 2019 16:02:46 +0000 This autumn marks the final tour of Joyce DiDonato’s award-winning project “In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music.” Ms. DiDonato and Il Pomo d’Oro, under the direction of Maxim Emelyanychev, bring the project to South America for the first time, presenting concerts in Bogotá, Santo Domingo, São Paulo, Las Condes, and Buenos Aires. Since the first world tour [&#8230;] <p>This autumn marks the final tour of Joyce DiDonato’s award-winning project “In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music.” Ms. DiDonato and Il Pomo d’Oro, under the direction of Maxim Emelyanychev, bring the project to South America for the first time, presenting concerts in Bogotá, Santo Domingo, São Paulo, Las Condes, and Buenos Aires. Since the first world tour of IWAP in 2016, this phenomenal project has reached a total audience of 2.3 million people worldwide (including live attendance and online viewers).</p> <p>Ms. DiDonato presents fully-staged performances of music from her album <em><a href="https://joycedidonato.com/2016/09/21/in-war-peace-harmony-through-music-2/">In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music</a></em>, with arias from Handel and Purcell, among other great opera masters. The striking and powerful production features stage direction by Ralf Pleger, lighting design by Henning Blum, and video designs by Yousef Iskandar. The recording, released by Erato in 2016, received Gramophone’s 2017 Recital of the Year award.</p> <p>Following performances in South America, Joyce and the ensemble head to the U.S. for concerts in Atlanta on <a href="https://tickets.arts.emory.edu/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=119566" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">November 3</a> at the Schwarz Center for Performing Arts, in Houston on <a href="https://www.houstongrandopera.org/joyce" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">November 6</a> at the Houston Grand Opera, and concluding in Washington D.C on <a href="https://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/XUARA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">November 8 &amp; 9</a> at the Eisenhower Theater. The performance at Teatro Mayor in Bogotá will be recorded and streamed via <a href="https://www.teatromayor.org/teatro-digital" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Teatro Digital</a> on <a href="https://www.teatromayor.org/teatro-digital" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">November 7</a>. More information is available via <a href="http://inwarandpeace.com/tour/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">InWarandPeace.com</a>.</p> <p><strong>South America Tour Dates:<br /> </strong><a href="https://www.teatromayor.org/evento/musica/joyce-didonato-mezzosoprano-estados-unidos-il-pomo-doro-italia-war-peace-harmony-through-music-2867?function=1977" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.teatromayor.org/evento/musica/joyce-didonato-mezzosoprano-estados-unidos-il-pomo-doro-italia-war-peace-harmony-through-music-2867?function%3D1977&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570832197007000&amp;usg=AFQjCNG8GRi3pWz1Wwzy7VokRoVKUA1JxA">October 16</a> &#8211; Teatro Mayor in Bogotá, Colombia<br /> <a href="http://www.sinfonia.org.do/eventos/in-war-and-peace-joyce-didonato/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.sinfonia.org.do/eventos/in-war-and-peace-joyce-didonato/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570832197007000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHMWdIcN7NNaqXYmg5Nh9khFmIHYw">October 19</a> &#8211; Teatro Nacional Eduardo Brito in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic<br /> <a href="http://www.culturaartistica.com.br/espetaculos/joyce-didonato-e-il-pomo-doro-2/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.culturaartistica.com.br/espetaculos/joyce-didonato-e-il-pomo-doro-2/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570832197007000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHWzkkhY5lpfl4c0F2MkdAkjbyNuA">October 22 &amp; 23</a> &#8211; Teatro Cultura Artística in São Paulo, Brazil<br /> <a href="https://tickets.corpartes.cl/events/joyce-didonato-in-war-peace" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://tickets.corpartes.cl/events/joyce-didonato-in-war-peace&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570832197007000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEcjBmjf7q27ZhKFPGNREWP6511ow">October 25</a> &#8211; Fundación CorpArtes in Las Condes, Chile<br /> <a href="https://mozarteumargentino.org/conciertos/joyce-didonato-mezzosoprano" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://mozarteumargentino.org/conciertos/joyce-didonato-mezzosoprano&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570832197007000&amp;usg=AFQjCNE_KkKXFfiWH0s1XgZraVdxQcyCPQ">October 28 &amp; 30</a> &#8211; Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina</p> Elmhurst Ballet School ‘Old Elms’ Alumni Event in London, November 2019 http://www.balletnews.co.uk/elmhurst-ballet-school-old-elms-alumni-event-in-london-november-2019/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:f0ecbe37-2c39-900b-10fe-d2796443cb7f Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:48:06 +0000 &#160; &#8211; At London’s legendary The Water Rats&#160; &#8211;&#160; &#160; The school is keen to collate Elmhurst stories of students past and present as it work towards its 100th anniversary in...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/A8GzPIQLyX4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> The Way I See It https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/ operaramblings urn:uuid:4eb134b1-697b-8c0f-28ab-a595c60e8a88 Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:25:36 +0000 The first of Amplified Opera&#8217;s series of three shows in the Ernest Balmer Studio took place last night. The series explores the idea of &#8220;otherness&#8221; in opera.  The Way I See It , directed by Aria Umezawa, explores how the opera &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>The first of Amplified Opera&#8217;s series of three shows in the Ernest Balmer Studio took place last night. The series explores the idea of &#8220;otherness&#8221; in opera.  <em>The Way I See It</em> , directed by Aria Umezawa, explores how the opera and wider world treat the visually impaired and how we (in the broadest sense) can not just accommodate but incorporate their insights and perspectives into our performance practice.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26660" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/19_oct10-amplify-068/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Tanja-Tiziana Burdi&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19_Oct10-Amplify-068" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26660 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg?w=584" alt="19_Oct10-Amplify-068" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-068.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-26652"></span>Last night&#8217;s performers were mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, blind since birth, and pianist Liz Upchurch, also visually impaired, but before they came on there was an unusually thought provoking and non formulaic land acknowledgement by <a href="http://www.nativeearth.ca/staff/spurdy/">Smith Purdy</a>.  The performance was a mix of art songs, some Bach from Liz, anecdotes and thoughts drawn from Laurie&#8217;s poetry.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26665" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/19_oct10-amplify-048/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Tanja-Tiziana Burdi&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19_Oct10-Amplify-048" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26665 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg?w=584" alt="19_Oct10-Amplify-048" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-048-1.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The music ranged from Copland&#8217;s setting of Dickinson&#8217;s <em>There Came a Wind Like a Bugle</em> through Fauré and Brahms to a truly bravura account Rossini&#8217;s <em>Non più mesta</em>; a piece Laurie sang in her first major stage role; the title role in <em>La Cenerentola</em>.  Along the way was a lovely account of Mahler&#8217;s <em>Liebst du um Schönheit</em> and a thought provoking choice of Rodgers and Hammerstein&#8217;s <em>You&#8217;ll Never Walk Alone</em> which sounds very different in a recital like this than it ever did at Anfield.  Normally I&#8217;d be racking my brain to say something musicological at this juncture but really that&#8217;s not the point.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26661" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/19_oct10-amplify-073/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Tanja-Tiziana Burdi&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19_Oct10-Amplify-073" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26661 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg?w=584" alt="19_Oct10-Amplify-073" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-073.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Between songs we got some funny anecdotes of navigating New York with a scary guide dog.  How Laurie has worked with directors to make stage performances possible.  What &#8220;colour&#8221; can mean to someone with no functional retinal cells and, from Liz, coping with a &#8220;chaotic&#8221; eye (I can relate to that!).  Running through all this though was a very serious current of &#8220;I want to be recognised for what I can do rather than what I can&#8217;t&#8221;.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26662" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/19_oct10-amplify-085/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Tanja-Tiziana Burdi&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19_Oct10-Amplify-085" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26662 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg?w=584" alt="19_Oct10-Amplify-085" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-085.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>The evening wrapped up with a panel discussion/Q&amp;A where Laurie and Liz were joined by Rod Michalko; an author and academic, and Devon Healy, an actress and recently minted PhD.  Both of them, of course, are blind.  Here we covered topics like how directors/casting agent, even when they want a blind person, want their stereotype of a blind person rather than an actually existing one.  Devon had an anecdote of a director telling her that &#8220;no blind person would move like that&#8221;.  Also how organisations do or don&#8217;t accommodate visual impairment including assuming that sighted people know best how to do it rather than asking what might actually help.  It sounds deadly serious and, in a way it was, but it was also funny and collegial and rather uplifting.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="26664" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/10/11/the-way-i-see-it/19_oct10-amplify-387/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;Tanja-Tiziana Burdi&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="19_Oct10-Amplify-387" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-26664 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg?w=584" alt="19_Oct10-Amplify-387" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/19_oct10-amplify-387.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>My main take aways from the night (which I suspect will be echoed tonight and tomorrow); let&#8217;s celebrate and value people for what they have to give, not what they don&#8217;t, and let&#8217;s focus on what unites us as humans, not what divides us.</p> <p>There are two more shows in the series:</p> <ul> <li><em>The Queen in Me</em>; featuring Teiya Kasahara and Trevor Chartrand directed by Andrea Donaldson looks at &#8220;queerness&#8221; in opera.  That&#8217;s tonight at 7.30pm in the Ernest Balmer Studio.</li> <li><em>What&#8217;s Known to Me is Endless</em>; featuring Kenneth Overton and Rich Coburn directed by Michael Mohammed looks at how Black identity is experienced differently in Canada and the USA.  That&#8217;s at 7.30pm on Saturday, also in the Ernest Balmer.</li> </ul> <p>Photo credits: Tanja Tiziana.</p> Suddenly spinto https://parterre.com/2019/10/11/suddenly-spinto/ parterre box urn:uuid:f6d851de-4a6f-02ed-e547-bc4ecb92521b Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:05:48 +0000 <p><a href="https://parterre.com/2019/10/11/suddenly-spinto/"><img width="720" height="245" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-header-720x245.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-header-720x245.jpg 720w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-header-300x102.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-header-768x262.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-header-210x72.jpg 210w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-header.jpg 1100w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" /></a></p><p>When soprano <strong>Yihan Duan</strong> started to sing her aria, you could feel an almost electric charge that something special was happening.</p> <div id="attachment_64576" style="width: 528px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-64576" class="size-full wp-image-64576" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-518.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-518.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-518-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/duan-518-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><p id="caption-attachment-64576" class="wp-caption-text">&#8220;Genuine article&#8221; Yihan Duan.</p></div> <p><strong>Cameron Kelsall:</strong> For the uninitiated, the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition is held each fall by the Academy of Vocal Arts. A dozen or so of the conservatory’s resident artists vie for two titles: the overall first-place finish, selected by a panel of industry judges; and an audience-favorite award, selected by all in attendance.</p> <p>The evening’s title is something of a misnomer, in that artists are not limited to the bel canto genre — rather, they can sing whatever they like. It’s also somewhat inaccurate when you consider there’s often as much “can belto” as there is “bel canto” to be heard.</p> <p><strong>David Fox:</strong> How about if we start at the end, since that&#8217;s the best news? As happens all too rarely in competition settings, here I felt both that there was a clear winner, and even some sense of unanimity. When soprano <strong>Yihan Duan</strong> started to sing her aria, you could feel an almost electric charge that something special was happening. The audience, enthusiastic throughout (and no doubt including friends and family of all the singers involved), almost went wild with applause.</p> <p>And, happily, Duan took home both first prize and the audience favorite awards.  Of course, this is not to say that there weren&#8217;t others worthy of note… as well as cautionary tales to be learned from.</p> <p>Shall we do the round-up, Cameron? Mostly in order of appearance&#8230;</p> <p><strong>Emily Margevich, soprano — “Je veux vivre,” <em>Roméo et Juliette</em></strong></p> <p>CK: Musical theater aficionados have probably heard of the “Do Not Sing” list, a compendium of cuts almost guaranteed to tank an audition. (No one wants to hear “On My Own” for the thousandth time.) I propose instituting a similar list for opera competitions, and Juliette’s Waltz should be number one with a bullet.</p> <p>You could choose it if you possessed sparkling coloratura and precise French diction, neither of which Margevich displayed here. A brand-new resident artist at AVA, this appearance served as her introduction to most of the audience; it was not an auspicious debut.</p> <p>DF: Agreed about this aria, which I think of as a Miss America Coloratura piece, meaning often used for its showy quality. But it requires real stylistic mastery (my &#8220;test point&#8221; here are the little grace notes, rather than the runs and <em>acuti</em>) and rhythmic point, both largely absent here. But I will say that Margevich has a nice full tone with a lot of freedom in the upper octave, and she cuts a glamorous stage figure.</p> <p><strong>Sahel Salam, tenor — “Una furtiva lagrima,” <em>L’elisir d’Amore</em></strong></p> <p>CK: Another first-year, another done-to-death aria. Salam’s sound is slightly tenorino, but with a natural elegance that should develop as he continues his studies. (AVA is a training program after all — there’s no reason to expect these artists to be fully formed.) He did a metric ton of recital acting, which I found off-putting.</p> <p>DF: That last point — the overzealous physical acting — was a problem Salam shared with many other participants. Granted, this kind of competition is a context in which nervousness is a given… and also, that everyone wants to make a memorable impression. But less is more in a concert setting. Let the voice do the acting, and go for poise rather than emoting. That said, I think Salam has an appealing, authentic quality that will serve him well.</p> <p><strong>Daniel Gallegos, baritone — &#8220;Questo amor, vergogna mia,&#8221; <em>Edgar</em></strong></p> <p>DF: For me, this is where things really started to heat up. I&#8217;ve heard Gallegos before (he&#8217;s a third-year), but he was especially good here — musical, theatrically focused, with an absolutely lovely and quite distinctive velvety texture to the tone. And what a good aria choice! A marvelous piece that&#8217;s not done often enough. He&#8217;d have been my choice for second prize.</p> <p>CK: Yes, Gallegos also made a strong second-place showing in my own personal rankings. It’s a true Verdi and verismo sound, made without oversinging or overselling a manufactured sense of menace. I anticipate a bright future as he wraps up his time in Philadelphia.</p> <p><strong>Renee Richardson, soprano — &#8220;Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta,&#8221; <em>La rondine</em></strong></p> <p>DF: Richardson, a second-year, has made a positive impression in AVA assignments, and in some ways, she did here, too. She offered poised stage presence and a warm, rounded sound, and clearly was emotionally engaged with the text. But perhaps from nervousness, she lacked a long breath line and didn&#8217;t taper phrases ideally — nothing went wrong per se, but it was enough that the aria didn&#8217;t weave a magic spell.</p> <p>CK: Richardson boasts a pleasing but unfinished instrument. Dramatically, I thought she botched this aria. It’s a pretty, plaintive pastiche — she sang it as if it was Brunnhilde’s immolation.</p> <p><strong>Zachary Rioux, tenor — “Ed anche Beppe amò,” <em>L’amico Fritz</em></strong></p> <p>DF: Also a first-year, Rioux’s nervousness showed, both in his physical deportment and in some hoarse attacks on high notes. I look forward to hearing him in a different context — it’s a good tenor, not a large sound, but one with presence that would benefit from more spin and forward placement. The top of the voice already has an exciting ring.</p> <p>CK: A promising addition to AVA’s roster, but perhaps not quite ready for prime time. He looked like the kid in a first-grade Christmas pageant who’s always in danger of falling off the stage.</p> <p><strong>Anne Marie Stanley, mezzo-soprano, “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix,” <em>Samson et Dalila</em></strong></p> <p>DF: Let me start by saying that I have no doubt that Stanley, a first-year, will find a very bright future. Her warm mezzo is already has bloom and exceptional evenness across a big range, as well as a good command of dynamics. She’s a striking presence, too — here, in a form-hugging gown, she was truly statuesque. But that’s not really a quality I want in Dalila, and her almost oratorio-like style lacked the sensuality this piece really needs.</p> <p>CK: This aria is not as overdone as Juliette’s Waltz or “Una furtiva,” but it holds a different problem: Who can hear it without immediately summoning memories of seductive Dalilas past, from <strong>Risë Stevens</strong> to <strong>Rita Gorr</strong>? (Not to mention the late, great <strong>Jessye Norman</strong>, who made this aria a signature recital encore through much of her career.) I wouldn’t have selected it, but I’m eager to hear Stanley again — perhaps in AVA’s upcoming production of <em>La Favorite</em>?</p> <p><strong>Eric Delagrange, “La calunnia,” <em>Il barbiere di Siviglia</em></strong></p> <p>DF: Second-year Delagrange has already done some excellent work at AVA, and was notably a highlight of this summer’s Russian Opera Workshops. Here, while I was able to hear his many positive attributes, I was troubled by what sounds to me like an attempt to over-darken his voice — it <em>is</em> a bass, but he seemed to be trying to sound like <strong>Boris Christoff</strong>, age 60-plus. And there was a lot of unwelcome, unfunny schtick.</p> <p>CK: Do basses think they’ll fare better in competitions when they go full buffo? That surely seemed to be Delagrange’s strategy. To me, it eclipsed what I think is a true talent that might have been undeniably apparent in a more staid selection.</p> <p><strong>Aubry Ballarò, “Je marche sur tous les chemins,” <em>Manon</em></strong></p> <p>DF: This is another MAC aria (Miss America Coloratura), but at least Ballarò has the right sense of sparkle in her tone and approach — it’s a good sound for French opera, and she also articulates the language well. I thought she was best in the upper mid-range—the highest notes went in- and out- of phase.</p> <p>CK: A fine sound, with good stage comportment, but not much specialness — something I think of as a prerequisite for Manon. She was never a serious contender to me.</p> <p><strong>Kara Mulder, soprano — “Song to the Moon,” <em>Rusalka</em></strong></p> <p>CK: Just a few months into her tenure at AVA, Mulder received a plum assignment: the title role in the school’s first-ever production of <em>Rusalka</em>. To my ears, her soprano sounded a size too small for the deceptively complicated part (even with just a piano accompaniment), and it lacked the beguiling spin that standard-bearers like <strong>Gabriela Benackova</strong> and <strong>Renée Fleming</strong> brought to the role.</p> <p>Imagine my surprise, then, to find the voice in finely tuned shape, with real heft and emotional weight here. Mulder gets my vote for Most Improved.</p> <p>DF: Yes, this was a distinguished performance that made me understand better the confidence AVA has shown in Mulder, who has had some plum assignments, including, as you point out, Rusalka. I&#8217;m still waiting to hear how the voice ultimately develops in terms of having a sense of her optimal repertoire —I&#8217;m thinking not really Italianate, but a (to use <strong>Leontyne Price</strong>&#8216;s lovely term) &#8220;juicy lyric,&#8221; just write for some Slavic and German roles — Tatiana in <em>Eugene Onegin</em>, and Marenka in <em>The Bartered Bride</em> are two that come to mind.</p> <p><strong>Timothy Murray, baritone — “Avant de quitter,” <em>Faust</em></strong></p> <p>CK: Murray made a strong impression in the relatively thankless role of the Huntsman in <em>Rusalka</em>, and here, he continued to show off a true lyric baritone with a refreshingly unconstricted top and a fully individuated color. He turned an aria I’ve come to consider a rather bland showpiece into a gripping moment of narrative thinking. I’m ready to hear him in larger, juicier assignments.</p> <p>DF: This was one of the best put-together voices of the evening, solid throughout the range, with lovely vibrato that never went out of control. Given that’s still a second-year, his performance here was a very finished and impressive showing.</p> <p><strong>Pascale Spinney, mezzo-soprano — “Habanera,” <em>Carmen</em></strong></p> <p>CK: In terms of interpretation, this was a Cliff’s Notes Carmen: hands on hips, ripples of laughter, shameless audience flirtation. Spinney seemed to be auditioning for a backwater regional production circa 1974. It’s disappointing she stuck to stock gesturing, because vocally, she’s got the goods — and as a native Montrealer, her French is bell clear. She will surely be singing this role in opera houses sooner rather than later — hopefully by then, she’ll have figured out a fresh take on the character.</p> <p>DF: A disappointment for me, for sure, since I&#8217;ve seen Spinney do some very fine work at AVA, and as you say, she&#8217;s absolutely right for this — probably not in a large house, at least not at first, but it&#8217;s a Carmen voice and presence. I also think you could tell the imagination was at work here—she found a nicely conversational style, and offered some sly humor. But she undercut herself from the start with too much self-conscious vamping. For me, when Carmen puts her hands on her hips, it&#8217;s &#8220;game over.&#8221;</p> <p><strong>Oliver Sewell, tenor — “Seul sur la terre,” <em>Dom Sebastien</em></strong></p> <p>DF: Sewell had a wonderful start at AVA, including an ardent Alfredo in <em>La Traviata</em>, and he’s been climbing the ranks professionally since then. His appearance here validated many of his good qualities —musicality, good line, and a very plangent sound — but it didn’t feel quite idiomatic. He reminded me of a good British oratorio tenor, and the top notes — excellent in themselves — weren’t wholly integrated into the rest of the voice.</p> <p>CK: Sewell showed such early promise — that Alfredo was in his first year with AVA — that it’s easy to forget that he still has a way to go in terms of transforming his very appealing voice into a fully integrated instrument. This outing suggests he’s not quite there yet.</p> <p><strong>Timothy Renner, baritone — “Cruda, funesta smania,” <em>Lucia di Lammermoor</em></strong></p> <p>CK: Now in his final season with AVA, Renner has impressed me in a wide array of repertoire, singing everything from Germont in <em>La Traviata</em> to Wotan in <em>Das Rheingold</em>. I even heard him and a colleague perform “A Little Priest” from <em>Sweeney Todd </em>at a gala concert, where he displayed more comic panache and musical theater idiom than you might expect from an opera singer. He’s the real deal. So, let’s hope this competition found him on an off night. He looked and sounded awkward and uncomfortable in an aria he should have aced with his eyes closed.</p> <p>DF: Yes, this was a puzzler and even a bit of a heartbreaker. Renner is an absolute MVP, whose work here even in his first couple of years had the patina of a professional. Had I never heard him before, I would have still thought this a good voice, but it lacked the confident ring and absolute solidity that has been a feature in so much of his singing.</p> <div id="attachment_64578" style="width: 528px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-64578" class="size-full wp-image-64578" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/smith.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/smith.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/smith-300x203.jpg 300w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/smith-210x142.jpg 210w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><p id="caption-attachment-64578" class="wp-caption-text">&#8220;Stage animal&#8221; Brent Michael Smith</p></div> <p><strong>Brent Michael Smith, bass — “Sous les pieds d’une femme,” <em>La reine de Saba</em></strong></p> <p>CK: For the second straight year, Smith took second prize in the competition. I can hear what people respond to in his sound, although it’s a bit more covered than I usually prefer. He’s good on the words and lithe on stage, and I admire his out-there choice of repertoire. He is clearly not someone content to play it safe, and his strong placement suggests the old maxim of high risk, high reward.</p> <p>DF: I know what you mean about the tone — it feels almost like a funnel of sound sometimes, though that may be in part a function of how Smith places the French language. He’s clearly a stage animal, and I admire the brio of his performances.</p> <p>And, saving the best for last&#8230; Sometimes—there’s God—so quickly!</p> <p><strong>Yihan Duan, soprano — “Sola, perduta, abbandonata,” <em>Manon Lescaut</em></strong></p> <p>CK: The genuine article. A true spinto, with gorgeous dark coloring, crisp Italianate phrasing, and a supple middle and lower range. She also conveyed Manon Lescaut’s tragic, lonely death without resorting to overacting, by deploying a welcome stillness that allowed her superb vocal interpretation to do most of the work. Duan is in her second year with AVA, and heretofore has only sung small roles — that should change. The company is mounting <em>Ballo </em>in the spring, and they would be crazy not to cast her as Amelia.</p> <p>DF: Yes to all of that, and although the voice is not huge, there&#8217;s a quality of grandeur and majesty to the vocal line that makes one think of major Puccini and Verdi roles. And she made every point here through her voice, truly singing lines like, &#8220;Ah, tutto è finito,&#8221; which are often pulled apart for dramatic effect.</p> <p>Everything about Duan&#8217;s performance suggested a maturity that was highly distinctive in this context. I won&#8217;t be surprised if a decade from now, I&#8217;’ll cash in my bragging rights by telling people that I saw her as a beginning artist and AVA, and knew then that she would be a major artist.</p> <p>And speaking of &#8220;Finito,&#8221; shall we call it a night, Cameron? &#8220;The song is ended, but the memory lingers on,&#8221; and all that?</p> <p>CK: Until next year, at least&#8230;</p> <p>Photos: Don Valentino</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>