Cher Public

Start the revolution with me

The Bayerische Staatsoper just announced, in addition to their usual bounty of webcasts, two special presentations: a repeat of Semiramide and a live telecast of Andrea Chenier.

Last weekend’s live stream of Gioachino Rossini’s Semiramide will be available on demand on the website of the Bayerische Staatsoper this upcoming weekend of March 4 and 5. David Alden‘s new production stars Joyce DiDonato in the title role, heading a cast including Daniela Barcellona, Alex Esposito and Lawrence Brownlee. Rossini specialist Michele Mariotti conducts the Bayerische Staatsorchester. The performance will be available free of charge from 9 am (CET) on Saturday, March 4 all through Sunday, March 5 at midnight (CET).

On March 18, opera-lovers from all around the globe have the chance to experience tenor Jonas Kaufmann in one of his signature roles. Director Philipp Stölzl’s new take on Andrea Chenier also features Anja Harteros in her role debut as Maddalena di Coigny and Luca Salsi as Carlo Gérard. Omer Meir Wellber conducts Umberto Giordano’s riveting verismo score. The live audiovisual broadcast will start at 7 pm (CET).

  • John Yohalem

    A fabulous production of Semiramide! Slam-bang rootin-tootin politically involved THEATER, with a terrific sing of Rossini’s finest grand opera in the midst of it. Catch this!

  • Portia Minty

    I second John’s enthusiasm for this well-thought-out, interesting production with some wonderful singing.
    It would be great if this rebroadcast were the beginning of a new trend for the Bayerische Staatsoper, since their livestreams are technically so unpredictable, at least on my various browsers.

  • Camille

    Guess I’ll come in third place on this one as I, too, thought it was terrific. Ordinarily I can take or leave Regie--it’s not why I go to hear the opera-- but this really helped considerably to sustain my interest in a long and unfamiliar dramatic work which had zero comic relief. Somewhere or another in the last few days I have read that this opera Semiramide is like a continuation (of style and innovation) of his much earlier Tancredi, and which this brought to mind. Twice unhappy now to have missed the Philly Tancredi now, as next month will be the Otello given by LoftOpera, and I would have been able to have seen a trio of these not-oft done dramas. Well, two outta three ain’t bad, as the song goes.

    Plus+++++the costumes were just SPLENDID!!! Everyone seemed to be putting their ALL into it all, so much so that now I am wishing against everything logical that this production might be imported here for the upcoming season’s Semiramide. I know that wish is in vain, but still….ultimately, it won’t matter that much to me as I’ve never seen the old production, YET…!

    • Evenhanded


      Camille, Tancredi and Semiramide were both written for Venice and nicely bookend Rossini’s highly experimental years in Naples. Otello was one of Rossini’s nine operas for that house and features some truly innovative (for that time) music and structural elements. Despite breaking with many operatic customs while writing for the fairly progressive Neopolitan audience, the subsequent composition of Semiramide (his last new opera for Italy) was in many ways a throwback to earlier forms, though it is thrilling in its musical inventiveness and emotional intensity. I haven’t watched the DVD of the Met production in years, but it does the opera justice quite nicely, if I recall correctly (though I totally agree that the costuming for Munich is wonderful!). Of much greater concern at the Met is the casting: a soprano who has zero charisma (a major requirement for this role) and blowsy coloratura and a bass who will look and act the part well, but almost certainly will have trouble negotiating the rapidfire roulades in which Ramey (as one example) was so utterly thrilling. Reservations aside, I am glad they are reviving the piece after such a long absence.

      • Camille

        That is right, they were both written for Teatro la Fenice. Wondering if this fact has any relevance.

        It was quite striking to see them as I did and by sheer chance, not realizing the one preceded the other, for they seemed to be as bookends. Very sorry to have mised the Philadelphia performances as they had a lot to offer from those performers.

        I certainly did not hear the performance of Semiramide at Caramoor with the soprano to whom you allude and will try to remain neutral for now. People evolve, and sometimes they will find one special role, in which something ignites them and the impossible happens. Perhaps an opportunity like this one, in which she is not following a more beautiful and popular favorite may help to bolster her ego--heavens, I have not a clue as to what drives her but so long as she does not give us that imitation Caballé, it’s all good. About the basso to whom you refer, well, I did like him in Figaro. Somehow, he never is really there, totally, for me in dramatic roles although he considerably upped his game as Enrico in the second set of Anna Bolena.

        Besides, I am going mainly for mi amorcito,Javier Camarena, and do so hope he’s given both his arias. Very, very ornate and difficult music to which he will do justice, although Mr. Brownlee certainly was excellent the other day!

        • John Yohalem

          One might also add that both Tancredi and Semiramide are based on Voltaire dramas, though no one ever stages any of his dramas anymore. So it hardly matters.

  • Satisfied

    Jonas out of Tosca per the Times. Sad news, but at least he’s reportedly keeping the Carnegie recitals and BSO performances.

    • Marjorie2

      Is there really no article about this on Parterre or am I just missing it?

      • Lohenfal

        There was no separate article about the Jonas affair, but there were some comments on it under the heading “beyond the sea,” also on Mar. 2. Also, there was a subsequent article in the Times which wasn’t discussed here at all. It turns out that Jonas offered to sing 4 performances of Tosca, skipping the rehearsal period and the premiere, but doing the HD. Gelb rejected the offer--thus, no Jonas at all. It appears that Jonas’ desire to stay near his family will prevent him from accepting any new productions at the Met, at least for the foreseeable future.

        • Marjorie2

          Thanks for your reply!

  • leoniceno

    Are subtitles not offered for the “Semiramide” repeat? I haven’t been able to figure out how to activate them.

  • Brackweaver

    I watched Act I. Good production. I sure that many cross cultural references were over my head though. Brownlee-excellent. JD good but stressed at the top. The bass was OK. The rest-no comment.

    The transmission was perfect. This was my first time with the CE edition of the score. What a pleasure. Still, thank-you Kalmus for coming through so many times.

    • Camille

      As you have the CE, and if you see this note--could you happen to glance at the critical notes to see if this overture was composed fresh for this opera. I am supposing it was as so many of the themes are iterated variously throughout the work but I can’t be sure. I am working from the antique Kalmus which does only reveal maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of what we are hearing here. Thanks, if you care to trouble. Since this work has thoroughly piqued my interest and ear I would like to know much of what it is about before I hear t next year and since there is the time to prepare for it.

      • Brackweaver

        I can’t find a specific answer to your question. It’s not in the notes at the front nor does it have a separate section in the back. Within 2 months of the premier Ricordi, without permission published from the Autograph manuscript 8 selections including ‘the reasonably accurate’ Sinfonia. That’s about it…

        I watched most of Act Two today. (Work interfered.)The director needs special praise. He also managed to get some sex into things. I loved the Mrs. Danvers gets her freak on scene.

        • Camille

          That’s good enough for me and thank you very much for your help!! We were just wondering as a lot of the ouverture sounded rather jaunty so just wanted to check. Thanks!!!

  • hai lui

    just saw the rebroadcast live stream -- I agree, terrific production -- Didonato and Brownlee in particular at the top of form, and entire cast and costumes -- and pacing -- were so powerful that the absence of surtitles was not a problem for me (I did have a copy of the libretto handy). Brava, bravo

  • Camille

    Semiramide Alert! Rossini Lovers Attention! You’ve only got about five and a half hours left to cram in the approximately four hours of this splendidissima Semiramide, so please pay attention. Worth a second viewing in my estimation.

    • QuantoPainyFakor

      Doubtless inspired by the rendition of the title role in the new Munich Semiramide is the second verse of this performance:

      • Batty Masetto

        What’s weird is that she’s not singing German or any other language I recognize in the first verse, either.

      • Camille

        Well then,

        I just heard that eminent diva Julia Jellicoe last night so it really doesn’t sound that funny in comparison--! Although this lady unfortunately doesn’t do the funny accent either--it should be English sung with an Hungarian accent—-

        • QuantoPainyFakor

          Yep, she’s got that gargle technique down pat. Authenticity aside, the way that Bonynge adapted Semiramide for Joan was masterful.

          • Camille

            You know, of all her earlier recordings, that one and most all of the third act of Puritani were where I had finally had too much of a good thing and turned away to other singers of the moment— so there is a vast lacuna for me where Semiramide is concerned. It is yet uncharted territory and really quite thrilling to rediscover after all this time. Now that I’ve got my ears wet, I’ll go on to listen to others’ including Dame Joan and a version with Mariella Devia which interests me, too. It is nice to hear something good about Bonynge as I iust listened to his ’86 Puritani the other day and was so struck by how alive the orchestra sounded in comparison to this recent series and quite a bit more stylish.

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              IMHO, Mariotti is part of the problem, but that’s an entirely different subject.
              One of the first things one notices in comparing Bonynge’s version for Joan is that he swaps Semiramide’s vocal line with that of Idreno, so in the octave of the soprano register the tenor part becomes the Haupttstimme. (Same tradition, be it good or bad, as a coloratura Rosina swapping notes with Berta.) Devia is always worthy of admiration.

            • Camille

              Surely that practice is easily understood as the tessitura really is quite central even eschewing many high flying notes held at length, B flat is about it in “Serbarmi ognor”, e.g., and did not note anything higher than a B in passage work in the entire score. Signora Rossini was experiencing quite a bit of vocal wear and tear by the time this was written so it seems it was writen with her vocal security in mind.

              You mean she took Idreno’s part in the entrance ensemble and the other ones as well? Hah, did she sing his first aria as well, which was cut in this productiin?

              Wonder if I should listen to hers with Horne or with Simionato and if there’s a difference--oh yes--different conductor. And what is Mariotti doing? Grazie; Maestro!

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              Joan did the Bonynge customizations even in the early productions of the opera that he did not conduct. As time took its toll on Sutherland and Horne, they tended to simplify, or just avoid, some of the fireworks in which they were incomparable in the early days.

            • Camille

              Okay, got it and shall listen to all I can find of her in this role bearing this in mind and of course they modified things as time wore on, to be expected.

              Guessing it best to listen to Junie Anderson while I’m at it, too.

            • Camille

              Oh yes,
              One last question please--I wonder if the Bonynges might ever have considered the role of Elisabetta in Rossini’s Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra as a vehicle — and how I wish an entire La Straniera with her had been recorded based on the scant portion of it that was recorded.

            • QuantoPainyFakor
            • Camille

              !Ay! Che contrasti!!

              Both very entertaining and edifying. I thank you.

              I’m glad to have yet another year to investigate this opera as it’s a lost continent of Atlantis to me and there is much to be learned.

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              I’ll be waiting for the results of your findings.

            • Camille

              Keep tuned to this station, for the results of the archæological digs on Babylon will be up and running sometime starting next February 19th. There is nothing I love more!

              Ciao 4 now!

        • grimoaldo2

          Did you enjoy “The Grand Duke” Camille?

          • Camille

            There is most probably an official review in the works and so shall confine my jejune and inconsequential remarks thereto and at the assigned moment.

            AND — You were right.