The advance publicity about Zhang Huan’s production of Handel’s luscious Semele currently having its US premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music prominently featured the Chinese artist’s provocative claim: “Knowing nothing about operas, I am a complete outsider.” From this statement many may have feared the worst regie excesses; however, much of Friday evening’s enjoyable performance by the Canadian Opera Company (reportedly revised from its earlier Toronto incarnation) proved to be safely unchallenging. Read more »
The last day of December a parcel arrived in the mail containing an absolute delight: “Semiramide—La Signora Regale.” One of best vocal recordings of 2014, this sumptuous 2-CD set on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi features the marvelous Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus and includes 90 minutes of rarely-heard music written for the legendary Babylonian queen. Read more »
At what moment does a “rising star” become simply a “star”? A crucial step toward that operatic pinnacle may have occurred Wednesday evening at the Metropolitan Opera when soprano Sonya Yoncheva triumphed in her first US Violetta. Since its premiere there in 2010, Willy Decker’s starkly devastating production of Verdi’s La Traviata has been waiting for the ideal protagonist to don Wolfgang Gussmann’s iconic red dress and with its sixth soprano she has arrived. Read more »
His shaved head in striking contrast to his dark beard and glinting eyes, the implacable Tartar conqueror glowers at us from the CD cover, while the uncropped photo of countertenor Xavier Sabata (above) is even more disturbing, featuring his raised fist and forearm tightly wrapped in a leather belt.
For many in New York and around the world, if the name William Christie appears on a concert or opera program, it’s a must-attend.
Whenever opera-lovers are canvassed about what neglected operas they hunger to see revived, the resulting lists inevitably feature a goodly number of grand operas, those once wildly popular monstrosities–particularly by Meyerbeer–written primarily for Paris in the mid-19th century.
Almost exactly twenty years after her auspicious Metropolitan Opera debut as the Fiakermilli in Arabella and a year following what she has claims was her final appearance on the operatic stage, Natalie Dessay returned Sunday afternoon to Lincoln Center—to sing opera.
Sunday afternoon’s intermittently involving concert performance of Handel’s Alcina at Carnegie Hall starred an unusually intense Joyce DiDonato as a powerful sorceress blinded by her romantic delusions.
America hasn’t exactly been vigorous about commemorating the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Philippe Rameau.