One of the “smaller” opera events in New York City that got the biggest buzz last year occurred not in a traditional performance space but at WhiteboxLab > Sound Lounge, an art gallery in Chinatown. Director R.B. Schlather and his team returned there this month to explore Handel’s Orlando and the results, as seen at Monday night’s final presentation, proved uncommonly stimulating. Read more »
All those who have been in a rage since the news broke this week that the Metropolitan Opera has invited Calixto Bieito to stage Verdi’s La Forza del Destino can relax and embrace the Juilliard Opera’s new Le Nozze di Figaro which opened Friday night. Although it definitely had its eccentricities, Stephen Wadsworth’s hectic production included little to offend the unhappy opponents of regietheater. And despite an uneven cast there was still much to enjoy, especially the radiant Susanna of Ying Fang. Read more »
Many large opera companies these days host valuable young artist programs dedicated to helping singers negotiate the difficult transition between leaving the conservatory and becoming full-time performing artists. Yet few independent organizations have the resources to do the same; however, the French Early Music ensemble Les Arts Florissants has since 2002 been regularly convening an acclaimed “baroque academy,” and the laureates of its seventh edition arrived at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday with an enchanting entertainment called “In an Italian Garden.” Read more »
Although she began her career nearly 25 years ago recording and performing lots of baroque music, I was surprised to see German soprano Dorothea Röschmann promoted as the star attraction of an all-Purcell concert Sunday at Carnegie Hall.
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.
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.