Perhaps there are not that many people in the world who would look at a CD cover and think “Oh, goody, goody! A libretto by Eugène Scribe I’ve never come across before!” Scribe, a prolific creator of many forms of popular theatre in Paris, wrote the libretti for the most famous French grand operas but also produced works in many other genres. I knew I could expect a lot of variety, incident and entertainment from Ali Baba ou Les Quarante voleurs (“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”) and I was not disappointed. Read more »
The surprises, and puzzles, of Dmitri Tcherniakov‘s production of Don Giovanni in this DVD of a performance at the Aix-en-Provence festival begin before a note has been played or the curtain has risen. The cast list is not what those of us familiar with the Mozart-da Ponte classic are accustomed to.
We find the statement “The action takes place in the house of the Commander” and then the cast is listed as : “The Commander; Donna Anna (his daughter); Don Ottavio (her new fiancé); Zerlina (her daughter by a previous marriage); Masetto (Zerlina’s fiance); Donna Elvira (Anna’s cousin); Don Giovanni (Elvira’s husband); and Leporello (a relative who lives in the house).” Read more »
I got quite a surprise when I opened the latest packet of goodies from La Cieca – a DVD of Orphée aux Enfers, but in German as Orpheus in der Unterwelt, from the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1984, with a bizarre cast list including two noted exponents of Wagner’s Brünnhilde (Astrid Varnay and Janis Martin) in supporting roles, a Wagnerian heldentenor (Hans Beirer) as Jupiter, a tenor who I thought of as a Mozart singer from the 60′s and 70′s (George Shirley) as Pluton, and the “crossover” artist Julia Migenes, who started out in musicals but appeared in quite a few operas including the famous Francesco Rosi cinema version of Carmen, as Eurydice. The production is by Götz Friedrich , who did a lot of Wagner productions at Covent Garden that I remember very well. Read more »
The 19th century could not cope with Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers) with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte and music by Mozart, first presented in Vienna in 1790.
the strip on my first and, so far at least, only visit to Las Vegas a few years ago, I noticed what to me was a most unexpected sight and startled my companions by pointing out the window and shouting “Auber!”
Of all of Verdi’s operas. Aida is the one I find least interesting dramatically.
All of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi contain music that is worth hearing and can be rewarding in good performances.His seventh opera, Giovanna d’Arco,premiered at La Scala in 1845, is one of the least often performed these days. Renata Tebaldi made a radio broadcast, available as a recording, in 1951; there was a studio recording with Montserrat Caballe conducted by James Levine in the 70′s; a video of a production with Susan Dunn appeared in 1990; and June Anderson performed the role in concerts in New York and a stage production at Covent Garden in the 90′s. Other than that [...]