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The Met: A Three-Part Series

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  • Flora del Rio Grande: A certain Alabama soprano who sings Musetta? I do detect some vocal stress there now... 1:25 AM
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  • Krunoslav: To me, Antonacci has Kunst and can sing beautifully as to line and feeling, but does not qualify... 12:40 AM
  • Krunoslav: “I still say the ONLY Stimm/Kunst successful diva..gorgeous voice and remarkable emotion is... 12:34 AM
  • Cara Speme: Dear Dylan, I am in Puritanical heaven, Thanks for an embarrassment of riches. (And the best... 12:20 AM
  • Cara Speme: Dear Dylan, I am in Puritanical heaven, Thanks for an embarrassment of riches. (And the best... 12:20 AM
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On the beach

The sea, the sky, the wind, the storms that are so frequently depicted in the music of Benjamin Britten are brilliantly illuminated in the new DVD of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach, a collaboration between Aldeburgh Music, film director Margaret Williams, and stage director Tim Albery.

On a fantastical set (a stunning design by Leslie Travers) depicting storm-tossed boats and piers placed on the beach pebbles near the water’s edge, the performance plays out in the natural elements with the audience on the beach as well.  The sea and sky are the backdrops, and this performance finds the heart and guts of Britten’s work with excellent staging and performances that get deeply into the minds and souls of Britten’s troubled Borough.   Read more »

Submerged

As part of the celebration of the three-year long restoration of the Theatre Royal de Liege (and, from what we can see in this DVD it is a glorious restoration indeed), the Opera Royal de Wallonie went all the way to find as Belgian an operatic experience as was possible.  The company came up with Stradella, a three-act opera composed by Liege-born Cesar Franck when he was a teenager in the early 1840’s and unseen since then until this production in September 2012.

Franck’s opera was found complete with only a piano score and some “hints at orchestration.”  The company employed composer Luc van Hove to develop the orchestration, and thus was ready to perform the fully orchestrated Stradella for the very first time.  Read more »

Lake, placid

Having recently reviewed Glass’s The Perfect American on this site and participated in spirited discussions about the film Saving Mr. Banks, it is perhaps not surprising that Walt Disney should spring to my mind as I watched the Unitel Classica video of Die Zauberflote from the floating stage of the Bregenzer Festspiele.  One expects spectacle in all productions on the floating stage, but here the theme park antics completely overwhelm Mozart and Schikaneder’s simple fable.  Read more »

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When owls attack

Philip Glass’s 25th opera The Perfect American was originally commissioned for New York City Opera during the aborted regime of Gerard Mortier.

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Game theory

I first became aware of the work of Austrian film director Michael Haneke a few years back when I followed a tip from a friend and rented the well-reviewed The White Ribbon.

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Lots of Gluck

De Nederlandse Opera’s remarkable 2011 feat of premiering productions of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride on the same day and virtually the same set has been issued on a 2-DVD set by Opus Arte.

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The girl next door

On first hearing, Paul Dukas’ 1907 opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue (Ariane and Bluebeard) sounds like the love child of a three-way between Wagner, Strauss, and Debussy.

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Parting shot

Somewhere around the early 80’s, stage directors realized that the odious theatre practice of “audience involvement” was over.

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Isle, cry tomorrow

I completely missed The Enchanted Island during the Met’s 2011-12 season, both in the house and in the HD presentation.  Even on Sirius, I had only heard snippets of the performance.

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Bear in mind

Before there was a Stefan Herheim Boheme (which I reviewed a couple of weeks back for this site), there was a Herheim Eugene Onegin, recorded in June 2011 at De Nederlanse Opera.

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