When Mike Nichols was honored at the Kennedy Center, Elaine May said of his work: “Mike has chosen to do things that are really meaningful, and that have real impact, and real relevance, but he makes them so entertaining and exciting that they’re as much fun as if they were trash.” Christopher Alden has pulled the same bit of trickery at the San Francisco Opera with a production of Handel’s Partenope that is so erudite and theatrically audacious and also such a rollicking ride, it’s hard to believe it isn’t crap. Read more »
Gotham Chamber Opera, which began to operate twelve years ago with a double bill of Bohuslav Martinu’s quirky little pieces, opened its 2014-15 season with two more, Alexandre bis (Alexander, twice) and Comedy on the Bridge. Both were composed in the 1930s, when Martinu, like any East European with artistic aspirations, was living in Paris. There, he became acquainted with the neo-classicism of Stravinsky, the modernism of Les Six, with surrealism and le jazz hot. His music is difficult to pigeonhole: quirky, light, individual. When war broke out, he absconded to America, which he enjoyed, but he returned to Europe before his death in 1959. Read more »
Before leaving for Paris—where I am studying for the semester—many of my friends instructed me to get lost in the City of Light and meander through the labyrinths of cafés and galleries. I have just emerged from a different sort of journey, less spontaneous but equally disorienting. Three nights, three concert halls, and three incredibly diverse programmes: from Bach (and not just the one you know) to Rameau to Mahler and Schoenberg. I had planned to go in chronological order—but I simply must tell you right away about the intimate Gurrelieder I just experienced at Opera Bastille. Read more »
“Taken by itself, the St. Matthew Passion felt a little mundane. But compared to Zauberflöte, it could have been the Second Coming.”
On this day in 1793, Queen Marie-Antoinette of France was tried and convicted in a swift, pre-determined trial in the Palais de Justice, Paris, and condemned to death the following day.
“Norwegian mezzo-soprano Ingeborg Gillebo will make her Met debut singing the role of Cherubino in this evening’s performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, replacing Isabel Leonard, who is ill.”