Cher Public

Better call Saul

saul-amazonHandel’s dramatic oratorios are very difficult to stage—many clutch their pearls while bemoaning “…but they were never meant to be staged”—and require a vivid theatrical imagination to bring them to life. Director Barrie Kosky’s Glyndebourne 2015 production of Handel’s 1739 oratorio Saul (released on Opus Arte DVD) shows just such an imagination as well as a strong cast and design team. The familiar Biblical tale begins with the aftermath of David’s slaying of Goliath, and Kosky eschews any attempt at realism, leading us through the story in an almost dreamlike state.

Kosky calls himself an “extravagant minimalist” and here, the costumes are extravagant and the scenic elements minimal, both created with great style by designer Katrin Lea Tag. At the beginning, we see only the severed head of Goliath; after the prelude, we have decorated banquet tables reflecting the Israelites’ celebration of the victory of David. Read more »

Morley marvelous

Erin MorleyToo rarely does a moment arrive during an opera or a concert when a great piece of music meets an inspired artist: time stands still and you experience Nirvana. Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall two remarkable slices of soprano-heaven were served up, first by Carolyn Sampson and then by Erin Morley, during the second act of Handel’s Orlando. Their transcendent pair of arias elevated an uneven performance of one of Handel’s most challenging operas by The English Concert.  Read more »

Out there in the dark

The revival of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Music Center downtown, last seen at LA Opera in 2013, is reason for jubilation for everyone except perhaps the singers engaged. But more of that anon.  Read more »

Storm warning

Forget the hurricane preparations for a few hours this afternoon and enjoy the live webcast of Les Contes d’Hoffmann from the Komische Oper Berlin, starting at 12:55 PM.

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Words and music

As is happening increasingly in opera productions today (e.g., the Rosenkavalier in Stuttgart), the action of Moses und Aron at the Komische Oper begins some minutes before the music does.

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Macaronic and cheese

The Berlin Komische Oper was the scene of one of my greatest opera experiences five years ago, so I particularly looked forward to a return to this theater.

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Bühne nights

Your doyenne and her faithful confidante Dawn Fatale are off later this week for a safari, seeking the wild Regie in its natural habitat.

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Deeds of kindness to review

For decades thousands and thousands have attended Handel’s Messiah (usually around Christmas or more appropriately near Easter) making it easily one of the most widely known works of classical music.

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First installment

Our own JJ (not pictured) has finally begun to unburden himself on the subject of the recent, much-discussed “Regietournee.” For reviews of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Rusalka and Cosi fan tutte in Berlin, please go to Musical America‘s Rough and Regie. (Photo: Monkia Rittershaus)

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