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 »
“Ogni Cura si doni al diletto / E s’accorra nel magico petto,” the joke went back in the late ’90s. What wags we were! José Cura, cover boy for this vintage issue of parterre box, is not the main focus of the magazine, though. La Cieca muses on the telecast of Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, the premiere of the (second) Zeffirelli Traviata at the Met and Christopher Alden‘s take on The Mother of Us All; Indiana Loiterer III covers the first visit of the Duchess of Argyll to BAM; various parterriani dream dreams of recordings; and Dawn Fatale unleashes the seminal rant “The Volpe Era.” [Download Issue #35]
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is first among equals in a spectacular cast when she sings the title role of Ariodante in this season’s installment of Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed cycle of Handel’s operas in concert. A brilliantly melodic work, the opera features outstanding arias for each of the principal singers, including Ariodante’s melancholy “Scherza infida” and show-stopping “Doppo note.” Harry Bicket and The English Concert bring authentic Handelian brilliance to this marvelous opera. (Photo: Simon Pauly) Get tickets. Read more »
“Director Christopher Alden destroys everything Strauss’s operetta stands for…. the work’s underbelly may be serious, but on stage ‘bitterness must turn to bliss in sweet forgetfulness’…. Die Fledermaus should be as much an exercise in escapism for us today as it was for its first audience in 1874…. Above all it needs to make us laugh and go out humming its tunes.” [Financial Times]
To close its season this week, New York City Opera is unleashing hurricane-force gales of laughter.
Russian children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov called upon the newly appointed culture minister to check a Russian-British opera production for sex and drug scenes.
Now New York City Opera has given us a “Così Fan Tutte” starring the undead.
The ENO was filled with ghosts last week. Spectral, possibly illusory figures fleetingly materialized in the Internet chatrooms that provide the setting for much of Nico Muhly’s new opera Two Boys, and brutal boarding school memories came back to troubled life in director Christopher Alden’s dark take on Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.