Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • phoenix: Coincidentally, I also saw that Huguenotten in Berlin around that same time – with same cast... 8:46 PM
  • Stefan: It is a great house and has great sightlines overall from what I can remember. The Schoenberg had the... 8:00 PM
  • Chanterelle: So potentially bus to Dusseldorf (not too bad), and then a flight to Berlin–Dusse ldorf... 7:34 PM
  • Chanterelle: Uh, you didn’t get the part about the rail strike? 7:28 PM
  • Chanterelle: I did that weekend, too! Loved the Parsifal, was lukewarm about the Hollander, and hardly... 7:26 PM
  • LT: I’d rather she didn’t take the E and instead sang the whole thing much better. 6:28 PM
  • Hans Lick: Saw Luisa Miller in Frankfurt in 1996, perhaps my introduction to Regie. (No: Des Hugenotten in... 6:10 PM
  • Don_Dano: And we got trills during the hojotohos;(not that trills are everything). And today’s matinee... 5:49 PM
  • Quanto Painy Fakor: In a very operatic mode, according to Lebrecht: “There will be a funeral ceremony... 5:36 PM
  • maxe: Cieca: does that mean you could not FLY to Stuttgart? Quote By this point in her career, La Cieca finds... 5:04 PM

Speer pressure

One of the things that made François Girard’s 2013 production of Parsifal at the Met so compelling was the way he tried to make the tale of suffering and temptation relevant to a contemporary audience. The French-Canadian director set the looming devastation of Montsalvat in a bleak, desiccated landscape populated by characters in modern dress who emerged from behind a mirrored curtain that reflected the auditorium. Stylized gestures and dramatic lighting evoked an abstract reality that heightened one’s awareness of the way nature and society work.   Read more »

Bomb scare

The appeal of Ariadne auf Naxos (for me anyway) is the acknowledgment that underneath it all, opera (and all other forms of “high art”) is really show business. Richard Strauss was a practical man of the theater and he cared very much about maintaining his expensive lifestyle. There’s an evergreen tongue-in-cheek quality to Ariadne that I love. Of course, irony and humor are one of the first casualties in opera productions. The latest video from Glyndebourne is no exception. Read more »

Final chapter

Richard Strauss’ Elektra has always been something of a touchstone opera for this reviewer.  It was one of the first operas I attended at the Met (Birgit Nilsson’s return in 1980—I still have her “Orest!” ringing somewhere in my brain).  It was the first full opera recording I ever bought (Nilsson, Solti) on cassettes that I still have in my collection.  My other live Elektras include Ute Vinzing, Hildegard Behrens and, most recently, the excellent Christine Goerke in Chicago.

But none of my previous Elektra experiences prepared me for this stunning, overwhelming performance from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, with brilliant and incisive stage direction by Patrice Chéreau (his final opera staging before his death in 2013).  Esa-Pekka Salonen leads a superb cast and the Orchestre de Paris in a reading of Strauss’ score that doesn’t stint on the powerful climaxes yet brings out all the musical textures—there are, of course, the booming brass-and-drums moments, but Salonen also finds the thrilling quiet moments.  The playing and singing in the Recognition scene are exquisitely sweet.   Read more »

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Rich man’s frug

A good performance of a Rossini opera buffa usually bubbles along merrily.

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Shopping season

After a long summer drought, suddenly new Blu-ray and DVD releases are falling, as it were, from the sky.

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Lost in space

It’s rare to encounter a video of an opera that has zero redeeming qualities, but I think I might have found it: the latest Arena di Verona La Traviata.

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We have always slept in the castle

For those of you still queasy after Mary Zimmerman’s sophomoric snarknado attack on Bellini’s La Sonnambula, the new DVD of the Stuttgart Opera production should provide a bracing restorative.

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Auto-da-fair

The Salzburg Festival has long had the image of this place where for a little over a month, the very best singers are brought together with the very best conductors and the very best directors to create the very best productions the opera world has to offer.

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Project runway

Some ideas are so absurd that the only way to describe them is to simply use the liner notes.

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Gelt trip

With the help of our friends at ArtHaus Musik, the Deutsche Oper Berlin have really been emptying out their archives and that’s certainly all for the good.

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