Cher Public

  • NPW-Paris: No, my remark meant over the past few years, not within the season! Please don’t give them more ideas! 2:08 PM
  • fletcher: Does ONP use dynamic pricing ? I’m paying €140 each for Meistersinger tickets in the second balcony – seems awfully... 1:57 PM
  • Operngasse: Replying to Tubsinger’s Montsy request, I only was fortunate enough once to see Ms. Caballe perform. It was the Met, and... 1:55 PM
  • armerjacquino: Why would a Tamino who hasn’t been to the gym ‘not look the part’? There’s no mention of... 1:55 PM
  • RosinaLeckermaul: I totally agree. Nothing wrong with singers trying to look the part. The ENO prides itself on the quality and... 1:52 PM
  • armerjacquino: How very weird. Cardiff is a British competition in the sense that it’s hosted in Britain but in every other way... 1:49 PM
  • quoth the maven: I have to say I find Polegato’s argument in the FB thread faintly idiotic, as I do any time a performer counters a... 1:34 PM
  • NPW-Paris: “Great Britain the homeland of the white trash…” ; Well, it *is* where I’m from so they may be right. 1:30 PM

Slash by night

There aren’t many opera video releases that can be recommended without reservation. There’s always an “on the other hand.” Beautiful, intelligent productions are often hampered by a weak or so-so cast. Or wonderful singers are hampered by a nonsensical, boring, incoherent and/or turgid production. The Deutsche Oper Berlin’s new release of Janácek’s Jenufa is that rare combination of a video release that combines excellent musical values, detailed acting, and a thoughtful production. Enthusiasts of Janácek’s opera will want to pick up this video immediately.

Christof Loy’s production takes a fairly non-interventionist approach to the opera. He begins by having Kostelnicka led onstage into what looks like a jail cell, with stark white walls. The opera is her flashback. The same white room is the unit set for the entire opera, but there is a back panel that opens up to reveal cornfields.   Read more »

Poor wan Rusalka

The winter 2014 final run of the Met’s first/only Rusalka production (a new one is scheduled in a few seasons) seemed both a nod to the theater’s past and a hint of its future. The cast of principals was veteran talent throughout. As Rusalka and Jezibaba, two of the theater’s longest-serving active headliners, both now in late career, brought decades of experience to their roles.

As the Prince, an audience-favorite tenor in his prime made a Met role debut. The versatile and reliable bass-baritone in the role of the Water Gnome also was undertaking his role at the Met for the first time, while the Foreign Princess was in the hands of an important American dramatic soprano making a tardy Met debut, period.   Read more »

Tanks a lot, but no tanks

Bayreuth’s most recent production of Tannhäuser was set to be retired. So of course they captured the 2014 performances for posterity and released it on video. The DVD has the typical Bayreuth package—it’s well-filmed, with a fairly steady camera that often pans out to full-stage shots instead of the using the new HD technique of constant close-ups. Good job, Bayreuth film crew.

The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is however the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess. The first clue that the director might have been a little too high on his own ideas is the fact that the pre-curtain time AND intermissions are staged. Yes, that’s right, Baumgarten apparently thought his ideas were such treasures that he expected the audiences to not pee during a five-hour opera. I have no idea how this actually played in the house and whether everyone really stayed put during intermissions but this is how it’s presented in the video. Read more »

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Rolling along

You might be surprised, though, when that title turns out to be Show Boat.

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d’Arc victory

Tonight’s program at the New York Philharmonic, Arthur Honegger’s massive oratorio dramatique Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, has been an occasional visitor to the orchestra’s repertoire starting with the performance conducted by Charles Munch in January of 1948.

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Haunted mountain

Beginning with the dark, ominous music of the prelude of Charles Wuorinen and Annie Proulx’s opera Brokeback Mountain, we know we are in for a very different and far less sentimental version of the work than was had with Ang Lee’s iconic 2005 film.

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Grail mix

Contemporary stagings of Parsifal tend to be spare, abstract affairs scrubbed of religious associations, knights in armor and, sometimes, a grail.

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Magic “Flute”

A confession:  I have a real love/ hate relationship with Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

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The devil is in the details

Certain operas are better in theory than practice.

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Coming out

Christian Thielemann’s spirited, precise conducting and the superb, sumptuous playing of the Staatskapelle Dresden are the finest features of this strongly cast performance of Strauss’s Arabella.

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