I think we’re all aware by now of the wicked libel that the French dramatist Victor Hugo concocted about the fair Lucrezia Borgia with his depiction of her as a murderous virago. History tells us she was merely a lovely pawn in the Machiavellian machinations of her family’s ambitions and most decidedly not the siren serial killer that Hugo’s play conjures. Still, the story stuck and who could blame Gaetano Donizetti for rushing in and setting the blood-chilling tale for La Scala by the end of the very same year of the play’s premiere abetted by a libretto adapted by Felice Romani? Read more »
I suspect most New York City opera-lovers had long since given up hope that the fascinating soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci would ever return to their city. But in the spring of 2102 after an absence of over 13 years, she presented a rapturously received recital of Italian songs at Alice Tully Hall. Wasting no time, Lincoln Center invited her to bring her one-woman performance piece Era la notte to this year’s White Light Festival which presented the US premiere Wednesday evening at the Rose Theater. Conceived and directed by Juliette Deschamps, it featured Antonacci performing four challenging monologues by early-to-mid-17th century Italian composers accompanied by seven members of the French period orchestra Les Siécles. Read more »
The abrupt withdrawal of Katharina Wagner from an abridged seven-hour Ring cycle she was to direct at the Teatro Colón last year prompted no shortage of scorn and Schadenfreude. It also triggered a salvage operation by director Valentina Carrasco and a creative team that synced half-cooked designs with a patchwork musical score over six weeks to get the show off on time.
Much of the backstage drama is chronicled in a new 93-minute documentary by German producer Hans Christoph von Bock, The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires, that may actually surpass the staged production for making the cycle accessible to general audiences. It’s a feel-good celebration of pluck, moxie and improvisation, form-fit to a Glee-like narrative, that’s free of judgments about what’s frankly an artistically dubious project. Read more »
Now that many of us are leaping to the altar unfettered by those pesky legalities of yore the problem of what to put on the bridal (or groomal) registry has become an atrocious head scratcher. So many of us have had housekeeping set up for so long now that we really don’t want for anything. Leave it to Prince Joseph Adam of Schwarzenburg, Duke of Krumlov to choose a most inspired present to give to his son upon his wedding in 1768; an opera. Commissioned for the occasion from Giuseppe Scarlatti, who history posits was nephew to either the more [...]
The surprises, and puzzles, of Dmitri Tcherniakov‘s production of Don Giovanni in this DVD of a performance at the Aix-en-Provence festival begin before a note has been played or the curtain has risen.
I got quite a surprise when I opened the latest packet of goodies from La Cieca – a DVD of Orphée aux Enfers, but in German as Orpheus in der Unterwelt.
The Jesi foundation continues its tireless quest of making Pergolesi operas available on video.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s opera David et Jonathas, written for a celebration at a Jesuit school in 1688, premiered together with a Latin verse drama, Saul, now lost.
Strange as it is to encounter two such disparate works presented with the identical production concept, it’s odder still that the opera you’d think would be the slam dunk is anything but.