Our Own Ercole Farnese demonstrated that his brain is as well-developed as his trapezoids by guessing, quickly and accurately, that last week’s Regie Quiz depicted Rienzi. The early Wagner potboiler was recently in the repertoire of the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse in a production by Jorge Lavalli. The many other logical (if, alas, incorrect) answers indicate to La Cieca that the cher public is up to a slightly more difficult challenge, which follows the jump. Read more »
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 »
Soprano Mirella Freni is under investigation by the Bologna District Attorney’s office of Bologna for money laundering and exportation of money abroad in connection with the BER bank. The artist from Modena, 76, will be heard by the magistrates in the next few days to clarify her position, now that the DA Antonella Scandellari has sent her a notice of the closing of the investigations. The singer has so far denied any wrongdoing. (Thanks to Our Own Ercole Farnese for the tip!) [Corriere della Sera]
Cubes and Macbeth seem to have been a successful pairing in the recent Regietheater. Graham Vick’s production of Macbeth at the Teatro alla Scala in the 1997/98 season had become famous, or infamous, for centering its spirit and energies on a big cube dominating both sets and singers. David Pountney exploited the same idea of a “cubic” Macbeth in his production of the Verdi masterpiece for the Opernhaus Zürich in 2001 (staged a few years later also in San Francisco), now re-released on DVD by ArtHaus Musik.
“Le pene d’amore non uccisero la Callas” reads the rather sensational headline: “The pains of love did not kill Callas.” The actual story in La Stampa is more sober, telling of an investigative study into the causes of the diva’s vocal decline and eventual death.
Our Own Ercole Farnese discovered and translated this interview in La Stampa with Jonas Kaufmann, in which the tenor discusses his “his idolatrous success with ladies and gay men, four fifths of the opera-goers.”
There is no peace for Verdi in Parma. As a second production of its Verdi Festival the Teatro Regio presented I vespri siciliani on October 10, starring Giacomo Prestia as Procida, Leo Nucci as Monforte, and the lovebirds Daniela Dessì and Fabio Armiliato as Elena and Arrigo.
1817 was a fertile and diverse time for 26 year old Gioachino Rossini. It opened with his last true opera buffa, La Cenerentola, continued with his most important semiseria, La gazza ladra, and ended with two operas, which, although both nominally belonging to the seria genre, could not be more different from each other.
Although she has made headlines on this side of the Atlantic largely because of her recent dismissal by Franco Zeffirelli from a Roman production of La traviata on the grounds of “physical inadequacy,” Daniela Dessì is a topflight star in Europe. In her native Italy she is arguably the most popular soprano currently active. Over the years she has become a household name, one of those singers known even by people who do not normally attend opera.