Sir Richard Eyre’s new Manon Lescaut last night—his third production at the Met in as many seasons—demonstrated once again no particular aptitude for opera and more often hindered rather than helped his stars Kristine Opolais and Roberto Alagna as they struggled—only sometimes successfully—with Puccini’s demanding opera. Read more »
With February 14th falling on a Sunday, there will be no Valentine’s Day Met performance this year. However, Richard Eyre’s production of Manon Lescaut, starring Kristine Opolais and Roberto Alagna, premieres tonight, and the romantic Italian fare continues on Saturday with a matinee of Il trovatore and an evening twin bill of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci. Read more »
Is Manon Lescaut a cold, clinical tale of the splendors and pitfalls of transactional sex, or is it a romantic Italian opera at its most lush and melodic? Actually, it’s both. There’s always been a disconnect between Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica’s adaptation of the Prévost novel and Puccini’s music. The libretto is episodic, with the title character portrayed as a calculating courtesan who abandons her lover des Grieux “without even a kiss goodbye.” This is however Puccini’s most romantic score. It swells with romantic ardor at every moment.
The director of a new DVD of this opera, Jonathan Kent, favors the transnational, exploitative aspects of the opera. His production is updated to modern times, and the opera begins at a seedy red light hotel. Manon Lescaut moves from a quick initiation into the sex trafficking world to being a spoiled porn star. Read more »
There is a simple elegance to the single-composer recital album format. For the listener in the mood for, say, Puccini, it’s a chance to delve into his music without any pesky interruptions by those other guys like Verdi or Massenet. And if one is also in the mood for a particular singer’s art, then the choice is even more straightforward. For the singer, it is an opportunity to showcase and explore the variety and nuance that a single composer offers to his/her voice type, while also displaying his/her own skill at presenting a varied recital experience within narrow confines.
During the Munich Opera Festival performances of Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (28th and 31st of July 2015) Kristine Opolais will replace Anna Netrebko in the title role.
“Sonya Yoncheva will sing her first-ever staged performances of Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème at the Met on November 14, 20, 24, 28, December 1 and 5, replacing Kristine Opolais.
The scene: a vocal audition, sometime in the past. A young, blond soprano approaches the podium. Her aria: “Un bel di.” She sings. Before she gets to the second “Chi sara” she’s rudely interrupted.
Coming as Peter Gelb did from the music industry, opera lovers hoped that he would display a more distinctive knack for casting and an improved talent pipeline than Joe Volpe offered during the waning years of his tenure.