For me, the third act of La Bohème is the most important. Mimì, desperate to understand why her relationship is disintegrating, ventures to the outskirts of Paris to speak with Marcello. She wants to understand why her lover Rodolfo abandons her, turns from her, and accuses her of infidelity. When Rodolfo appears to speak with Marcello, she hides herself, and listens from a short distance. Rodolfo tells his friend that the real reason he wants to leave Mimì is because she’s sick, and he is poor; he doesn’t have the resources he needs to take care of her. He cannot bear to see her suffering, and not help.
The UK’s first-ever production of Poliuto, now available from Opus Arte on DVD, set the lions of Rome among the lambs of Glyndebourne. Donizetti’s dramatic opera (or tragedica lirica) was completed in the summer of 1838, a year following Roberto Devereux and two years before La fille du regiment and La favorite, closer to the end of the composer’s career than to the beginning.
The opera dramatizes conflicts of romantic and religious natures. In the third century A.D., Armenia’s Roman conquerors, the worshippers of Jupiter, seek to eradicate Christianity. Paolina (soprano), daughter of Mitilene governor Felice (tenor), has heeded her father’s urging to marry the principal magistrate, Poliuto (tenor). Read more »
Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) is opera on the grand scale with mellifluous arias and breathtaking duets that tell a tale of ancient Roman political machinations, adultery, and murder in which there is no true protagonist. This stunningly expressive music is performed by an all-star cast. Soprano Miah Persson, praised by The New York Times for her “sumptuous sound and elegant lyricism,” is joined by singers who have all won worldwide critical acclaim for their mastery of this beautiful repertoire. The Guardian wrote that “there are few performers better-versed in the music of Claudio Monteverdi than Rinaldo Alessandrini and the ensemble he founded 30 years ago, Concerto Italiano.” Alessandrini and company anchor a performance that promises to be one of the season’s most thrilling nights of opera.
That little place just two hours from the city is on the list of things I shall never understand, like the plot of Parsifal. So there I was rushing back from the realm of very large bugs and a terrifying lack of restaurants, waiting to see if I would make it back and across the bay in time for a one o’clock curtain. For better or worse, I did. Read more »
Gala this; gala that; who knew rich people wore clothes so badly?
For those of you who are following these things, Michael Fabiano is currently in London.
One of the major complaints about the five year casting system (as well as the shared productions by different companies) is that operatic events are rarely surprises anymore.
Imagine the good fortune of attending La Bohème with someone who’s never seen it!
You will be happy to hear that Michael Fabiano was the unrivaled star of the Richard Tucker Foundation Gala tonight.