To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival scored a coup when it secured one of the world’s finest ensembles, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, to play two operas in concert last week at Alice Tully Hall. Through simple, eloquent dramatic presentation, Idomeneo proved enormously moving while a much more complicated Così fan Tutte went for shallow romantic hijinks stripping that work of its darkly ambiguous disturbing view of love. Read more »
Few new operas have received the near-unanimous acclaim that has greeted Written on Skin since its first performance at the 2012 Aix-en-Provence Festival. The subject line of the email I received from Lincoln Center promoting its US stage premiere went so far as to proclaim it “the opera you’ve been waiting for!” The excitedly expectant audience that filled the former New York State Theater Tuesday evening hailed it with a loud and prolonged ovation, but the intensely complex 90-minute work proved easier to admire than to love. 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.
Notable purveyor of mayhem and infanticide Medea has lately been missing from the local operatic scene, but Sunday afternoon sections of the recently renovated Alice Tully Hall were singed by Canadian soprano Dominique Labelle’s blazing incarnation of the Greek sorceress during a concert performance of Handel’s neglected early opera Teseo by the Philharmonia Baroque given during its second visit this summer to the Mostly Mozart Festival. Read more »
After 23 years, the Queen of Carthage has finally made it to Manhattan.