“Though most of the reviews of last week’s Met’s revival of Bellini’s I Puritani concentrated on the singing of tenor Javier Camarena… we should not overlook his leading lady, soprano Diana Damrau. In a sense, she outshone even Camarena, because she not only sang the difficult leading role, she also directed the opera.” [Observer]
“Reading the texts…I found to my fear and horror, words that killed, words that told every time of women’s undoing.” So wrote feminist critic Catherine Clément in her controversial 1979 study Opera: The Undoing of Women. Though the focus of her work was on classic operas like Madama Butterfly and Lucia di Lammermoor, her thesis, that violent mistreatment of women is central to opera, was confirmed last weekend when Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now presented new works in which women were variously gang-raped, eviscerated and executed by firing squad. [Observer]
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.
“So intensely theatrical—to the point of seeming utterly stylized—were these performances that they might have sprung from a high-concept production of this Shakespeare adaptation in which Gounod’s perfumed melodies depicted a case of histrionic personality disorder a deux.” [Observer]
“We want to figure out how to create a nationwide change in how people think opera can be done. \“
“Just as every downtown shopping street in every major American city now features the same familiar retailers’ names, New York City Opera has no particular artistic identity different from, say, Opera Carolina.”
La Cieca (pictured) asks, what are your eight (or even 10) can’t-miss opera events for the fall?
Anna Netrebko and Latonia Moore (pictured) rekindle “The Grand Opera Buzz.”