It is easy to become overly identified with opera—as a cleverer friend of mine once noted: being a sports fan is an interest, but if you like opera, everyone thinks of it as a crippling obsession. Les Troyens doesn’t help matters; “I’m going to a four hour opera,” you tell someone, trying to convey the magnitude of Troyens, but somehow it seems not to hint at the right degree of lunacy, so the next time, you include intermissions and say “I’m going to a five hour opera” and up and up it goes until you admit, between puffs on your gauloise, that everyone was right and you must be tres fou. Read more »
I’m a long-time fan of the Opera in English series funded by The Peter Moores Foundation that started, fittingly enough, with conductor Reginald Goodall’s performances of Wagner’s Ring cycle recorded live from the London Coliseum and released by EMI. Cast from strength with a team of British singers that included the likes of Rita Hunter, Alberto Remedios, Norman Bailey and Derek Hammond-Stroud. Many of whom never found the kind of recognition they deserved outside of England for one reason or another and it stands alone today as a unique achievement of its era. Read more »
Beginning with the dark, ominous music of the prelude of Charles Wuorinen and Annie Proulx’s opera Brokeback Mountain, we know we are in for a very different and far less sentimental version of the work than was had with Ang Lee’s iconic 2005 film. This 2014 Teatro Real Madrid production (dedicated to the late Gerard Mortier), with sensitive and incisive stage direction by Ivo van Hove, has been released on DVD by Bel Air Classiques.
This opera brings about a third major character to go with the expected herders Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar: the mountain itself. It is a mysterious and forbidding place. We learn in the first scene that the Boss Aguirre is worried that his expected workers are late or not coming because they’ve “heard something about the mountain.” He describes the mountain as “a knife blade rising from the earth”, a place of “dark power” and “an evil place that kills men.” Read more »
Töt erst sein Weib!” shrieks Anja Kampe as Leonore during the very first moments of Andreas Homoki’s ingenious production of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, at Opernhaus Zürich.
Aribert Reimann’s 1978 opera Lear, based of course on Shakespeare’s titanic tragedy King Lear, is a major achievement in modern operatic scoring.
The creation of Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road and its lately remodeled avatar, The Road of Promise, boiled down and premiered at Carnegie Hall Wednesday night by the Collegiate Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, was an intricate process, far more interesting than the work itself.
It will come to no surprise to followers of the direction of Stefan Herheim (or to readers of La Cieca’s gushing fangirl appreciations of his work) that his Stuttgart production of Der Rosenkavalier was as “delightfully busy” as we have come to expect.
On Saturday, a new company called Bare Opera gave its first performance, a double bill of Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, at the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea.
Director R.B. Schlather and his team explored Handel’s Orlando and the results, as seen at Monday night’s final presentation, proved uncommonly stimulating.