“Merry Widow final dress rehearsal was a big success! Renée is simply to die for!” [Facebook]
Christian Thielemann’s spirited, precise conducting and the superb, sumptuous playing of the Staatskapelle Dresden are the finest features of this strongly cast performance of Strauss’s Arabella, given a new staging for the 2014 Salzburg Easter Festival and released here on DVD by Unitel Classica. The production also celebrated Strauss’s 150th anniversary.
Arabella, the sixth and final collaboration of Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, is frequently considered the stepchild of Strauss’ wildly popular Der Rosenkavalier, and indeed it contains many similar elements—Viennese setting, instantaneous passion, a specific courtship ritual. 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.
Cast changes (already) for San Francisco Opera: Ukrainian baritone Vitaliy Bilyy will sing Miller in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Luisa Miller opening Friday, September 11, replacing Thomas Hampson, “who after careful consideration has decided not to add this particular Verdi role to his repertoire prompting his withdrawal from the season opening production.” But wait, there’s more. Read more »
Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of the Met’s revival of Les Contes d’Hoffman is the opera version of the charming homeless drunk.
“I think a lot of his hallucinations can be compared to ultra-sensitivities and hallucinations of extremely gifted people,” Mr. Hampson said.
La Cieca has obtained this photo of Thomas Hampson headlining Camouflage Night at Powerhouse, uh, rehearsing for Heart of a Soldier at the San Francisco Opera. You can tell the scene is Northern Rhodesia in 1962, because that is where the British military first started offering complimentary personal training packages to their troops.