Cher Public

Berlin wall

Since it premiered seven years ago, the Suzanne Andrade/Barrie Kosky animated production of Die Zauberflöte has proved wildly popular and has been remounted all over the world. Why then, during its New York City premiere Wednesday night for the opening of the Mostly Mozart Festival, did I mostly want to close my eyes and just listen? Read more »

Broadcast: La bohème

Live from the Komische Oper in Berlin: the premiere of Barrie Kosky‘s new production of La bohème, telecast beginning at 1:00 PM. Discuss!

Better call Saul

saul-amazonHandel’s dramatic oratorios are very difficult to stage—many clutch their pearls while bemoaning “…but they were never meant to be staged”—and require a vivid theatrical imagination to bring them to life. Director Barrie Kosky’s Glyndebourne 2015 production of Handel’s 1739 oratorio Saul (released on Opus Arte DVD) shows just such an imagination as well as a strong cast and design team. The familiar Biblical tale begins with the aftermath of David’s slaying of Goliath, and Kosky eschews any attempt at realism, leading us through the story in an almost dreamlike state.

Kosky calls himself an “extravagant minimalist” and here, the costumes are extravagant and the scenic elements minimal, both created with great style by designer Katrin Lea Tag. At the beginning, we see only the severed head of Goliath; after the prelude, we have decorated banquet tables reflecting the Israelites’ celebration of the victory of David. Read more »

Morley marvelous

Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall two remarkable slices of soprano-heaven were served up, first by Carolyn Sampson and then by Erin Morley, during the second act of Handel’s Orlando.

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Out there in the dark

The revival of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Music Center downtown, last seen at LA Opera in 2013, is reason for jubilation for everyone except perhaps the singers engaged.

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Storm warning

Forget the hurricane preparations for a few hours this afternoon and enjoy the live webcast of Les Contes d’Hoffmann from the Komische Oper Berlin, starting at 12:55 PM.

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Words and music

As is happening increasingly in opera productions today (e.g., the Rosenkavalier in Stuttgart), the action of Moses und Aron at the Komische Oper begins some minutes before the music does.

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Macaronic and cheese

The Berlin Komische Oper was the scene of one of my greatest opera experiences five years ago, so I particularly looked forward to a return to this theater.

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