Browsing: Opera

by Paul E. RobinsonThe news just keeps getting worse from opera companies across the United States. As the economy ever so slowly rights itself after a devastating recession, ticket buyers and generous donors are hard to find. Endowments have taken a tremendous hit from the stock market collapse. The New York City Opera has been struggling for years and recently announced that it would have to leave Lincoln Center in order to cut costs and remain in business. David Gockley, the San Francisco Opera’s highly-regarded General Director, said that his company was feeling the heat and needed to do some…

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by Paul E. RobinsonWhile opera fans are notoriously old-fashioned when it comes to stage directors bringing overarching new ideas to their favourite works, it is clear that if opera is going to have any future, it must be open to creative re-thinking.Wieland Wagner successfully updated his grandfather’s Ring cycle at Bayreuth in the 1950s, and Karajan and Schneider-Siemssen used cutting edge projection technology to add a new dimension to the Ring cycle at Salzburg in the 1960s. In 1976, Patrice Chereau gave us something to think about with his radical new Ring at Bayreuth. In 2011, we have Robert LePage…

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by Paul E. RobinsonIt’s not possible to be in two places at once, or is it? Thanks to “The Met Live in HD,” I virtually spent the afternoon in New York enjoying Le Comte Ory, and the evening at the Long Center in Austin, Texas, totally engrossed in Jonathan Dove’s Flight as presented by the Austin Lyric Opera.Le Comte Ory and Flight are far from standard opera fare, yet both were first-class entertainment, and, in the case of Flight, philosophically interesting too. These two productions had something else in common; each of them involved the birth of a child -…

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By Frank Cadenhead The new brochure of the 2011-2012 season at Paris’s Opéra-Comique only arrived in the past few days and has already caused a stir in two countries. Most Parisians know the name of the composer Auber only as the name of a metro stop near the Palais Garnier. But Daniel François Esprit Auber (1782-1871) was the most performed French opera composer in the 19th Century and his opera “La Muette de Portici” (The Mute Girl of Portici) has an important history. The fact that this opera is in the season at the Opera-Comique next year, from the 3rd…

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by Paul E. RobinsonI must confess that I was reaching the point where I doubted I could sit through another performance of Carmen! The plot was too silly, the music overly familiar and the characters merely cardboard cutouts; then, along came the Royal Opera House production directed for the stage by Francesca Zambello, and for film by Julian Napier. Did I mention it was in 3D?This production of Carmen (poster: right) in 3D was a fantastic experience, and completely restored my faith in Bizet’s venerable opera. It also provoked me to question the Met’s pioneering efforts in streaming opera live…

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Here is the Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 Season announcement.Wah Keung Chan—Seven New Productions, Including a World Premiere,a Met Premiere, and the Complete Ring Cycle,Headline the Met’s 2011-12 SeasonJames Levine conducts the final two installments of Robert Lepage’s production of the Ring: Siegfried and Götterdämmerung; complete cycles scheduledfor April and May 2012The season opens with the first-ever Met performance of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena,starring Anna Netrebko in the first of two new productions she sings this season; Laurent Pelly’s production of Manon follows in AprilThe world premiere of The Enchanted Island, a pastiche of Baroque music and Shakespearean comedy, opens on New Year’s EveTony Award-winning stage directors Michael Grandage and Des McAnuffmake their Met debuts…

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Soprano Simone Osborne (photo: Connor Beaton)It has just been announced that Vancouver soprano Simon Osborne will be making her Vancouver Opera debut as Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette next season. Below is the Press Release from Vancouver Opera. Osborne burst onto the scene after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008, and has since taken on major assignments. Currently she is Pamina in the COC production of The Magic Flute. Upcoming engagements include an Atlantic Canada recital tour, Gilda in Rigoletto for the COC next season, and Mozart Requiem for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in January 2012.*******************Vancouver…

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Just received the following press release from the Met – Newfoundland baritone Peter Barrett is making his Met debut this evening as Dr. Malatesta opposite a stellar cast of Anna Netrebko Norina and Matthew Polenzani as Ernesto. This is great news for Peter and for Canadian opera. He was a member of the COC Ensemble, and even at that early stage of his career, he had all the ingredients of a major singer – gorgeous voice, solid training, stage presence, musicality, and the drive and ability to excel. We say Bravo to Peter, and “Toi toi toi” for this evening!…

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by Paul E. RobinsonCraig Hella Johnson never ceases to amaze us. Just when you think his exceptional musical imagination has surely outdone itself, he comes up with something even more remarkable. His latest achievement was a festival given at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Austin and called Renaissance & Response: Polyphony Then and Now. Sound like an article in an academic journal? Perhaps, but that didn’t stop his many followers from selling out four concerts in one weekend and to judge by the concert I attended, enjoying every moment of it.The basic concept of the festival was to combine music…

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Werther @ The Montreal Opera: two shows left on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3It’s your last chance to catch the beloved Massenet adaptation of Goethe’s Sturm und Drang masterpiece. A success since its 1892 premiere, Werther is one of the staples of the operatic repertoire. The Montreal Opera’s production is a rare treat to sample the rare baritone scoring for the lead role, which Massenet wrote himself for Mattia Battistini in 1902. It transfers the action from late 18th-century Germany to 1920s America, in a move which the Gazette’s Arthur Kapatainis suggests alludes to a Gatsby-Daisy relationship between the troubled…

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