Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Earlier this week Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, played piano at a recital for more than 60 young men, average age 16, at the Illinois Youth Center, Chicago. Joyce DiDonato and Eric Owens sang a programme of arias accompanied by Maestro Muti at the piano. CSO musicians Cynthia Yeh (Principal Percussion), Gene Pokorny (Principal Tuba) and Jennifer Gunn (Flute/Piccolo) also performed. A Todd Rosenberg photograph of the event has just been released (right-click to enlarge it). Joyce DiDonato sang: Handel: “Lascia ch’io pianga” from Rinaldo Stefano Donaudy: “O del mio amato ben” Ernesto de Curtis: “Non ti scordar di me” Jake Heggie: “Si, son io” from Great Scott Eric Owens sang: Verdi: “Infelice! E tuo credevi” from Ernani Harry Thacker Burleigh: “Deep River” (Traditional/Arr.)
Giacomo Puccini´s "Manon Lescaut" is his third opera, and after the weak "Edgar" his first success. It was premièred at Torino in February 1893, almost at the same time as Verdi´s "Falstaff" at Milan, and our city premièred it just four months afterwards. The famous novel by the Abbé Prévost is dated 1731 and there are two other operas inspired by it: the charming one by Auber (1856) and the very famous Massenet "Manon" (1884). Although "Manon Lescaut" is a giant step forward in Puccini´s career, his style will only be fully formed with "La Bohème" (1896). A phrase by the composer is illuminating: "Massenet feels Manon like a Frenchman, powdered and with minuets. I will feel it like an Italian, with desperate passion". Its progress was difficult, for it successively had four librettists, because the composer wasn´t satisfied: as Claudio Ratier tells us in his excellent programme notes, Giulio Ricordi (Puccini´s editor) hired two librettists: the playwright Marco Praga and the journalist Domenico Oliva. Leoncavallo, the future composer of "I Pagliacci", tried to fix the offending passages of both. But Puccini hadn´t finished composing, and for the fragments still to come the prestigious Luigi Illica was called. The fact of not having an acceptable (to him) libretto forced Puccini to compose piecemeal and not in order, hence the music varies in quality. But even if the compounded libretto has its problems and is much weaker than Massenet´s, it does add in the Fourth Act a scene where the lovers are in a desert near New Orleans (never mind that there are no deserts there) and where she dies from exhaustion. But the main roles are a gift for great singers: very demanding both vocally and dramatically; in fact, the tenor has no less than four arias and is even tougher than Calaf in "Turandot". I have been perusing the Colón presentations since 1911; truly great singers and conductors up to 1966 (Caballé-Tucker-Bartoletti). Now comes this one from Buenos Aires Lírica. I am sorry that I can´t be happy with the results. It´s very hard to find a first-rate duet of protagonists, and neither Macarena Valenzuela (Chilean) nor Eric Herrero (Brazilian) were quite up to the requirements. She wasn´t in her best vocal condition and her high range was clearly uncomfortable in the first two acts; she bettered in the Third and was in fuller command in the crucial final aria, "Sola, perduta, abbandonata". And Herrero was taxed by the frequent top notes; he has them, but not with the timbric quality they need: the sounds came out raw. The best voice was Ernesto Bauer´s as Lescaut, Manon´s brother, a heal and a gambler; he sang with clean open phrasing and a satiric turn the part needs. Geronte di Ravoir, his very name tells us, is the old rich man (no less than the Kingdom´s Treasurer) that is keeping Manon in the splendor of his Parisian palace; it was well impersonated by Norberto Marcos. Iván Maier, in unexpected harsh voice, was Edmondo, Des Grieux´s friend who aids him to elope with Manon; he also was a foppish Dancing Master and a Lamplighter singing a ditty. Baritone Enzo Romano sang well as Innkeeper, Sargent and Commandant, and Trinidad Goyeneche was correct as a Musician in a madrigal. Veteran maestro Mario Perusso knows well his Puccini, but the reduced orchestra can´t give the richness of tone this composer needs (he probably used a retouched orchestration); the pit only holds 43 players. Nice work from the chamber choir under Juan Casasbellas. But the staging by André Heller-Lopes was absurd from the beginning. Act I: a square at Amiens with a tavern on the side, and what do we see?: a splendid palace with huge columns and a rococo ceiling (quite handsome; stage designer Daniela Taiana). Of course, it´s perfect for the Second Act, with the addendum of an extremely Baroque bed. However, the same columns are at Le Havre and at the desert! Plus a mixture of costumes (Sofía Di Nunzio): women with hoop-skirts and men with modern ties. Tasteless marking of the singers with sexual innuendo, ridiculing publicly a powerful man as Geronte or manhandling women in Le Havre scene. And an ominipresent desk at extreme left, for we are supposed to see everything as the narration of an older Des Grieux... For Buenos Aires Herald
Il trovatore, Royal Opera House © 2016 ROH. By Clive Barda Following the announcement that French-Sicilian tenor Roberto Alagna has withdrawn from Verdi 's Il trovatore , the role of Manrico will now be shared between Uzbekistani tenor Najmiddin Mavlyanov (4, 7, 10 and 13 December) and Italian tenor Stefano Secco (16 December). Najmiddin Mavlyanov made his Royal Opera debut as Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca , during the 2015/16 Season. Elsewhere he has performed with the Stanislavsky Opera , Moscow, Opera Vlaanderen , Deutsche Opera am Rhein and Finnish National Opera , in roles including Alfredo Germont in La traviata , Manrico in Il trovatore, Don José in Carmen , Rodolfo in La bohème , Lensky in Eugene Onegin , Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and the title role of Werther . Stefano Secco made his Royal Opera debut as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore in 2007. His recent engagements include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Hamburg State Opera , Rodolfo in La bohème for Teatro Regio in Turin , Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore for Vienna State Opera and the title role in Don Carlo for Grange Park Opera . The rest of the cast remains unchanged. If you have a ticket please see terms and conditions of sale .
Info and registrations: Gloria Martelli – Secretary Mob: +39 334-2871868 email@example.com September 1-14, 2017 – Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna Aida Apply as an active student or be part of the audience After last years’ thrilling work on Falstaff and La Traviata, Riccardo Muti has again chosen the great composer Giuseppe Verdi for 2017: […]
Ever wanted to take centre-stage at Covent Garden with our world-class Royal Opera Chorus ? A new virtual reality experience allows aspiring performers across the globe to get a taster of what it's like in the run-up to opening night, as they stand on stage in the centre of a rehearsal. Viewers can experience a 'Chorus eye view' journey into the heart of the Royal Opera House, making their way backstage and behind-the-scenes, before heading to a rehearsal to run through the famous 'Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves' from Verdi 's Nabucco . The full experience, available on the Jaunt app, also allows viewers to be part of the performance on stage, showing the differences between the rehearsal and the buzz of performing the work on stage. The extended Jaunt experience is fully immersive, with 3D imagery and ambisonic sound – in other words, when wearing a VR headset, you'll experience the room's natural variations of sound, depending on where you look. The experience was created during the June 2016 run of Nabucco which starred Plácido Domingo . View the full film, created in partnership with Jaunt VR, in 3D sound and vision by downloading the app from jauntvr.com . The Jaunt app is available for both iOS and Android devices via Apple and Google Play stores.
Sonya Yoncheva © Gregor Hohenberg / SonyClassical Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva will meet fans after her final performance of Bellini ’s Norma on 8 October 2016. The star will complete her run of Àlex Ollé' s new Royal Opera production with a Saturday matinee performance – and will join audiences in the Paul Hamlyn Hall at approximately 3.30pm to sign copies of her latest CD, Paris, Mon Amour . The album celebrates Yoncheva's love of Paris, the city where she first launched her career, and features arias from the 19th-century golden age of the Belle Epoque. The CD includes recordings of opera's most beautiful arias with works by Massenet , Puccini and Verdi . Audience members wishing to attend the signing should meet in the Paul Hamlyn Hall after the performance has finished. If you are not attending the performance, but would like to purchase a signed CD – please arrive at the Main Entrance of The Royal Opera House (located on Bow Street) where you will be issued with a ticket. Ushers will be on hand to direct you to the Paul Hamlyn Hall. Norma runs until 8 October 2016. Tickets are sold out . The production is a co-production with Opéra national de Paris and is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE and The Tsukanov Family Foundation.
Giuseppe Verdi (10 October 1813 - 27 January 1901) was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century. His works are frequently performed in opera houses throughout the world and, transcending the boundaries of the genre, some of his themes have long since taken root in popular culture - such as "La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto, "Va, pensiero" (The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Nabucco, "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" (The Drinking Song) from La traviata and the "Grand March" from Aida. Although his work was sometimes criticized for using a generally diatonic rather than a chromatic musical idiom and having a tendency toward melodrama, Verdis masterworks dominate the standard repertoire a century and a half after their composition.
Great composers of classical music