Showing posts from January, 2009

Shostakovich - Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

ONP Bastille, Wednesday Janary 28 2009

Conductor: Hartmut Haenchen. Production: Martin Kušej. Sets: Martin Zehetgruber. Costumes Heide Kastler: Lighting: Reinhard Traub. Boris Timofeyevich Ismailov: Vladimir Vaneev. Zinoviy Borisovich Ismailov: Ludovit Ludha. Katerina Lvovna Ismailova: Eva-Maria Westbroek. Sergei: Michael König. Aksinya; the female convict: Carole Wilson. The shabby oaf: Alexander Kravets. Sonietka: Lani Poulson. A schoolmaster: Valentin Jar. A priest: Alexander Vassiliev. The chief of police Nikita Storojev. Opéra national de Paris Orchestra and Chorus.

It's remarkable, a friend said to me as we left the Bastille the other evening, how in the last 20 years Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, previously little-known here, has become a popular smash hit. The ticket touts were out at the metro exits and the house was full, though unfortunately of merciless coughers. This is the ONP's second production. The first, André Engel's, is most often remembered for its field of c…

Britten - Death in Venice

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday January 18 2009

Conductor: Paul Daniel. Production: Deborah Warner. Sets: Tom Pye. Costumes: Chloë Obolensky. Lighting: Jean Kalman. Choreography: Kim Brandstrup. Gustav von Aschenbach: John Graham-Hall. Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondolier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players, Voice of Dionysus: Andrew Shore. Voice of Apollo: William Towers. Hotel Porter: Peter Van Hulle. Strawberry Seller: Anna Dennis. Strolling Player: Donal Byrne. Lace Seller: Constance Novis. Glass Maker: Richard Edgar-Wilson. Beggar Woman: Madeleine Shaw. English Clerk: Jonathan Gunthorpe. Restaurant Waiter: Benoît De Leersnyder. Guide in Venice: Charles Johnston. La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra & Chorus.

No wonder Deborah Warner’s ENO production of Death in Venice, now showing in Brussels, has been described in the press as a triumph and said to have “dazzled” Belgian opera-goers. It is a model of no-nonsense stagecraft and one of the most convincing stagings I’ve s…

Bernstein - On The Town

Châtelet, Paris, Tuesday December 30 2008

Conductor: Samuel Jean. Production: Jude Kelly. Choreography: Stephen Mear. Sets & costumes: Robert Jones. Lighting: Mark Henderson. Ozzie: Tim Howar. Chip: Adam Garcia. Gabey: Joshua Dallas. Ivy Smith: Sarah Soetart. Hildy Esterhazy: Caroline O’Connor. Claire de Loone: Lucy Schaufer. Madame Maude P. Dilly: Sheila Reid. Juge Pitkin W. Bridgework: Jonathan Best. Diana Dream/Dolores Dolores: Alison Jiear. Chorus of the Châtelet. Orchestre Pasdeloup.

Our last show of the 2007-2008 season was a musical: Bernstein's On The Town, in the English National Opera's Jude Kelly production. I hope I've got the cast and conductor right above, as bizarrely I couldn't find any information of the kind on the theatre's web site, nor could a friend with access to their press releases.

As we've all agreed I'm not the best-placed person to review musicals, I'll be brief. Stephen Mear's skeletal sets of rust-red struts and girde…

More Amazon quotes

A few more quotes picked up while reading customer reviews on Amazon. Capitalization, punctuation and spelling are as was.

He sang with such clarity and purity and made such a simple opening very moving. And the bagpipes were unexpectedly a very nice instrumentation for the piece.This man has THE most amazing voice! Until Alfie, I thought no one could match the great Pavoratti! The duets with J Lo and the deceased Edith Pilaf are especially good.I didn't think too much of this CD but confess I bought it for the track " Time to Say Goodbye" as I am preparing the music for my funeral service and I would like to go through the curtains to this one!!  Disappointed! No challenge. The same tempi and the same mood with a huge tutti at the end with a cheap modulation. Sorry, don't take it negative!The listener can feel it and embrace it without relying on pesky words and literal translations, which brings a whole new level to music listening.All of these other people …