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Showing posts from April, 2011

Weber - Le Freischütz

Opéra Comique, Paris, Friday April 15 2011
Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Production: Dan Jemmett. Sets: Dick Bird. Costumes: Sylvie Martin-Hyszka. Lighting: Arnaud Jung. Agathe: Sophie Karthäuser. Max: Andrew Kennedy. Annette: Virginie Pochon. Gaspard: Gidon Saks. Kouno: Matthew Brook. L’Ermite: Luc Bertin-Hugault. Kilian: Samuel Evans. Ottokar: Robert Davies. Samiel: Christian Pelissier. The Monteverdi Choir. Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.

There are fashions in music and opera, and though we all know it well from recordings, Freischütz has become a rarity in the theatre these days, perhaps because of the supernatural elements in the plot. In over thirty years of opera-going, I had previously seen it just once, in an amusing, over-the-top Okotoberfest kind of production at the Châtelet. The Opéra Comique, which gets better and better, has brought it back in a still rarer form, the French version prepared by Berlioz, with recitatives and a ballet (Invitation to the Dance

Toshio Hosokawa - Hanjo

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday April 10 2011
Conductor: Koen Kessels. Production: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Sets and lighting: Jan Joris Lamers. Costumes: Tim Van Steenbergen. Hanako: Ingela Bohlin. Jitsuko Honda: Frederika Brillembourg. Yoshio: William Dazeley. La Monnaie chamber orchestra.

It was interesting to have Hanjo so soon after Akhmatova. As I mentioned when writing up the latter, there has been little praise for Mantovani’s score, though I found it serviceable enough. Hosokawa's music is really something else: often (not always: there are plenty of drums, of different sizes, for times of drama) delicate and diaphanous, refined, subtle…sometimes infinitely quiet, quieter than any music we usually hear. So poor old Akhmatova seemed positively rustic and clodhopping in comparison. There’s little more musical “action” in Hanjo than in, say, L’Amour de Loin (though I must say at times it reminded me of Turn of the Screw or Death in Venice, only more modern and with a still li…

2011-2012 Season

It looks like my 2011-2012 season will be as follows. I may also buy a few extras (i.e. not in the subscription series) at the ONP, and there will probably be trips abroad I don't yet know about.

Médée - MonnaieFaust - BastilleŒdipe - MonnaieLa Forza del Destino - BastilleCendrillon - MonnaieAmadis de Gaule - FavartManon - BastilleSalome - MonnaieLa Cerisaie - GarnierEgisto - FavartDido and Aeneas - FavartLa Muette de Portici - FavartCav/Pag - BastilleOtello - MonnaieRe Orso - FavartLes Pêcheurs de Perles - FavartHippolyte et Aricie - GarnierIl Trovatore - MonnaieArabella - Bastille

Ann Hallenberg sings Scherza Infida

I've never posted a link before but in this case...

Ann Hallenberg - Scherza Infida

And more...

Ann Hallenberg - more Ariodante

And more...

Ann Hallenberg - still more

Mantovani - Akhmatova

ONP Bastille, Thursday March 31 2011
Conductor: Pascal Rophé. Production: Nicolas Joel. Sets and costumes: Wolfgang Gussmann. Lighting: Hans Toelstede. Anna Akhmatova: Janina Baechle. Lev Goumilev: Attila Kiss-B. Nicolaï Pounine: Lionel Peintre. Lydia Tchoukovskaïa: Varduhi Abrahamyan. Faina Ranevskaïa: Valérie Condoluci. Le Représentant de L’Union des écrivains: Christophe Dumaux. Un Sculpteur, Un Universitaire anglais: Fabrice Dalis. Un agent: Ugo Rabec. Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

The professionals haven't given a warm welcome to Bruno Mantovani's new opera Akhmatova. French daily Le Figaro talks of a "pall of boredom" over the Bastille; Le Monde writes of the score's "thunderous vacuity" while the Financial Times says it's "gratuitously aggressive"; and Diapason is far from alone in labelling the libretto "banal." While the peerless FT's integrity is unquestionable, I must say I wonder if there are…