Showing posts from April, 2012

Adams - Nixon in China

Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, Monday April 16 2012
Conductor: Alexander Briger. Production and choreography: Chen Shi-Zheng. Sets: Shilpa Gupta. Costumes: Petra Reinhardt. Lighting: Alexander Koppelmann. Video: Olivier Roset. Richard Nixon: Franco Pomponi. Pat Nixon: June Anderson. Henry Kissinger: Peter Sidhom. Mao Zedong: Alfred Kim. Madame Mao (Jiang Qing): Sumi Jo. Chou En-Lai: Kyung Chun Kim. First secretary: Sophie Leleu. Second secretary: Alexandra Sherman. Third secretary: Rebecca de Pont Davies. Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. Chorus of the Châtelet.

In the old days, when pubs were still pubs and not yet a cross between a steak house and a disco with only incidental beer, you’d often see a nicotine-stained sign over the counter or dangling from an optic saying “You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps”. Several times, recently, it has occurred to me that a similar message might be printed on the cover page of certain opera scores: “You don’t have to be mad to sing thi…

Auber - La Muette de Portici

Opéra Comique, Paris, Monday April 9 2012
Conductor : Patrick Davin. Production : Emma Dante. Sets : Carmine Maringola. Sets and costumes : Vanessa Sannino. Lighting : Dominique Bruguière. Fenella : Elena Borgogni. Alphonse : Maxim Mironov. Elvire : Église Gutiérrez. Masaniello : Michael Spyres. Pietro : Laurent Alvaro. Borella : Tomislav Lavoie. Selva : Jean Teitgen. Lorenzo : Martial Defontaine. Orchestra and chorus of La Monnaie, Brussels.

The Opéra Comique continues to make up, thank goodness, for misery at the ONP and lean years at the Chätelet by programming interesting rarities, this time La Muette de Portici. For the general public, Auber is a above all a central tube station in Paris, handy for the department stores. His work is probably best known in the operatic world for sparking off the Belgian revolution in 1830. I must say it's surprising to read, even today, that "this co-production between the Opéra Comique, La Monnaie in Brussels and the Palazzetto Bru Zane …

Verdi - Rigoletto

Státní Opera, Prague, Thursday April 5 2012
Conductor: František Drs. Production : Karel Jernek. Sets: Z. Kolář. Costumes: O. Filipi. Rigoletto: Martin Bárta. The Duke of Mantua: Rafael Alvarez. Gilda: Marina Vyskvorkina. Sparafucile: Ladislav Mlejnek. Maddalena: Andrea Kalivodová. Giovanna: Sylva Čmugrová. Monterone: František Zahradníček. Marullo: Jiří Brückler. Borsa: Lubomír Havlák. Orchestra and Chorus of the Prague State Opera.

When I found I had an evening free in Prague I hopped on to the Internet hoping there’d be some Janáček at the Národní (after three days there, I’m still in the mood for accents) but the only opera available that night was Rigoletto at the Státní. Oh well, I thought, at least the orchestra and voices will be good. In the event, it was a problematic evening; and to avoid upsetting my Czech friends, I decided I’d say there was probably a ‘flu pandemic in the house.

It didn’t affect the secondary parts. Maddalena, looking very much like Gina Lollobrigida, ha…