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Showing posts from May, 2012

Marco Stroppa - Re Orso

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Opéra Comique, Paris, Tuesday May 22 2012

Conductor: Susanna Mälkki. Production: Richard Brunel. Dramaturgie: Catherine Ailloud-Nicolas et Giordano Ferrari. Sets and Costumes: Bruno De Lavenère. Lighting: Laurent Castaingt. Ircam electronic creation: Carlo Laurenzi. Ircam scientific adviser: Jean Bresson. Singing coaches: Christophe Manien, Joël Soichez. Re Orso, un uomo di potere: Rodrigo Ferreira. Verme, una donna del popolo: Monica Bacelli. Oliba, moglie forzata del Re: Marisol Montalvo. Trovatore: Alexander Kravets. Papiolo, buffone: Geoffrey Carey. Cortigiani: Cyril Anrep, Geoffrey Carey, Daniel Carraz, Piera Formenti. Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Re Orso, based on an elaborate 1865 poem by Arrigo Boito, is a simple tale of a murderous, mythical tyrant, with a simple, old-fashioned moral: like all of us, tyrants die. When a lion combats a worm, the worm has the last laugh: "Tutto nel mondo è burla".

As the work is brand new I thought it might be useful to sum up the plot …

Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana; Leoncavallo – I Pagliacci

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ONP Bastille, Wednesday May 2 2012
Conductor: Daniel Oren. Production: Giancarlo Del Monaco. Santuzza: Violeta Urmana. Turiddu: Marcello Giordani. Lucia: Stefania Toczyska. Alfio: Franck Ferrari. Lola: Nicole Piccolomini. Nedda: Brigitta Kele. Canio: Vladimir Galuzin. Tonio: Sergey Murzaev. Beppe: Florian Laconi. Silvio: Tassis Christoyannis. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris, ONP and Hauts de Seine children's choruses.

If anyone reads these reports, they may recall I recently referred to Nicolas Joël’s (current) time at the ONP as “misery”. His defenders, however, say he is expanding the Paris repertoire and bringing us better casts. Believe it or not, this production of the famous “Cav and Pag” double bill marks Cavalleria Rusticana’s debut at the Opéra National, so the first claim is vindicated, though I can’t say, personally, that the scheduling of Mireille, or Mascagni’s work or, next season, La Gioconda, does much for me. But at last, also – and I’ll repeat…

Rossini - Otello, ossia il moro di Venezia

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday April 29 2012
Concert performance

Conductor: Evelino Pidò. Otello: Gregory Kunde. Desdemona: Anna Caterina Antonacci. Elmiro: Giovanni Furlanetto. Rodrigo: Dmitry Korchak: Jago: Dario Schmunck. Emilia: Josè Maria Lo Monaco. Lucio: Stefan Cifolelli. Doge/Un Gondoliere: Tansel Akzeybek. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

Ana Caterina Antonacci has only to sing one note for me to think (settling snugly into my seat and, for once, looking forward to a feast): “At last, a real voice!” But what’s a “real” voice? Years ago I remember reading a lengthy attempt (by Gombrich or Pevsner or Clark or someone like that; I tried to find it again yesterday but couldn’t) to define art, that still ended with a cop-out along the lines of ”Anyway, when you’ve had enough of it, you know it when you see it.” After hundreds of opportunities, over the years, to leave at the interval, bored by bland voices and non-existent acting, you know a real voice when you hear one. Antonacci…