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Showing posts from July, 2012

Berlioz - Les Troyens

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Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, Sunday July 8 2012
Conductor: Antonio Pappano. Production: David McVicar. Sets: Es Devlin. Costumes: Moritz Junge. Lighting: Wolfgang Göbbel. Choreography: Andrew George. Cassandre: Anna Antonacci. Chorèbe: Fabio Capitanucci. Enée: Bryan Hymel. Didon: Eva-Maria Westbroek. Narbal: Brindley Sherratt. Anna: Hanna Hipp. Ascagne: Barbara Senator. Priam: Robert Lloyd. Hécube: Pamela Helen Stephen. Ghost of Hector: Jihoon Kim. Panthée: Ashley Holland. Hélénus: Ji Hyun Kim. Greek Captain: Lukas Jakobski. Trojan Soldier: Daniel Grice. Iopas: Ji-Min Park. First Soldier: Adrian Clarke. Second Soldier: Jeremy White. Hylas: Ed Lyon. Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
I’d intended this season to go out with a bang. To get tickets for Les Troyens with Kaufmann, Antonacci and Westbroek in the new, McVicar production, I pulled out all the stops. Against all odds, as I’ve never actually liked the place, I became a "Friend of Covent …

Strauss - Arabella

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ONP Bastille, Paris, Wednesday July 4 2012
Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Production and sets: Marco Arturo Marelli. Costumes: Dagmar Niefind . Lighting: Friedrich Eggert. Graf Waldner: Kurt Rydl. Adelaide: Doris Soffel. Arabella: Renée Fleming. Zdenka: Genia Kühmeier. Mandryka: Michael Volle. Matteo: Will Hartmann (replacing Joseph Kaiser). Graf Elemer: Eric Huchet. Graf Dominik: Edwin Crossley Mercer. Graf Lamoral. Thomas Dear. Die Fiakermilli: Iride Martinez. Eine Kartenaufschlägerin: Irène Friedli. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

It doesn’t show, because I don’t succeed, but in fact every time I start one of these write-ups I tell myself I’ll keep it short. The trouble is I always want to include enough detail to recall the production if need be (which was the whole point when I started keeping these records), so I end up rambling on.

This time, however, for those who want the facts about Paris’s new Arabella in a few words, I can sum it up in six: great cast,…

Verdi - Il Trovatore

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday July 1 2012
Conductor: Marc Minkowski. Production, sets: Dmitri Tcherniakov. Costumes: Dmitri Tcherniakov, Elena Zaytseva. Lighting: Gleb Filshtinsky. Il Conte di Luna: Dimitris Tiliakos. Manrico: Misha Didyk. Azucena: Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo. Leonora: Marina Poplavskaya. Ferrando: Giovanni Furlanetto. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

Directors must spend a lot of time wondering how to make Romantic plots work, dramatically, with today’s audience. We, today’s audience, meanwhile, on our way to a Sonnambula or a Rigoletto, may (or is that might?) hope - against hope, you could add - to get a decent evening’s singing, but don’t expect to have a great evening’s theatre, let alone emerge breathless and shaken. Yet Dmitri Tcherniakov achieved exactly that: he turned Trovatore into an afternoon (I was at a matinee) of total music theatre, with acting so powerful that it came as a useful reminder – we have plenty of opportunities to forget – that when the drama…