Showing posts from January, 2013

Puccini - Manon Lescaut

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday January 27 2013
Conductor: Carlo Rizzi. Production: Mariusz Trelinski. Sets: Boris Kudlicka. Costumes: Magdalena Musial. Lighting: Felice Ross. Video & LED design: Bartek Macias. Manon Lescaut: Amanda Echalaz. Lescaut: Lionel Lhote. Il Cavaliere Renato Des Grieux: Hector Sandoval. Geronte de Ravoir: Giovanni Furlanetto. Edmondo: Julien Dran. Il Maestro di Ballo & Un Lampionaio: Alexander Kravets. Un Sergente: Guillaume Antoine. Un Musico: Camille Merckx. L’Oste: Guillaume Antoine. Coro del Madrigale: Amalia Avilán, Anne-Fleur Inizian, Audrey Kessedjian, Julie Mossay.

If you leave at the interval, chances are someone will tell you it got better after. This time, for Manon Lescaut, I was tipped off by a friend present on opening night, so we stayed. And indeed, it got better.

The simple (to be honest, simplistic) way to describe this production to anyone who saw La Monnaie’s recent Traviata would be to say it was more of the same, only in black sets …

Rossini - Le Comte Ory

Metropolitan Opera, New York, Monday January 21 2013

Conductor: Maurizio Benini. Production: Bartlett Sher. Sets: Michael Yeargan. Costumes: Catherine Zuber. Lighting : Brian MacDevitt. Adèle: Pretty Yende. Isolier: Karine Deshayes. Ragonde: Susanne Resmark. Count Ory: Juan Diego Flórez. Raimbaud: Nathan Gunn. The Tutor: Nicola Ulivieri.

“Her voice has a luminous sheen combined with steely resolve that powers both her clarion top notes and her outstandingly rich low register. She delivered some of the most difficult coloratura passages with scintillating precision… She took her curtain call amid a storm of bravos, whistles and whoops.”

That was the New York Times, quoted on the Met’s website, on the subject of Pretty Yende, a South African singer who has made her Met début standing in at the last minute as Adèle. She certainly is remarkably promising. If she isn’t pounced on and pushed into too many rôles that are too taxing, too soon, in five years or so she’s going to be a truly rema…

Marc-Antoine Charpentier - David et Jonathas

Opéra Comique, Paris, Friday January 18 2013

Conductor: William Christie. Production: Andreas Homoki. Sets: Paul Zoller. Costumes: Gideon Davey. Lighting: Franck Evin. David: Pascal Charbonneau. Jonathas: Ana Quintans. Saül: Arnaud Richard. Joabel: Krešimir Špicer. Achis: Frédéric Caton. La Pythonisse: Dominique Visse. L'Ombre de Samuel, premier guerrier: Pierre Bessière. Les Arts Florissants.

After all they put up with, you might think operagoers would, as well as having cast-iron buttocks, thanks to Wagner, be hard-boiled all round. Yet in fact we’re quite sensitive: little contretemps of all kinds can make us less receptive. On Friday evening, not only was there unusually heavy snow in Paris (any snow in Paris is unusual), making me worry about taking off for New York the next day. But also, my two fellow-subscribers called in sick at the last minute, leaving me alone with two spare tickets in my balcony seat. These simple things may explain why, though this well-travelled produ…

Händel fresh from Moscow

Ann Hallenberg sings "Begone my fears" from Händel's Hercules in Moscow.

{Later} An anonymous well-wisher has supplied a link to the whole concert.

From time to time...

... I may publish a link to something special on YouTube.

Today it's to Mozart's C Minor Mass, with Julie Fuchs, Ann Hallenberg, Benjamin Hulett and Markus Werba, under Laurence Equilbey.

Plus a wonderful "Aber der Richtige," live in 1963, with Lisa Della Casa and Anneliese Rothenberger.

Also, I've been watching the Blu-Ray video of Glyndebourne's The Turn of the Screw and can only say it's marvellous. I recommend it.