Showing posts from March, 2013

Wolf-Ferrari - Il segreto di Susanna / Poulenc - La Voix Humaine

Opéra Comique, Paris, Tuesday March 26 2013

Conductor: Pascal Rophé. Production: Ludovic Lagarde. Sets: Antoine Vasseur. Video: Lidwine Prolonge. Costumes: Fanny Brouste. Lighting: Sébastien Michaud. Contessa Susanna; Elle: Anna Caterina Antonacci. Conte Gil: Vittorio Prato. Sante: Bruno Danjoux. Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg.

The double bill of Il segreto di Susanna and La Voix Humaine is a good example of the Opéra Comique’s interesting programming, making up for less interesting schedules at the ONP in recent seasons and the near abandon of opera - temporarily, perhaps - at the Châtelet. Of course I’d never had a chance to see the former. Less obviously, in over 30 years of opera in Paris I’d never even seen the quintessentially Parisian Poulenc. Inevitably, this being so, I had Denise Duval in my mind and ears.

Fortunately, Anna-Caterina Antonacci was completely different in almost every way: different yet perfect, bringing a role fairly firmly anchored in late 50s Paris …

Gounod - Roméo et Juliette

La Monnaie at Bozar, Brussels, Sunday March 24 2013

Conductor: Evelino Pidò. Juliette: Nino Machaidze. Stéphano: Angélique Noldus. Gertrude: Carole Wilson. Roméo: John Osborn. Tybalt: Tansel Akzeybek. Benvolio: Stefan Cifolelli. Mercutio: Lionel Lhote. Le Comte Pâris: Alexandre Duhamel. Grégorio: Nabil Suliman. Le Comte Capulet: Paul Gay. Frère Laurent: Jérôme Varnier. Le Duc de Vérone: Patrick Bolleire. Manuela: Amalia Avilán. Pepita: Kinga Borowska. Angelo: Marc Coulon. Frère Jean: Pascal Macou. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie. Vlaams Radio Koor. Reflection.

Concert performance

There’s a certain kind of opera classed in my mind alongside Massenet’s Esclarmonde. Works, that is, that need top-rate performances to, well, work. Joan Sutherland’s famous recording of Esclarmonde does; an Esclarmonde put on by the local amateur operatic society on a shoestring budget probably wouldn’t. At the Opéra Comique some years back, it was decidedly unconvincing. The risk, with a superlative record…

Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress

Staatsoper Unter den Linden im Schiller Theater, Berlin, Thursday March 14 2013

Conductor: David Robert Coleman. Production: Krzysztof Warlikowski. Sets and costumes: Małgorzata Szczęśniak. Lighting: Felice Ross. Video: Denis Guéguin. Trulove: Jan Martiník. Anne: Adriana Kucerová. Tom Rakewell: Stephan Rügamer. Nick Shadow: Gidon Saks. Mother Goose: Birgit Remmert. Baba the Turk: Nicolas Ziélinski. Sellem: Erin Caves. Keeper of the madhouse: Gyula Orendt. Staatskapelle Berlin. Staatsopernchor.

This production of The Rake’s Progress was covered so well and in such depth by Opera Cake in 2010 that it hardly seems necessary for me to add anything, other than that I had a partly different cast. It can't have been easy for Opera Cake: once again, Krzysztof Warlikowski's production was typically... What's the word? A web? A tapestry? Kaleidoscopic? Whatever the word is for involving a profusion of ideas and details, themes, images, symbols, actions, ambiguities, suggestions... Li…

Donizetti - Lucrezia Borgia

La Monnaie at the Cirque Royal, Brussels, Sunday March 3 2013
Conductor: Julian Reynolds. Production: Guy Joosten. Sets: Johannes Leiacker. Costumes: Jorge Jara. Lighting: Manfred Voss. Don Alfonso, Duca di Ferrara: Paul Gay. Donna Lucrezia Borgia: Elena Mosuc. Gennaro: Charles Castronovo. Maffio Orsini: Silvia Tro Santafé. Jeppo Liverotto: Roberto Covatta. Don Apostolo Gazella: Tijl Faveyts. Ascanio Petrucci: Jean-Luc Ballestra. Gubetta: Jean Teitgen. Rustighello: Alexander Kravets. Astolfo: Justin Hopkins. Oloferno Vitellozzo: Stefan Cifolelli. Usciere: Alain-Pierre Wingelinckx. Un coppiere: Gerard Lavalle. La Monnaie orchestra and chorus.

I’ve decided this report will be truffled, as the French say (i.e. like a goose liver or white pudding) with quotations. Though I’ve said before it’s probably not pukka to quote yourself, it saves time; so I started out (you’ll soon see why) going back over my recent write-ups from Brussels, looking for things to copy and paste. Then, perusing som…