Showing posts from December, 2013

Happy New Year 2014


Ambroise Thomas - Hamlet

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday December 15 2013

Conductor: Marc Minkowski. Production: Olivier Py. Sets and Costumes: Pierre-André Weitz. Lighting: Bertrand Killy. Claudius: Vincent Le Texier. La Reine Gertrude: Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo. Hamlet: Franco Pomponi. Polonius: Till Fechner. Ophélie: Rachele Gilmore. Laërte: Rémy Mathieu. Horatio/Premier Fossoyeur: Henk Neven. Marcellus/Deuxième Fossoyeur: Gijs Van der Linden. Le Spectre du feu Roi: Jérôme Varnier. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

True to form, La Monnaie has given us, and Ambroise Thomas, a generous Christmas present, albeit not a very cheerful one of course, by doing his Hamlet (or must I call it "the Danish play"?) proud.

Olivier Py's production was more solidly successful than his recent Alceste and Aida in Paris, with fewer directorial sillinesses (though tics there were: bare-chested demons with kinky mastiffs' heads, chalking on walls and floor, a chorus bearing banners marked "Liberté"...) a…

Schumann - Manfred

Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday December 11 2013

Conductor: Emmanuel Krivine. Production and lighting: Georges Lavaudant. Sets and costumes: Jean-Pierre Vergier. Manfred: Pascal Rénéric. The Witch, The Phantom of Astarte: Astrid Bas. Destinies and Spirits: Anneke Luyten, Sarah Jouffroy, Olivier Dumait, Norman Patzke, Luc Bertin Hugault, Geoffroy Buffière, Cyrille Gautreau. The Abbot of St Maurice: Max Delor. Chorus: Les Eléments. La Chambre Philharmonique.

It will not last,
But it is well to have known it, though but once:
It hath enlarged my thoughts with a new sense,
And I within my tablets would note down
That there is such a feeling.

So here I am, noting down my feelings. It was the oft-mocked Marie-Aude Roux, in Le Monde, who spotted how neatly those lines from Manfred might apply to Schumann's work. "Contemporaneous with the opera Genoveva, the score rejects scenic pragmatism so as to better explore the possibilities of musical expression combined with declamation: akin to Be…

Bellini - I Puritani

ONP Bastille, Friday December 6 2013

Conductor: Michele Mariotti. Production and Costumes: Laurent Pelly. Sets: Chantal Thomas. Lighting: Joël Adam. Lord Gualtiero Valton: Wojtek Smilek. Sir Giorgio: Michele Pertusi. Lord Arturo Talbot: Dmitry Korchak. Sir Riccardo Forth: Mariusz Kwiecien. Sir Bruno Roberton: Luca Lombardo. Enrichetta di Francia: Andreea Soare. Elvira: Maria Agresta. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Apart from the very occasional aria, Bellini isn't a composer I listen to at home. My experience of his complete works comes largely from live performances, some of which played their part in the eventual naming of this blog, so I can't say I know them well - only well enough to know they're not for me (a remark which will probably get me called arrogant, stupid and bitter again; that's the usual result when I say I don't admire either Bellini or Donizetti). But I'd read that I Puritani was possibly his best score and, to my untu…

The Castrato Project

The Stile Galante baroque orchestra, under Stefano Aresi, plans to record a new CD with Ann Hallenberg devoted to one of the most famous, celebrated and important castrato singers of Mozart's age:

"Thanks to years of research we discovered the most extended collection ever found of original embellishments, da capos, cadenzas, variations connected to a single castrato's repertoire. The aims of our project are to record this music, to publish it in critical edition and to prepare a 50-minute documentary on this extraordinary discovery. We are going to record this music with original instruments, with the exact number of players of some of the orchestras originally performing the operas, with a choir, and in a theatre in Bergamo (Italy) perfectly preserved in its original shape. We found resources to pay the research work and the publication of the music, but we need to find some more funds for logistics, accommodations and travels for the musicians arriving for the recor…