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Showing posts from February, 2015

Händel - Tamerlano

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday February 8 2015

Conductor: Christophe Rousset. Production: Pierre Audi. Sets and Costumes: Patrick Kinmonth. Lighting: Matthew Richardson. Tamerlano: Christophe Dumaux. Bajazete: Jeremy Ovenden. Asteria: Sophie Karthäuser. Andronico: Delphine Galou. Irene: Ann Hallenberg. Leone: Nathan Berg. Zaide: Caroline D’Haese. Les Talens Lyriques.

The last time I heard Tamerlano was in 2005, in concert, so I was glad to see it appear again in La Monnaie’s 2014-2015 schedule – staged, this time. Pierre Audi’s production, originally conceived for Drottningholm in 2000, is not traditional – I mean, it doesn’t attempt to reconstruct a period performance. But it is conservative to the point of austerity. “No fellatio this time," a friend noted at the interval.

The bare boards are framed by a receding succession of grey panels, blueish or greenish, depending on the lighting, with simple pilasters, and mouldings picked out in gold. They provide multiple openings to the …

Puccini - Tosca

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Lyric Opera, Chicago, Monday February 2 2015, -11° C

Conductor: Dmitri Jurowski. Production: John Caird. Designer: Bunny Christie. Lighting: Duane Schuler. Tosca: Tatiana Serjan. Cavaradossi: Brian Jagde. Scarpia: Evgeny Nikitin. Angelotti: Richard Ollarsaba. Sacristan: Dale Travis. Spoletta: Rodell Rosel. Sciarrone: Bradley Smoak. Shepherd: Annie Wagner. Jailer: Anthony Clark Events. Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

In (freezing, of course) Chicago for work, I decided to take the opportunity to hear, in Tosca, two singers new to me: Tatiana Serjan, who has sung a lot of Verdi, often with Muti; and Brian Jagde, a young American tenor who will be new to most people, standing in for Misha Didyk.

Jagde has a big, bold voice of the “Domingo-tenor” kind, with darkish-gold undertones but a bright top, able really to nail the highest notes in the score without hesitation. He was better at loud than soft, and neither looked nor sounded Latin (his acting had more frat-boy charm than gravitas),…