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Schönberg, Mahler, Korngold and John Williams by La Monnaie at BOZAR in Brussels

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BOZAR, Brussels, Sunday February 18 2024 Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Baritone: Stéphane Degout. Violin: Saténik  Khourdoïan. La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra. Schönberg: Fünf Orchesterstücke , op.16 Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Korngold: Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra , op. 35 Williams: Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone , suite for orchestra. I: Hedwig's Theme . II: The Sorcerer's Stone . III: Nimbus 2000 . IV Harry's Wondrous World . Alain Altinoglu rehearsing Parsifal in 2022 at the BOZAR. Photo: Simon Van Rompay The blurb for this concert on La Monnaie's website puts the emphasis on magic in music, saying it would be 'An ideal evening for both Wizards and Muggles.' (I had to look 'Muggle' up.) This is no doubt a clever way to draw people who might not normally go to symphonic concerts into one that opens with a work by Schönberg. But I think the programme could more plausibly be described as simply a small selection of wo

Händel - Giulio Cesare (Jules César, Julius Caesar) at Garnier

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ONP Paris Garnier, Monday February 12 2024 Conductor: Harry Bicket. Production and Costumes: Laurent Pelly. Sets: Chantal Thomas. Lighting: Joël Adam. Giulio Cesare: Gaëlle Arquez. Cleopatra: Lisette Oropesa. Sesto: Emily D'Angelo. Cornelia: Wiebke Lehmkuhl. Tolomeo: Iestyn Davies. Achilla: Luca Pisaroni. Nireno: Rémy Brès. Curio: Adrien Mathonat. Orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris. Unikanti Chorus. Photos: Vincent Pontet/ONP This Cesare is a reprise of Laurent Pelly's 2011 production, which I wrote about at the time. For a description of his staging, click through here and scroll down to 'The production is a new one, by Laurent Pelly.' Having seen it again this week, I feel less positive about it than I did at the time. But (a little bit) more of that later. So now, all I have to do is write about the musical aspects. I have, however, an impediment. In the first act, every time Emily d'Angelo sang, her voice came with what in French would be called a '

Wagner - Die Walküre at La Monnaie

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday January 28 2024 Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Production, sets, costumes and lighting: Romeo Castellucci, with Paola Villani (sets), Clara Strasser (costumes), Raphael Noel (lighting). Choreography: Cindy Van Acker. Siegmund: Peter Wedd. Hunding: Ante Jerkunica. Wotan: Gábor Bretz. Sieglinde: Nadja Stefanoff. Brünnhilde: Ingela Brimberg. Fricka: Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Gerhilde: Karen Vermeiren. Ortlinde: Tineke Van Ingelgem. Waltraute: Polly Leech. Schwertleite: Lotte Verstaen. Helmwige: Katie Lowe. Siegrune: Marie-Andrée Bouchard-Lesieur. Grimgerde: Iris Van Wijnen. Rossweisse: Christel Loetzsch. La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra. Photos: Monika Rittershaus / La Monnaie At the moment, I'm about halfway through Roberto Calasso's The Ruin of Kasch* (in a French translation, as usual when I can't easily read the original). Like Romeo Castellucci towards his audiences, Calasso is uncompromising in his assumption that readers will be adequately versed in

Opéra Magazine's 'Pick of the Month' for February 2024

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The pick of the month (their ' coup de coeur ') in the February '24 issue of Opéra Magazine , with the 'Diamond' award you might expect, is, I quote: 'Blessed Atys . The third complete recording on CD - and the third reference - of Lully's " tragédie lyrique ". After William Christie and Hugo Reyne, Christophe Rousset accomplishes a miracle, with the best Atys in the catalogue: Reinoud Van Mechelen.'  The recording also stars Marie Lys  ('delightful' and a 'tragic heroine with moving singing') and Ambroisine Bré ('nobility and charm incarnate'), alongside a 'team of thirty-somethings, perfectly balanced,' and 'Christophe Rousset is, here, at the pinnacle of his art.'

Seasons' Greetings

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Rimsky-Korsakov - The Tale of Czar Saltan, of his Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday December 17 2023 Conductor: Timur Zangiev. Production & Sets: Dmitri Tcherniakov. Costumes: Elena Zaytseva. Video Art Direction & Lighting: Gleb Filshtinsky. Czar Saltan: Ante Jerkunica. Czaritza Militrisa: Svetlana Aksenova. Tkachikha: Stine Marie Fischer. Povarikha: Bernarda Bobro. Babarikha: Carole Wilson. Czarevitch Gvidon: Bogdan Volkov. Czarevna Swan-Bird/Lyebyd: Olga Kulchynska. Skomorokh/Shipman: Alexander Vassiliev. Messenger/Shipman: Nicky Spence. Old man/Shipman: Alexander Kravets. La Monnaie Orchestra, Chorus and Children's Choir. Photos: Forster/La Monnaie This run of Czar Saltan is a reprise of Dmitri Tcherniakov's 2019 production in the same house. It was actually included that year in my old-fogey-special Sunday matinee subscription, but I missed it because I was away for work. So I'd only seen it on video so far, and was very glad to have a chance to see it live, both because I think Rimsky is scandalously underperf

Opéra Magazine's 'Pick of the Month' for December 2023

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  The French Opéra Magazine ’s favourite new recording (‘ coup de coeur ’) in the November issue, with a 'Diamond' award, is Christian Immler's CD, with Andreas Frese at the piano, combining Schumann songs with Jörg Widmann's Das heisse Herz , a series of eight Lieder . On Alpha Classics.  'Prodigious!' exclaims the reviewer. 'Though rarely appearing on disc, German bass-baritone Christian Immler is nonetheless one of the most fascinating Lied singers of our time. His new album is a gem whose beauty will literally take your breath away.'