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Opéra Magazine's July 2021 pick of the month:

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Photos © Barbara Aumüller Every month, France's Opéra Magazine rates new recordings (CD and video) on a scale from 1 to 5 and hands out the occasional ' Diamant ' ('Diamond') award to what it considers exceptional ones, for whatever reason. This month, its ' coup de coeur ', complete with a ' Diamant ', is a 3-CD set of Schreker's Der ferne Klang,  recorded in Frankfurt. Sebastian Weigle conducts the Frankfurt Opera, with Magnus Baldvinsson, Barbara Zechmeister, Jennifer Holloway, Nadine Secunde...  Opéra Magazine 's reviewer regrets that there is no DVD, as Michieletto's production was 'as technically accomplished as its characterisations were analytical...' Nevertheless, this recording is a ' référence ' version (the French critics love those) in the Schreker catalogue, 'A very great historical moment for the Frankfurt Opera, with Der ferne Klang 's dazzling return, almost exactly one century later, to the city

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka - La Fille de Neige) is now on DVD

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Photo © Elisa Haberer/OnP The Paris Opera's Tcherniakov production of The Snow Maiden , which I saw in May 2017 , is now available on video (BelAir Classiques). The July issue of France's Opéra Magazine says this was a ' 'Formidable spectacle on the Opera Bastille's vast plateau' and asks 'how, finally, could anyone fail to melt before Snegurochka as portrayed by Aida Garifullina, whom Paris discovered at the time in a rôle that seemed tailor-made for the spun gold of her voice?' I see it's also available in full on YouTube . No telling how long that will last, so see it while you can! Here it is:

Hervé (Louis-Auguste-Florimond Ronger) - V'lan dans l'oeil

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Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, Wednesday June 23 2021 Conductor: Christophe Grapperon. Production, sets, costumes: Pierre-André Weitz. Lighting: Bertrand Killy. Choreography: Ivanka Moizan. Dindonette: Laura Neumann. Fleur-de-Noblesse: Ingrid Perruche. La Marquise: Olivier Py. Éclosine: Sandrine Slutter. Mariette: Clémentine Bourgoin. Françoise: Sophie Calmel-Elcourt. La Sentinelle: Alma Villard. Alexandrivore: Damien Bigourdan. Géromé: Pierre Lebon. Le Bailli: Jean-Damien Barbin. Le Marquis: Flannan Obé. Ernest: David Ghilardi. Chavassus: Antoni Sykopoulos. Roussin: Sévag Tachdjian. Le Duc d’en Face: Pierre-André Weitz. Dancer: Julien Mercier. Châtelet Chorus. Orchestre Pasdeloup.  Of all the Palazzetto Bru Zane's 'restoration' projects, the one that's brought me the most pleasure has been their revival of Opéra Bouffe , especially the madcap works of the extraordinary Hervé. As Covid restrictions are lifted, Paris theatres are opening again, albeit not to full capac

Shostakovich - Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (OperaVision on YouTube)

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This evening I decided it was time to watch the Birmingham Opera Company's 'reinvention' of Lady Macbeth,  made available by OperaVision on YouTube . According to the blurb: 'Birmingham Opera Company's 50th production relocates Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to a disused, iconic nightclub where, amidst the 150 volunteer actors and chorus, audience members encountered bloody brides, oversized rats and poisoned wedding guests. Accompanied on stage by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a band from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and with a radical set design by the Banksy collaborators Block 9, "the production is perhaps its most brilliant so far" (The Observer).' The audience certainly seem to enjoy it, and I see The Guardian gave it five stars , calling it 'a blast of pure energy.' The production, with its injection of community involvement, makes up to some extent for occasional shortcomings among the voices (closely, i.e. unkindly, mi

Opéra Magazine's June 2021 pick of the month: Cadmus et Hermione

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Cadmus et Hermione  at the Opéra-Comique in 2008 Every month, France's  Opéra Magazine  rates new recordings (CD and video) on a scale from 1 to 5 and dishes out the occasional ' Diamant ' ('Diamond') to what it considers exceptional ones, for whatever reason. This month, its ' coup de coeur ', complete with a ' Diamant ', is a 2-CD set of Lully's Cadmus et Hermione conducted by Vincent Dumestre, on the Versailles Spectacles label. The review begins (my translation): 'After the sumptuous production at the Opéra-Comique in January 2008, then the acclaimed release of the show on DVD by Alpha Classics, Vincent Dumestre now offers us a Cadmus and Hermione of rare quality, without the visual trappings. With the help of highly inspired singers, he has made up for his first approach, which was somewhat overdone and vocally under-cast. For, let us say it straight out, the voices assembled for this studio recording, in November 2019, are far more co

Rameau - Hippolyte et Aricie (OperaVision on YouTube)

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This evening, over my bowl of COVID-curfew pasta and a bottle of Rhône red, I watched a new production of Hippolyte et Aricie from Mannheim. It's worth a look, as the staging is well done (Mannheim must have some money) and the cast is sometimes very satisfactory - better than some I've heard in the same work. But I found the production's cleverness, or would-be cleverness, too distancing from the characters - other than Hippolyte and Aricie themselves, who were largely spared. And the score - perhaps for reasons related to COVID, that I don't know - was cut to pieces: the total time, including quite a lot of faffing about where usually you might expect the prologue, is only two hours and a quarter. Here, anyway, it is, on YT : Conductor: Bernhard Forck. Director: Lorenzo Fioroni. Sets: Paul Zoller, Loriana Casagrande. Costumes: Katharina Gault. Lighting: Florian Arnholdt. Choreography: Pascale-Sabine Chevroton. Aricie: Amelia Scicolone. Phèdre: Sophie Rennert. Oenone,

Opéra Magazine's May 2021 pick of the month: The Beggar's Opera

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Every month, France's  Opéra Magazine  rates new recordings (CD and video) on a scale from 1 to 5 and dishes out the occasional ' Diamant ' ('Diamond') to what it considers exceptional ones, for whatever reason. This month, its ' coup de coeur ', complete with a ' Diamant ', is a DVD of Gay & Pepusch's The Beggar's Opera , in a 2018 production by Robert Carsen, with William Christie conducting. The reviewer writes 'A glittering success (...) A breath of fresh air (and almost of laughing gas) in these gloomy times: who's to say no?' Here's a trailer: