Sunday, August 14, 2016

Berlioz from Glyndebourne – Only Two More Days

Will they or won't they? (B&B have a moment.)
I finally got my act together and watched Berlioz' Béatrice et Bénédict from Glyndebourne. Unfortunately, it's only available for a few more days. (I don't know whose "midnight" is the cutoff time, though I'd guess it's GMT.) However, I am sure it will show up somewhere else. 

It’s not performed often, and one can imagine why. It’s a pleasant little piece, and this is a fun production, but not terribly profound or moving. It’s short enough to absorb (unlike Les Troyens) in a single shot. The cast—especially Stephanie D’Oustrac and Paul Appleby as the title couple—act well and sing beautifully. The chorus seems to have fun and does a great job (as does the orchestra!) And no one dies in this one.

The look of Laurent Pelly’s production set vaguely in a 1940s “black and white” film is startling at first, then soothing—makeup and costuming are all in blacks, whites, and greys. During the curtain calls, it’s startling again, when the “life-like” creative staff show up on stage, in an odd contrast to the cast. The set consists of boxes, representing the expected way of life that Béatrice et Bénédict do not wish to follow—they don’t want to be “put in a box.” However, if you know the play on which this is based (Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, which most people do in fact know), you won’t be surprised when they give in to love, and end up in a “happily married” box.

I am trying not to say “fluffy,” but there’s not a lot of substance to this little opéra comique. That said, there is some pretty music—particularly a duet and trio for the principal women, and Béatrice’s aria, in which she realizes she really is in love with Bénédict. The production is fun, well sung, and looks pretty; and it’s pretty amusing. If you can catch it on the Glyndebourne site in the next day or so, do take a watch and listen. (And/or watch for it to show up elsewhere.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wozzeck aus dem Opernhaus Zürich mit Herr Gerhaher

© Monika Rittershaus
I haven’t had a chance to watch/listen to this new performance of Wozzeck yet—I did do a quick random click-through just to get a taste. But I wanted to call attention to this performance on It looks very interesting—almost a Punch and Judy-like setting. Based on the cast, it should be very well sung.

What is it about Wozzeck that attracts fine Lieder singers?

P.S. Sorry. I couldn't disable the accursed auto-play for this post, so I am settling for posting this link.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rameau's Les Indes Galantes – This Sunday on

As seen on Facebook:

Live and free of charge from Prinzregententheater: The festival premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Indes Galantes!

With Anna Prohaska, Mathias Vidal, Lisette Oropesa, dancers of the Compagnie Eastman a.o. 

Don't miss our online broadcast on!

Note: By my calculation, it should be on at 12:00 PM Eastern time in the U.S. 
I’m sure it will be great, but it’ll be hard to live up to the visuals of Laura Scozzi’s production from Bordeaux (this is one of the safe-for-work images):

P.S: Next Sunday (July 31) is the new Die Meistersinger with none other than Jonas Kaufmann...and some other singers, probably. That will be an earlier start. Looks like I should have gotten a substitute organist.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hello, Ragazzi! (Part Two)

I just noticed that it's been about four months since my last post. I have been watching and listening to and thinking about opera...just not writing about it lately. So, I am trying to decide whether to spew all my thoughts out in this one post, or spread them out over a few days. I think I will spread them out.

So, last night I saw the Met in HD encore of the 2014 broadcast of Cosi Fan Tutte. This post is not about that. Seeing Cosi led me to binge-reading older Cosi posts on my own blog and at The Earworm. This post is not about what I learned during this late-night binge-read. 

This post also is not about the new high-end theater that hosts the Met transmissions (wine and cheese at intermission). This post is about is the other opera series—or what’s left of itat my local high-end cinema this year. There is one more opera in August. This post is about that opera. 

That opera is Puccini’s La fanciulla del west from La Scala. I am pretty sure I want to see that! But before I buy my tickets, I wanted to find out more. (The cinema website is not helpful about details. I guess they figure either you want to see it or you don’t.)

So, this is the Robert Carsen production—my curiosity is officially piqued­—with a typically Robert Carsen meta-theater concept, and what the Bachtrack review calls a “final, brilliant coup de théȃtre [that] brings us full circle.” It seems Mr. Carsen has taken the spaghetti western concept and really run with it. The opera begins and ends in a movie theater. OK, now I gotta go see it. But before I do, I research a little more. 

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