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Opera Now
February 2017
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Other Articles in this Issue


FRONT OF HOUSE
Welcome
Opera companies in America seem to be greeting the
Feedback
Write to Opera Now, 20 Rugby Street, London, WC1N 3QZ, email opera.now@rhinegold.co.uk or tweet @Operanow. Star letters will receive a free DVD from Opus Arte’s extensive catalogue of world-class opera productions
NEWS & NOTES
VIENNA STATE OPERA APPOINTS NEW BOSS
Bogdan Roscic has been appointed as the Vienna State
MET CANCELS BIEITO PRODUCTION
In what has been described as a ‘cost-cutting measure’
OPERA BY 11-YEAR-OLD RECEIVES OVATION IN VIENNA
An 11-year-old British composer Alma Deutscher has
NEWS IN BRIEF
The Guildhall School is presenting a free conference
OBITUARIES
The French conductor Georges Prêtre has died aged 92.
MAIN STAGE
AN AMERICAN ABROAD
Thomas Hampson’s long, thriving career on both sides of the Atlantic has established him as one of the most successful and versatile operatic baritones in the world. More than that, he is regarded as an emblematic figure in US opera – an articulate spokesman, championing its heritage, shaping its future and acting as an example to successive generations of young talent. Michael White talks to an all- American singer with a distinctly European perspective on his art
A weekend in Boston
Boston, founded in 1630, is one of the oldest and most
GOLDEN AGE
Opera has played a central role in John Adams’ growth as an artist, ever since Nixon in China burst onto the scene in 1987, heralding a new era for the art form, full of contemporary vigour and courting its fair share of controversy. As Adams celebrates his 70th birthday this month, Thomas May looks back at the composer’s legacy and offers a glimpse into his new work, The Girls of the Golden West
Leontyne Price
American soprano Leontyne Price celebrates her 90th birthday on 10 February. Leonine by name and by nature, she was an indomitable force whose regally assured vocal qualities won over audiences and critics on the recital platform and on record. Why, then, did some critics feel that she was never quite at ease on the operatic stage?
BRICK BY BRICK
Pink Floyd’s best-selling album The Wall embodies the sense of anxiety and alienation of a generation in the 1980s, exploring the uneasy relationship between the individual and society. Now, band leader Roger Waters has sanctioned his work’s transformation into an opera, soon to be premiered as part of the 375th anniversary celebrations of Montreal, the city where the idea for the album first took hold
A passion for opera
‘Since I have synesthesia, I instinctively focus on creating a staging that harmonises music and movement’
IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS…
The roof is on and the walls are taking shape at Britain’s newest opera house, set in the magnificent environs of West Horsley Place, a forgotten rural idyll within easy reach of London. It’s here that Grange Park Opera is preparing to establish a festival in its splendid new theatre this summer.
TRAVELS WITH MY OPERA GLASSES
A trip down memory lane in one of Europe’s most theatrically cultured and musically sophisticated capitals fails to deliver the operatic riches expected of it. Professor Anthony Ogus nevertheless finds consolation in less urbane circumstances
Squillo
FOND FAREWELLS
Opera Now
NEXT ISSUE MARCH 2017
Sophie Bevan is one of Britain’s foremost sopranos
THE CRITICAL VIEW
Der Rosenkavalier Strauss
Too much reality – or what passes for reality in the heads of opera directors – can be a baleful thing. There is such layered suggestion and allusion in Richard Strauss’s best-loved work that shining too strong a light can shatter the magic of the shadows
L’Amour de loin Saariaho
Robert Lepage’s vivid, enormously affecting production of one of the most important new operas of our time is a landmark in its own right, delving into the profound theatricality beyond the opera’s dreamy surface
Candide Bernstein
The New York City Opera closed its doors after 70 years in 2013, but began reviving last year with a mixed bag of productions ranging from Puccini to Daniel Catán – in other words, they’ve been all over the place. With this production of Candide, however, there’s a real sense of a company returning to form and feeling at home
The Dictator’s Wife Fairouz
Many large opera companies in the USA now have as part of their regular season a programme for commissioning opera world premieres by young, emerging composers and librettists. The WNO calls theirs American Opera Initiative, now in its fifth season, with the purpose of telling different American experiences through opera
Madama Butterfly Puccini
In his quest to present Puccini’s operas in their original forms, Riccardo Chailly resuscitated the two-act version of Madama Butterfly, which received its disastrous world premiere at La Scala in 1904. Puccini reworked the opera four times before he settled upon the familiar three-act version from 1907 that we tend to see today. So is this return to the composer’s first intentions really worthwhile?
La traviata Verdi
A brilliant display of fireworks in Piazza De Ferrari set the scene for an equally brilliant Traviata. which inaugurated the opera season in Genoa. The theatre was full and the audience elegantly attired, probably unprepared for this unexpected and surprising new reading of this favourite opera, the key for which director Giorgio Gallione had found in Verdi himself
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Shostakovich
What is Shostakovich without the humour? A thorough, professional and unremittingly earnest production in Munich provided an answer: a teeny bit dull. It’s not something I ever expected to think about this opera
Vienna
City Focus
The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny Weill
Scandinavia tends to be held aloft as an inspiring example of social equality, but there is a dark side to life in Denmark. Graham Vick shone a piercing spotlight on it in this new production of Brecht and Weill’s stinging satire
Le nozze di Figaro Mozart
This new Figaro made the headlines before it even opened when a leading critic announced that she would be boycotting the production due to its lack of Swedish singer
Trollet på Fantøya (Troll on Crook Island) Various composers
The dramatic landscapes on the short boat journey from Viksdal to the open prison on the island of Ulvsnesøy set the scene for BNO’s fairy tale-inspired opera premiere. One could just imagine trolls lurking in the vertiginous mist-brushed mountains that slope into the steely calmness of the fjord
Otello Verdi
Compared with his previous Otello for the Shanghai
BOOKS
The most Parisian soprano ever to be born in Cheltenham
BACK STAGE
SPOT LIGHT
GUIDE TO NEW PRODUCTIONS & OPERA HIGHLIGHTS FEB-APR 2017
EPILOGUE