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OBITUARIES

NICOLAI GEDDA

Nicolai Gedda, who died on on 8 January, had an illustrious career as an operatic tenor that lasted more than 50 years, during which time he made more than 200 recordings and collaborated with artists including Maria Callas, Georges Prêtre, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau and Jessye Norman.

Gedda’s intense, powerful voice, often described as ‘liquid velvet’ came with an innate musicianship that phrased text and music naturally in many languages. His international success as an opera singer emerged from unpromising beginnings in Stockholm: his mother was an unmarried teenage waitress, and his father an unemployed Russian emigré. Destined for a children’s home, he was rescued by his Russian uncle who enrolled him in a Kossak choir in Stockholm.

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About Opera Now

British soprano Sophie Bevan discusses her starring role in a new opera at ENO; exploring the hidden art of the répétiteur; traditional craftsmanship meets contemporary design at Oman’s Royal Opera House Muscat; and Cardiff prepares to crown the Singer of the World. Plus, our pick of this year’s top singing competitions around the world; English Touring Opera proves that learning about opera can be educational and fun; American baritone and movie star Nelson Eddy; Simon Callow’s Wagnerian triumph; and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s legendary recordings.

Other Articles in this Issue


FRONT OF HOUSE
‘Useful’ can seem a loaded word when it is applied
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
The Royal Opera House in London has announced the world
Welsh National Opera (WNO) is to establish a fully
Nicolai Gedda, who died on on 8 January, had an illustrious
Robert Thicknesse applauds an initiative that provides a platform for new works-in-progress while testing the idea of what opera can and should be for today’s creators and audiences
A chance encounter with a discerning voice coach prompted Darwin Leonard Prakash to trade in his life as a geology student in India to become a scholarshipwinning singing student in the UK, set for a high-flying career in opera. He tells his story to Amanda Holloway.
MAIN STAGE
Singing is a family affair for Sophie Bevan, the British soprano whose radiant, versatile voice is proving irresistible to the world’s major opera houses. Robert Thicknesse meets a seriously grounded young singer with innate musicality, a vivacious sense of fun and a fearless onstage presence that makes you feel there is nothing her voice can’t tackle
The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is much more than just a competition. The weeklong event in June feels like an international festival rather than a gladiatorial contest, celebrating the operatic voice in all its many colours. Simon Rees looks forward to this year’s instalment in the Welsh capital
Opera Now looks ahead to some of this year’s key singing contests around the world
Jeremy Nicholas throws light on the hidden art of the répétiteur, first-rate pianists and all-round communicators who perform a vital but often unacknowledged role in the opera house
English Touring Opera’s education work represents some of the most successful and effective endeavours in this field, yet it receives no public funding. Robert Thicknesse meets Tim Yealland, the unsung hero of ETO’s outreach projects which help, enthuse, entertain and engage with marginalised audiences who might never otherwise have the chance to encounter opera
The American baritone Nelson Eddy (1901-1967) is remembered principally as a movie star whose velvety voice and amiable personality charmed filmgoers of the 1930s and ’40s. His onscreen celebrity has largely eclipsed his considerable accomplishments in the field of opera, where he diligently honed his natural talents as a singer
Irrepressible wit, flamboyant fantasy and subversive satire are the flavour of the month for Professor Anthony Ogus, taking the form of Russian whimsy at the opera in Brussels to Gallic effervescence among a group of lively students – in Manchester, of all places
MARKET FORCES
Action-packed maestro Christophe Rousset founded his
TRAVEL
Amanda Holloway visits the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman’s unique performance venue which blends traditional craftsmanship with bold architectural statements from the country’s ancient past and forward-looking present
THE CRITICAL VIEW
Mary Zimmerman’s handsome new production of Rusalka peeks beneath the opera’s fairy-tale Romanticism, exploring its Freudian dimension. The storytelling is clear; missing is the pathos of the water nymph who gives up everything for love of a mortal Prince
New York’s fifth annual Prototype Festival, a key source
This early Rossini opera seria (1813) is dramaturgically creaky, but it has some splendid music, and numerous opportunities for the three principals to display their pyrotechnical skill
Here’s a real rarity: Opera North launched its winter season of fairy-tale operas with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1881 setting of a traditional Russian folk tale, Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden). This was a polished performance of a neglected gem, with a glittering score that deserves more recognition
London, to its shame, couldn’t rustle up a full Wigmore
Will he or won’t he? Any arguments over the ‘new production’ status of Claus Guth’s staging – first seen, in fact, at La Scala in 2012 – were upstaged by doubts over Jonas Kaufmann appearing in the title role
At the Bastille Theatre, the Paris Opera introduced
At the Opera di Firenze, director Bruno Ravella adapted
The ancient port of Akko (or Acre) is one of the oldest
V celebrity interviews, behind-the-scenes features
A remastered set of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf ’s unpublished EMI recordings show the legendary diva full of youthful vitality, experimenting with her voice in a wide range of repertoire, with the Svengali-like presence of Walter Legge always lurking in the background. Benjamin Ivry reports
Sometimes an opera aficionado will turn to a gathering
BEING WAGNER:THE TRIUMPH OF THE WILL
BACK STAGE
GUIDE TO NEW PRODUCTIONS & OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MAY-MAY 2017
24.Spirit with songs set by Purcell and Vaughan Williams