Wednesday 21 December 2005

The latest issue of Opera magazine came flying through the letter box on Monday and has, as usual, been essential reading ever since.

I was interested to read that the National Theatre in Prague has only just staged the original version of Janacek's Jenufa for the first time; previously they had only ever staged the adaption made by the theatre's then director at the time the opera was first performed in Prague. Janacek had to agree to the changes as a condition of the opera being performed. Its a good thing that such unnecessary adaptions (correcting perceived faults in orchestration etc.) are being consigned to the dustbin.

Another review that caught my eye was Magdala Opera's production of Cavalleria Rusticana in Nottingham. Roderic Dunnett gave it a very positive review, which is very heart warming as the opera company is based on a chorus, many of whose members started adult life with no musical training, even no sense of pitch or no idea how to sing. Their aim is to bring more people to opera through their performances. More power to their elbow.

According to Opera's 'We hear that...' column, the Royal Opera House are having yet another go at Salome, with David McVicar scheduled to do a new production in 2008. I think this will be their 3rd new production since they ditched their old one which I saw starting in the late 70's/early 80's, with Hildegarde Behrens, Josphine Barstow, Gwynneth Jones and Grace Bumbry (at various times). I often wonder whether companies sometimes regret ditching old standard productions when they have so much trouble getting a new one right. But I suppose in an age of shared productions it is probably almost cost effective to bring a new co-production in as to re-furbish substantial and expensive sets.

Covent Garden seem to be investing quite heavily in David McVicar, I hope that he continues to deliver.

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