Friday 1 June 2007

From this Month's Opera

Some gleanings from this month's Opera magazine.

In his editorial John Allison comments on the amount of contemporary work planned for performance in the UK next year (including WNO's The Sacrifice, from James MacMillan, that we plan to see). But of course its not all good news, Jonathan Harvey's new opera, Wagner Dream looks unlikely to come to the UK soon and George Benjamin's Into the Little Hill (premièred in Paris) is planned for Liverpool only!

The interview with Anna Netrebko makes one, again, question the effect that the press can have in creating a media character. The Netrebko of in this interview seems to be worlds away from the figure created by the media; she also seems to be firmly in control of her career, with admirably strong views on what does and does not suit her voice.

In another interview, Will Crutchfield talks about the Caramoor Festival. It is interesting, and fascinating to hear of Trovatore being sung as bel canto and I'd love to hear Crutchfield's promised (but not yet planned) ur-Barbiere with correct final cadences and no unwritten high notes.

Glyndebourne seems to have unearthed the original 1938 Caspar Neher backcloth for Macbeth. Now that we don't have a theatre museum, such finds in archives like Glyndebourne's become even more important.

Two major obituaries, that of Edmund Tracey and Colin Graham. Neither mentions much about their private life and both left one trying, vainly, to read between the lines and guess the nature of the personal relationships. How hum, I thought we got beyond the era when obit. writers had a series of stock, coy, phrases to indicate to those in the know that the articles subject was gay. I liked David Cairns's story of how Edmund Tracey faced down Lord Goodman and the Arts Council to get the ENO Ring going.

The Opera National du Rhin have just done Das Rheingold in their projected David McVicar Ring. Rodney Milnes gives it a very good write up and I think we might have to try catching the next instalment. Also in France, they did the complete Le Roi d'Ys in Saint Etienne. Having heard just the overture in concert (given by the Salomon Orchestra) I'd love to hear the complete work.

Over in Germany, the Komsiche Oper's new Le Contes d'Hoffman sounds fascinating, but they use the Oeser edition which includes everything including the kitchen sink.

A lovely article by Max Loppert on Research Opera. In fact it was a review of Meyerbeer's Crociato in Egitto from Venice, but Loppert coined the very apt term Research Opera to cover "The sort of work the public may never have heard of but a small section of the critics and a large section of the opera-loonies ... have been waiting to hear all their lives". I know just what he means, being a fully paid up opera looney myself.

Moniusko's Halka being performed in Sarasota might have seemed to come into this category, but in fact Sarasota has a large Polish population.

I'll pass over the reviews of the UK operas which I attended. Its always fascinating to read other people's opinions, but equally puzzling at how widely differing opinions can come about when everyone was watching the same work. David Cairns contributes a fascinating review of the Roger Norrington recording of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, one that uses the Weimar version. I must confess that I was rather puzzled as to why that version had been chosen when I heard Norrington and his Stuttgart forces perform it a the proms the other year.

There is also a review of The Opera of Meyerbeer by Robert Ignatius Letellier, notable because Father Letellier was once a curate at a church where I used to sing.

The We Hear that column has its usual selection of tantalising glimpses of the future. John Mark Ainsley as Captain Vere at Glyndebourne in 2010; Sarah Connolly and Sarah Tynan as Romeo and Juliet (Bellini) for Opera North in 2008; Natalie Dessay doing her first Melisande in Vienna in 2009; Richard Jones directing Falstaff at Glyndebourne in 2009. Also at Glyndebourne, a new Meistersinger (!!!), their first I think, to be directed by Christoph Loy. Also on the subject of Meistersinger, Richard Jones is doing the work for WNO in 2009-10 with Bryn Terfel singing his first Hans Sachs. Rossini's Matilde de Shabran is coming to Covent Garden in 2008, with Vesselina Ksarove and Juan Diego Florez - I can't wait! (See I really am an opera looney).

Can someone tell my why Julian Joseph's new opera for the City of London Festival is a jazz based one, even though its subject is a black guy who played the violin with Beethoven!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:23 pm

    Re: Le Roi d'Ys

    Yes, it is a wonderful opera. The Erato recording makes the case for it quite convincingly. And hearing it, it is easy to see why it was presented over 450 times at the Opera Comique. I just regret that you seem to have missed the London premiere, just a few years back, at University College London. To have had this rarity here in Gower Street was a great pleasure and delight.

    DP London


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