sun 21/12/2014

Verdi

Un Ballo in Maschera, Royal Opera

Covent Garden’s masked balls circling around the New Year feature not the seasonal bourgeois Viennese couple and a bat-winged conspirator but a king, his best friend’s wife and – excessively so in this production – the grim reaper. Big voices are...

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I Due Foscari, Royal Opera

First the good news. At 73, is Plácido Domingo anywhere near retiring? Er, no. When the question came up in an interview on Sunday (on video below), he answered : "The reason I don't retire is because I can still sing." And then with a glint in his...

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La Traviata, Opera North

You’d expect a regional opera company to focus on the core repertoire in these economically challenging times. Happily, Opera North’s La traviata is a new staging and not a weary revival. Alessandro Talvi’s production doesn’t take many risks and...

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Otello, English National Opera

From one great operatic storm to another. 2014 opened at English National Opera with David Alden’s Peter Grimes, gale-tossed and wet with sea-spray, and now the director turns his attention to Verdi’s Otello. Restlessly urgent, Edward Gardner’s...

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La traviata, Glyndebourne

Some of us have witnessed Traviatas where single stars were born: Angela Gheorghiu for Solti at the Royal Opera nearly 20 years ago springs quickest to mind. Some would claim a dream couple in Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon on peak form at...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Tenor Michael Fabiano

You can usually trust the buzz around rehearsals. From Glyndebourne, five weeks into preparation for La traviata, which opens tomorrow, one of the team working on Tom Cairns’ new production declared in an e-mail conversation that newcomer soprano...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Kristine Opolais

The best that you can usually expect from an interview is that it takes off from stock beginnings in spontaneous and unexpected directions. This one was rather exciting from the start: the end of a day in the life of a new role, Puccini's good-time...

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La Traviata, Royal Opera

The German soprano Diana Damrau has had the role of Violetta Valéry in La Traviata in her sights for a very long time. As she has explained in interviews, seeing the Zeffirelli film of the opera, with Teresa Stratas in the title role, as a 12-year...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Nicole Cabell

Last year a DVD appeared featuring the 15 winning performances from the start of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition up to 2011. I watched them all, skimming if any seemed a notch below par but staying with most. You could see the star...

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DVD: Becoming Traviata

Only the most antagonistic of diva fanciers, opera queens, call them what you will, would deny coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay her place as one of the great singing actresses of our time. The size and range of the voice are rather more limited for...

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Rigoletto, English National Opera

Old sins, the saying goes, cast long shadows. These are nothing, however, to the shadows cast by old productions. Jonathan Miller’s Mafia Rigoletto looms larger than most in this regard – a lowering giant of directorial inspiration, with 30 years in...

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Macbeth, Opera North

The colours! Or the lack of them; Johan Engels’s neat, versatile set is decked out in 50 shades of black and grey. As are most of the cast, meaning that you begin to feel that you’re watching a grainy monochrome newsreel. Scotland has rarely looked...

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