sun 02/08/2015

Verdi

theartsdesk at the Buxton Festival: Bloody Lucia, saintly Joan and sweet Louise

Sunlight bounces off Derbyshire stone, buskers strum on the Pavilion Gardens bandstand and there’s improvised Shakespeare on the streets: it’s Festival time again in Buxton. Frank Matcham’s Opera House doesn’t present a particularly festive...

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Remembering Jon Vickers (1926-2015)

Canadian heroic tenor Jon Vickers, who died on Friday 10 July aged 88 and whose full life took him from work on a Saskatchewan farm to the great opera houses of the world, was inimitable, terrifying and titanic. Faced with the intense flavour of...

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Rigoletto, Longborough Festival

The gable end of Martin Graham’s converted barn opera-house at Longborough is surmounted by statues of three composers: pride of place, not surprisingly, to Wagner – the festival’s raison d’être – and with Verdi and Mozart on either side. It’s true...

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Falstaff, Royal Opera

It may only be a revival, but this is what the Royal Opera does best, above all in fielding a living legend of a Falstaff for Verdi's last masterpiece who’d probably be beyond the pockets of many other houses. Italian baritone, masterchef and...

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La Traviata: Love, Death and Divas, BBC Two

Verdi's La Traviata has become one of the best-loved and most-performed works in the operatic repertoire, but this is no thanks to sections of the English press. In this entertaining romp through the opera's history, presenters Tom Service and...

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First Person: Once More With Feeling

As a child back in Lithuania, I always wanted to be an actor, but opera has taken me in a different direction – though recently it has opened up doors for the big screen and TV. This month Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail is being beamed...

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Il Trovatore, Scottish Opera

"The darkness deceived me," sings Leonora in Act I as she mistakenly rushes into the arms of the Count di Luna, rather than those of her beloved, the mysterious troubador Manrico who’s been serenading her for nights on end. Seeing Robert B Dickson’s...

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Best of 2014: Opera

When everything works – conducting, singing, production, costumes, sets, lighting, choreography where relevant – then there’s nothing like the art of opera. But how often does that happen? In my experience, very seldom, but not this year. It's been...

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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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