sun 20/04/2014

Verdi

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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Classical and Opera 2013: A Year of Anniversaries

Which musical calendar year isn’t laden down with composer commemorations, too often a pretext for lazy and unimaginative planning? The last 12 months, with Verdi, Wagner and Britten as the birthday boys (in case you failed to hear), have raised the...

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The Verdi-Boito Story, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

How do you mark the Verdi bicentenary? As music director of the Hallé Orchestra and a Verdi specialist, Sir Mark Elder gave it a lot of thought. He decided to tell a story rather than direct a concert performance of one opera – say, La traviata. The...

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Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Royal Opera

First fanfare had to be for the Royal Opera House’s main gambit in Verdi bicentenary year, staging its first ever Sicilian Vespers 158 years after the Paris premiere. Any of Verdi’s operas from Rigoletto onwards deserves the red carpet treatment,...

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Rigoletto, LSO, Noseda, Barbican

This season opener was about closure too. The London Symphony Orchestra was back at the office last night, but this fresh stretch of concerts opened with an opera it has been performing while also acquiring a suntan in Aix-en-Provence. A new cast of...

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Prom 72: Calleja, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Zhang

It was too little too late to redress the scant attention gives to Verdi’s bicentenary at this year’s Proms but the “Maltese Tenor” – Joseph Calleja – arrived with an eleventh hour offering of low-key Verdi arias and joining him was the Milanese...

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Prom 12: Accademia di Santa Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra, Pappano

It’s a dilemma of anniversary years, and never more so than with Wagner’s and Verdi’s 200th birthdays: do you stick to the masterpieces or try and bring the rarities to life? No-one would have minded, I suspect, if Antonio Pappano and the Accademia...

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Simon Boccanegra, Royal Opera

Revivals are for a conductor to show off some voices he’s discovered, do some role debuts, develop some careers, and as far as the production's concerned pour new wine into old bottles. There was some good new wine in this revival of Elijah...

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