sat 25/01/2020

Opera Buzz

Opera-house pecking order: Luisi goes for Met gold

David Nice Luisi: Ditching Covent Garden Egyptology for Met gold

So it's official: the Metropolitan Opera is more "important" than Covent Garden - at least to the rather image-conscious Fabio Luisi, currently rated as one of the possible successors to New York's now-ailing supremo of the last 40 years, James Levine. He's ditching two performances of a musically resplendent Aida at the Royal Opera for Wagner at the Met.

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Danish opera chief to take over at the Royal Opera House

ismene Brown

The Royal Opera has announced that Kasper Holten, artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera, has been appointed Director of Opera at Covent Garden, to succeed Elaine Padmore at the end of this season.

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Sneak preview: Richard Suart's little list

David Nice Suart's Ko-Ko reads his little list at the last ENO revival of  Jonathan Miller's Mikado, 2007

Hot on the heels of our feature celebrating 25 years of Jonathan Miller's Mikado at English National Opera, the latest revival of which opens tonight, veteran Savoyard Richard Suart sent through the most recent candidates for the Lord High Executioner's chop as he will be delivering them onstage (with no doubt a twist or two as the run proceeds).

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Giving thanks for La Stupenda

David Nice Sutherland as Elvira in Bellini's 'I Puritani' at Covent Garden, 1963

Rumour has it that Snoop Dogg may be serenading the royals there in a couple of months' time, but this afternoon it was the most agile, even and full soprano voice of all which rang from the vaulting of Westminster Abbey. Thanks to the noble co-operation of the Royal Opera House - serving up its orchestra and music director, Antonio Pappano - the Australian High Commission and the Australian Music Foundation, we celebrated the life and works of...

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Dame Margaret Price, 1941-2011

David Nice

Perhaps her greatest achievement on disc is a role she would never have attempted in the theatre, Wagner's Isolde. Supported by the great Carlos Kleiber, the sheer meaning and luminous tone colours Price brings to every line make this one of the glories of recorded history.

Below, Margaret Price sings Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

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When crossover goes haywire

David Nice

No one's saying that the mezzo of the moment, glamorous Latvian Elina Garanca, isn't a very class act indeed when it comes to high-quality opera, song and even zarzuela. But she didn't revert to the Age of Aquarius too successfully in this ill-advised TV show appearance, clearly not having visited...

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Casto Divo: Rufus Wainwright takes up at Covent Garden

Josh Spero Rufus Wainwright as Judy Garland: ROH bound

From Rufus Wainwright's first album, which featured the dirgey "Damned Ladies" wherein he sings to Desdemona and "brown-eyed Tosca", his operatic musical tendencies - indeed, his whole operatic self-conception - have never been latent. He has always been a diva trapped in mortal form.

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Another great voice leaves us: Shirley Verrett (1931-2010)

David Nice

The great American mezzo has died aged 79. As with every loss this year, it's been an opportunity to rediscover a legacy on CDs and on YouTube. The Verdi tigresses were Verrett's core stamping ground, and I've already posted on my blog a film of her Eboli in Don Carlo - a role which shows off her redoubtable chest voice to perfection - as...

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Who earns £630,000 at the Royal Opera House?

theartsdesk

As arts cuts announced today start to bite, few people are aware that the Royal Opera House pays its two top people more than £630,000 and nearly £400,000 each. Although Covent Garden is refusing to identify them, it is likely that they are chief executive Lord Hall and music director Antonio Pappano. But they are not likely to have to sacrifice their earnings even while smaller arts organisations fold.

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The ROH's Create contract tells the truth about the rights grab

theartsdesk

After Monday's report on the Royal Opera House’s new contract demands, a young composer alerted theartsdesk to an intriguing offer on the Covent Garden website - to "Create" a soundtrack for dance. This is a competition for new talent which will be judged by a team led by Deborah Bull, the ROH’s Creative Director: the winning...

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