sun 07/08/2022

Opera Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: bass-baritone Christopher Purves on communicating everything from Handel to George Benjamin

David Nice

He’s the most haunting, at times terrifying Wozzeck I’ve seen, in Richard Jones's Welsh National Opera baked-bean-factory production, and the funniest Falstaff. When we met in his dressing room at the Zurich Opera House, Christopher Purves was about to perform the central role of bitter and twisted Alberich in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, and in a week’s time you can hear him singing Handel again, another speciality at the other end of the spectrum.

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theartsdesk Q&A: soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn

David Nice

Could English National Opera be about to right the wrong done to a national treasure?

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Sir Jonathan Miller

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Doctor, writer, sculptor, curator, comedian, presenter and director, Sir Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) was one of the mighty cultural and intellectual omnivores of our age.

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theartsdesk Q&A: composer Alastair White on his new opera ROBE

Miranda Heggie

A robe can be many things. Sure, it’s a garment, but it can also be cover, a disguise, a costume or a uniform. It’s also something composed of many different threads woven together to create something much bigger. It’s these kinds of layers of multiplicity which form the basis of the inspiration for Scottish composer Alastair White’s new opera, ROBE, premiering at this year’s Tête à Tête opera festival.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Composer, chansonnier and conductor HK Gruber at 75

David Nice

You haven't lived until you've witnessed Viennese maverick H(einz) K(arl) Gruber – 75 today (3 January, publication day) – speech-singing, conducting and kazooing his way through his self-styled "pandemonium" Frankenstein!!.

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Robin Ticciati on conducting Mozart - 'I wanted to create a revolution in the minds of the players'

David Nice

When Glyndebourne's Music Director Robin Ticciati conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the new production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito starting tonight, you can be sure that it will sound utterly fresh, startling even.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Aida Garifullina

David Nice

There are certain roles where you’re lucky to catch one perfect incarnation in a lifetime. I thought I'd never see a soprano as Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace equal to Yelena Prokina, Valery Gergiev’s choice for Graham Vick’s 1991 production.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter

David Nice

What's a world-renowned mezzo-soprano in her middle years to do? Slimline of voice, tall and handsome in person with piercing and slightly intimidating blue eyes, Stockholm-born Anne Sofie von Otter isn't likely to sing what is known in the operatic world as "all those old bag parts", though she's a good enough actress to have carried off a few.

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Save ENO: The Chorus Speaks

David Nice

"Just listen". That's an imperative, of course, but it can be a very fair and reasonable one if the tone is right. It was Claudio Abbado's encouragement to his Lucerne Festival Orchestra players to make chamber music writ large. It also sounds persuasive and not at all militant coming from the mouths of ENO chorus members as their plea to the dramatic changes proposed by Chief Executive Officer Cressida Pollock, appointed a year ago.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Elizabeth Watts

David Nice

Not many people write conspicuously brilliant tweets, but Elizabeth Watts is someone who does. Working on the most demanding aria on her stunning new CD of operatic numbers and cantatas by the lesser-known of the two Scarlattis, father Alessandro rather than son Domenico, she tweeted: “Good news – I can sing 88 notes without a breath. Bad news – Scarlatti wrote 89.”

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