wed 24/04/2024

Opera Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Edward Gardner

Jasper Rees

It’s odd seeing the whole of Edward Gardner, as upright as a guardsman until a passionate passage unleashes a repertoire of fierce jabs, deft feints and rapid thrusts. For nine years Gardner's main post was on the podium in the pit of the London Coliseum where all you could see were his disembodied hands and, slowly silvering over the course of his tenure, his schoolboy haircut.

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10 Questions for Mezzo-Soprano Alice Coote

Thomas H Green

Alice Coote (b.1968) is one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos. She grew up in Cheshire, born to two painters, Mark Coote and Mary Moss, and learned her craft at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio. Her breakthrough came in 2000 when, within the time frame of a fortnight, she sang Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina at the Edinburgh Festival, and Poppea in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea at the ENO.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jonathan Nott

David Nice

When I entered the light and spacious chief conductor’s room in Bamberg’s Konzerthalle, Jonathan Nott was poised with a coloured pencil over one of the toughest of 20th century scores, Varèse’s Arcana.

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10 Questions for Soprano Sandrine Piau

Sebastian Scotney

French soprano Sandrine Piau, born in 1965 in a south-western suburb of Paris, has an agile, supple voice. It soars, so critics reach readily for all those bird metaphors: nightingale, sparrow, "she leaves the earth on wings of song" and so on.

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10 Questions for Conductor Vladimir Jurowski

Jessica Duchen

The Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski, chief conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, heads its major new series devoted to the music of Sergei Rachmaninov, in context with his forerunners and successors.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Tenor Michael Fabiano

David Nice

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 Venera Gimadieva was possibly the most definitive Violetta yet.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Mezzo-soprano and Director Brigitte Fassbaender

Sebastian Scotney

The mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender, who will be 75 on Thursday 3 July, was unsurpassed for dramatic impact and presence in roles such as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, during a singing career which spanned from the early 1960s to the mid-1990s.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Kristine Opolais

David Nice

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 girl Manon Lescaut, for lyric-dramatic soprano Kristine Opolais.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Jonathan Kent

Jasper Rees

Jonathan Kent was an actor before he was a director. Indeed, he had not directed a single play when in his mid-40s he assumed control of the Almeida Theatre in 1990. By the time he and his co-artistic director Ian McDiarmid has left more than a decade later, they had enforced a vital shift in the ecology of London theatre.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Soprano Corinne Winters

Edward Seckerson

In February 2013 Corinne Winters created an absolute sensation in her operatic European debut when Peter Konwitschny’s starkly intense staging of Verdi’s La Traviata arrived at English National Opera. Vocally, physically, dramatically her Violetta (“the whore who gets all the best tunes”, according to Konwitschny) was so “complete”, so unanimously greeted by superlative reviews, that it marked a highly significant arrival on the international opera scene.

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