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parsifal's
Parsifal
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As announced exclusively a few weeks ago,
José Cura will be back to Athens on April 17th
for a unique recital at the Athens Megaron.

Now, don't tell me that I don't spoil you
when posting what Cura is gonna be singing
5 weeks in advance!

(This is not the complete programme
and it's subject to changes)

Leoncavallo, Pagliacci
Prologo
Vesti la giubba

Verdi, Otello
Dio, mi potevi scagliar
Niun mi tema

Puccini, Tosca,
E Lucevan le stelle

Puccini, La Fanciulla del West,
Ch’ella mi creda

Puccini, Madama Butterfly
Addio fiorito asil

There are some "plus" that I'd rather not reveal.
Be there if you want to find out...

ps. Ticket prices are the lowest we've seen in years:
20 euros lower price - 15 euros for students???
4 years ago | |
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Maurice Béjart's final creation, under the title "Le tour du monde en 80 minutes", will have its Greek premiere on March the 27th at the Badminton Theatre of Athens for just 2 benefit performances.


In autumn 2007, between two tours, the 35 Béjart Ballet Lausanne dancers rehearse for "Around the world in 80 minutes". Although Maurice Béjart uses Jules Verne’s cherished idea of a trip around the globe, he adds his own touch with memories of the countries he has visited. Few choreographers have travelled as much as Béjart. Whether at the head of his Ballet de l’EtoileBallet-Théâtre de Paris (1957-1960), his Ballet du XXème siècle (1960-1987) or his Béjart Ballet Lausanne (since 1987), he has travelled the world incessantly, halting always where he feels most comfortable: at the crossroads of civilisations.


Maurice Béjart, choreographer and ballet director, was born on January 1, 1927.
He died on November 22, 2007, aged 80.


The info:

Choreography: Maurice Béjart
Music: City percussions, Stavinsky, Theodorakis, Vivaldi, Hadjidakis, Mozart, Strauss, Wagner, Ellington, Warren Harry, Tchaikovsky, traditional music from Korea, China and Peru.
Tickets

Videos:





4 years ago | |
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A video from TV3, Televisió de Catalunya.
Part of "Pour mon âme" included.
In the video one finds out that Ciofi's real name is...Fabrizia.
4 years ago | |
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A few minutes ago at the Gran Teatre del Liceu!

Opening night of La fille du régiment, a triumph for Juan Diego Flórez and Patrizia Ciofi.

JDF bised (as expected) Pour mon âme after a huge, never-ending ovation.

In the (many,many,many) photos, Juan Diego Flórez, Patrizia Ciofi, Pietro Spagnoli, Victoria Livengood, Alex Sanmartí, Angel Pavlovsky and Yves Abel.

Militaiiiiiiiiiiiiire!

Brava Patriziaaaaaaa!

We love Patrizia car-Ciofi's reactions, as she was the one who enjoyed this triumph the most.

10 performances of La Fille left, 4 of them with Antonio Gandia and fab Nino Machaidze.

4 years ago | |
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Lulu, Athens 2005

The Greek audiences rarely fall in love with a singer but in the case of Marlis Petersen, it was love at first sight. Since her spectacular Lulu at the Athens Megaron in 2005 -4 performances, all sold out and people begging for tickets outside the theatre- till her last appearance as Thais in March 2009, the love at first sight has become a solid amour. Now Marlis is practically a Greek girl as about a year ago she moved to Athens and it's not very unlikely to see her walking by in the Kolonaki area (been there, done that).

Medea, Vienna 2010

I first got acquainted with Petersen's art when in 2002 she replaced Natalie Dessay (again!) as Zerbinetta at the ROH (next to Petra Lang's Ariadne and to Sophie Koch's Sophie) to some raving reviews. Back then Opera magazine (John Allison) had written:

"Marlis Petersen, a Düsseldorf ensemble member making her Covent Garden debut, was a sexy, savvy Zerbinetta, her rock-chick characterization as athletic as her vocal roulades: her brilliant coloratura carried all the emotional weight it should."

The ROH Zerbinetta

Zerbinetta, Thais, Lulu, Konstanze, Medea (her recent performances as Reinmann's Medea in Vienna were triumphant) and now again Ophélie: six performances of Hamlet at the Met, replacing Natalie Dessay who withdrew due to illness, next to Simon Keenlyside's Hamlet - not actually a step-in as Petersen would anyway sing a couple of scheduled performances before wearing the clothes (or the non-clothes) of Lulu once again at the Met in May 2010. (Petersen debuted at the Met on 19 December 2005 as Adele in Die Fledermaus)

(Petersen's debut at the MET as Adele,
pics by Ken Howard)

Here you can watch a few minutes of Petersen as Lulu in the awesome Eike Gramms production at the Athens Megaron (I would kill for that video, somebody get it for me pleeeez-ok, thanks).

Thais, Athens 2009

Marlis as Adele


An interview with Marlis at the Wiener Opernball 2010


On youtube you can find practically the whole performance of Haydn's Orlando Paladino starring Marlis Petersen as Angelica but also Pietro Spagnoli and Alexandrina Pendatchanska (major parsifal's protegés) as well as the Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer recording with Petersen and Doufexis - that we also had the chance of listening live in Athens - review available here.

Parsi treats:

Marlis Petersen singing Duparc's Chanson Triste

Marlis Petersen singing Martern aller arten (Aix-en-Provence, July 9, 2007
)

Ach ich liebte (Aix-en-Provence, July 9, 2007)

Barbaro, o Dio - Il re pastore - (Salzburg, July 24, 2006)

4 years ago | |
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Watch Elena Souliotis in her last operatic role,
as the Countess in Tchaikovsky's Pikovaya dama,
Stuttgart 1999.
4 years ago | |
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Waltraud Meier in kimono and wearing glasses, amazed the Athenians with a fine performance of La mort de Cléopâtre on February the 27th.


Christoph Eschenbach led the Orchestre de Paris in Berlioz's lyric scene for soprano and orchestra during the first half, while at the second half the fab Orchestra performed Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major (the Titan,"eine Tondichtung in Symphonie-form").


From where I was sitting, where I couldn't have an overall idea of the Orchestra's sound, I heard an excellent orchestra with fantastic strings and brass.

The opinions I heard after Mahler's 1st were divided - some said the Orchestra sounded like a big-band, others that it was fantastic, an excellent performance of the Titan, but that Eschenbach's conduction was narcissistic, and was missing depth and weight.

In any case everybody agreed that Meier was friggin' gorgeous but Cleopatre was too short of a delight for an artist of her caliber. Shut up and worship the Idol, u punks.


Athens, Megaron, 27 Feb 2010

4 years ago | |
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An autograph from Joan Sutherland, signed to me by la Stupendissima herself, 15 years ago, when Sutherland was in Athens as member of the Jury of the Maria Callas Grand Prix. Most vivid memories of that night: a) La Stupenda was not very willing to sign the photos and CDs I was carrying, as a matter of fact she was quite grumpy, but I was too young to be sent to hell... b) The members of the Jury were all opera legends, from Luigi Alva to Irina Arkhipova and from Elisabeth Söderström to Kostas Paskalis, however when one after another they stepped on stage to present the awardees, La Stupenda provoked an "earthquake" in the Hall of the Athens Megaron as the audience started shouting "brava Stupenda", clapping hands like crazy and stamping feet on the floor.

A bit like that:



4 years ago | |
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As expected, the premiere of Madama Butterfly of February the 26th at the Athens Megaron was a personal triumph for Chinese diva Hui He.

Hui He appeared extremely confident and excelled both vocally and dramatically. A voice of important volume, easy high notes, great fraseggio -still some flaws in pronunciation though- and a committed actress, He was sensational in every aspect, received a long applause after "Un bel dí" and was hair-raising in "Che tua madre" and "Tú,tú piccolo iddio".

Listen to Hui He singing "Un bel di"



Angelo Simos as Pinkerton sounded strained in the high register (Dovunque al mondo) and was shadowed significantly by Hui He, especially during the love-duet (Bimba dagli occhi). Furthermore, he appeared uncomfortable on stage and we couldn't help noticing that he didn't take his eyes off of the lateral conductor screens. Still, at times, especially during the most lyric bars of the score, a healthy shiny voice would emerge, unable though to erase the impressions.


Marissia Papalexiou was impressive dramatically and seemed to be the only one respecting 100% the instructions of Fausta Mazzucchelli who was responsible for the "choreography". Suzuki is a rather thankless role and doesn't give to the mezzo many chances to unfold her virtues, other than the duet with Butterfly and Act III but Papalexiou's dark mezzo suited perfectly the part and sang a powerful Suzuki. Thankless is also the role of Sharpless, but Dimitris Tiliakos was a credible and well sung Sharpless, however a bit on the dull side (an impression I have had of his last few performances in Athens).


Far duller was the staging by Nikos Petropoulos, a staging with the sole virtue of not offending the conservative audience: no nudity -thank God!- no blood, no real hara-kiri on stage, nothing extreme but also nothing new to recommend.

Two great Butterflies of the past honoured us with their presence:

Marina Krilovici

Jeanette Pilou

Tonight 3/3, Hui He sang her 3rd and last performance of Madama Butterfly in Athens and we can only wish to have her back soon in one of her other significant roles (Tosca, Aida, Amelia) or in something as surprising as her smashing Ariadne, a few months ago.

Hui He posing for parsifal's backstage

Hui He, Con onor muore...

A photo album from the curtain calls:

4 years ago | |
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An autograph by Richard Bonynge, taken during a run of La Traviata that he conducted at the Athens Megaron back in 2004 (the 2 casts included Ruth-Ann Swenson, Andrea Rost, Charles Castronovo, Piotr Beczala, Eduard Tumagian and Jean-Luc Chaignaud).
4 years ago | |
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