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Intermezzo
opera and concerts in london and beyond
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438535365[1]
Anna Netrebko has spoken to the Rossiyskaya Gazeta about her multiple Faust cancellations.

Affirming that the reasons were exclusively musical and technical, she explained: "Contracts were signed a long time ago, before my voice and, as a result, my repertoire began to change. I decided that Faust doesn't fit - the moment has passed. I'm now facing heavier roles. I just sang Puccini's Manon Lescaut and I'll soon start preparing for Verdi's Macbeth. Faust right now? No way."

The tardy timing of the announcement is not addressed, but in the interview she goes on to explain the detailed and extensive work she recently did on Manon Lescaut in Rome with its conductor, Riccardo Muti. Could Muti's influence have assisted her decision?

1 month ago | |
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Traviata_med_3[1]
Sonya Yoncheva has just cancelled her planned appearances in Berlin this March/April, leaving her diary free.

Yoncheva has already been announced as Netrebko's replacement at the Vienna Staatsoper in May.

Expect further news soon.

1 month ago | |
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Glyndebourne[1]
Public booking for Glyndebourne opens on 10 March.

If you want to jump the queues, tomorrow's Daily Telegraph (1 March) contains a special code that will allow you to book from 8am on Saturday 1 March.

I will print more details here as soon as I know them. However I'm not planning to get up at the crack of dawn, and I assume the Telegraph won't post the code online, so your best bets will be (a) check Twitter before 8am or (b) suck it up, go out, and buy a paper. 

*UPDATE* reader Michael points out the code is 10578.

1 month ago | |
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6a00d834ff890853ef014e60485319970c-250wi[1]
Unfortunately not as a sub for Anna Netrebko - at this stage, anyway.

No, tonight it's the Festspielhaus Baden Baden who will benefit from Angela Gheorghiu's miraculous powers.

After Anja Harteros pulled out at the eleventh hour from tonight's Verdi Gala, Baden Baden were left with a major problem. No other soprano could slot into the planned programme, meaning her duetting partner Johan Botha was forced to cancel as well.

Luckily, SuperAnge was able to fly in - complete with a different Verdi programme, a tenor partner (Zoran Todorovich) and and an amenable conductor (Ivan Repušic).

"There are only a handful of singers in the world with the range to sing a  night of Verdi," said a Festspielhaus spokesman. "It is the first time an artist has taken over an engagement here at such short notice to cover for illness".

1 month ago | |
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Anna+Netrebko+Il+Trovatore+Berlin+2013[1]
Just in from the ROH:

"Anna Netrebko has regretfully withdrawn from the role of Marguerite in Faust with The Royal Opera in April 2014. This was to have been her debut in the role.

Anna Netrebko has asked us to forward the following: ‘I am so sorry to have to withdraw from the role of Marguerite in Faust. After much consideration and intensive preparation, I have come to the conclusion that the role is not right for me.  I had been very much looking forward to making my debut in this role at the Royal Opera House and following it with further performances in Vienna and Baden-Baden.  Unfortunately, I must now withdraw from all these productions. I am very sad to be disappointing my fans in London, Vienna and Baden-Baden and hope they will understand the difficult decision that I have had to make. However, I am very much looking forward to returning to The Royal Opera to perform with the Company again in 2015.

We are working very hard to secure a good replacement for Anna Netrebko in this important part."

Not surprised at the decision - just at its astonishing lateness.

1 month ago | |
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P00tr42b[1]
Terfel to the rescue! 

Bryn Terfel has stepped in to replace Sebastian Catana, who has withdrawn from Tosca at the Royal Opera House. He sings Scarpia on 16, 19 and 26 June, with Lucio Gallo taking over on 21 June.

There are still plenty of tickets left, including some cheap ones.

1 month ago | |
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Glyndebourne-Festival[1]


A new report suggests Glyndebourne contributes more than £16 million  a year to the local economy
.

Most of this comes from ticket buyers, the report says, though some of the figures don't make perfect sense. The 98,000 festival visitors in 2013 spent more than £11 million at hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions - or £112 per person on average. However another statistic indicates that the 35% of visitors who stayed the night laid out an average of £81 per day. Guests who stayed the night spent less on average than those who didn't? Possible, but odd.

A further £3m goes in wages to Glyndebourne's employees - a more reliable figure since it's easier to measure. The Festival employs 150 direct staff all year round, 600 performing company and production staff and 1,500 artists and singers.  In addition, £1.3m is paid to various local suppliers.

The report was commissioned by Glyndebourne and East Sussex County Council, with additional funding from Arts Council England and the East Sussex Arts Partnership, and was based on 3,367 survey responses.

1 month ago | |
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6a00d834ff890853ef017c37fac356970b-500wi[1]
The new mission of opera companies is to fox their customers with unreadable and/or incomplete season announcements. Or so it seems. After Barcelona's irritating Twitter drip-feed comes Zurich's online magazine - spread over 246 (!) pages,  illegible on any screen smaller than laptop size, and impossible to auto-translate for anyone who doesn't read German. I can only hope they get their act together and stick it all up on the website soon.

Opera houses, all we need is a list of productions like this one, copy/pasteable, complete with dates and casting, and, ideally, Outlook calendar-compatible. The rest is for the souvenir brochure. And while we're at it, can you split up the opera and ballet? Two separate announcements mean twice the publicity, if you need tempting.

(UPDATE - all dates are now on the website.)

Back to Zurich, who seem to be untroubled by the financial strictures binding other houses. Their nine premieres include two contemporary operas (one for kids) and a Vivaldi rarity amongst the more obviously commercial offerings. And there's the usual quota of stardust sprinkled throughout the season.

The full list of premieres:

  • Lohengrin - Simone Young, Andreas Homoki - with the great Klaus Florian Vogt in his signature role and Elza van den Heever as Elsa.
  • The Turn of the Screw - Constantin Trinks, Willy Decker - with Pavol Breslik rounding those vowels as Quint
  • Robin Hood by Frank Schwemmer - a children's opera
  • Die Zauberflöte - Cornelius Meister, Tatjana Gürbaca 
  • Juliette - Fabio Luisi, Andreas Homoki - Annette Dasch takes the title role
  • Rote Laterne by Christian Jost - Alain Altinoglu, Nadja Laschky
  • La traviata - Marco Armiliato, David Herman - Anita Hartig/Ailyn Perez, Pavol Breslik/Matthew Polenzani, Quinn Kelsey
  • La verità in cimento - Ottavio Dantone, Jan Philipp Gloger  - a Vivaldi obscurity with an impressive period-specialist cast
  • I Capuleti e i Montecchi - Fabio Luisi, Christof Loy - Anita Hartig and Joyce DiDonato are the lovelorn couple

The revivals throw up a few interesting names too. One person I never expected to return to Zurich is Alexander Pereira - not least because of his Milan responsibilities. But he takes his turn on stage again as the Majordomo in a revival of the Guth/Luisi Ariadne auf Naxos. Another familiar face is Cecilia Bartoli on her annual visit, this time partnering Lawrence Brownlee in La Cenerentola

Claus Guth's Tristan und Isolde reappears conducted by Jirí Belohlávek, and features Nina Stemme and Stephen Gould. But the hottest ticket is likely to be Anna Netrebko taking another bash at Anna Bolena, this time with Luca Pisaroni. To end the season, the reigning no.1 Elektra Evelyn Herlitzius is joined by Emily Magee in a revival conducted by Lothar Koenigs.

1 month ago | |
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Unionised workers at the Opera di Roma, embroiled in yet another funding crisis and threatening to strike, have come out in support of their boss, Riccardo Muti.

Muti has threatened to leave the troubled house if no solution can be found. In a challenge to the mayor (not to mention Italy's reputation for style), workers of all shapes and sizes have been sporting a t-shirt inscribed with "I {heart} Riccardo Muti all'Opera di Roma."

1 month ago | |
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BhUozyxIAAAw22_

Why was Serge Dorny really given the push? The Semperoper and the Saxon Arts Minister hosted a press conference earlier today to expand on the initial statement. A local observer noted a few details.  

The minister said Dorny had wanted to change the logo, marketing, the core programming of the Staatskapelle, and more.  He had spoken badly of Semperoper staff. And he had given an ultimatum and threatened to resign some time before he was dismissed.

Christian Thielemann pointed out that his relationship with Dorny was initially good - "we also talked about wines."  So he was "speechless" to learn that Dorny didn't want the Ring cycle Thielemann proposed. (This will now go ahead some time between 2015 and 2017). Lyon, said Thielemann,  is a different world, where Dorny is the "President" and has all the power. 

There were apparently more interviews after the press conference, so expect further details to emerge.

1 month ago | |
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