Now out on the road, English Touring Opera has some unexpected tricks up its sleeve, most notably a production of Haydn’s charming Il mondo della luna which breaks every rule in the Baroque book - except the cardinal one that the idiom of the music must be scrupulously honoured.
Since reverting to the baritone voice he began with, Placido Domingo has chosen his Covent Garden roles with care. As he observed in public discussion with Antonio Pappano last weekend, he now shares the stage with singers who could be his children, so now we’re talking patriarchs, not heroes.
The tourists witnessing this cultural skirmish in Ruse's city square are beginning to wonder if they're on Candid Camera. "Ooh!" A classically-trained singer, Ana-Mariq Spataris, concludes her solo operatic squeak by collapsing in giggles, and 30 other girls echo her: "Ooh!" A local big band, featuring hefty trumpet players and even heftier saxophonists, play an eerie, sustained chord. A dishevelled, beer-swilling string quartet joins in, tentatively. The unorthodox open-air rehearsal gathers pace as the girls break into Bulgarian folk song, skipping around the intrigued onlookers.
Courtney Love is to make her opera debut in New York.
After four colourful years at the Kings Head, OperaUpClose are planning to spread their wings nationally, but they’re bidding farewell to this venerable pub-theatre with revivals of three of their best shows, plus a new production of The Marriage of Figaro which, by its sheer inspirational verve, outshines them all.
Franz Schubert was the first middle-class composer.
When the conductor Riccardo Muti walked away from Rome's Teatro dell'Opera the other day, citing a lack of "serenity", one could scarcely blame him. Beset by financial cutbacks, strikes, deficits, alleged corruption, booing and more, it can often seem that Italy's opera-world experiences more melodrama off stage than on – despite the country being the birthplace of the art form and home to many of its greatest composers over the centuries, from Monteverdi to Puccini.
When Nicholas Hytner created this show in 1985, Handel operas were seldom staged in London, and never with this degree of panache: survey the operatic landscape now, and you see what a revolution he helped trigger by importing ideas and techniques he’d honed in the theatre.
As a preamble to his new production of Verdi’s late masterpiece, director David Alden had some refreshing things to say apropos the eternal debate over whether Otello should be a black, white, or blacked-up figure.
The British pianist, composer, and professor Nicolas Hodges has carved out a niche as the ideal test-pilot for cutting-edge modernist works, and when Harrison Birtwistle wants to launch a new piano piece, there’s no question of anyone else being allowed to premiere it. ‘He’s becoming like my Peter Pears,’ said Sir Harry last year, as he entrusted Hodges with his dauntingly complex Gigue Machine.
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