Andrei Serban’s production of Puccini’s last opera is thirty years old and in its sixteenth revival – enough to make one fear for its safety, since shows of this vintage are now an endangered species.
A hobby archaeologist with a metal detector has discovered a trove of gold and silver in a German forest dating back to late Roman times, fuelling speculation that it could be the legendary Nibelung treasure which inspired composer Richard Wagner’s operatic “Ring Cycle”.
Maurizio Pollini, 72, may be one of the all-time piano greats, but he’s also famously nervy, and for much of his Southbank recital – dedicated to Claudio Abbado - he communicated his nerves to us.
ETO has atoned for the baleful austerity of Tippett’s King Priam with a production of Britten’s ‘choral operetta’ Paul Bunyan whose homespun charm would melt a heart of stone.
There is much to applaud about ETO’s production of Tippett’s King Priam at the Linbury, not least that it’s there at all: good that the Royal Opera House should open its doors to this enterprising company.
What is Rigoletto about? For Victor Hugo, who wrote the play on which Verdi based his opera, the real subject of the drama was the curse placed upon the hunchbacked jester by the father whose sexual humiliation he had publicly mocked. Verdi’s opera has Shakespearean grandeur, and echoes of Lear and Cordelia resonate throughout.
Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi has admitted to faking deafness after confessing to hiring a ghostwriter for some of his most famous works.
By any definition, the heroine of Puccini’s breakthrough opera, Manon Lescaut, epitomises the ‘fallen woman’, upon whom Welsh National Opera is focusing this season.
Considering the flop of his oratorio Theodora in 1750, Handel wryly observed, ‘the Jews will not come to it because it is a Christian story, and the ladies will not come because it is a virtuous one’.
Simon Smith "Alfred Schnittke: Complete Piano Music" (Delphian)
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