Saturday, 27 July 2013

Don Pasquale at Glyndebourne

Something light-hearted at Glyndebourne. A new production of Don Pasquale. Alessandro Corbelli sang the title role with bags of experience. Vocally dramatic, but never too serious. Enough gusto. Danielle de Niese's Norina was, as expected, full of that joie de vivre. After a little over-acting at the beginning, she settled well into her role as the mischievous "bride". Nikolay Borchev's Malatesta was not bad either.



Julia Hansen's rotating set design was fun and light-hearted. Just the right amount. Mariame Clément' direction was interesting - not least by introducing a bit of double-entendre into the relationship between Malatesta and Norina (was there something going on?)

Enrique Mazzola was secure at the helm of the LPO.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Siegfried at the BBC Prom 2013

Daniel Barenboim conducts Wagner. Yes, as part of BBC Prom Wagner 200.



By and large it was a reasonable performance. Staatskapelle Berlin played well under the baton of Baremboim. Nina Stemme was a pretty good Brünnhilder. Lance Ryan was a heroic Siegfried - in more ways than one. He looked good. Had a good ringing heldentenor voice. And with the occasional wayward pitching and shouting, he made a passable Siegfried.

The cast did move about on stage a bit. But I wish they'd had more props - a proper spear, Notung, etc. Yes it's a concert performance, but they could have made a bigger effort.

And has anyone noticed there is no full length Verdi opera at the Proms this year?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

La Rondine at the Royal Opera

This has to be my favourite operetta: lovely tunes, lush orchestration and nobody dies at the end!



Ermonela Joho was a superb Magda. At first, I thought she was over-acting a little. But her voice was fabulous and those soft and high notes were to die for. Atalla Ayan also made a fine Ruggero - sung with much passion and gusto. When paired with Joho in the Act 2 duets, they were superb. Sabina Puértolas was a funny and perfect Lisette, especially in the last act.

Marco Armiliato took the opening act at a brisk pace. But with lots of quality phrasing and judicious pauses, he shaped the work well. All in all, everything was very well done.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Capriccio at the Royal Opera

OMG, it's Renée Fleming singing Countess Madeleine in Capriccio!

Capriccio doesn't get performed much. It's an opera lover's opera - with little quotations here, a few parodies there. Staging and props play a very minor role in Capriccio, so I thought the decision to give a concert performance of it was a reasonable one. Andrew Davis was at the helm containing some wayward playing on stage. The lacklustre horn playing at the beginning of the Moonlight music was unnecessary.



The case was well balanced. Andrew Staples sang a full blooded Flamand. Christian Gerhaher was a good Olivier. Peter Rose's rendition of La Roche was superb. And how was Renée? She was fabulous. In the first half of the opera she was in conversation with the other characters, fitting in with the context. The golden moment was her monologue at the end - pensively and beautifully sung. Well worth the wait.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tosca at the Royal Opera

Act 1. Dull, very dull, with very wooden acting.

Act 2. Better, but the drama and music demanded the singers to work harder.

Act 3. Dull again.

Did I just go to a very dull performance of Tosca?