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Showing posts from March, 2007

Gianni Schicchi, Royal Opera

Gianni Schicchi paired with L'Heure espagnole at the Royal Opera tonight. Again it was a Richard Jones production.

The "trailer trash" design (that's how my friend Daniel Snowman described it) really set the scene for these greedy and selfish relatives of Buoso Donati. Dina Kuznetsova (Lauretta) gave a good rendition of the famous aria O Bambbino Caro. Bryn Terfel was the "lager lout" Gianni Schicchi - complete with a cigarette dangling off his mouth. It was a great performance - both on stage and in the pit - and the drama really did come to life.

L'Heure espagnole, Royal Opera

Richard Jones' latest production of Ravel's L'Heure espagnole at the Royal Opera was fabulous. The entire cast of 5 did a sterling job of bring this comic opera to life.

Christine Rice gave a realistic portrayal of the frustrated housewife Concepcion and Christopher Maltman the hunky remover man. It was a lot of fun and the audience really enjoyed the production. All this was coupled with a well rehearsed orchestra with Pappano at the helm. It's such a gem I wonder why it isn't performed more often.

Is it necessary to pounce on singers during intervals

I was listening to the Saturday Matinee Broadcast on BBC Radio 3 - live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York tonight. It's Gounod's Faust. I noticed recently they have started popping back stage to interview the stars during the interval. Is it a good idea?

In tonight's broadcast, Ildar Abdrasakov who sang Méphistophélès certainly gave a strong hint of irritation when he was interviewed. It was embarrassing to listen to the interviewer pushing for comments and scoops when clearly Abdrasakov wanted to rest his voice. Surely singers deserve a rest during the interval - having sound a big aria towards the end of Act II. Was it really necessary to pounce on these tired souls when they would have given so much on stage?

Gilbert & George - Major Exhibition, Tate Modern

It's billed as a major exhibition. The latest Gilbert & George show at the Tate Modern certainly has pulling power. It really is a retrospective exhibition of the artists / personalities / brands of Gilbert & George. It is fascinating to see how their identity evolved with the times, events and people around them, yet being able to maintain a high degree of "brand consistency" - brand managers around the world have plenty to learn from them.

The best part of the exhibition was the works that explored and communicated death, life and hope (Rooms 12 onwards). There was something very touching about these frank and direct collage of images and shapes.

Orlando, Royal Opera

I went to see Orlando at the Royal Opera last Thursday. This was the 8th performance at the Royal Opera House - I also saw the 4th performance a few years back. I'd to re-read the synopsis to remind myself the story, so I guess it did not stick last time.
Bejun Metha was an agile Orlando and his interpretation of the mad scene / coloratura was outstanding. The rest of the cast was fine. Charles Mackerras kept the pace of the opera moving - but clearly not as energetically as he would with a Janácek number.
I just don't get Handel operas - Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne was great, but only because of the production and the array of fabulous singers who pulled it off. Is it something for me to discover still? I wonder.