I saw the first production of Stiffelio back in the early 90s when Jose Carreras came back to the opera stage singing opposite Catherine Malfitano. It was a seasonal production - Jose was pensive, emotionally torn and his voice had a rare vulnerability that made him the ideal Stiffelio. I saw Covent Garden's latest re-run of Stiffelio with Jose Cura singing the title role, Sondra Radvanovsky as Lina. Unfortunately, this was yet another shouting match - hmm, was it my hearing or every body could only sing f, ff or fff? It's the same production as before - which portrayed Protestant New World very well. However, Jose Cura's voice had just too much heroism in it to make him a believable Stiffelio. Sondra Radvanosky's voice was really not to my taste - that weird fast tremolo coupled with a limited range of facial expressions didn't do it for me. It was also my first time seeing Alastair Miles (as Jorg) with long hair!
I was lucky to have gotten a ticket to see Bernard Haitink conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in Bruckner 7th Symphony. No doubt it is a work that Haitink knows well - he did it without score. The movements were broad, had shape, and above all nuanced rather than bombastic. His mildmannered gestures were in starck contract to Andris Nelsons's rendition of Bruckner 8 (earlier in the season). It was a real treat to see this maestro still deliveirng the musical umph at 90. A memorable concert that was.