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Showing posts from May, 2013

Don Carlo at the Royal Opera

This production of Don Carlo, designed by Bob Crowley, hasn't dated much. Strong colours. Lots of chiaroscuro.

It's very rare for a production with the entire cast being well cast and well matched. Ferruccio Furlanetto's Philip was profound, torn and weighted. Mariusz Kwiecien (Rodrigo) and Roberto Aronica (Don Carlos) were well matched, and their bromance duets were great. Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian replaced Anja Harteros as Elizabeth was a very fine substitute.The chorus was also on fine form.

Antonio Pappano, once again, delivered a tight and moving performance of this great work.

Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne

It was a delight to go to Glyndebourne to watch one of my favourite opera -Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos. The set design by Julia Müer was very effective. Act 1 was set in a modest stately home (contradiction in terms here?) looked a bit like Glyndebourne. Act 2. The end of Act 1 hinted at what might happen in Act 2 ... the bombed country home now turned into a sanitorium.

Kate Lindsey sang the role of the Composer, and surprisingly she returned on stage in a non-singing part. Zerbinatta was sung by Laura Claycomb - lots of vocal pyrotechnic and she carried her role in solo well. But when singing at her opposite Ariadne (Soile Isokoski) she seemed a bit less sympathetic. Prima Donna / Ariadne started out somewhat subdue, but by Act 2 she was well in command of the role. And it was a shame that Sergey Skorokhodov (Bacchus) was losing his voice soon after the opening phrases.

Vladimir Jurowski conducted the opening performance (to be his last season at this house). The LPO played wonderfu…

Götterdämmerung at The Met

Carl Fillion's set design for The Ring at The Met caused a real stir at the premier. Though not having the luxury of seeing the whole Ring, I managed to get a ticket to see Götterdämmerung.

Fabio Luisi at the helm of the large Met orchestra kept everything going. There was enough breathing space for the drama to unfold, and there were muscular moments that needed to punctuate the drama. Probably not as poised as Bernard Haitink at Covent Garden many years ago, or as gutsy as Antonio Pappano this season in the same house. But nonetheless very good.

Deborah Voigt was a fine Brünhilde - as the role demands from beginning to end. Lars Cleveman was quite a believable Siegfried - youngish looking, jumps about, looking slightly naive on stage. Hans-Peter Köonig was OK - none of his phrases sent shiver down my spine as there was not enough evil.

Back to the set. The rotating 'fingers' really worked (you can see them in this pic - sitting above the performers), especially when acc…

Café Boulud, New York

Having spent a whole morning at the Metropolitan Museum, it was a delight to walk into Café Boulud and be looked after well.

The bread was great. Wine selection, with a European bias, was very good. The food was wonderfully prepared and with imaginative presentation. Pictured above was my starter - Smoked Sturgeon with american caviar, buckwheat crêpe, cucumber, dill. Delicous. This was followed by House Made Fettucine razor clams, sea urchin, lemon, fines herbes, bottarga:

And this was equally delicious.