Skip to main content

Le Nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera

I went to hear and see Christian Gerhaher as Figaro in this revival production. He didn't disappoint - his singing delivered real nuance and understanding of the role.  Simon Keenlyside made a very good Count Almaviva. The surprise (and delight) was to hear Kangmin Justin Kim singing Cherubino (normally a trouser role) - his acting and agile voice was well suited to the role. Hope to see more of him in the future (may be as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier?)

John Eliot Gardiner's conducting was interesting. Sure we know and love Mozart's score. But somehow, the orchestra seemed very present throughout the four acts. If anything, it was too present (not loud, just present) - to the point of distracting.

Still, this David McVicar (revived by Thomas Guthrie) production was always a joy to see - simple yet clever.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hansel und Gretel at the Royal Opera

On entering the auditorium, I saw a detailed and realistic image of a valley (presumably concocted from photographs of German or Austrian countryside) projected onto the stage. I had high hopes that this new production of Hansel und Gretel will have staging that relates to the story (the last time the Royal Opera staged this, a 60s trailer and a ghastly morgue were inflicted on us). I was not to be disappointed - Anthony McDonald gave us a realistic design, with the first act set in a cosy house with barren shelves. The forest scene in Act 2 was magical - there were trees, mist, forest creatures - not to mention characters from other Grimm tales during the dream sequence. Act 3 started with a innocent and inviting looking gingerbread house, but on rotation a large cauldron (presumably for turning fat children into gingerbread) was revealed!



Hansel and Gretel were sung by Hanna Hipp and Jennifer Davis respectively. They looked the part and sounded fresh - all helped to convey two misch…

Porgy and Bess, English National Opera

I quite forgot the first number in Porgy and Bess is Summertime! Beautifully sung by Nicole Cabell as Bess. On a whole, the chorus number was better sung than the solo numbers - where the diction was generally inadequate. The set (Michael Yeargan) was three-dimensional and worked really well with the many scenes in this work. John Wilson was in his elements in the pit and the orchestra responded with a rhythmic boisterous sound - the best part of the evening.

Bruckner 7 and Haitink's last appearance at the BBC Proms

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.