Saturday, April 24, 2010

Live Offerings - Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pick of the litter today seems to be the Metropolitan Opera Tosca with Patricia Racette and Konas Kaufmann, followed by Gluck's Armida with Ewa Podles on Czech Radio and Cavalli's La Calisto with Bejun Mehta. Here's the whole lineup of live offerings for this afternoon:

  • Metropolitan Opera International Broadcast (on numerous stations) - Puccini's Tosca, with Patricia Racette, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, David Pittsinger, John del Carlo, Eduardo Valdes, Jeffrey Wells, Richard Bernstein and Jonathan Makepeace, conducted by Fabio Luisi.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From the Vienna State Opera, an April 19th and 22nd performance of Bellini's I Puritani, with Désirée Rancatore, Christof Fischesser, José Bros and Mariusz Kwiecien, conducted by Jan Latham-König.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - Gluck's Armida, with Mireille Delunsch, Laurent Naouri, Charles Workman, Vincent Le Texier, Yann Beuron, Francoise Masset, Nicole Heaston, Valérie Gabail, Ewa Maria Podles, Brett Polegato, Magdalena Kožená, Sandrine Rondot and Myriam Sosson, conducted by Marc Minkowski.
  • Espace 2 - From the Grand Theatre in Geneva, Cavalli's La Calisto, with Sami Luttinen, Bruno Taddia, Anna Kasyan, Bejun Mehta, Christine Rice, Kristen Leich, Kristen Leich, Christine Rice, Fabio Trümpy, Mark Milhofer, Catrin Wyn-Davies, Ludwig Grabmeier, Mariana Florès, Mariana Florès, Dina Husseini, and Matthew Schaw, conducted by Andreas Stoehr.
  • Klara - From the Opera of Lausanne, Rossini's Otello, with John Osborn, Olga Peretyatko, Maxim Mironov, Riccardo Zanellato, Shi Yijie and Isabelle Henriquez, conducted by Corrado Rovaris.
  • Latvia Radio Klasika - From Opera Bastille in Paris, Symanowski's Krol Roger, with Mariušs Kwiecen, Erik Cutler, Olga Pasišcuka and Vojteks Smileks, conducted by Kazuši Ono.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From the Grand Theatre in Geneva, a November 9 performance of Chabrier's L'Etoile, with Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, René Schirrer, Jean Doyen, Fabrice Farina, Marie-Claude Chappuis, Sophie Graf, Blandine Staskiewicz and Jérôme Savary, conducted by Jean-Yves Ossonce.
  • KBIA2 & WDAV - NPR World of Opera: From Washington National Opera, Verdi's Rigoletto, with Carlos Alvarez, Lyubov Petrova, Joseph Calleja, Maigoratza Walewska, Andrea Silvestrelli, Magdalena Wor and Robert Cantrell, conducted by Giovanni Reggioli.
  • Concert FM (New Zealand) & ABC Classic FM (Australia) - From the Metropolitan Opera, Verdi's Aida, with Stefan Kocán, Dolora Zajick, Hui He, Salvatore Licitra, Carlo Colombara, Carlo Guelfi, Elizabeth DeShong and Diego Torre, conducted by Marco Armiliato.

Happy listening . . . .

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Live Offerings, Saturday, November 21, 2009 - Part II

Further live offerings for this afternoon:

  • Dwojke Polskie Radio - Is also carrying the Szymanowski Król Roger from the Liceu; a correction: Josep Pons is the sonductoir (and not the singer Juan Pons, as I ahd eal;rier supposed).
  • France Musique - From Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, a November 9 performance of Donizetti's Don Pasquale, with Nicola Alaimo, Laura Giordano, Mario Cassi, Francisco Gatell and Gabriele Spina, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
  • NPR World of Opera - From the Vienna State Opera, Mozart's Don Giovanni, with Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, Rene Pape, Ricarda Merbeth, Soile Isokoski, Michael Schade, Michaele Selinger, Boaz Daniel and Eric Halfvarson, conducted by Constantinos Carydis.
  • NRK Klassisk & NRK P2 - From Palais Garnier in Paris, Gounod's Mireille, with Inva Mula, Charles Castronovo, Franck Ferrari, Alain Vernhes, Sylvie Brunet, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Sébastien Droy, Nicolas Cavallier and Amel Brahim-Djelloul, conducted by Marc Minkowski.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From Theater an der Wien, an October 22 performance of Vivaldi's Armida al Campo d'Egitto, with Sara Mingardo, Furio Zanasi, Monica Bacelli, Raffaella Milanesi, Marina Comparato, Romina Basso and Martin Oro, conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini.
  • Cesky Rozhlas-3 Vltava - From trhe Metropolitan Oper archives, a 1959 broadcast pf Verdi's Macbeth, with Leonie Rysanek, Leonard Warren, Carlo Bergonzi, Jerome Hines, William Olvis, Carlotta Ordassy, Gerhard Pechner, Harold Sternberg, Osie Hawkins, Calvin Marsh, Emilia Cundari and Mildred Allen, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.
  • Klara - Is running a full day of Purcell programming, and in their opera slot listen to Glyndebourne performance of Purcell's The Fairy Queen, with Lucy Crowe, Claire Debono, Anna Devin, Carolyn Sampson, Robert Burt, Ed Lyon, Andrew Foster-Williams, Sean Clayton, Adrian Ward, and Lukas Kargl, conducted by William Christie.
  • Latvia Radio Klasika - From the Grand Theatre in Geneva, a February 28 performance of Strauss's Salome, with Alan Held, Nikola Bellere Karbone, Hedviga Fasbindere and Kim Begley, conducted by Gabriele Ferro.
  • NDR Kultur - From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a September performance of Verdi's Don Carlo, with Jonas Kaufmann, Maria Poplavskaya, Simon Keenlyside, Sonia Ganassi, Ferruccio Furlanetto and John Tomlinson, conducted by Semyon Bychkov.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From Opéra Berlioz, Le Corum, Montpellier, a July 13 performance of Bellini's Zaira, with Ermonela Jaho, Varduhi Abrahamyan, Shalva Mukeria, Wenwei Zhang, Franck Bard, Marianne Crebassa and Carlo Kang, conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - In their weekend late-night archival broadcast slot, tonight hear an October 25, 1963 broadcast of Leoncavallo's's La Boheme, with Angelo Loforese, Guido Mazzini, Fernando Lidonni, Giorgio Tadeo, Osvaldo Scrigna, Osvaldo Scrigna, Walter Brunelli, Antonio Petrini, Bianca Maria Casoni, Florida Assandri Norelli and Maja Sunara, Orchestra Sinfonica e coro di Milano della Raiconducted by Pietro Argento; tomorrow night hear Puccini's La Boheme, with Agostino Lazzari, Rolando Panerai, Enrico Ciampi, Franco Calabrese, Aristide Baracchi, Melchiorre Luise, Elena Rizzieri, Graziella Sciutti, Walter Artioli and Egidio Casolari, Orchestra Sinfonica e coro di Milano della Rai conducted by Nino Sanzogno.

Happy listening.....

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, October 3, 2009 - Part II

Starting at 1:30PM EDT:

  • Bartok Radio - From Lyric Opera of Chicago, a November 7, 2008 performance of Berg's Lulu, with Marlis Petersen, Jill Grove, Buffy Baggott, Craig Irvin, Scott Ramsay, Wolfgang Schöne, William Burden, Jan Buchwald, Thomas Hammons, Rodell Rosel and Bradley Garden, conducted by Andrew Davis.
  • France Musique - From the 2009 Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Rossini's Zelmira, with Alex Esposito, Kate Aldrich and Juan Diego Florez.
  • NPR World of Opera - From Vienna State Opera, Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin, with Simon Keenlyside, Tamar Iveri, Ramon Vargas, Ain Anger, Nadia Krasteva and Aura Twarowska, conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
  • MDR Figaro - From Semper Oper, the September 6 finals concert of their vocal competition, conducted by Markus Poschner.
  • NRK Klassisk & NRK P2 - From Covent Garden in London, Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, with Elina Garaca, Anna Netrebko, Dario Schmunck, Eric Owens and Alastair Miles, conducted by Mark Elder.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From Flemish Opera in Antwerp, a February 13 performance of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa, with Nikolai Putilin, Mikhail Kit, Leandra Overmann, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Viktor Lutsiuk, Milcho Borovinov, Vesselin Ivanov and Thorsten Büttner, conducted by Dmitri Jurowski.

Still more to come.....

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, September 26, 2009 - Part I

  • Sveriges Radio P2 - already underway, from Göteborg Opera, Börtz's Goya, with Anders Larsson, Anders Lorentzon, Fredrik Zetterström, Michael Weinius, Mats Persson, Linus Börjesson, Iwar Bergkwist, Johan Schinkler, Henric Holmberg, Ann-Kristin Jones, Ann-Marie Backlund, Katarina Giotas and Natalie Hernborg, conducted by Joakim Unander.
  • BBC Radio 3 - From the Grand Theatre in Leeds (Opera North), the British premiere of Gershwin's Let 'em Eat Cake, with William Dazeley, Rebecca Moon, Steven Beard, Nicholas Sharratt, Martin Hyder, Rob Edwards, Richard Morris and Graham Howes, conducted by Wyn Davies.
  • CBC Two - From the Vienna State Opera, Strauss's Die Schweisame Frau, with Kurt Rydel, Michael Schade, and Diana Damrau, conducted by Peter Schneider.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From the Vienna State Opera, a February 13 performance of Verdi's Stiffelio, with José Cura, Hui He, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Gergely Németi, Alexandru Moisiuc, Benedikt Kobel and Elisabeta Marin, conducted by Michael Halász.
  • DR P2 - From the Aix-en-Provence Festival, a July 30 performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, with Daniel Behle, Marlis Petersen, Anna-Kristiina Kaapola, Daniel Schmutzhard, Sunhae Im, Marcos Fink and Kurt Azesberger, conducted by René Jacobs.
  • Espace Musique & Radio Oesterreich International (OE1)- From Festival de Radio-France et Montpellier 2009, Bellini's Zaira, with Ermonela Jaho, Varduhi Abrahamyan, Shalva Mukeria, Wenwei Zhang, Gezim Myshketa, Franck Bard and Marianne Crebassa, conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
  • Radio 4 Netherlands & France Musique - From Paris Opera, Gounod's Mireille, with Inva Mula, Charles Castronovo and Franck Ferrari, conducted by Marc Minkowski.
  • RTP Antena 2 - From the 2009 Bayreuth Festival, Wagner's Parsifal.
  • WETA - From the NPR World of Opera archives, from Houston Grand Opera, Verdi's Aida, with Zvetelina Vassileva, Marco Berti, Dolora Zajick, Gordon Hawkins, Tigran Martirossian, Bradley Garvin and Tamara Wilson, conducted by Carlo Rizzi.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - From San Francisco Opera, Puccini's La Boheme, with Angela Gheorghiu, Piotr Beczala, Quinn Kelsey, Norah Amsellem, Oren Gradus, Brian Leerhuber, Dale Travis, Chester Pidduck, Colby Roberts, Ryan Hedrick, David Kekuewa and Jere Torkelsen, conducted by Nicola Luisotti.
  • NPR World of Opera - From Capitole Theatre in Toulouse, Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, with Bernard Richter, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Allyson McHardy, Stephane Degout, Fancoise Masset, Jennifer Holloway, Bruno Calucci, Jael Azzaretti and Francis Lis, conducted by Emmanuelle Haim.
  • XLNC1 - From San Francisco Opera, Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore, with Inva Mula, Ramon Vargas, Giorgio Caoduro, Alessandro Corbelli and Ji Young Yang, conducted by Bruno Campanella.
  • NRK P2 & NRK Klassisk - From The Metropolitan Opera, the February 1, 1947 broadcast of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, with Bidú Sayão, Jussi Björling, Mimi Benzell, Claramae Turner, John Brownlee, Nicola Moscona, Anthony Marlowe, Kenneth Schon, Thomas Hayward, George Cehanovsky, Philip Kinsman and William Hargrave, conducted by Emil Cooper.

More to come shortly . . .

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, August 9, 2009 - Part I

  • Bayern 4 Klassik, MDR Figaro, NDR Kultur, RBB Kulturradio & WDR 3 - Continue with their traversal of this summer's Bayreuth Festival Ring Cycle, with Die Walküre.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From the Salzburg Festival, Rossini's Moise et Pharaon ou le Passage de la Mer Rouge, with Ildar Abdrazakov, Juan Francisco Gatell, Nicola Alaimo, Nino Surguladze, Eric Cutler, Marina Rebeka, Barbara Di Castri, Alexey Tikhomirov and Ante Jerkunica, conducted Riccardo Muti.
  • CBC Two - From Teatro Real, an October 4, 2008 performance of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, with Marcelo Alvarez, Violeta Urmana, Ludovic Tézier and Elena Zaremba, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Verdi's Aida, with Kristin Lewis, Salvatore Licitra, Ekaterina Gubanova, Marco Vratogna, Giacomo Prestia, Christian Van Horn, Lana Kos and Kenneth Roberson, conducted by Daniele Gatti.
  • DR P2 - From Montpellier, a July 13th performance of Bellini's Zaira, with Ermonela Jaho, Varduhi Abrahamyan, Shalva Mukeria, Wenwei Zhang and Gezim Myshketa, conducted by Enrique Mazzola.

More to follow. . . .

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Met Audience: Live! ...and booing!

We have been hearing great things about the singing, but ghastly reports abnout the production from several friends who have attended the new production of La Sonnambula at the Metropolitan Opera this past week. So we were interested to see what Sam Shirakawa might have to say about Friday evening's performance:

Metropolitan Opera
6 March 2009

Well, whaddaya know! The audience at the Metropolitan Opera can boo badness as boisterously as baseball fans berating Barry Bonds.

Such was the widely reported spectacle performed by the crowd attending the March 3d premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s ill-conceived production of Bellini’s La Sonnambula. At the second performance, which I attended, the audience made its displeasure known as the house lights came up for the intermission. Rarely have I heard such hissing and hooting at a Met performance since Ponnelle lifted the skirt on his short-lived Dutchman in 1979.

If you’ve sought out what you’re reading now, you probably already know the details of what elicited the discontent. Mary Dearest has shifted the opera’s locale from the Swiss Alps of the early 19th century to a present-day rehearsal loft -- probably somewhere in Manhattan’s Cast Iron District or Soho -- where a cast, dressed mostly in modern garb, is walking through what appears to be a traditional 19th century production of Sonnambula. Its loose plot involves the impending marriage of a lovely village lassie to her simple boyfriend. Here’s the twist Mary Dearest added to the plot: The lead singers happen to have the same names as the characters they are playing, and they too are romantically involved. Tah Dah! Parallel universe. Sort of. Get it?

Frankly, no.

If the original plot were tighter, the conceit might work. But the libretto as written by Felice Romani (based on a drama by Eugene Scribe) is so implausible from the get-go, that it can hardly bear the imposition of an added synthetic narrative. It’s also hard to know at what junctures the two plot lines diverge or dovetail. Maybe we’re not meant to. Waking, sleeping, dreaming, sleepwalking and so on. Get it?

No again.

As impatience sets in, you begin to suspect that the present-day plot element is simply a cynical ploy to save gargantuan costs for period costumes and scenery. As distraction creeps in, you begin to speculate upon the vast number of operas, operettas and musicals that could be similarly mounted.

So... here's my proposal for the Met management, that would surely ameliorate the company’s current financial crisis: Fit EVERY upcoming new production into the rehearsal room framework posited by Mary Dearest’s concept. With its huge parquet flooring, Daniel Ostling’s flexible unit set would also function as a sounding board to throw the voices out into the house -- much like the tall slabs of scenery for the Met’s new Trovatore. And wouldn’t ya know, there’s even a protracted package-throwing sequence, whose blocking could be cloned for the pillow fight that closes Meistersinger’s second act!

But let’s think out of the box for a moment: How about chucking Zeffirelli’s much-too elaborate Boheme for a stripped down rehearsal version, in which Rudolfo and Mimi fornicate during their love duet? What about a rehearsal version of Carmen-as-Flashback, in which Don José murders his real-life live-in girl friend during the prelude to the first act rather than at the opera’s final moments? But at THIS rehearsal, he uses a real knife. Stop me! Pleeeez!

So how was the performance otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln?

Pretty cruddy, actually, she might aptly reply.

With the exception of the Teflon Tenor, of course.

Juan Diego Florez seems indestructible. In fact, he just keeps getting better and more refined. He’s honed that distinctive burr that gooses the ears, and he’s drained his top notes of that adenoidal honk that’s been giving some of his wussier critics dyspepsia. Standing, sitting, or reclining imperturbably in the midst of the imbecilities being perpetrated around him, Florez simply waits his turn to stand and deliver what opera has always been about in the first place: Great singing. He's really got the Whole Package, folks.

On Natalie Dessay, I run hot and cold. I run hot when she crawls along a table top trilling her brains out. Golly gee! Can that gal multi-task! But I run cold when she lunges at high notes and misses. On her good nights, Dessay too embodies the Whole Package, but its wrapping is beginning to fray at the creases. This becomes increasingly apparent, when she mounts a trajectory that propels her gradually over the orchestra pit, where she sings a generally affecting “Ah, non credea.” The altered ambience into which she is thrust, however, is not kind.

Having intended to become a dancer, Dessay moves as though blessed by Terpsichore herself, but her occasional reversions to that cutesy wind-up doll shtick from last season’s La Fille du Regiment are turning old fast.

Michele Pertusi is a sonorous Count Rodolfo. Jennifer Black is serviceable as Lisa. Jane Bunnell looks too young to be convincing as Dessay’s foster mother.

The less obvious culprits behind the cruddiness of this woeful production, though, are conductor Evelino Pido and his sluggish tempi. It’s hard to tell what he’s driving at -- rapture? lyricism? Whatever the aim, the end-effect is worthy of no less than the goddess Dulness in The Dunciad.

And finally, the ventilators in the lighting eyrie above the Family Circle are still droning too loudly -- not nearly as bad as before, but still loud enough to prevent you from hearing Mme. Dessay essay a pianissimo. Since seats for this location are soon going to cost 33 percent more, surely Mr. Gelb can assign part of this obscene increase to remedy the problem once and for all.

©Sam H. Shirakawa

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Live offerings - Saturday, August 30, 2008

Late summer on the opera scene offers several live offerings on interest, including an historic 1976 Puritani from the Met with Sutherland, Pavarotti and Milnes, all at or near the peak of their powers; Paolo Gavanelli in Verdi's Nabucco; from Glimmerglass Opera, another chance to hear Britten's Death in Venice; and a concert featuring vocal works by Messiaen, Liszt and Mendelssohn, with Ruth Ziesak.

Just underway as I post this:

  • Espace Musique - From the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Italy, Rossini's Maometto II, with Francesco Meli, Marina Rebeka, Daniela Barcellona, Enrico Iviglia, Michelle Pertusi and Cosimo Panozzo, conducted by Sylvia L'Écuyer.
And starting shortly:

  • CBC Two - From Vienna State Opera, a rebroadcast of Mozart's Così fan tutte, with Barbara Frittoli, Angelika Kirchschlager, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Francesco Meli, Laura Tatulescu, Natale de Carolis, conducted by Riccardo Muti.

  • KUHF & XLNC1 - Another chance to hear Olga Borodina star in Saint-Saens's Samson et Dalilah from San Francisco Opera; her colleagues are Clifton Forbis, Juha Uusitalo (High Priest of Dagon), Oren Gradus (Old Hebrew), Eric Jordan (Abimélech), Noah Stewart (Philistines' messenger), Richard Walker (First Philistine) and Jere Torkelsen (Second Philistine), with Patrick Summers conducting.

  • RTP Antena 2 - From Ópera Estatal da Baviera, today's leading Verdi baritone, Paolo Gavanelli, stars in Verdi's Nabucco, with Maria Guleghina, Daniela Sindram, Lana Kos, Alexander Antonenko, Kevin Conners, Giacomo Prestia and Andreas Kohn, conducted by Paolo Carignani.

  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - From San Francisco Opera, Wagner's Tannhäuser, with Peter Seiffert, Petra Maria Schnitzer, Petra Lang, James Rutherford, Eric Halfvarson, Stefan Margita ,Gregory Reinhart, Ricardo Lugo, Matthew O'Neill and Ji Young Yang, conducted by Donald Runnicles.

  • NPR World of Opera - From Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York, Britten's Death in Venice, with William Burden, David Pittsinger, Bruce Reed, Craig Phillips, John Gaston and Nicola Bowie, conducted by Stewart Robinson.

  • Radio Clasica de Espana - A live broadcast from Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, of Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin, with F. Maria Capitanucci, S. Vassileva, D. Korchak, A. Abdrazakov, T. Tramonti, M. Pardo, A. Vespasiano and M. Bolognesi, conducted by J. Mena.

  • Radio Oesterreich International - A September 22, 2007 performance of Berlioz's Les Troyens, from the Grand Théatre in Geneva, with Anna Caterina Antonacci, Kurt Streit, Anne Sofie von Otter, Isabell Cals, Marie-Claude Chappius and Jean-François Lapointe, conducted by John Nelson.

  • France Musique, MDR Figaro & RBB KulturRadio - From the Frauenkirche in Dresden, a concert featuring among other works, two by Messiaen: O sacrum convivium with Ruth Ziesak, Mojca Erdmann, Christian Elsner, Alexander Marco-Buhrmester; and Apparition de l'église éternelle, with Johannes Unger playing the organ; Liszt 's San Francesco, Preludio per II cantico del Sol di San Francesco, with Johannes Unger playing the organ; Mendelssohn's Symphonie-cantate n°2 en si bémol Majeur op.52 "Lobgesang", with Ruth Ziesak, Mojca Erdmann, Christian Elsner, and Alexander Marco-Buhrmester, all works conducted by Jun Märkl.

  • Latvia Radio Klasika - From the Metropolitan Opera in New York, an historic broadcast of Bellini's I Puritani, from March 13, 1976, with Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Sherrill Milnes, conducted by Richard Bonynge.

  • WDAV - A rebroadcast from NPR World of Opera of Donizetti's Lucie de Lammermoor (French version) from Glimmerglass Opera, with Sarah Coburn, Chad A. Johnson, Earle Patriarco, Raúl Hernández, Craig Phillips and Bryon Grohman, conducted by Beatrice Jona Afron.
Happy listening....

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