Saturday, February 20, 2010

Live Offerings - Saturday, February 20, 2009

Many European stations are carrying the Met broadcast of Ariadne auf Naxos this week, so there a re fewer offerings than usual this week....

  • France Musique - From Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, a January 30th performance of Rossini's La Cenerentola, with Antonino Siragusa, Stéphane Degout, Pietro Spagnoli,
  • Carla Di Censo, Nidia Palacios, Vivica Genaux and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo.
  • Metropolitan Opera Broadcast (on numerous stations) - Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, with Nina Stemme, Kathleen Kim, Sarah Connolly, Lance Ryan, Jochen Schmeckenbecher, Anne-Carolyn Bird, (Tamara Mumford, Erin Morley, Tony Stevenson, Sean Panikkar, Mark Schowalter and Markus Werba, conducted by Kirill Petrenko.
  • KBIA2 & WDAV - NPR World of Opera: From Houston Grand Opera, Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Olga Guryakova, Marco Berti, Patrick Carfizzi, Raymond Aceto, Ryan McKinny, Maria Markina and Beau Gibson, conducted by Patrick Summers.
  • Espace 2 - From the Vienna State Opera, a December 14, 2009 performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, with Robert Dean Smith, Violetta Urmana, Yvonne Naef, Bo Skovhus, Franz Josef Selig, Clemens Unterreiner, Peter Jelosits, Wolfgang Bankl and Gergely Nemethy, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
  • Klara - From the Barbican Hall in London, a concert performance of Martinu's Julietta, with Magdalena Kozena, William Burden, Michel Andreas Jäggi, Rosalind Plowright, Zdenek Plech, Anna Stéphany, Jean Rigby, Frederic Goncalves and Roderick Williams, conducted by Jiri Belohlavek.
  • And later on this evening:
  • WFMT - Live from Chicago Lyric Opera, Opening Night of Berlioz' Damnation of Faust, with Paul Groves, Susan Graham, John Relyea and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australia) & Concert FM (New Zealand) - From the Metropolitan Opera, Verdi's Stiffelio, with José Cura, Julianna Di Giacomo, Andrzej Dobber, Michael Fabiano, Phillip Ens, Jennifer Check and Diego Torre, conducted by Plácido Domingo.

Happy listening

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Live Offerings - Saturday, February 13, 2009

The Met broadcast is now underway, but most other offerings are just about to start:

  • Metropolitan Opera Broadcast (on numerous stations) - Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment, with Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Florez, Meredith Arwady, Maurizio Muraro, Donald Maxwell, Roger Andrews and Kiri te Kanawa, conducted by Marco Armiliato.
  • Radio 4 Netherlands - From La Monnaie in Brussels, a Gluck double bill: Iphigénie en Aulide, with Andrew Shore, Charlotte Hellekant, Véronique Gens, Avi Klembergand and Henk Neven; and Iphigénie en Tauride, with Nadja Michael, Stéphane Degout, Topi Lehtipuu, Werner van Mechelen and Violet Serena Noorduynconducted by Christophe Rousset.
  • France Musique - From Opera Bastille in Paris, a February 12th performance of Massenet's Werther, with Jonas Kaufmann and Lodovic Tezier.
  • KBIA 2 - NPR World of Opera: From the Chorégies Festival in Orange, France, Verdi's La Traviata, with Patrizia Ciofi, Vittorio Grigolo, Marzio Giossi, Laura Brioli, Stanislas de Barbeyrac, Jean-Marie Delpas and Armando Noguera, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung.
  • NRK Klassisk & NRK P2 - From La Monnaie in Brussels, Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, with Nadja Michael, Stéphane Degout, Topi Lehtipuu, Werner van Mechelen and Violet Serena Noorduynconducted by Christophe Rousset.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From Schlosstheater Schönbrunn, an August 2009 performance of Zeller's Der Obersteiger, with Bernhard Berchtold, Santiago Bürgi, Cornelia Zink, Wolfgang Müller-Lorenz, Donna Ellen and Anna Siminska, conducted by Herbert Mogg.
  • Espace 2 - From the Ukrainian National Opera, an October 31st performance of Lysenko's Taras Bulba, with Taras Shtonda, Alla Pozniak, Petro Priymak, Pavlo Priymak, Yevghen Orlov, Svetlana Golevska, Vasyl Kolybabiuk, Serghiy Skochelias, Viktor Dudar, Oleksandr Gourets, Andriy Gonkulov and Dmytro Gryshyn, conducted by Volodymyr Kozhukhar.
  • HR2 Kultur - From the Vienna State Opera, a June 20th performance of Strauss's Die Schweigsame Frau, with Jane Archibald, Kurt Rydl, Michael Schade, Janina Baechle, Adrian Eröd, conducted by Peter Schneider.
  • Klara - Starting at GMT 1900/EST 2:00PM - the Met's La Fille du Régiment.
  • Latvia Radio Klasika - From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, a November 21st performance of Verdi's Don Carlos, with Jonas Kaufmann, Marina Poplavska, Simon Keenlyside, Feruccio Furlanetto and Marianne Korneti, conducted by Semyons Bychkov.
  • MDR Figaro - From Staatsoper Dresden, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, with Krassimira Stoyanova, Elina Garanca, Michael Schade and Franz-Josef Selig, conducted by Christian Thielemann.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From Teatro San Carlo in Naples, a January 27th performance of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, with Gregory Kunde, Teresa Romano, Elena Monti,, Monica Bacelli, Francesca Russo Ermolli and Vito Priante, conducted by Jeffrey Tate.
  • WDAV - NPR World of Opera on a one-week delay: From Washington National Opera, Puccini's La boheme, with Adriana Damato, Vittorio Grigolo, Nicole Cabell, Paolo Pecchioli, Hyung Yun, Trevor Scheunemann, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australia) & Concert FM (New Zealand) - From the Metropolitan Opera, the historic broadcast (February 1, 1958) of Barber's Vanessa, with Eleanor Steber, Nicolai Gedda, Rosalind Elias, Regina Resnik, Giorgio Tozzi, George Cehanovsky and Robert Nagy, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos.
  • And, last but not least, don't forget video feed of the the last (of 4) performance of the Indiana University production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, with Heather Youngquist, Joshua Lindsay, Andrew Kroes, Scott Hogsed, Nikhil Navkal, Samuel Green, Jane Rownd and Amanda Sesler, conducted by Arthur Fagen (Guest Stage Director: James Marvel, Set & Costume Designer: C. David Higgins).

Happy listening (and watching) . . . .

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Friday, February 05, 2010

A Rocket to Mannheim

DIE FLEDERMAUS / ROBERTO DEVEREUX
National Theater, Mannheim

Why do you want to come all the way to Mannheim just to hear such an old production of Die Fledermaus? asked a lifelong Mannheimer and operagoer.

“Because I need some ear candy,” I replied.

Mannheim has supplied an estimable variety of ear candy to the world for well over three centuries. Most notably: Mozart visited the city four times and spent a total of 176 days here. Some of the venues where he made music are still functioning. The so-called Mannheim School made its home here. The Court Orchestra under Carlo Grua (1700-1773) won renown as one of Europe’s finest ensembles. In the last century, its opera house, first established in 1779, became a way station for such up-and-coming musicians and singers as Artur Bodansky, who led the German wing of the Metropolitan Opera from 1915 to his death in 1939, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Donald Runnicles, Jun Märkl, Adam Fischer; Inge Borkh, Diana Damrau, Franz Mazura, Jean Cox and Scott McAlister.

With such a formidable history that is continually in the making, performers in Mannheim have a lot to live up to, and they know it. Of the 30 odd performances I’ve heard here since 1990, only a few have been lackluster. (A couple of disasters -- yes -- but interesting catastrophes.)

During my most recent stay, I attended two consecutive performances at the National Theater: a production of Die Fledermaus, dating from 1978, and the premiere of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux in concert-format, apparently the first time ever that this opera has been performed professionally in Mannheim. So it came as a surprise to me, how lively and vital the 30 year-old production of Fledermaus came across, whereas the premiere of Devereux seemed somewhat phlegmatic in comparison.

I doubt that any Fledermaus can match the sparkle and fizzle that the Metropolitan Opera’s mounting nearly always manages to produce, but Mannheim comes close. Friedrich Meyer-Oertel clearly conceived his production with fun as the guiding principal, and the principals, bit-players and chorus at this performance were determined to play out this comedy of manners with mirth always in mind.

Particularly rewarding for me was to hear Eisenstein sung by a tenor, as Johann Strauss originally intended. I never heard Uwe Eikötter before, but I’d like to hear him again. He has precisely the right lilt in his voice as he tries to play a not-so good-natured trick on his wife. A mellow sweetness in the timbre suggests he might do well to attempt a more ambitious Fach than Melot, Monostatos and Pong -- parts he apparently regularly sings.

Cornelia Ptassek took a while to get inside Rosalinda, but by the time she got to her rousing Czardas in the second act, she turned into a spouse not to be trifled with.

I’m told that Diana Damrau made Adele into one of her signature roles during her stay in Mannheim, but Katharina Göres at this performance left little to long for. She has clean coloratura, a bright top and an attractive stage personality -- a package that could take her to stages far beyond Germany. Whether she has Damrau’s dramatic range and vocal allure, remains to be seen.

Edna Prochnik as Orlovsky was delightful to experience, not merely because she reveals an incipient vocal temperament that portends bigger roles. She is also a refreshing change from the counter-tenors that I’ve encountered too frequently in this role. Which brings to mind a suggestion for the idea-starved directors, whose da-duh productions of this wonderful work I’ve had to endure in the past couple of years: How about an Orlovsky performed by a counter-tenor in an evening gown?

The big surprise of the evening, though, was Wolfgang Neumann as Alfredo. Yes, the Wolfgang Neumann everybody who has survived his Siegfried and Tristan loves to hate! Rarely, have I experienced Alfredo so electrifyingly sung and non-acted! And on this occasion, he was even funny. Neumann sings his farewell this spring in Mannheim, but surely he has more than enough voice left to return for an occasional turn as Alfredo.

At this performance, Lars Møller, Thomas Jesatko and Uwe Schönbeck were cast as Dr. Falke, Frank and Frosch respectively. Møller eschewed the manipulative side of the role and made the most of the merry side of Eisenstein’s sidekick. Jesatko enlivened the party scene, and Schönbeck clearly had the audience in his bottle the moment he stepped on stage as the inebriated jailer. Oskar Pürgstaller’s Blind was a treat.

The linking entity between Fledermaus and Devereux was Alexander Kalajdzic on the podium. He is among the batch of younger conductors cutting their teeth on the international circuit. Currently, the Zagreb native is wrapping up his tour of duty as first Kappelmeister in Mannheim. Next season, he moves on to become Generalmusikdirector at Bielefeld’s opera house.

On Friday night he generated high voltage with his reading of Fledermaus. It became clear at the outset of the overture, that he has Strauss the Younger in his blood, and he communicated his affinity with this music with bodacious enthusiasm. On Saturday, though, his wattage sputtered: possibly because the house orchestra, still after nearly 300 years one of the finest in Europe, seemed disinterested during Devereux. Several back-stand violinists were leaning back in their seats throughout the evening, and the winds and brass generally lacked punch in the big ensemble passages. I would have expected this at Fledermaus. After all, it was the upteenth performance of an old production, but the musicians played like New Year’s Eve. Devereux was a premiere and a First for Mannheim. Yet, the orchestra sounded as though nobody wanted to go to the party.

The seeming lack of enthusiasm among the players seemed to infect the principals, all of whom were performing their respective roles for the first time. Ludmila Slepneva has sufficient power and technique to essay Elizabetta, but she seemed preoccupied with the notes rather than the music. And the notes to which she devoted such care were thrifty on ornamentation. Her voice on this occasion also had a tendency to spread at the top in some instances, while turning shrewish at others. Nonetheless she turned out an effective “Vive Ingrato” in the final scene. Comparisons with singers of the past who have scored in this role are admittedly silly. But Slepnova has formidable competition in this Fach from contemporaries such as Alexandrina Pendatchanska. There’s an Elisabetta!

Marie-Belle Sandis fared better as Sara, Elisabetta’s rival for the affections of Roberto Devereux. Hers is a dark mezzo that retains its warmth from top to bottom. She is not exactly suited for Sara, but she came closest to surmounting the lethargy around her.

Juhan Tralla in the eponymous role sounded the most energetic of the three principals, but it became apparent that he has yet to master his part. He has a pleasing and flexible lyric instrument that holds up under pressure, but he too seemed preoccupied with getting out the notes, rather than enlivening them.

The rest of the principal roles were capably rounded out by Thomas Berau (Nottingham), Mihail Mihylov (Raleigh) and Christoph Wittmann (Cecil).

Thinking back on these two performances and the marked contrast in effect, it occurs to me that Fledermaus is a German/Austrian work that was performed by German-speaking artists, whereas Devereux is an Italian work that was played out on this occasion with quite possibly no Italians onstage. Admittedly, most of the live performances of Devereux I’ve heard have been sung by non-Italians, but the Italianate stylistic panache was always there. At the same time, I failed to sense a Germanic or northern European approach to the music, as is palpable in numerous pirate recordings of Donizetti operas in German. Are we now in a New Age of an intra-national style of performing opera?

© Sam H. Shirakawa

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Live Offerings - Saturday, January 16, 2009

Getting a late start today. Two or three things stand out from the crowd of live offerings this afternoon: The Met's new production of Carmen (also being shown in HD in move theaters today), with Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna, from Radio Clasica de Espana a live 1960 Bartered Bride with Irmgard Seefried and a wonderful ensemble cast, and from Sveriges Radio P2 a 1954 Signor Bruschino (Rossini) with Elisabeth Söderströmand Hugo Hasslo. Here's the complete lineup:

  • Sveriges Radio P2 - A live 1954 perfromance of Rossini's Signor Bruschino from Kungliga Opera, with Elisabeth Söderström, Eleonora Collin, Arne Hendriksen, Sture Ingebretzen, Sigvard Berg, Hugo Hasslo and Anders Näslund, conducted by Lamberto Gardelli.
  • BR Klassik - An October 10, 2008 performance of Schubert's Winterreise, with Christoph Prégardien and Ensemble Berlin.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a November 22, 2009 performance of Verdi's Don Carlo, with Jonas Kaufmann, Marina Poplavskaya, Simon Keenlyside, Marianne Cornetti, Ferruccio Furlanetto, John Tomlinson, Robert Lloyd, Pumeza Matshikiza, Eri Nakamura and Robert Anthony Gardiner, conducted by Semyon Bychkov.
  • DR P2 - From the Vienna State Opera, a January 8th performance of Massenet's Manon, with Diana Damrau, Ramón Vargas, Markus Eiche and Dan Paul Dumitrescu, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.
  • Metropolitan Opera (on numerous stations) - Bizet's Carmen, with Elina Garanca,
  • Roberto Alagna, Trevor Scheunemann, Barbara Frittoli, Mariusz Kwiecien, Earle Patriarco, Keith Jameson, Keith Miller, Elizabeth Caballero and Sandra Piques Eddy, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
  • Radio Clasica de Espana - From the Vienna State Opera, a November 11, 1960 performance of Smetana's The Bartered Bride, with I. Seefried, W. Kmentt, H. Braun, H. Konetzni, M. Dickie, L. Weber, R. Anday, O. Czerwenka, L. Szemere, L. Maikl and H. Schweiger, conducted by B. Klobucar.
  • KBIA2 & KOHM - NPR World of Opera: From the Vienna State Opera, Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtensk, with Kurt Rydl, Marian Talaba, Angela Denoke, Mischa Didyk and Donna Ellen, conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - Another chance to hear the Metropoltian Opera's December 19th broadcast of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, with Joseph Calleja, Kathleen Kim, Anna Netrebko, Ekaterina Gubanova, Kate Lindsay, Alan Held, Alan Oke and Rodell Rosel, conducted byJames Levine.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava & WDAV - From Teatro alla Scala, a December 19th performance of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, with Roberta Invernizzi, Georg Nigl, Sara Mingardo, Luigi De Donato, Raffaella Milanesi, Giovanni B. Parodi and Furio Zanasi, conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini.
  • Espace 2 - From The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a December 1, 2009 performance of Tchaikovsky's The Tsarina's Slippers, with Vsevolod Grivnov, Olga Guryakova, Larissa Diadkova, Maxim Mikhailov, Vladimir Matorin, Vyacheslav Voynarovsky, Alexander Vassiliev, John Upperton, Sergey Leiferkus, Jeremy White, Changhan Lim, conducted by Alexander Polyanicko.
  • HR2 Kultur - From Deutsche Oper Berlin, an April 9, 2009 performance of Respighi's Marie Victoire, with Marie de Lanjallay, Takesha Meshé Kizart, Maurice de Lanjallay, Markus Brück, Clorivière German Villar, Simon Simon Pauly and Cloteau Stephen Bronk, conducted by Michail Jurowski.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From Teatro Communale di Bologna, Strauss's Salome, with Robert Brubaker, Dalia Schächter, Nadja Michael, Mark S. Doss and Mark Milhofer and Nora Sourouzian, conducted by Nicola Luisotti.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australia) & Concert FM (New Zealand) - Another chance to hear the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Strauss's Elektra, with Susan Bullock, Deborah Voigt, Felicity Palmer, Alan Held and Wolfgang Schmidt, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

Happy listening,

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Live Offerings - Saturday, January 9, 2010

Not to be missed: The Met broadcast of Der Rosenkavalier (G and I attended the Wednesday evening performance, and the cast was close to perfection, one of the all-time best performances of this opera either of us had seen). All four principles were wonderful, but Susan Graham's Octavian outshown them all.

There are other things to listen to this aftenoon, including a live live Manon from Vienna with Damrau and Vargas, so let's get right to them:

  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From Mannheim a December 9th performance of Johann Christian Bach's Amadis des Gaules, with Maximilian Schmitt, Cornelia Ptassek, Marie-Belle Sandis, Anne-Theresa Albrecht, Antje Bitterlich and Katrin Wagner, conducted by Reinhard Goebel.

  • Metropolitan Opera (on numerous stations) - Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, with Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Christine Schäfer, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart.

  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - 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.

  • KBIA2 & KOHM - NPR World of Opera: From La Sclal in Milan, Monteverdi's Orfeo, with Georg Nigi, Roberta Invernizzi, Sara Mindardo, Luigi De Donato, Raffaella Milanesi, Giovanni B. Parodi and Furio Zanasi, conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini.

  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) & Radio Tre (RAI) - From the Vienna State Opera, Massenet's Manon, with Diana Damrau, Ramón Vargas, Dan Paul Dumitrescu, Markus Eiche, Alexander Kaimbacher, Clemens Unterreiner, Simina Ivan, Sophie Marilley and Zoryana Kushpler, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.

  • Espace 2 - From Cologne, Mozart's Così fan tutte, with Iulia Isaev, Bernarda Fink, Marcel Reijans, Marcel Boone, Pietro Spagnoli, Graciela Oddone, conducted by René Jacobs.

  • Klara - From La Scala, the December 7th opening night performance of Bizet's Carmen, with Anita Rachvelishvili, Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott, Adriana Damato, Gabor Bretz, Mathias Hausmann, Michèle Losier, Adriana Kucerová, Gabriel Da Costa, Francis Dudziac, Rodolphe Briand and Carmine Maringola, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

  • WDAV - From NPR World of Opera (on a one week delay), a Royal Opera House, Covent Garden performance of Tchaikovsky's The Tsarina's Slippers, with Olga Guryakova, Vsevolod Grivnov, Larissa Diadkova, Vladimir Matorin, ergei Leiferkuss, Maxim Mikhailov, Vyacheslav Voynarovsky, Alexander Vassiliev and John Upperton, conducted by Alexander Polianichko.

  • Concert FM (New Zealand) & ABC Classic FM (Australia) - Now that the Antipodes have begun their run of the Met broadcasts, another chance to hear Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, with Joseph Calleja, Kathleen Kim, Anna Netrebko, Ekaterina Gubanova, Kate Lindsay, Alan Held, Alan Oke, Rodell Rosel, Michael Todd Simpson, Dean Peterson, Mark Schowalter and David Asch, conducted by James Levine.

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 24, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reruns seem to be the order of the day. Most of the available "live" offerings have appeared elsewhere in previous weeks. Exceptions include a Budapest Rheingold from Bartok Radio, BBC 3's Carmen, yesterday's Lady Macbeth from Mtensk from the Vienna State Opera (being carried by three stations), the San Francisco Opera Don Giovanni, France Musique's Die Tote Stadt from Opera Bastille, and last, but certainly not least, the live La Traviata from Seattle Opera later on this evening (Charles Taylor's Germont pere will be worth a listen...).

Here's the complete lineup:

  • Sveriges Radio P2 - From Stadshallen in Göttingen, a May 13, 2008 performance of Handel's Acis and Galatea, with Christoph Prégardien, Julia Kleiter, Wolf Matthias Friedrich and Michael Slattery, condcuted by Nicholas McGegan
  • BBC Radio 3 - From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Bizet's Carmen, with Elina Garanca, Roberto Alagna, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Liping Zhang, Changhan Lim, Henry Waddington, Eri Nakamura, Louise Innes, Adrian Clarke and Vincent Ordonneau, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.
  • CBC Two - From Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, with Matthew Polenzani, Erin Wall, Aleksandra Kurzak, Steve Davislim and Andrea Silvestrelli, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From the Vienna State Opera, Gounod's Faust, with Piotr Beczala, Kwangchul Youn, Soile Isokoski, Boaz Daniel, Hans Peter Kammerer, Roxana Constantinescu and Zoryana Kushpler, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.
  • DR P2, Radio Clasica de Espana & Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From the Vienna State Opera, an October 23 performance of Shastakovich's Lady Macbeth from Mtensk, with Kurt Rydl, Marian Talaba, Angela Denoke, Misha Didyk, Donna Ellen and Michael Roider, conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.
  • Dwojke Polskie Radio - From the 2009 Glyndebourne Festival, Dvorak's Rusalka, with Ana Maria Martinez, Brandon Jovanovich, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Misza Szelomian'ski, Larissa Diadkova, Diana Axentii and Alasdair Elliott, conducted by Jirí Belohlávek.
  • Espace Musique - From the Vienna State Opera, Strauss's Die Schweigsame Frau, with Kurt Rydel, Janina Baechle, Adrian Eröd, Michael Schade, Jane Archibald, Caroline Weinborne, Michaela Selinger, Clemens Unterreiner, Janusz Monarcham and Walter Fink.
  • RTP Antena 2 - From Teatro da Música in Amsterdam, a June 7, 2008 performance of Messiaen Saint Francois d'Assise, with Camilla Tilling, Hubert Delamboye, Rom Randle, Donald Kaascg, Rod Gilfry, Henk Neven, Arman Arapian, Jan Willen Baljet and André Morsch, conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.
  • WETA - From the Grand Theater in Geneva, Verdi's Il Trovatore, with Tatiana Serjan, Irina Mishura, Zoran Todorovich, George Petean and Burak Bilgili, conducted by Evelino Pido.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - From San Francisco Opera, Mozart's Don Giovanni, with Mariusz Kwiecien, Oren Gradus, Elza van den Heever, Twyla Robinson, Charles Castronovo, Claudia Mahnke, Luca Pisaroni and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • WQXR - From San Francisco Opera, Korngold's Die Tote Stadt, with Torsten Kerl,
  • Marie/Marietta: Emily Magee, Lucas Meachem, Katharine Tier, Ji Young Yang,: Daniela Mack, Alek Shrader, Andrew Bidlack, Bryan Ketron and Ben Bongers, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • NPR World of Opera - From the 2009 Aix en Provence Festival, Mozart's The Magic Flute, with Marlis Petersen, Magnus Staveland, Anna-Kristiina Kaapola, Daniel Schmutzhard, Sunhae Im, Marcos Fink and Kurt Azesberger, conducted by Rene Jacobs.
  • XLNC1 - From San Francisco Opera, Verdi's La Traviata, with Anna Netrebko, Charles Castronovo, Dwayne Croft, Leeann Sandel-Pantaleo, Renee Tatum, Andrew Bidlack, Dale Travis, Austin Kness and Kenneth Kellogg, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • Bartok Radio - From Budapest, a June 11 performance of Wagner's Das Rheingold, with Johan Reuter, Oskar Hillebrandt, Fekete Attila, Christian Franz, Hartmut Welker, Michael Roider, Thomas Jesatko, Ain Anger, Németh Judit, Herczenik Anna, Kovács Annamária, Korondi Anna, Fodor Gabriella and Schöck Atala, conducted by Stephen D´Agostino.
  • France Musique - From Opéra Bastille in Paris, Korngold's Die Tote Stadt, with Robert Dean Smith, Ricarda Merbeth, Stéphane Degout, Doris Lamprecht and Elisa Cenni, conducted by Pinchas Steinberg.
  • NRK Klassisk & NRK P2 - From the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Haydn's Orlando Paladino, with Henriette Bonde-Hansen, Joan Martin-Roya, Marcel Reijans, Kenneth Tarver, Peter Gijsbertsen, Sharon Rostorf-Zamir Jörg Schneider, Elena Monti, Martijn Cornet, conducted by Alessandro De Marchi.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - From Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila, with Torsten Kerl, Marianna Tarasova, Micho Borovinov, Nikola Mijailovic, Thorsten Büttner, Onno Pels, Gijs Van der Linden and Tijl Faveyts, conducted by Tomáš Netopil.
  • Klara - From Vienna, a January 25 concert performance of Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte, with Vivica Genaux, Roberta Invernizzi, Emanuela Galli, Stefanie Iranyi, Carlo Allemano, Romina Basso, Philippe Jaroussky and Philippo Adami, conducted by Fabio Biondi.
  • Radio Tre - From Teatro la Fenice (or possibly Teatro Malibran??) in Venice, an October 9 performance of Handel's Agrippina, with Lorenzo Regazzo, Ann Hallenberg, Florin Cezar Ouatu, Veronica Cangemi, Xavier Sabata, Ugo Guagliardo, Milena Storti and Roberto Abbondanza, conducted by Fabio Biondi.
  • Lyric FM - Carlo Pedrotti's opera Tutti in maschera (Everyone in Masks) from last year's Wexford Festival Opera. Bass-baritone Enrico Marabelli heads the cast.
  • WDAV - NPR World of Opera (on a one-week delay): From Washington National Opera, Handel's Tamerlano, with Placido Domingo, David Daniels, Sarah Coburn, Patricia Bardon, Claudio Huckle and Andrew Foster Williams, conducted by William Lacey.
  • Concert FM (New Zealand) - From Opéra Bastille in Paris, Szymanowsky's King Roger, with Mariusz Kwiecien, Eric Cutler, Olga Pasichnyk, Stefan Margita, Wojtek Smilek and Jadwiga Rappé, conducted by Kazushi Ono.
  • KING - Live from Seattle Opera, Verdi's La Traviata, with Nuccia Focile, Dimitri Pittas and Charles Taylor, conducted by Brian Garman.
  • ABC Classic FM - From the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Maid of Pskov, with Alexei Tanovitski, Irina Mataeva, Gennady Bezzubenkov, Nikolay Gassiev, Yuri Vorobyev, Pavel Shmulevich, Mikhaol Vishnyak, Varvara Solovyeva, Ludmila Kanunnikova and Olga Legkova, conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Happy listening . . . .

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Live Offerings, Saturday, October 10, 2009

The big news in radio in these parts has been the conversion of WQXR here in New York City - this week WQXR, which had previously been a commercial station owned by the New York Times, became a public radio station, owned and managed by WNYC. We were curious what would happen to their Saturday afternoon opera programming. In the coming weeks (before the start of the MEt season) they will be picking up the WFMT series, but first they will be inaugurating their new regime with this past summer's Bayreuth Festival Meistersinger.

Here's the rest of the live lineup:

  • BBC Radio 3 - From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Rossini's Barbiere di Siviglia, with Pietro Spagnoli, Juan Diego Florez, Joyce DiDonato, Alessandro Corbelli, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Jennifer Rhys-Davies, Changhn Lim, Bryan Secombe, Christopher Lachner, conducted by Antonio Pappano. On the opening night of this run, Di Donato fell and broke her leg but soldiered on to finish the performance. She performed the rest of the run in a wheelchair. Read her own account of the whole experience in her blog.
  • CBC Two - From Chicago Lyric Opera, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, with Patricia Racette, Frank Lopardo, James Westman and Katherine Goeldner, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From the Festivalul George Enescu at Opera Nationala in Bukarest, an August 30 performance of Enescu's Oedipe, with Mihai Lazar, Oana Andra, Franck Ferrari, Crina Zancu, Ionut Pascu, Horia Sandu, Vicentiu Taranu, Adriana Alexandru, Pompeiu Harasteanu, Valentin Racoveanu and Ecaterina Tutu, conducted by Oleg Caetani.
  • DR P2 & Klara - From the 2009 Rossini Festival in Pesaro, an August 9 performance of Rossini's Zelmira, with Kate Aldrich, Marianna Pizzolato, Alex Esposito, Juan Diego Flórez and Mirco Palazzi, conducted by Roberto Abbado.
  • Espace Musique & Latvia Klasika Radio - From Chorégies d’Orange 2009, Verdi's La Traviata, with Patrizia Ciofi, Laura Brioli, Christine Labadens, Vittorio Grigolo, Marzio Giossi, Stanislas de Barbeyrac, Jean-Marie Delpas, Armando Noguera and Nicolas Courjat, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung.
  • KBYU - From Utah Opera, a 2008 performance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, with Barbara Shirvis, Scott Piper, Jon Kolbet, Andrew Oakden, Kirsten Gunlogson, Brent Turner, Dominick Chenes, Tyler Oliphant, Christopher Clayton and Rachel Willis-Sørensen, conducted by Joseph Mechavich.
  • Radio Clasica de Espana - From Teatro Real de Madrid, Berg's Lulu, with A. Eichenholz, J. Larmore, H. Shipp, G. Siegel, R. González, I. Mentxaka and M. J. Suárez, conducted by E. Inbal.
  • WETA - From Washington National Opera, Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, with Renee Fleming, Vittorio Grigolo, Kate Aldrich, Ruggero Raimondi, Oleksandr Pushniak, Girgory Soloviov, Jose Ortega, Yingxi Zhang and David B. Morris, conducted by Placido Domingo.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - From San Francisco Opera, Puccini's Tosca, with Adrianne Pieczonka, Carlo Ventre, Lado Ataneli, Jordan Bisch, Dale Travis, Matthew O’Neill, Austin Kness and Kenneth Kellogg, conducted by Marco Armiliato.
  • NPR World of Opera - From Drottningholm Court Theatre, Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, with Ingelina Bohlin, Charlotte Hellekand, Matilda Paulsson, Christopher Ainslie, Lars Arvidson and Malin Christensson, conducted by Mark Tatlow.
  • XLNC1 - From San Francisco Opera, Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, with Joyce DiDonato, Soile Isokoski, Miah Persson, Kristinn Sigmundsson, Jochen Schmeckenbecher and Robert McPherson, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • Dwojke Polskie Radio - From Netherlands Opera, Cavalli's Ercole amante, with Veronica Cangemi, Anna Bonitatibus, Anna Maria Panzarella, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Johannette Zomer, Mark Tucker, Jeremy Ovenden, Luca Pisaroni and Umberto Chiummo, conducted by Ivor Bolton.
  • Bartok Radio - From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, an historic broadcast of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, with Douglas Robinson, Nicolai Gedda, Jules Bastin, Robert Massard, Roger Soyer, Derek Blackwell, Robert Lloyd, Raimund Herincx, Hugues Cuénod, Christiane Eda-Pierre, Jane Berbié and Janine Reiss, conducted by Colin Davis.
  • France Musique - From La Scala in Milan, a July 6 performance of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with David Daniels, Rosemary Joshua, Daniel Okulitch, Natasha Petrinsky, Gordon Gietz, David Adam Moore, Deanne Meek, Erin Wall, Matthew Rose, Andrew Shore, Christopher Gillett, Graeme Dandy, Adrian Thompson and Simon Butteriss, conducted by Andrew Davis.
  • NRK Klassisk & NRK P2 - An historic Metropolitan Opera broadcast: from February 21, 1959, Verdi's Macbeth, with Leonie Rysanek, Leonard Warren, Carlo Bergonzi, Jerome Hines, William Olvis, Carlotta Ordassy, Harold Sternberg, Gerhard Pechner and Osie Hawkins, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, a May 23, 2008 performance of Rossini's Tancredi, with Bernarda Fink, Rosemary Joshua, Lawrence Brownlee, Anna Chierichetti, Federico Sacchi and Elena Belfiore, conducted by René Jacobs.
  • Sveriges Radio P2 - From Kungliga Operan in Stockholm, Handel's Xerxes, with Katarina Karnéus, Matilda Paulsson, Katarina Leoson, Malin Byström, Ailish Tynan, Lars Arvidson and Mark Stone, conducted by Andreas Stoehr.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - Auber's Fra Diavolo, Sumi Jo, Doris Lamprecht, Kenneth Tarver, Marc Molomo, Antonio Figueroa, Vincent Pavesi, Thomas Dolié and Thomas Morris, conducted by Jean-Claude Malgoire.
  • Espace 2 & Radio Slovenia Tretji - From l'Opéra National de Paris, a February 21 performance of Gounod's Mireille, with Inva Mula, Charles Castronovo, Franck Ferrari, Sylvie Brunet, Alain Vernhes, Nicolas Cavallier, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Amel Brahim Djelloul, Sébastien Droy and Ugo Rabec, conducted by Marc Minkowski.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From the 2009 Glyndeboune Festival, Dvorák's Russalka, with Mischa Schelomianski, Ana Maria Martinez,, Larissa Diadkova, Brandon Jovanovich, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Natasha Jouhl, Barbara Senator, Elodie Mechain, Alasdair Elliott, Diana Axentii, Alasdair Elliott, conducted by Jirì Belohlàvek.
  • WDAV - NPR World of Opera, on a one week delay: from the 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.
  • Concert FM (New Zealand) - From the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Haydn's Orlando Paladino, with Pietro Spagnoli, Marcel Reijans, Kenneth Tarver, Peter Gijsbertsen, Laura Cherici, Nikolay Borchev, Elena Monti and Martijn Cornet, conducted by Alessandro De Marchi.
  • KING - From San Francisco Opera, Korngold's Die Tode Stadt, with Torsten Kerl, Emily Magee, Lucas Meachem, Katharine Tier, Ji Young Yang, Daniela Mack, Alek Shrader Andrew Bidlack, Bryan Ketron and Ben Bongers, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australaia) - From Theatre du Capitole in Toulouse, Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, with Philippe Talbot, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Allyson McHardy, Stéphane Degout, Françoise Masset, Jennifer Holloway, Bruno Calucci, Jaël Azzaretti, François Lis, Jérôme Varnier, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro and Aurélia Legay, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm.

Happy listening . . . .

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

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

Offerings for this afternoon:

  • BBC 3 - From Glyndebourne, Dvorak's Rusalka, starring Ana Maria Martinez, with Jiri Belohlavek conducting.
  • Espace Musique- We can catch another Rusalka with notables Richard Paul Fink and Irina Mishura included in the cast.
  • RTP Antena 2- And we can catch another Jirí Belohlávek performance, as he conducts Smetana's Bartered Bride.
  • WETA- And yet another Jirí Belohlávek performance, this time Janacek's Jenufa.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3 - Vltava- William Christie conducts Monteverdi's Orfeo.
  • DR P2 - We hear Gounod's Mireille, with Inva Mula and Charles Castronovo, Marc Minkowski conducting.
  • Radio Clasica de Espana - More Gounod, as we hear his Faust, starring Piotr Beczala and Soile Isokoski.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous staions) is carrying the San Francisco Opera Der Rosenkavalier, with Joyce DiDonato, Soile Isokoski, Miah Persson, Kristinn Sigmundsson and Jochen Schmeckenbecher, conducted by Donald Runnicles
  • WUOT - Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, starring Simon Keenlyside, Tamar Iveri and Ramon Vargas.
  • XLNC1 - Puccini's La Boheme, starring Angela Gheorghiu, Piotr Beczala and Quinn Kelsey.

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, September 19, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lots of interesting performances from all over on offer today and this evening. Highlights include - Verdi's Macbeth from Edinburgh with the Lady Macbeth of Susan Neves; from Pesar, Rossini's Zelmira with Juan Diego Florez and Kate Aldrich; from Rome, Glück's Iphigénie en Aulide, with Krassimira Stoyanova; from Vienna, Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau with Diana Damrau. Here's the menu:

  • BBC Radio 3 - From this summer's Edinburgh Festival, Verdi's Macbeth, with Lado Ataneli, Susan Neves, John Relyea, Vsevolod Grivnov, Katherine Broderick, Nicholas Phan, Vuyani Mlinde, Wade Kernot, Michael Yeoman and Niall Docherty, conducted by David Robertson.
  • CBC Two & (much later) Concert FM - From the Vienna State Opera, a May 25 performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni, with Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, René Pape, Ricarda Merbeth, Michael Schade and Soile Isokoski, conducted by Constantinos Carydis.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From Studio Lukaskirche Dresden, an August performance of Offenbach's La Pericole, with Sabine Brohm, Ralf Simon, Gerd Wiemer, Bernd Könnes, Marcus Günzel, Jessica Glatte, Elke Kottmair, Tanja Höft, Annegret Reißmann, Frank Ernst, Christian Grygas, Mirko Poick and Dietrich Seydlitz, conducted by Ernst Theis.
  • Espace Musique & RTP Antena 2 - From the 2009 Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Italy, Rossini's Zelmira, with Kate Aldrich, Marianna Pizzolato, Alex Esposito, Juan Diego Flórez, Gregory Kunde, Mirco Palazzi, Francisco Ruben Brito and Savio Sperandio, conducted by Roberto Abbado.
  • France Musique & Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - From Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, a March 17 performance of Glück's Iphigénie en Aulide, with Beatriz Diaz, Alexey Tikhomirov, Ekaterina Gubanova, Krassimira Stoyanova, Avi Klemberg, Mario Cassi, Maxim Kuzmin-Karavaev, Carlos Garcia-Ruiz, Alessandra Ruffini, Sara Allegretta, Miljana Nikolich, Monica Tarone, Francesco Marsiglia and Marta Moretto, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
  • KBYU - From San Francisco Opera, Korngold's Die Tode Stadt, with Torsten Kerl, Emily Magee, Lucas Meachem, Katharine Tier, Ji Young Yang, Daniela Mack, Alek Shrader, Andrew Bidlack, Bryan Ketron and Ben Bongers, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • Radio 4 Netherlands - From La Scala in Milan, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with David Daniels, Rosemary Joshua and Gordon Gietz, conducted by Andrew Davis.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From Theater an der Wien, Britten's Death in Venice, with Kurt Streit, Russell Braun, Christophe Dumaux, Erik Arman and Klemens Sander, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
  • WETA - From the NPR World of Opera archives: From the 2009 Schwetzingen Festival Handel's Ezio, with Yosemeh Adjei, Netta Or, Rosa Bove, Hilke Andersen, Donat Havar and Marcell Bakonyi, conducted by Attilio Cremonesi.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - 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.
  • NPR World of Opera - From Grand Theatre of Geneva, Verdi's Il Trovatore, with Tatiana Serjan, Irina Mishura, Zoran Todorovich, George Petean and Burak Bilgili, conducted by Evelino Pido.
  • XLNC1 - From San Francisco Opera, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, with Samuel Ramey, Vsevolod Grivnov, John Uhlenhopp, Vladimir Ognovenko, Vitalij Kowaljow, Andrew Bidlack, Ji Young Yang, Jack Gorlin, Catherine Cook, Daveda Karanas, Matthew O’Neill, Nicolai Janitzky, Kenneth Kellogg and Mityukha Valery Portnov, conducted by Vassily Sinaisky.
  • MDR Figaro - From the Vienna State Opera, a June 18 performance of Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau, with Diana Damrau, Kurt Rydl, Janina Baechle and Michael Schadeconducted by Peter Schneider.
  • Sveriges Radio P2 - From La Scala, an April performance of Rossini's Il Viaggio a Rheims, with Carmela Remigio, Patrizia Ciofi, Nicola Ulivieri, Alastair Miles, Annick Massis, Juan F. Gatell Abre, Daniela Barcellona, Dmitry Korchak, Fabio Capitanucci, Bruno Praticò, Alessandro Guerzoni and Enrico Iviglia, conducted by Ottavio Dantone.
  • Espace 2 - From l'Opéra National de Paris, a July 24 performance of Szymanowski's Le Roi Roger, with Mariusz Kwiecien, Olga Pasychnik, Eric Cuttler, Stefan Margita, Wojtek Smilek and Jadwiga Rappé, conducted by Kazushi Ono.
  • Klara - From the 2009 Drottningholm Festival, an August performance of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, with Ingelina Bohlin, Charlotte Hellekant, Matilda Paulsson, Christopher Ainslie, Lars Arvidson, Malin Christensson, Rickard Söderberg, Lars Johansson Brissman, Johan Christensson, Daniel Carlsson and Thomas Walker, conducted by Mark Tatlow.
  • Latvia Klasika Radio - From Vienna, Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin, with Simon Keenlyside, Tamara Iveri, Ramon Vargas, and Nadia Kresteve, conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
  • Radio Tre - Direct from La Scala, Montiverdi's Orfeo, with Roberta Invernizzi, Sara Mingardo, Luca Dordolo, Leonardo Cortellazzi, Martin Oro, Luigi De Donato, Raffaella Milanesi and Giovanni Battista Parodi, conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini.
  • WDAV - NPR World of Opera (on a one week delay) - From Washington National Opera, Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, with Renee Fleming, Vittorio Grigolo, Kate Aldrich, Ruggero Raimondi, Oleksandr Pushniak, Girgory Soloviov, Jose Ortega, Yingxi Zhang and David B. Morris, conducted by Placido Domingo.

And later on this evening:

  • WCLV - From Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio, a September 19, 2002 performance of Haydn's Creation, with Malin Hartelius, James Taylor, and Thomas Quasthoff, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst.
  • KING - Yet another chance to hear the Los Angeles Opera performance of Shore's The Fly, with Daniel Okulitch, conducted by Placido Domingo.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australia) - From the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Haydn's Orlando Paladino, with Marcel Reijans, Henriette Bonde-Hansen, Pietro Spagnoli, Kenneth Tarver, Peter Gijsbertsen, Laura Cherici, Nikolay Borchev, Elena Monti and Martijn Cornet, conducted by Alessandro de Marchi.

Happy listening,

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, August 2,, 2009

We are in Geneva, New York, this weekend visting a dear friend and attending two performances of a double bill of Mozart's The Impresario and Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury at the Smith Opera House, a lovely gem of a house in Geneva built in the 1890's and lovingly restored a decade or so ago. It's been lot's of fun so far. We went to the opening night last night. The production is being directed and conducted by Al Bergeret (of NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players fame). Some lovely singing and acting all around.

And now..... Bayreuth beckons. The broadcast of Götterdämmerung has begun and other nice, juicy live offerings are in the offing for later on today: more Wagner, including rebroadcasts of Meistersinger and Rheingold,

  • Dwojke Polski Radio, Radio 4 Netherlands, Radio Clasica de Espana, Bartok RadioCesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - From Bayreuth, the final installment of Wagner's Ring, Götterdämmerung is just underway, with Christian Franz, Ralf Lukas, Hans-Peter König, Andrew Shore, Linda Watson, Edith Haller, Christa Mayer, Simone Schröder, Martina Dike, Edith Haller, Christiane Kohl, Ulrike Helzel and Simone Schröder, conducted by Christian Thielemann.
  • MDR Figaro - From Stuttgart, a concert performance of Handel's pastorale, Acis and Galatea, with Christoph Prégardien, Julia Kleiter, Michael Slattery and Wolf Matthias Friedrich, conducted by Nicol Matt.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - Let the rebroadcasts of the Bayreuth Festival begin! Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, with Alan Titus, Artur Korn, Charles Reid, Rainer Zaun, Adrian Eröd, Markus Eiche, Edward Randall, Hans-Jürgen Lazar, Florian Hoffmann,l Martin Snell, Mario Klein, Diógenes Randes, Klaus Florian Vogt, Norbert Ernst, Michaela Kaune, Carola Guber and Friedemann Röhlig, conducted by Sebastian Weigle.
  • CBC TWO - A rebroadcast from Vienna State Opera, of Gounod's Faust, with Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu and Kwangchoul Youn, condcuted by Bertrand de Billy.
  • DR P2 - From Den Jyske Opera in Aarhus, an August 2008 performance of Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander, with John Lundgren, Majken Bjerno, Sten Byriel, Jens Krogsgaard, Mette Ejsing and David Danholt, conducted by Giordano Bellincampi.
  • Espace Musique & WETA - A rebroadcast from Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, of Berlioz' Béatrice et Bénédict, with Joyce Di Donato, Charles Workman, Jean-François Lapointe, Elodie Méchain, Jean-Philippe Laffont and Nathalie Manfrino, conducted by Sir Colin Davis.
  • KBYU - From Los Angeles Opera, Wagner's Das Rheingold, with Stacey Tappan, Lauren McNeese, Beth Clayton, Gordon Hawkins, Michelle DeYoung, Vitalij Kowaljow, Ellie Dehn, Morris Robinson,; Eric Halfvarson, Beau Gibson, Wayne Tigges, Arnold Bezuyen, Graham Clark and Jill Grove, conducted by James Conlon.
  • RTP Antena 2 - From Budapest, an October 10, 2008 performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, with Tünde Szabócki, Zita Váradi, Thomas Moser, Friedmann Kunder, Attila Fekete, Béla Perencz and Gábor Bretzconducted by Adam Fischer.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - Fron Los Angeles Opera, Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, with Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Anthony Dean Griffey, Robert Wörle, Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Mel Ulrich, Joe Stevn Humes, Catherine Ireland, Karen Vuong, Rena Harms, Natasha Flores, Sharmay Musacchio, Priti Gandhi, Derek Taylor and Mark Kelley, conducted by James Conlon.
  • XLNC1 - From Los Angeles Opera, Braunfels' The Birds, with Désirée Rancatore, Brandon Javanovich, James Johnson, Stacey Tappan, Martin Gantner, Thrush Valerie Vinzant, Courtney Taylor, Brian Mulligan, Matthew Moore, John Kimberling, Daniel Armstrong, Renee Sousa, Rebecca Tomlinson, Ayana Haviv, Nicole Fernandes, Tara Victoria Smith, Adriana Manfredi, Helene Quintana, Amber Erwin and Jennifer Wallace, conducted by James Conlon.
  • Bayern 4 Klassik, MDR FIgaro, NDR Kultur, RBB Kulturradio & WDR 3 - These German stations are beginning a four week traversal of this year's Bayreuth Ring, starting today with Das Rheingold, and continuing for the next three Saturdays.
  • NPR World of Opera - From Houston Grand Opera, Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen, with Lisa Saffer, Hector Vasquez, Jennifer Root, Ekaterina Gorlova, Fiona Murphy, Meredith F. Flores, Alina Slavik, Jon Kolbet, Allan Lawrence, Maria Markina, Laurie Lester, Rebeka Camm, Albina Shagimuratova, Alicia Gianni, Ryan McKinny, Bradley Garvin, Beau Gibson, Liam Bonner and Tamara Wilson, conducted by Patrick Summers.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) & Concert FM (New Zealand)- A rebroadcast of an April 9th performance from Deutsche Oper Berlin of Respighi's Marie Victoire, with Takesha Meshé Kizart, Markus Brück, German Villar, Stephen Bronk, Jörn Schümann and Simon Pauly, conducted by Michail Jurowski.
  • Sveriges Radio P2 - A rebroadcast of a December 3, 2008 performance from opera Bastille in Paris of Werther's Werther, with Rolando Villazon, Susan Graham and Ludovic Tézier, conducted by Kent Nagano.
  • Latvia Klasika Radio - A rebroadcast from Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London of Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander, with Bryn Terfel,Hand Peter Keonig, Anja Kampe and Torsten Kerls, conducted by Mark Albrecht.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From the Festival della Valle d'Itria, Richard Strauss's revision of Gl;uck's Iphigenie en Tauride (Iphigenie auf Tauris), with Olga Kotlyarova, Liu Song-Hu, Marcello Nardis, Giorgi Turabelidze, Alessandra Gioia, Pietro Lisi and Anna Schiavulli, conducted by Ramon Tebar.
  • WDAV - NPR World of Opera on a one week delay: From Washington National Opera, Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment, with JiYoung Lee, Jose Bros, Victoria Livengood, Simone Alberghini, Obed Urena, Matthew J. Minor and Madeleine Gray, conducted by Riccardo Frizzi.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australia) - From Muziektheater in Amsterdam, Cavalli's Ercole amante (Hercules in Love), with Luca Pisaroni, Veronica Cangemi, Anna Bonitatibus, Jeremy Ovenden, Anna Maria Panzarella, Marlin Miller, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Umberto Chiummo, Johanette Zomer, Mark Tucker and Tim Mead, conducted by Ivor Bolton.
  • So far it looks like Bayern 4 Klassik, Bartok Radio and Catalunya Musica will be the only stations carrying tomorrow's Bayreuth Parsifal live, but keep checking our Bayreuth Page, as we will update it if and as we learn more (also the rebroadcast season has begun).
Happy listening,

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Live Offerings - Saturday, June 20, 2009

Here's today's live lineup:

  • BBC Radio 3 - From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a double bill: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, with Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Lucas Meacham, Anita Watson, Sara Fulgoni, Eri Nakamura, Pumeza Matshikiza, Iestyn Davies and Ji-Min Park; and Handel's Acis and Galatea, with Charles Workman, Danielle de Niese, Paul Agnew, Ji-Min Park, Matthew Rose, Juliet Schiemann and Philip Bell, both conducted by Christopher Hogwood.
  • CBC Two - From Vancouver Opera, a May 2009 performance of Strauss's Salome, with Mlada Khudoley, Greer Grimsley, John Mac Master and Judith Forst, conducted by Jonathan Darlington, followed by an interview with Dame Gwyneth Jones.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, a live performance from the Schlosstheater Neues Palais of Haydn's Philemon und Baucis, with Lothar Odinius, Ruth Sandhoff, Ruby Hughes, and Magnus Staveland, conducted by Gary Cooper.
  • DR P2 - From Deutsche Oper and April 9th performance of Respighi's Marie Victoire, with Takesha Meshé, Markus Brück, German Villar and Jaco Huijpen, conducted by Michail Jurowski.
  • Dwojke Polskie Radio & WETA- 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 and Thorsten Büttner, conducted by Dimitri Jurowski.
  • Espace Musique - From La Scla in Milan, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with David Daniels, Rosemary Joshua, Emil Wolk, Daniel Okulitch, Natacha Petrinsky, Gordon Gietz, David Adam Moore, Deanne Meek, Erin Wall and Matthew Rose, conducted by Andrew Davis.
  • France Musique - From Opéra de Lyon a January 27 performance of Prokofiev's The Gambler, with Misha Didyk, Kristine Opolais, Alexander Teliga, Marianna Tarasova, Maria Gortsevskaja, Francesco Lorenz and Andrew Schroeder, conducted by Kazushi Ono.
  • Radio 4 Netherlands - From Nationale Reisopera, Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, with Sophie Daneman, Paul Agnew, Eugénie Warnier, Maarten Koningsberger and Frans Fiselier, conducted by Jed Wentz.
  • Radio Clasica de Espana - From la Salle Métropole in Lausanne, a March 8 performance of Handel's Faramondo, with M. Emanuel Cencic, S. Karthäuser, M. de Liso, I. S. Sim, P. Jaroussky, X. Sábata, F. Bettini and J. Ebert, conducted by D. Fasolis.
  • WFMT Opera Series (on numerous stations) - From Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, with Deborah Voigt, Tristan - Clifton Forbis, Brangäne - Petra Lang, Kurwenal - Jason Stearns and Stephen Milling, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
  • XLNC1 & KING - From Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, with Nicole Cabell, Nathan Gunn, Eric Cutler and Christian Van Horn, conducted by John Mauceri.
  • KUSC - From Los Angeles Opera, Wagner's Die Walküre, with Placido Domingo, Michelle DeYoung, Linda Watson, Vitalij Kowaljow, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Eric Halfvarson, Ellie Dehn, Susan Foster, Melissa Citro, Erica Brookhyser, Margaret Thompson, Buffy Baggott, Jane Gilbert and Ronnita Miller, conducted by James Conlon.
  • Bartok Radio - Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, with Marc Laho, Patricia Petibon, Maria Riccarda Wesseling, Rachel Harnisch, Stella Doufexis, Nicolas Cavallier, Eric Huchet, Francisco Vas, Gilles Cachemaille, Bernard Deletré, René Schirrer and Nadine Denize, conducted by Patrick Davin.
  • NPR World of Opera - From Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Berlioz' Beatrice et Benedict, with Joyce di Donato, Charles Workman, Nicolas Cavallier, Nathalie Manfrino, Jean-Francois Lapointe, Jean-Philippe Laffont and Elodie Mechain, conducted by Sir Colin Davis.
  • Latvia Radio Klasika - From Vienna, a February 8 performance of Bizet's Carmen, with Veselina Kasarova, Jose Cura, Ildebrand d'Archangelo, Geniia Kumeier, conducted by A. Fisher.
  • NRK Klassisk & NRK P2 - From the Vienna State Opera, Mozart's Don Giovanni, with Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, Alexandru Moisiuc, Ricarda Merbeth, Michael Schade, Roxana Briban, Rene Pape, Boaz Daniel and Michaela Seliger, conducted by Constantinos Carydis.
  • Radio Oesterreich International (OE1) - From the Vienna State Opera, a June 18 performance of Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau, with Kurt Rydl, Adrian Eröd, Michael Schade and Jane Archibald, conducted by Peter Schneider.
  • Sveriges Radio P2 - From Stockholm, Berwald's Drottningen av Golconda, with Carrie Nilsson, Marianne Öhrn, Ingvar Wixell, Erik Sundquist, Uno Ebrelius and Sven-Erik Jacobsson, conducted by Tor Mann.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer, with Bryn Terfel, Hans Peter König, Anja Kampe, Torsten Kerl, Clare Shearer and John Tessier, conducted by Marc Albrecht.
  • Espace 2 - From l'Opéra de Lausanne, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with Fabio Capitanucci, John Osborn, Sabina Puertolas, Luciano Di Pasquale, Deyan Vatchkov, Isabelle Henriquez, Alexandre Diakoff, Manrico Signorini and Sacha Michon, conducted by Günter
  • Klara - From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Rossini's Matilde di Shabran, with Aleksandra Kurzak, Vesselina Karasova, Enkelejda Shkosa, Juan Diego Flores, Alfonso Antoniozzi, Mark Beesley, Marco Vinco, Carlo Lepore, and Bryan Secombe, conducted by Carlo Rizzi.
  • Radio Tre (RAI) - From Teatro San Carlo in Naples, a March 23 performance of Berlioz' La Damnation de Faust, with José Bros, Sonia Ganassi, Erwin Schrott, Maurizio Lo Piccolo, Bernadette Siano, Loredana Conte and Antonello Cossia, conducted by George Pehlivanian.
  • WDAV - NPR World of Opera on a one week delay - From Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, Gluck's Iphigenie en Aulis, with Krassimira Stoyanova, Alexey Tikhomirov, Avi Klemberg, Ekaterina Gubanova and Beatriz Diaz, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
  • Concert FM (New Zealand) - From Parco della Musica in Rome, Vivaldi's Orlando furioso, with Romina Basso, Manuela Custer,. Sylva Pozzer, Anna Rita Gemmabella, Jordi Domenech, Xavier Sabata and Lorenzo Regazzo, conducted by Andrea Marcon.
  • ABC Classic FM (Australia) - From Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Handel's Partenope, with Christine Schäfer, Kurt Streit, David Daniels, Patrica Bardon, Florian Boesch and Matthias Rexroth, conducted by Christophe Rousset.

Happy listening,

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Chicken or the Egg

Sam Shirakawa is back in Cologne to see a new production of Strauss's Capriccio:

R. STRAUSS: CAPRICCIO NEW PRODUCTION
COLOGNE
30 May 2009


Which comes first in creating musical theatre – the music or the words?

Who cares? Of all things to be concerned about in 1942, as Armageddon approaches!

The premiere of Richard Strauss’ Capriccio took place that year on 28 October in Munich. The War was now in its fourth year, food rationing had begun, the deportation of Jews, Gypsies and other undesirables to death camps had been initiated. The Gestapo was everywhere, the number of wounded soldiers on leave was increasing daily.

Despite the huge costs of prosecuting the aggressions the Nazis had initiated, the performing arts continued to function with lavish support approved by Hitler himself. Keeping up the appearance of normalcy on the home front and distracting the public from worrying about the war were top priorities for the regime. According to historian Gerhardt Splitt, more than a dozen new books appeared that year, in addition to premieres of 17 new plays, seven films and three operas, including Capriccio.

If the intent of all state-sanctioned works at the time was distraction, what better theme for a distracting opera than what comes first --words or music? Strauss was particularly concerned with textual matters at the time, because he had long since lost two valued collaborators: Hugo von Hoffmannstal had died in 1929, and Stefan Zweig was forced to emigrate because he was Jewish. Strauss ultimately set the text of Capriccio himself, with the help of Clemens Krauss, who conducted the World Premiere in Munich.

What must it have been like to be a performing artist during that period? On the one hand, musicians, singers and actors had certain privileges, such as extra food rations, military exemption and preferred living accommodations. On the other hand, a false step could mean dismissal, even death. Strauss felt compelled to be especially circumspect, because he was protecting his Jewish daughter-in-law.

Such is the milieu in which Christian Götz sets his production of Capriccio at the Cologne Opera, which opened this past Saturday 30 May. Everything happening on stage takes place under the watchful eyes of the Gestapo. The backdrop at first shows a tilt-up view of a winding staircase leading to a dome showing mythological maidens dancing around the perimeter. Later, it depicts the staircase crumbling from an explosion and one of the maidens falling from the dome. Everybody tries to act normally, but even the act of acting takes on peculiar tension, as the Gestapo in grey leather trench coats reveal their menacing presence amid the bright silks, powdered wigs and 18th century costumes.

Götz has come up with a superb conceit that gives new meaning to the seeming triviality of the text and even the music, which many listeners have deemed a work of finely-laced drivel? In fact, the “Reichsdramaturg”Rainer Schlösser submitted a report on the premiere in which he called the libretto “a lovely Nothing, out of which Strauss could have composed a magical Something, had both [Krauss and Strauss] not become so talky.” But Götz and his designer Gabriele Jaenecke transform the prattle-filled dialogue into nervous gibberish, as the characters try to function under the stress of surveillance. Strauss’ self-pastiche is also turned into neurotic repetition, as he not-so-subtly reminds his Nazi masters of his past glories, with not-so-subtle whispers from Rosenkavelier and Ariadne. What sounded in the past like senile pastiche becomes through Götz' production a heartbreaking testament of a once-masterful composer broken by intimidation and reduced to pandering.

It’s still crap, you may argue. No rebuttal. But Götz takes his point from the Beatles: try to see it his way. And if you try, as I did after attending this performance, you can’t help but be moved.

Götz’ view was aided in no small part by a uniformly superior cast, as well as a born Strauss-sympathzer at the podim. At times, Solveig Kringelborn as the Countess, looked and even sounded like Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, perhaps the most-admired interpreter of the role. But Kringelborn makes the role her own, not merely through her soaring lifts in the Countess’ monologue, but by parsing out a series of telling gestures and glances that probably would never have occurred to the late great Liz. Only at the final moment, after delivering the Countess’ impassioned plea for an opera with words and music that avoid triviality, does it become clear who and what she really is: she changes clothes, dons an extravagant fur coat, picks up two suitcases, and is led away by the Gestapo… Both Götz' staging and Kringelborn are better than Capriccio deserves.

Lest one forgets the estimable contributions of Kringelborn’s colleagues, they were submitted in no special order, by Ashley Holland as the Count, Martin Homrich as Flamand, Miljenko Turk as Olivier, Michael Eder as La Roche, Dalia Schaechter as Clairon, Johannes Preißinger as Monsieur Taupe, Csilla Csovari and Benjamin Bruns as the Italian Singers, Ulrich Hielscher as the Hausmeister, and Luisa Sanch Escanero as the Dancer.

Cologne Opera’s Music Director Markus Stenz is proving himself as capable at steering late Strauss as he is in driving postdiluvian Wagner. The orchestra was in superb form.

Capriccio was the opera in which Kiri Te Kanawa took leave of the Metropolitan Opera. She’s hitting the job market again, by returning to the boards in Cologne next year. Maybe she’ll retread the Countess here too.

© Sam H. Shirakawa

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Or Am I Losing My. . . Head?

Sam Shirakawa has moved on to Lübeck, where he caught a performance of Salome:

RICHARD STRAUSS: SALOME
LÜBECK
22 MAY 2009

Lübeck is an amazing city. Quite apart from its fame as the birthplace of Thomas and Heinrich Mann, this quaint northern port city on the Baltic coast has had a lively cultural scene since the 18th century. The population numbers about 220,000, but the city maintains a calendar-crowded concert hall and a 900-seat Jugendstil theater completed in 1908, as well as several other spaces that serve as focal points for its musical and theatrical offerings. Conductors who cut their teeth here include Wilhelm Furtwängler, Hermann Abendroth and Christoph von Dohnányi.

To celebrate the centenary of its theater building, the game management is mounting several productions of operas and plays that relate to Thomas Mann's wide-ranging interests -- including Wagner's Ring and, in a cunning move, Richard Strauss' Salome, which I heard this past Saturday. Scheduling any Strauss work in this context is a shrewd move, because Mann apparently loathed Strauss, and the hostility was fully reciprocated.

Knowing that Mann disliked Strauss, I was hoping for a production that would reflect the Nobel laureate's enmity: ugly sets, hideous costumes, putrid orchestral playing, exaggerated vocal lines and something deliciously disgusting in the eminently spoof-able Final Scene. No such luck. If only the late and much lamented Charles Ludlam could rise from the grave, be brought to Mann's hometown, and do with Strauss' breakthrough opera what he did in New York with Wagner's Ring...!

As it turns out, Roman Brogli-Sacher, doing double-duty as conductor and stage director of Lübeck's Salome, has avoided opening old wounds between Strauss and Mann and seems intent on reflecting the city's well-known pragmatic values. Rightly so, perhaps. Lübeck remains much as it was in Mann's youth: a town of hard-working, thrifty, no-nonsense citizens, retaining the bourgeois values that inform Mann's novel Buddenbrooks. In fact, the building that housed the Manns' family business and became the inspiration for the setting of Buddenbrooks now houses a museum devoted to the Mann Brothers that is one of the town's must-visit attractions.

Swiss-Born Brogli-Sacher takes his cue for the production from the masterful color mixing and quasi-musical qualities of the large format painting by Paul Klee "Ad Parnassum." Small wonder. Klee was well known for inspiring musicians. Gunther Schuller's Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee speaks for Klee as much as it does for Schuller. Steinway even produced a limited edition of grand pianos called "The Paul Klee Series" in 1938.

Designer Ulrike Radichevich in turn takes her cues from Klee's hues -- cool blue, musty grey and warm orange -- for her unit set and oriental-flavored costumes.

They work.

On the musical side, Brogli-Sacher has two advantages that are not necessarily available to conductors who attempt such a difficult work as Salome at so-called provincial houses: an excellent orchestra (especially the brass section) and a cast that's up for the task, right down to the Fifth Jew.

The major excitement generated by this production, for me at least, was Manuela Uhl in the title role. I heard her sensational Ricke in Franchetti's potboiler Germania a couple of years ago in Berlin, and I was eager to hear how she's sounding these days. The audience mumbled worriedly as a house spokesman -- possibly the General Manager himself -- appeared to say, that Uhl had just undergone an eye operation. More mumbling. Nonetheless, she would sing, he continued, but she might have to don sunglasses and possibly nurse her voice, should the rigors of singing irritate her retina. Grateful applause.

So how did Uhl sound? Sensational again, though understandably not in peak form. Not, at least, until that protracted Final Scene. While Uhl was running on four cylinders up to that point, she shifted into high gear, as she launched into "Ah, du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund Küssen lassen..." The impact of this well-known phrase may have sounded more powerful than might usually be expected because she had been husbanding her resources somewhat, but it was turbo-charged nonetheless. Uhl's unpremeditated sexual allure and commanding stage presence converged in her voice as she revelled in Salome's mortifying triumph -- her mulberry middle
register opening out with steely pinions as it ascended fearlessly beyond the staff. Helga Pilarczyk came to mind, but Uhl grew more intense at these heights than my recollections of Pilarczyk in this scene.

Even the unplanned designer shades worked. After all, wasn't Salome the Original Jewish Princess?

Antonio Yang as Jochanaan articulated disdain and impending doom with every note. His acting needs some Stella Adler, but the turbulence driving his voice intimates the devouring potential of Scylla in his bass, and the gale-force promise of Charybdis in his baritone. Yang is yet another South Korean on the threshold of a major career. Is it the water that's producing such a bumper crop of South Korean F-clef singers of late?

The surprise finds of this performance, though, were the Herod of Matthias Grätzel and the Herodias of Roswitha C. Müller, who both appear regularly in Lübeck. Grätzel is apparently concentrating on developing character roles, but he may want to consider upgrading to major parts: This was the first time, I've heard Herod sung as though it was Tannhäuser. Müller has a lush, ear-rattling mezzo that has both a snifter of madeira and a smattering of Jean Madeira. Thrilling.

Daniel Szeili's Narraboth displayed a resplendent tenor that could, at this stage of his burgeoning career, go in several directions. He reportedly is already a masterful Tamino, but his Narraboth reveals a glimmer of Faust.

To experience Salome in a relatively small theater is always a treat. To have heard it sung with such ample voices and no-holds-barred orchestral playing under a bolt heaving conductor was like attending a rock concert.

© Sam H. Shirakawa

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