sat 23/03/2019

Opera Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Susan Bullock

alexandra Coghlan

It may have taken her until 2005 to get her Wigmore Hall debut, until 2006 to break onto the stage of the Royal Opera House, but at 53 Susan Bullock has finally arrived, claiming the crown of soloist for this year’s Last Night of the Proms, a firm foothold at Covent Garden and her rightful place as Britain’s finest dramatic soprano. For a singer who “started singing by mistake”, whose musical training began in a council house in Cheshire on a piano rescued from the local rubbish dump, it’s...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Stage Designer Es Devlin

Hilary Whitney

For the past five years British stage designer Es Devlin has been creating extraordinarily ambitious and imaginative sets for some of the biggest crowd-pullers in the music industry, from Take That to Lady Gaga. But this week she returns to her theatrical roots with a new play, Pieces of Vincent, by David Watson at the small but prestigious Arcola Theatre in London.

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Sir Charles Mackerras, 1925-2010

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Sir Charles Mackerras has died at the age of 84. In tribute to one of the most highly respected and best-loved of conductors, theartsdesk republishes here an interview he gave on the eve of conducting Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw for the English National Opera last October. Despite bouts of ill health, he found time to talk about his friendship - and falling out - with Britten, his time conducting the opera under Britten's watchful eye, his experiences...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Semyon Bychkov

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Yesterday afternoon, Semyon Bychkov's recording of Lohengrin won BBC Music Magazine's prestigious disc of the year. Last year, The Sunday Telegraph named his recording of Eugene Onegin one of the top 10 opera recordings of all time. Proof - if proof were needed - that the Russian conductor is one of the living greats of the operatic pit. His upcoming Tannhäuser next season at Covent Garden is awaited with bated breath.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Opera Directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser

Jasper Rees

It is rare enough for directors to collaborate in theatre, even rarer in opera. Patrice Caurier (b. Paris, 1954) and Moshe Leiser (b. Antwerp, 1956) began their long collaboration in their 20s. They are now in their 50s, and since that first production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Opéra de Lyon in 1982, they have never worked (or lived) apart. Cohabiting and collaborating, they are opera’s closest equivalent to Gilbert and George.

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Interview: Opera and Theatre Director Luc Bondy

Jasper Rees

Last September Luc Bondy watched his name speed around the world, if not for the most desirable reasons. His Tosca opened the season at the Met, a more grounded, less opulent replacement for one of the opera house’s many much loved productions by Franco Zeffirelli. As Bondy walked onstage to take his directorial bow, a chorus of boos crescendoed from the audience.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Sir Jonathan Miller

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Doctor, writer, sculptor, curator, comedian, presenter and director, Sir Jonathan Miller (b.1934) is one of the mighty cultural and intellectual omnivores of our age.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Antonio Pappano

james Woodall

Antonio Pappano (b. 1959) enjoys the best of two opulent worlds. At the Royal Opera House in London (now his home city), he's well stuck in to his seventh season as music director, basking in popularity and plaudits previous incumbents could only have dreamt of. In Rome, he's director of the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, a post he took up in 2005.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Opera Singer Rolando Villazón

Jasper Rees

In the next few weeks the wider public will be introduced to the charms of Rolando Villazón (b. 1972). Anointed as a star of opera houses around the world in the last decade, the Mexican tenor is about to participate in ITV1's Popstar to Opera Star. As singing celebs from the world of pop music take on the big arias, Villazón has been cast as mentor, panellist and figleaf. It is all a very long way from Covent Garden.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Sir Charles Mackerras

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

At 84 years of age, Sir Charles Mackerras is one of the best-respected and best-loved operatic conductors working in the world today. He conducts Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw for the English National Opera tonight and, despite bouts of ill health, found time to talk about his friendship - and falling out - with Britten, his time conducting the opera under Britten's watchful eye, his experiences in Prague...

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