wed 21/02/2024

Verdi

Verdi's Requiem, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Pappano, Parco della Musica, Rome review - peak poignancy

Antonio Pappano is at a hinge in his illustrious career, as the exciting transfer across London from Covent Garden to the London Symphony Orchestra proceeds, and the word "Emeritus" is added to his title as Music Director of his home-from-home in...

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theartsdesk in Ravenna - Riccardo Muti passes on a lifetime's operatic wisdom

Does “the practice of opera singing in Italy” need help from UNESCO, which has newly inscribed it on the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”? Italian opera is surely immensely popular worldwide. But when it comes to...

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Un ballo in maschera, Chelsea Opera Group, Cadogan Hall review - Italianate vitality, if not much finesse

Eighteenth century Sweden is the nominal setting for A Masked Ball, but its essence is a unique mixture of Italian testosterone and French opéra-comique elegance. If this concert performance brought it closer to the indiscriminate vitality of early...

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Falstaff, Opera North review - going green and having fun

There’s a charmingly retro feel to Opera North’s new Falstaff, which comes from it being done as part of their new “green”, i.e. ecologically conscious, season.Leslie Travers’ set is made of bits from other productions and – most notably – shows...

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La Traviata, Welsh National Opera review - memorable revival, unforgettable lead

It’s always tempting, at curtain-up in La Traviata, to settle back, half-close one’s eyes, and soak up the familiar without the anxiety of the new. Not this time you won’t. David McVicar’s lavish 2009 text-true staging is being revived with a...

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Don Carlo, Royal Opera review - Lise Davidsen soars above routine

Not a good start. The tenor (Brian Jagde) walks downstage and sings loudly, if securely, to the audience: hardly a characterisation of an idealistic young Infante meditating on love. The next voice, the Page’s, is barely heard (Ella Taylor gets...

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Il trovatore, Royal Opera review - heaven and hell

The trouble with Trovatore, Verdi’s sometimes barrel-organish, slightly middle-aged troubadour, isn’t so much the silly shocker of a plot, triggered by a gypsy so crazed with vengeance that she throws her own baby on a bonfire by mistake, as the...

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Classical CDs: Nursery rhymes, anvils and polar explorers

 Isata Kanneh-Mason: Childhood Tales (Decca)Ernst von Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery Song is one of the great concertante works for piano and orchestra, rightly compared to a full-scale concerto by soloist Isata Kanneh-Mason. You’ll...

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Rigoletto, Opera Holland Park review - Verdi's Duke gets the Oxbridge treatment

“I am a poor student,” the Duke tells a smitten Gilda, in music that can barely keep a straight face, so plush is its melody, so oozing with confidence and privilege.It’s a short step from there to Cecilia Stinton’s new Rigoletto for Opera Holland...

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theartsdesk in Brno - a visionary at home in his ‘Moravian Bayreuth’

“Visionary,” I’m told, is a clichéd word these days. But so long as you don’t fling it about too freely, it’s apt: for me, there are only two visionary directors working in opera right now. One is our own Richard Jones – though even he can get it...

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Aida, Royal Opera review - dour but disciplined

No gods, ancient Egyptian or otherwise; no sinister priest along the lines of Russia’s antichrist Patriarch Kiriil, sending soldiers to their deaths with the promise of heaven. Military ritual under what looks like a Russian/Chinese flag prevails in...

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Prom 1, Verdi's Requiem, BBCSO, Oramo review - introspective sorrow and consolation between the blazes

Any sensitive festival planner knows to begin the return to a new normal with something soft and elegiac – reflecting on all we’ve lost and mourned these past two years, as well as what we’re facing in the world now. Just over a fortnight ago, at...

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