wed 24/04/2019

Verdi

Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You may recognise this overture” flash the surtitles, to a ripple of...

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La forza del destino, Royal Opera review - generous voices, dramatic voids

When "Maestro" Riccardo Muti left the Royal Opera's previous production of Verdi's fate-laden epic, disgusted by minor changes to fit the scenery on the Covent Garden stage, no-one was sorry when Antonio Pappano, the true master of the house then...

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Bernheim, Finley, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - top Italians in second gear

Would Verdi and Puccini have composed more non-operatic music, had they thrived in a musical culture different to Italy's? Hard to say. What we do know is that they both became absolute masters of orchestration – Puccini rather quicker than Verdi,...

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Un ballo in maschera, Welsh National Opera review - opera as brilliant self-parody

Why is Un Ballo in maschera not as popular as the trio of Verdi masterpieces – Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore – that, with a couple of digressions, preceded it in the early 1850s? Its music is scarcely less brilliant than theirs, and if its plot is...

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Simon Boccanegra, Royal Opera review - a timely revival of Verdi's political music-drama

Political machinations and backroom power-brokering, leadership battles and unscrupulous rivals – if ever there was an opera for this week it’s Simon Boccanegra. Premiered in 1857 but only coming into its own after substantial revisions in 1881,...

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Car, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Tognetti, Milton Court review - a rattlebag of happy collaborations

Presenting the last Mozart symphonies as a three-act opera for orchestra, as Richard Tognetti and his febrile fellow Australians did on Monday, was always going to be a supreme challenge. It worked, as Boyd Tonkin reported here. Since then, the...

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Verdi's Requiem, Royal Opera, Pappano review - all that heaven allows

Here it comes - get a grip. The tears have started flowing in the trio "Quid sum miser" and 12 minutes later, as the tenor embarks on his "Ingemisco" solo, you have to stop the shakes turning into noisy sobbing. The composer then lets you off the...

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Montserrat Caballé (1933-2018): from Bellini to 'Barcelona'

Her special claim to fame was the most luminous pianissimo in the business, but that often went hand in velvet glove with fabulous breath control and a peerless sense of bel canto line. To know Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch...

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theartsdesk at the Ravenna Festival - Italians, Ukrainians and an American promote peace

Everything is political in the world's current turbulent freefall. The aim of Riccardo Muti's "Roads of Friendship" series, taking the young players of his Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra to cities from Sarajevo in 1997 to Moscow in 2000 and Tehran...

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Alzira / The Daughter of the Regiment, Buxton Festival review – thundering good tunes

Alzira is Verdi’s shortest opera and his least performed, and you have to ask why. Buxton International Festival has done his legacy a service by bringing it to the stage this year, and it completes the trilogy of early Verdi operas performed there...

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La Traviata, Longborough Festival review - muddled director, vocal mixed bag

One wearies of quarrelling with opera directors’ concepts. But what’s the alternative? To ignore or acquiesce in crude, approximate reimaginings that, like Daisy Evans's new La Traviata at Longborough, stuff a work any old how into some snappy,...

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum. The composer made sure in his last opera that when the fantasies, schemes and hopes of...

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