Opera North’s talented and fun-loving production, comprising of eighteen characters, ten dancers and a large chorus, is now showing at the London Coliseum and it captures the hearts of many musical and opera lovers. This is Opera North’s second major revival following The Old Vic’s 2012 production of Cole Porter, Bella and Samuel Spewack’s Broadway masterpiece. Colin Richmond’s bright Elizabethan costumes and flamboyant set designs of Bianca, Kate and father Baptista’s stately home (based off the Shakespeare play) are impressive and ambitious.
Attending the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre for the first time last night, I had a sense that the outdoor, natural setting would make it difficult for other productions of Britten’s opera to compete. This is a collaborative project with the English National Opera (ENO), in hope of introducing dedicated members and regular attendees of the Open Air theatre to opera. And in many ways it succeeds.
I had the privilege of seeing Hampstead Garden Operas’ 1960s production of La traviata (my review here), yet I missed out on English National Opera’s alternative production that received mixed reactions from the critics. I was quite keen to see their version of Violetta lost in The Day of the Dead-style graveyard, having strange encounters with the licker man.
Last month, Opera Holland Park opened their 2018 season also with La traviata, yet their production went back to the classic and elegant 19th century, where the story had begun. There is not one controversial aspect about it, which does the production a huge favor in my humble opinion.>>>
This is one of those rare occasions where I can’t let fandom win. Out of the many times I’ve seen Jonas Kaufmann perform on stage (be it at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera, or Barbican), this was probably the most disappointing performance I had ever seen. The Barbican concert, to perform Strauss lieder with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under maestro Jochen Rieder, was first meant to happen on February 2017. But based on recommendations from Kaufmann’s vocal coach, he was advised to cancel the event altogether.
I attended the first night (18 May) of the production.
La traviata is a dramatic opera that deals ‘with real people and real emotions’, said the music director, Sam Evans, of Hampstead Garden Opera (HGO)’s new production of Verdi’s master opera. It is one of the most performed and has been in the operatic repertoire for more than 150 years. Yet the people who attended its premiere, at La Fenice (Venice) in 1853, did not approve. The censors felt the opera was too contemporary and requested it was set in the 1700s. But regardless of what time and place a director sets the opera, it is Verdi’s rich music and its lead characters which remain timeless.
Review by Tony Watts
Not likely to be seen at your local Odeon on a Saturday evening, particularly as a silent film is not the most obvious medium for opera, this version of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s masterpiece stands out as an oddity in the composer’s output. Presumably conceived as another way of ploughing an already fertile furrow or as a publicity tool for the opera it is broadly a dramatisation of the story of Der Rosenkavalier and boasts a score for orchestra especially written to accompany this one hundred minute version with Strauss drawing on music from the opera, as well as his Couperin Suite and a rather brash newly-composed march.
Review by Tony Watts
The relationship of totalitarian regimes to the arts is malign, politicos wanting to neuter them, fearing freedom of expression as a direct threat to their control of the populace and its communal thought process. Censorship of work, persecution of its creators and campaigns branding it as degenerate are as common in contemporary dictatorships as they had been previously in the dark days of Nazi Germany. The cabaret scene in the Weimar Republic was anathema to the German reactionaries of the time, as Stefan Zweig observed: ‘amid the general collapse of values, a kind of insanity took hold of precisely those middle-class circles which had hitherto been unshakeable in their order.’ Young ladies proudly boasted that they were perverted; to be suspected of virginity at sixteen would have been considered a disgrace in every school in Berlin.’ A 1938 exhibition, Entartate Musik, was mounted by propagandist Hans Severus Ziegler to demonstrate how necessary it was to ban this music, describing it as ‘Un-German’ as it was Jazz-influenced and written by Jewish and black composers: ‘Effigies of wickedness’. It was in this atmosphere of repression that a body of work was created which is explored in a lively collaboration between English National Opera (ENO) and the Gate Theatre, currently enjoying a run at the tiny West London venue until June 9.
#bbcproms 11. 4 x standing ovation. How many hundreds of performers at the Royal Albert Hall tonight? @bbcproms bbcradio3 #musictherapy #phenomenal #musicians #soloists #choirsingers… instagram.com/p/Bli-BT3HV_j/…
#bbcproms 11. 4 x standing ovation. How many hundreds of performers at the Royal Albert Hall tonight? @bbc_proms @bbcradio3 #musictherapy #phenomenal #musicians #soloists #choirsingers #LSChorus #londonsymphonychorus #bbcnationalorchestraofwales #bbcnationalChorusofWales #BBCSymphonyChorus #SouthendBoysChoir #southendGirlsChoir #bbcprom #symphonyofathousand #classicalmusic #mahler #gustavmahler #tamarawilson #camillanylund #joelleharvey #claudiahuckle #simononeil #quinnkelsey #morrisrobinson #opera #operaphile #classicalmusiclovers #curtaincall @royalalberthall #mariannebeatekielland
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