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.
Sir Henry Wood founded the Proms back in 1895 and what a great idea it was seeing as this year celebrates the 124th Prom, which shall include an 8-week long schedule of first-class orchestras, musicians, artists and performances yet to be announced, this week [Thursday 19th April]. Many die-hard Prommers are waiting with bated breath to know who will be performing this summer. That said, and as promised by its founder, the BBC Proms was made for everyone, and not just classical music aficionados and expert Prommers who know their way around the Royal Albert Hall’s pit.
Before I begin, you should know I have never heard of the Austrian composer Hugo Wolf or his music before, that was until I attended last night’s concert at the Barbican Centre to see and hear his Italienisches Liederbuch (1890-1;1896) performed by soprano Diana Damrau, tenor Jonas Kaufmann and pianist Helmut Deutsch.>>>
Welcome! Here’s a roundup of news, posts, bits and pieces I’ve been sharing on Social Media from the second week of January. That includes Bridge Theatre’s PR email blunders, Devoted and Disgruntled’s 13th event, and lots of interviews and reviews.
TrendFem – My blog posts
I shared some of my thoughts of the opening night of #ROHTosca with Joseph Calleja, Gerald Finley and Adrianne Pieczonka. It’s the ninth revival of Jonathan Kent’s production. (Click here.)
Come and get a history lesson at the @gatetheatre with @NinaB0wers ‘s captivating performance #Twilight1992 (here) focusing on the riots of Los Angeles in 1992.
It was National Popcorn Day on Friday 19th, so I sent out a post I wrote in 2016 discussing the effects that cinema live screen events have had on converting new audiences to opera (here).
It was the opening night of David McVicar’s revival production of Salome with Malin Bystrom and Michael Volle. I wrote about their tremendous performance here.
Welcome! Here’s a roundup of news, posts, bits and pieces I’ve been sharing on Social Media since Day 1 of 2018.
The Globe has announced that they will be showing a new production of Othello this summer. Claire van Kampen shall direct the production with Andre Holland and Mark Rylance who take on the role of Othello and Iago. Tickets are on sale from January 29th, 2018, so get your index finger ready as they will definitely sell out fast. (Click here for the Globe website.)
Ever read a great review of a show and wanted to see the show for yourself, but didn’t know where the theatre was? No worries. Blogger and theatre writer Liz Dyer has pre-made a theatre map for your location needs. If you are a theatre that isn’t listed on the map, let Liz know and she will update the map for you. (Check out the map on her blog.)
Happy News from Alice Jones on Twitter, reporting from Soho Theatre:
Well that’s a first. Someone just proposed to their girlfriend on stage at Soho Theatre! (she said yes)
— Alice Jones (@alicevjones) January 5, 2018
This post is divided into Part I and Part II.
Part I – My thoughts on Keith Warner’s production of Otello at the Covent Garden, 2017.
Part 2 – My thoughts on seeing the opera at the Covent Garden, then seeing it again for the cinema Encore.
Part I : Othello versus Otello.
Before I begin, I want to make something clear. Othello is the original theatrical marvel written by the Bard (Shakespeare) in 1601. Verdi’s own interpretation Otello came along after, which he composed with Arrigo Boito in 1887 after seeing a production of Shakespeare’s play in England, 1847. Despite the English playwright’s influence on Verdi’s masterwork sitting in the opera house being armed with information about Othello won’t heighten your opera experience much. For anyone who is a big Othello fan (me!), they will know that watching Otello should be treated as a different reading entirely. For example, compared to the original play, Desdemona and Emilia say a lot more and unfortunately their characters don’t get the chance to develop as much in the opera. For some reason, Verdi plays down Emilia’s realism. In act 3, scene 4 of the original text, Emilia says to Desdemona, ‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man: They are all stomachs, as we are all but food…’ Not a dime of this shiny humour or wittiness exists in Boito’s libretto. Secondly, the ending is very different. Justice is not served. Iago gets away with creating the chaotic bloodbath without getting his hands dirty. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why Verdi originally wanted to call the opera ‘Iago’.
For the first time, our ‘dreamy’ tenor Jonas Kaufmann performs the lead role of Otello. This was, and still is, ‘the highly anticipated event’ of the year in the opera world. Known as Verdi’s most mature and highly orchestrated piece of work, composed during the final chapters of the composer’s life, the Royal Opera House has returned to the opera after 30 years’ absence with a superb cast sheet of performers including In Sung Sim (Lodovico), Marco Vratogna (Iago) Maria Agresta (Desdemona), Frederic Antoun (Cassio) and Kai Rüütel (Emilia).
The mighty Jonas Kaufmann and leading lieder pianist Helmut Deutsch performed at The Barbican this weekend for the first in three concerts of their Kaufmann Residency programme. The concert was a long-awaited return for Kaufmann who had spent months away from the stage due to a vocal illness – seeing him last night just proved how healthy the man was, and how prepared he was to perform again.
This is not the first time that Kaufmann and Deutsch have performed together. In fact, they have recorded CDs (including works by Richard Strauss and Schubert) and performed at international concert halls; New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Wigmore Hall, to name a few. Their musical partnership and long-term friendship was visible last night, including their remarkable synergy working and performing together.
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For me MAKROPULOS.— Karita Mattila (@MattilaKarita) February 19, 2019
Luckily Jenůfa wasn’t put on there.
I love KAT’A.
I don’t mind being in second place. Well. With Cunning little Vixen leading I do - a bit.
I mean; PEOPLE! C’mon - go vote. Elina it is. MAKROPULOS❤️
Without having seen Come From Away yet I'm already reading this tweet thinking 'I know, I know'. twitter.com/rochellebalboa…
Spent the whole of my lunch break reading reviews of Come From Away from bloggers. 👍 Traditional criticism is becoming harder and harder to stomach when many paper critics now seem to find petty reasons to pick holes in a show successfully spreading some good in the world.— Rochelle Bisson (@rochellebalboa) February 19, 2019