Tuesday, April 29, 2014

American Bach


Our American Bach Soloists concert had a bigger chorus and a smaller orchestra. There was a violone which looks like a large viola da gamba with 6 strings. There was something called a taille which looked very much like an oboe da caccia. There were 4 other string players, an organist and three other double reeds.

The title of our concert was Bach's Legacy.

I
Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren, Bach
Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Bach
Sechs Sprueche zum Kirchenjahr, Mendelssohn
Der Geist hilft unser Schwchheit auf, Bach

II
Fest-und Gedenksprueche, Brahms
Komm, Jesu, komm, Bach
Komm, Jesu, Komm, Sandstroem
Verleih uns Frieden, Bach
Verleih uns Frieden, Mendelssohn
Komm, suesser Tod, Bach
Immortal Bach, Nystedt

The idea of the second half was to show a piece by Bach and then follow it with another later piece on the same text. This resulted in some fascinating contrasts, especially with the modern composers. The chorus is selected and trained for the music of Bach. I felt it worked very well for everything except Brahms whom I prefer in a more romantic style. Bach in our lives is basically due to Mendelssohn.

Blogging

 Renoir - Cesanne

I have had rather a busy weekend.

On Friday I went to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco to see Intimate Impressionism, an exhibition of small paintings from the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The exhibition covered the broad spectrum of artists of the period, but there were no blockbusters.

Then in the evening I went to the Weill-Poulenc mashup reviewed here.

I drove home in the morning in time to make the Cosi fan tutte simulcast, but I quickly tired and went home.  After all, I've already seen this opera twice this year.  One goes to see how the ending is done.  Does anyone but me notice that men are never expected to be faithful?

Then on Sunday I attended a Capitol Chamber Players concert.  They are noted for their varied programming, which this time included:

Tchaikovsky's None but the Lonely Heart (I always want to hear the original Goethe poem.)
Lawrence Frank's My Favorite Oregon Scenes (world premiere)
Lee Hoiby's Last Letter Home
Samuel Barber's Dover Beach
Mozart's Quartet No. 17 "The Hunt" (Must be the corniest piece ever written by Mozart.)
The vocals were by James Gentry.

Monday I viewed a little over half of the stream of Antonio Pappano at the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.  They played a program consisting of parts of Beethoven's Fidelio, all of Il Prigioniero by Luigi Dallapiccola, and Beethoven's Ninth.  I was sorry to have missed the beginning of Il Prigioniero.  I find Dallapiccola to be a vastly underrated composer that I would certainly like to hear more of.  The opera, however, was originally written for the radio and is far too static to be completely successful theatrically.  The Ninth was exciting but fast almost to the point of frantic.

I tuned into this stream because there was someone else there whom I also would like to hear more of:  this year's Opera Awards male singer winner Stuart Skelton.  I will try to catch the rest of the program to hear his Fidelio.  He was great, especially in the Ninth.  "Wie ein Held zum siegen."

Then Monday afternoon American Bach Soloists came up in my Facebook feed.  "Oh s**t.  That's tonight."  So off I went to Davis for a choral concert.  Jeffrey Thomas, the director, is a choral guy so it was bound to happen eventually.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cosi in HD


Conductor:  James Levine
Production:  Lesley Koenig

Ferrando:  Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Guglielmo:  Rodion Pogossov (bass)
Don Alfonso:  Maurizio Muraro (bass)
Fiordiligi:  Susanna Phillips (soprano)
Dorabella:  Isabel Leonard (mezzo-soprano)
Despina:  Danielle de Niese (soprano)

Because I was tired from my trip to San Francisco, I didn't make it to the end of Cosi fan tutte in HD on Saturday.  Perhaps I will try again on Wednesday.  For some reason not known to me the Metropolitan Opera is transmitting two repeats of Cecilia Bartoli productions in a row.  She is something of a significant figure in my life, so I could not help feeling her ghost lurking in the wings.  Also this is my third Cosi in the last year.  I left shortly after a lovely "Soave al vento."

As an advertisement for La Cenerentola, a film of Joyce DiDonato played with her singing "Una voce poco fa."  I had to go out during the original broadcast of this aria, so I was pleased to see it.

None of these performers actually reminded me of Cecilia.  Danielle de Niese created her own personal version of Despina which did not summon images of her predecessor in the role. Actually no one ever reminds me of Cecilia, so I should just relax and enjoy it.  Danielle is the correct Fach for Despina. 

In Cecilia's performance she carried the entire show.  Everyone else on the stage was virtually inert.  That was certainly not the case this time.  This is a terrific, well-balanced and lively cast of wonderful singing actors.  I have to come back to see how it ends.  There are never spoilers for Cosi.  Each production invents a new ending.

I went again and made it to the intermission.  I wanted to see the poison scene.  For her magnet Despina uses pruning shears.  It made me want to see the original again.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Les mamelles de Tirésias



actor Songspiel Tiresias
Thomas Glenn, tenor Charlie Lacouf, Journalist, The son
Daniel Cilli, baritone Billy The director, Presto
Gabriel Preisser, light baritone Bobby Thérèse's husband
Aleksey Bogdanov, bass Jimmy Bearded man
Rachel Schutz, soprano Jessie Thérèse/Tirésias, fortune teller
Renee Rapier, mezzo Bessie Newspaper vendor
Hadleigh Adams, baritone
constable
Amber Marsh
The big lady
Suzanne Riven, mezzo
The lady
Joseph Hernandez
dancer
Vanessa Thiessen
dancer

Nicole Paiement
conductor

Friday night I attended a strange mash-up of Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias (The breasts of Tiresias, 1947, sung in French) and songs from Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel (Little Mahagonny, 1927, sung in German and English) presented by Opera Parallèle in San Francisco.  I'm not sure it's possible to explain this, but I'll have a go.

Both of these classic twentieth century works are intensely political, but the politics is hard to translate to our time.  Each has a significant librettist as well.

The French poet Guillaume Apollinaire wrote a play called Les mamelles de Tirésias which forms the basis for the opera.  The play was written in 1903 and first performed in 1917.  After wars it is common to start political campaigns to encourage having children, especially after WWI where so many young men died. (Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten (1917) is also such an opera.)  The opera was first performed after WWII.

The play concerns a young woman named Thérèse who wishes to have the free life of a man.  Our heroine appears attired in high red boots and a giant red bra with huge breasts made of balloons which she removes and lets float into the air.  She strips down, takes off her red boots, grows a beard and changes her name to Tirésias.  As a man she achieves a number of high offices in the country.

Her left behind husband decides he still wants to have children, and clad in the same red boots and red bra by sheer force of will produces over 40,000 of them.   It becomes politically correct to make babies so Tirésias turns back into Thérèse and her husband takes her back.  "But you're flat as a board!"  This was all charming.  Rachel Schutz was excellent, and I rather liked the gender bending husband played by Gabriel Preisser, too.

Surrounding this work were the songs from Mahagonny Songspiel, usually in German with the hit song "Moon of Alabama" sung in English by Jessie and Bessie.  The significant librettist for Mahagonny Songspiel was Bertolt Brecht, a notorious leftist who got Weill in trouble with the rising Nazi movement, resulting in Weill emigrating to America.  So he writes this significantly anti-American piece called Mahagonny and then he emigrates to America.  Huh!  [Badly written, uninformed paragraph.  Weill was Jewish and didn't need additional reasons to leave Germany and eventually the rest of Europe.]

In our mash-up we are somehow in a waterless future.  There is no water to float the boat so it is wheeled about the stage.  The men's roles appeared to be a lot of work pushing the boat around the stage and climbing in and out of it.  Thomas Glenn shaved his head for this.

Did it work?  I couldn't connect them, but enjoyed each individually.  They didn't quite get the correct style for Weill, but Poulenc was fabulous.  So no.

This group is wonderfully imaginative and a lot of fun.  We still think they could do Ainadamar over and over.  Whatever they choose to do next, I can't wait to find out.

Twitter suggests this film with Francis Poulenc at the piano and Denise Duval.



It's all so French.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

La Cenerentola from Bologna



I am watching a YouTube film of La Cenerentola from 1992 in Bologna with:

Don Ramiro:  William Matteuzzi (same as the recording), 
Dandini:  Lucio Gallo
Don Magnifico:  Claudio Desderi 
Angelina:  Cecilia Bartoli (same as the recording)
Clorinda:  Fernanda Costa (same as the recording) 
Tisbe:  Gloria Banditelli (same as the recording)
Alidoro:  Pietro Spagnoli (sings Dandini in the current Met production)

Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly (same as the recording)

This is how it sounds in my head.  I am now very much aware of how much I love Chailly's conducting as well as Cecilia Bartoli's singing.  He brings it to life.  I always wish it was like this with these wonderful brisk tempos and Cecilia's dark sweetness.

I didn't realize until this minute, I was trying to find out if it was a new production, that Cecilia's 1997 performance of this opera was the first time it had ever been presented at the Metropolitan.  How is that possible?  The Houston performance was in 1995.  Houston used the Bologna production.  The Met is still using its original production which for me resembles Zurich. This is probably not a coincidence since Cesare Lievi designed both of them.

By 1997 the San Francisco Opera had already performed the opera with Teresa Berganza (1969), Frederica von Stade(1974), Marilyn Horne(1982), and Olga Borodina (1995), using the same Ponnelle production each time.

Irrelevant detail:  the recitative accompaniment is on the piano.

This is a warmup for Joyce who opened last night.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Rapid Fire

These come to us from Lincoln Center in New York.















Spoken like a tenor.  One more.



Oh what the heck.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lieber Jonas

Mein lieber Jonas,
Ich hoere jetzt deine Dichterliebe von Carnegie Hall an.  Ich habe nur eine Frage:  warum singst du dass so tief?  Du bist eigentlich tenor, nicht?  Verzeihung.  Ich habe meine Deutsch am Theater gelernt, und dort sagten wir immer du zu einander.  Ich finde dass du es oft tust (meine Deutsch ist ganz erfunden) and can nur fragen.  Es ist erlaubt Lieder so hoch oder so tief wie man will singen. Man muss nicht der Klavierspieler anhoeren.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Item

I was told the other day that there were 25 prop men for the kitchen scene in Falstaff at the Met.  Worth it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Opera Websites

I have not kept it a secret that I was a professional in the software business for 25 years. This culminated in a 4 month all expense paid trip to London which was well documented in this blog. My job was to design software for procurement, a complicated process to analyze, a process about which I knew nothing when I started my job. When I retired, I was awarded a very nice plaque on which I was called "The Architect."  I like to think I am one of the reasons my company is still around.  No one tells me what has happened to all the programs since I retired. Best not to know.

Blogging causes me to come in contact with the websites of many opera companies and festivals around the world. I cannot help having a professional reaction to them. They are almost universally terrible to appalling. We are living in the world of computers, and it is long past due for the opera world to catch up.

What is the easiest thing to find in an opera website? How to buy tickets. We try to sympathize with this perspective, but think it might be best to look at other more successful websites for guidance. There are a number of businesses that exist only in the ether: Amazon and Expedia might be considered examples. These people assume you are there to buy something and focus their attention on what it is you may wish to buy. They push their products to the fore and save the paying for the end.  They keep track of who you are and what you are there to look at.

And what is the hardest thing to find on an opera website? Sometimes it is completely impossible. Who is singing and when will they be in town? Perhaps the webmaster thinks his customer base is ignorant of opera and doesn't know one singer from another. I assure you this is not true. May I suggest that you promote the singers, and their resulting increased prominence will in turn promote you.  I recommend that you pitch the shit out of them, make them sound like the next big thing, start by believing it yourself, and your company will reap the benefits. You might start by finding out who actually is the next big thing, and hiring them (see Parterre). Yes, they might cancel, but that can't be helped. Opera seasons are in the winter and people catch diseases in the winter.

From my perspective this is a huge subject which I could hardly cover in a blog post.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

News Flash

On Feb 28 I posted this on Twitter:

Feb 28
Changing vote: now predict Michael Fabiano will win Richard Tucker this year."

Called it.  Congratulations, Michael.

Aprile Millo posted this on Facebook today:
"Michael Fabiano's winning of the award given in memory of the great tenor Richard Tucker in the Tucker Award gives all of us hope and joy who truly love great singing. I love this young fellow and couldn't be happier. You deserve it and it is only just the beginning!!!! Gladiators of music. Rejoice tonight !!!!!"

Incomplete

I felt that my life was somehow incomplete without the Carlos Kleiber 1979 Der Rosenkavalier.

Gwyneth Jones Marschallin
Brigitte Fassbaender Octavian
Lucia Popp Sophie
Manfred Jungwirth Ochs
Francisco Araiza tenor





I am truly astounded by how much I like Gwyneth Jones as the Marschallin.  She is very natural and sweet and sings like a lyric soprano.  Which she is.  To whom it may concern:  if you don't have any appropriate dramatic coloratura sopranos to sing Lady Macbeth, then don't put the damn thing on.  Don't go pick out some nice lyric soprano and ruin her life.

It is a truly wonderful presentation of the rose.  Lucia Popp describes for us the smell of the silver rose, and Octavian comes over to smell it, too.  This is usually blocked so that Octavian smells the rose and then looks up to realize that he has fallen in love.  Here he bends his head and Sophie bends close, it appears, to smell his hair instead of the rose.  Then they look each other very close in the eyes for the perfect moment.  Wow.

I once saw Brigitte in this role and was disappointed.  I must confess that here she is perfect.

This opera does not successfully update to a later era.  We are required to adore the sainted Kleiber, but for me he covers the singers far too much.  I often assign blame to the conductor, so here it is necessary to assign credit.  Musically all are performing the same opera.  If the conductor is blamed when each sings his own opera, he must also be credited when they all are all so clearly an ensemble.  His rubato is very complete.  What the hell does that mean, you may ask?  It means it's going on all the time and is very sophisticated.  Rhythm is the main thing in Rosenkavalier.  Intro to the third act is a tad chaotic.  IMHO.  This is due to the fast tempos throughout.  I like a schmaltzier Rosenkavalier.

This opera is like a ballet.  With a ballet someone writes down each step and where it goes in the music.  So it is with Rosenkavalier.  Here the black child carries in the small table with chocolate.  Here the servants line the chairs up in a row.  The entire opera is like that.  You could write the blocking into the score.

This film did not convert me to Kleiber, but I can see if you don't like romantic schmaltz, you might prefer this.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Zurich Le Comte Ory


Timed perfectly to coincide with the opening night of Rossini's Otello in Paris, my DVDs of Le Comte Ory and Otello from Zurich (that is the Opera Awards winning Zurich Opera) have arrived.  Since I saw Otello stream on medici.tv, I am watching Ory first.

Conductor: Muhai Tang
Production: Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier (they are growing on me)

Le Comte Ory:  Javier Camerena
La Comtesse Adele:  Cecilia Bartoli
Isolier (Ory's page):  Rebeca Olvera (Adalgisa in Cecilia's Norma at Salzburg)
Ragonde (La Comtesse's companion):  Liliana Nikiteanu
Le Gouverneur (Ory's tutor):  Ugo Guagliardo
Raimbaud (Ory's co-conspirator):  Oliver Widmer

The opera begins with Ory and his assistant Raimbaud brushing their teeth in flip flops and shorts.  Then they go into the trailer and Ory changes into his outfit as a blind hermit who lures young women.  The men of the town are away on crusade and have left a token force at home to guard the women.  Cough, cough.


I notice I said that Florez did not get an aria at the Met, but here Camarena opens the opera with a lovely aria which he sings in his blind hermit outfit.

Cecilia drives up to visit Ory in a blue Peugeot, called an Ente when I lived in Germany.  I have been searching diligently for a photo of Cecilia in her entrance outfit, in vain.  She has her hair back, steel rim glasses, a fancy collar, white pearl earrings, a dark suit, a handbag and a pair of white gloves, in every way the perfect woman of 1959.  I love this.  Rebeca Olvera in her soldier's outfit as Isolier is also adorable.  This is as close as I could get. 



I find the plot much easier to follow here, and less offensive for some reason.  Perhaps hanky panky among the moderns seems better.  It actually seems funny.  Camarena plays everything straight which makes him seem less slimy.  Pardon me.  I hated the Met version, didn't laugh even once.

In the castle the women are holding up a picture of Charles de Gaulle who was president of France from 1959 to 1969.  We may presume that the husbands are off fighting in Algeria.  I was ready to throw this opera out on its ass, but this is charming.  Bartoli and Camarena are marvelous in French, very suave and cute.  Musically it could not be more sweet and graceful.  This is, of course, the new critical edition, and the Met used the old souped up romantic edition.  I am in danger of becoming a convert.  Perhaps this lightness and graceful subtlety is due at least in part to the lighter orchestration obvious here.  The orchestra is La Scintilla.

The staging of the bedroom trio was also very much superior.  It is clear here that Isolier and the Countess are conspiring against Ory.  They exchange clothing, and Isolier places the Countess lovingly on the floor where it is presumed a mere page would lie.  There is no ambiguity about what is going on. 

Everything is staged and sung, and indeed played to perfection.  If you want an Ory, try this one.

And now the prompter has crawled out of his hole in the floor and is receiving a bow.  That generally means his services were needed.  He faces upstage until one of the actors turns him toward the audience.

Try Presto Classical for early releases of classical material.  If you doubted my psychic abilities, please review this post from 2012.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Here are the winners of the Opera Awards

The Complete International Opera Award Winners for 2014 are as follows:

  • Accessibility:  Teatro Sociale di Como
  • Anniversary Production (Britten):  Peter Grimes on the beach (Aldeburgh Festival)
  • Anniversary Production (Verdi):  Verdi trilogy – La battaglia di Legnano, I due Foscari, I Lombardi (Hamburg Staatsoper)
  • Anniversary Production (Wagner):  Parsifal (Vlaamse Opera, Belgium)
  • CD (Complete Opera):  Otello (Verdi) (Muti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Resound)
  • CD (Operatic Recital):  Ann Hallenberg – Hidden Handel (Naïve)
  • Chorus:  Bayreuth Festival
  • Conductor:  Kirill Petrenko (Generalmusikdirektor of the Bayerische Staatsoper)
  • Designer:  Paul Brown
  • Director:  Barrie Kosky (Intendant and Chefregisseur of the Komische Oper Berlin)
  • DVD:  David et Jonathas (Marc-Antoine Charpentier) (Bel Air Classiques)
  • Female Singer:  Diana Damrau [congratulations]
  • Festival:  Aix-en-Provence
  • Lifetime Achievement:  Gerard Mortier (posthumous)
  • Male Singer:  Stuart Skelton [congratulations]
  • New Production:  Norma (Salzburg Festival)  [I'm very happy about this.]
  • Opera Company:  Oper Zürich [Happy about this, too]
  • Philanthropist/Sponsor:  Edgar Foster Daniels
  • Readers’ Award:  Joseph Calleja
  • Rediscovered Work:  Cristina, regina di Svezia (Jacopo Foroni) (Wexford Festival)
  • World Premiere:  The Merchant of Venice (André Tchaikowsky) (Bregenz Festival)
  • Young Singer:  Jamie Barton (is she the only American win?)

These awards purport to be International, but are really just British.  The people being awarded to come from all over the world, but the judges are all British.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Sophie Koch in Opera News

I enjoyed very much reading the interview in Opera News before Sophie Koch's performance of Werther.  I was especially pleased to read her discussion of the Paris performance and the unusual and noteworthy conducting of Michel Plasson.  So it isn't just me.

I wonder what she would say now.

La Bohème in HD


Conductor: Stefano Ranzani
Production: Franco Zeffirelli

Marcello: Massimo Cavalletti
Rodolfo: Vittorio Grigolo
Colline: Oren Gradus
Schaunard: Patrick Carfizzi
Benoit: Donald Maxwell
Mimì: Kristine Opolais replacing Anita Hartig who was ill
Alcindoro: Donald Maxwell
Musetta:  Susanna Phillips

This morning we saw Puccini's La Bohème live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera.  This was my first time to see Vittorio Grigolo and Kristine Opolais in performance in an opera.  I came for Vittorio but Kristine was an added bonus.  She sang Butterfly last night and received the call to sing Mimi at 8:00 this morning.  So how does a completely stressed out Mimi seem to work?  Pretty well I would have to say.  You believed she was dying of consumption right from the start.

Short version:  I cried in all three acts, a first.  Vittorio was wonderful.  The emotional atmosphere was perfect from beginning to end.  Mimi died on her chord in fine style.  What more could you ask?  Kudos to all.

I want to point out that few of the regulars I see week after week were there, but the size of the audience was much bigger than usual.  Someone representing the Met handed out questionnaires to survey the audience.

And now for my usual post script.  I have been following Vittorio Grigolo for quite some time, and have already included him in my sexiest list.  I have noticed a tendency to put him down, and I want to go on record opposing this.  Compared to the short performances I have witnessed earlier, his Rodolfo showed a complete technical maturity.  You can't really judge a singer until they reach this.  I think with his good looks, bright lyric tenor and charisma he is a worthy addition to our pantheon.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Withdrawals

In San Francisco it went almost unnoticed among my friends that Nathan Gunn had withdrawn from Show Boat.  He was replaced by Michael Todd Simpson, a newcomer.

First Anna Netrebko withdrew from Faust at Baden Baden because she found she simply couldn't sing it. I think she just waited too long.  Then it was announced that Angela Gheorghiu would replace her, and now Angela has withdrawn because the production was not done specifically for her.  She had a production created for her in Vienna, and now she wants it written into her contract.  This is the most divaish reason I have ever heard.

Then Jonas Kaufmann withdrew from a concert with Bryn Terfel in Zurich for personal reasons.  If I were them I think I wouldn't be talking to him.

And have you ever seen this?  This is the Met production.  Have you ever seen this much fooling around in this scene?  They certainly didn't do this in the simulcast with Racette.


Sacramento: Robert Tannenbaum Announces Resignation

12 February, 2014
[I apologize for being so slow to post this.]

The General Director of the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance Robert Tannenbaum has tendered his resignation for personal and professional reasons effective April 6, 2014.

Rob is moving to Southern California but has said he would like to continue his professional relationship with the Alliance as a consultant and/or artistic director. While the Alliance is exploring those possibilities, it is also launching a wide search for his replacement.

Rob joined the Alliance at a very difficult time, when Sacramento’s Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra had just merged, and the Alliance was attempting to blend these two organizations into one rich asset to bring operatic and symphonic excellence to our community. Rob was instrumental in that effort and the Alliance has benefited greatly from his expertise – as will again be evident in the Alliance’s production later this month of Il Trovatore, directed by Rob.

The financial viability of the Alliance was significantly enhanced earlier this month by a $500,000 donation from the Teel Foundation. With that kind of support, the Alliance is optimistic about finding an immediate solution to the leadership issue resulting from Rob’s departure and looks forward to many more stellar performances of the orchestra and the opera.

David E. Lindgren
President of Board of Directors Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance

[Tannenbaum came to Sacramento from Germany and didn't really realize that finances are the chief concern of American arts organizations.]

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Luca Pisaroni Recital


Luca Pisaroni sang last night in Nourse Theater in San Francisco.  This was my first time in this theater since it became a performance space and not a rehearsal venue for the San Francisco Opera.  I kept imagining the director's table in the middle.  The theater began its life as part of a high school which was later deemed too expensive to earthquake proof.  It's sort of pseudo Ali Baba or Scheherazade. 

I am a fan of Luca, loved him in Cosi in Salzburg, The Enchanted Island, Maometto II in Santa Fe and as Leporello in Don Giovanni

I love you, Luca, but you didn't seem happy at all.  You came to life a little after the intermission when you sang Liszt, but you didn't feel comfortable with what you were doing.

I'm going to let you in on a secret:  nowadays singers are performing what they love, as long as it's within the vast catalog that is classical music.  At long last.  So don't let someone else pick what you are going to sing.

My favorite part of the program was the encore: "O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst" which sounded familiar.  And it was.  It's Liszt's Liebestraum, better known as a piece for piano.  Love as long as you can.  I took this personally.  

After hearing him in Mozart, Cavalli and Rossini, I guess I was unprepared for a program by German composers (Beethoven, Brahms, Reichart) plus the Hungarian in his most German mode.  There wasn't exactly anything wrong with it, the pianist Wolfram Rieger was wonderful, but Luca didn't quite come to life.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Strauss Year

Richard Strauss was born in 1864 in Munich, making this the 150th anniversary of his birth.  There is much celebrating planned, much of it in Germany.  Strauss was born in Munich and premiered most of his operas in Dresden, so these two cities are the focus of the celebration. 

Guntram (10 May 1894, revised version: 29 October 1940)
  • Dresden Semperoper  concert performance, sorry, this is over
Feuersnot (21-Nov-1901)
  •  Dresden Semperoper 7 Jun 2014+  semistaged
Salome (9-Dec-1905)
  • Dresden Semperoper sorry, this is also over.
  • Bayerische Staatsoper 2 Apr 2014+
  • Wiener Staatsoper 4 Oct 2014+

Elektra (25-Jan-1909)
  •  Dresden Semperoper 22 Jun 2014+
    22 Jun 2014

Der Rosenkavalier (26-Jan-1911)
  • Dresden Semperoper   7 Dec 2014+
  • Bayerische Staatsoper 26 Jul 2014+ 
  • Wiener Staatsoper 23 Apr 2014+

Ariadne auf Naxos, 2nd version (4-Oct-1916)
  • Dresden Semperoper   9 Mar 2014+
  • Bayerische Staatsoper  16 May 2014+
  • Wiener Staatsoper 15 Apr 2014+
 Die Frau ohne Schatten (10-Oct-1919)
  • Bayerische Staatsoper  29 Jun 2014+
  • Zurich 22 Nov 2014+
Intermezzo (4-Nov-1924)

Die ägyptische Helena (6-Jun-1928)

Arabella (1-Jul-1933)
  • Dresden Semperoper  7 Nov 2014+ starring Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson
  • Wiener Staatsoper 9 Dec 2014+ 
  • Metropolitan Opera 3 Apr 2014+ 
  • Salzburg Easter Festival 12 Apr 2014+ starring Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson
Die schweigsame Frau (24-Jun-1935)

Friedenstag (24-Jul-1938)

Daphne (15-Oct-1938)
  • Dresden Semperoper 14 Sep 2014+
Die Liebe der Danae (14-Aug-1952)

Capriccio (28-Oct-1942)
  • Dresden Semperoper 16 Nov 2014+ starring Renée Fleming
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago 6 Oct 2014+ starring Renée Fleming
    16 Nov 2014

The list for Dresden is especially noteworthy, but if you were looking for traditional productions, I'm not sure that sort of thing exists in Europe any more.