Friday, 30 December 2011

Must have-DVD's

Classicalify is waiting for the Alagna Wagner to be released on DVD. Until then we will enjoy the Kasper Holten version of Don Giovanni.

»Juan« is Kasper Holten's feature film debut. Opera enthusiasts have enjoyed »Juan« at festivals worldwide, including Pusan, Hamburg, Seville and Palm Springs. In his review, Variety's Dennis Harvey described the music as "heavenly" and the film as a "raunchy, modernized »Don Giovanni« ... a bold but satisfying interpretation".. Mozart's opera is played by Concerto Copenhagen, led by conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen. A story about a man who loved and loathed women, a heartless seducer who took great delight in enticing and abandoning his prey. In his film - an adaptation of W. A. Mozart's opera 'Don Giovanni', Kasper Holten's focus is on the balance between man's sexual instinct and destructive drive. In this story, the sensual Juan is a self-confident, modern man, who has a perpetual need to feel and sense life to the full.

Cowboy girl Nina Stemme in Stockholm

(Photos by Alexander Kenney, Royal Opera Stockholm)

Classicalify was lucky to get a ticket for La Fanciulla del West at Royal Opera, Stockholm. This is maybe not Puccini's best opera, but it is sure interesting. And it's demanding. The role of Minnie is described as Puccini's Brünnhilde. So what can you ask for, when one of the best Brünnhildes in the world now debut as the lovestruck Polka-bar owner Minnie?

Together with the worldfamous director Christoph Loy, Stemme makes a very touching Minnie, who at last gets her first kiss. The kiss is given by the bad guy Ramerrez, aka Dick Johnson, sung by Aleksandrs Antonenko. Or is maybe the sheriff Jack Rance the bad guy? Well, the sheriff does not kiss Minnie.

The production is fun and witty, very good casted and nice to see and listen too. Classicalify though found it a little boring, workwise... there is simply too much Butterfly and stuff in the music.

So the advice is to go and see it when you can, and get a chance to hear one of the best dramatic sopranos worldwide shooting and shouting at her cowboy boyfriends... Of course they are all in love with her, or see her as a mother...


Performances run to January 31.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Handel: Messiah. Stockholm.

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Swedish Radio Choir
Ida Falk Winland soprano
Ann Hallenberg mezzosoprano
Andrew Staples tenor
Matthew Rose base
Daniel Harding conductor
Christmas is here and all that comes with it. The stress of christmas shopping and cooking is just murder and the need to relax is very important. Classicalify noticed that the Swedish concert hall Berwaldhallen would have a performance of Georg Friedrich Handels famous choral work the Messiah this weekend and desided to go. An unknown singer to us at Classicalify named Adriana Kucerova from the agency of Askonas Holt was announced to sing after Kate Royal cancelled. Unfortunatly miss Kucerova cancelled as well. Due to illness is always the reason given to the public. We can only imagine what the real reason was.
Shooting star Ida Falk Winland sang instead.
Handel had very little money when he wrote the music for Messiah in 1740. The audience didn't care for his operas about gods and divas. He wanted to leave England and move to Germany but fortunatly his friend Charles Jennens suggested the Messiah as a new project.
Handel was delighted and was invited to Dublin were Messiah was first performed.
Since then the piece is performed everywhere but not only for christmas but also for easter.
The perfomance given a few days ago in Stockholm was just magnificent.
The Swedish Radio Symphony orchestra and choir has one of the best music directors in the world right know. Daniel Harding is a perfectionist and rightly so. We at classicalify has enjoyed many performances by Harding in Lucerne and this was no exception. It's a long piece almost three hours in length and a lot of recitals. It didn't feel to long at all. It was almost like watching a play. The orchestra and choir worked so well together in terms of playing each word together and listening to each other all the time. Every sentence had meaning and each word had it's own colour and texture. Particulary the finaly of the second part. The hallelujah chorus. Soft as a gentle sunbeam in the beginning and powerfull in the middle towards the end as the gates of heaven opens. Ida Falk Winland sang just like an angel with perfect pronounciation and clarity. Ann Hallenberg didn't save her energi in the aria "He was despised" and portrayed the suffering of jesus with heartbreak in her voice. Andrew Staples is perfect for this peace and he realy delivered a marvelous perfomance, and Matthew Rose had just the right power without going to deep in his voice. To hear him sing "For behold, darkness shall cover the world" gave you chills down your spine. Last but not least Daniel Harding showed the audience that the more you give to music the more you shall recieve.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ermonela Jaho conquers Stockholm

Maybe not known to all and everyone, Ermonela Jaho, has established herself as one of the most interesting sopranos on the world stages. She is born in Albania and started her singing lessons at the age of six (!). Later studies followed in Italy and she now sings in all the important houses around the world.

In December it was Stockholm's turn... for Violetta. A role Jaho has performed several times. And what a Violetta she gave the Stockholmers. Classicalify was lucky enough to catch her in one of the performances and was struck and knocked out! Roumours say this is maybe the best Violetta in Stockholm for years. And we can just agree! When writing this, there are two performances left in Stockholm and if you miss those, you can later go to London in January or Berlin and Vienna in May-June to experience maybe THE best Violetta on stage today. Sorry to see that Royal Opera can't match Jaho on the male cast side...

If you go to Ermonelas homepage, you can also listen to clips from a fabulous "Anna Bolena" in Paris 2008 (about 1 hour 20 minutes). You find her page her:

Friday, 9 December 2011

Standing ovation for Calleja

Standing ovation for tenor Joseph Calleja in Stockholm at the Nobel Prize Concert yesterday in Konserthuset. The concert is part of the Nobel Prize program. The prize ceremony is held tomorrow, Saturday 10 Dec.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

La Scala season open with star Don Giovanni

As tradition, La Scala Milano open it's season on December 7. Tonight's star casted "Don Giovanni" is really something special. Daniel Barenboim cunduct Swedish Peter Mattei as Don Giovanni, Bryn Terfel as Leporello, Barbara Frittoli as Donna Elvira and Anna Netrebko as Donna Anna... and some more. Production is by Robert Carsen.

Direction Conductor
Daniel Barenboim/Karl Heinz Steffens (January 2012)
Staging Robert Carsen
Sets Michael Levine
Costumes Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Lights Robert Carsen and Peter Van Praet
Choreography Philippe Giraudeau

Don Giovanni Peter Mattei (7, 10, 13, 23, 28 December; 4, 8, 12, 14 January)Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (16, 20 December)
Il Commendatore Kwangchul Youn (7, 10, 13, 16, 20, 23, 28 December) Alexander Tsymbalyuk (4, 8, 12, 14 January)
Donna Anna Anna Netrebko (7, 10, 13, 16, 20, 23 December)Tamar Iveri (28 December; 4, 8, 12, 14 January)
Don Ottavio Giuseppe Filianoti (7, 10, 13, 16, 20, 23, 28 December)John Osborn (4, 8, 12, 14 January)
Donna Elvira Barbara Frittoli (7, 10, 13, 16, 20, 23, 28 December) Maria Agresta (4, 8, 12, 14 January)
Leporello Bryn Terfel (7, 10, 13, 16, 20 December)Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (23, 28 December; 4, 8, 12, 14 January)
Zerlina Anna Prohaska (7, 10, 13, 16, 20, 23, 28 December)Ekaterina Sadovnikova (4, 8, 12, 14 January)
Masetto Štefan Kocán (7, 10, 13, 16, 20, 23, 28 December)Kostas Smoriginas (4, 8, 12, 14 January)

The performance is broadcasted on several readiostations! Must have for opera nerds!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Ring Saga in Strasbourg

On Arte website you can watch a compact version of Wagners "Ring" (about 9 hours), performed in Strasbourg late September and beginning of October. Young goodlooking singers (look out for hunk Wotan). Catch it while it's still up on the site!

Wagner : Ring Saga Adaptation de Jonathan Dove et Graham Vick

Lawrence Renes goes to Stockholm

...and the winner is...

After several years WITHOUT a musical director, Royal Opera in Stockholm has now appointed goodlooking Lawrence Renes as Musical Director, starting in 2012/2013. His first production will be "Die Walküre" in January 2013. Is this the new beginning for Royal Opera Stockholm?

Here is the press release:

Lawrence Renes appointed Music Director of Royal Swedish Opera from 2012/13 season.
Lawrence Renes was announced as the next Music Director of Royal Swedish Opera today in a press conference in Stockholm. His first production with the opera house will be in 2012/13 season, conducting a production of Die Walküre and initially contracted until 2016/17.
With a wide-ranging opera repertoire encompasses Mozart, Wagner, Richard Strauss and John Adams, his DVD with De Nederlandse Opera of the Peter Sellars production of Doctor Atomic was released in 2008 and received widespread critical praise. His new post builds on his success in the Royal Swedish Opera’s production Das Rheingold in April 2011.
He has been engaged at many of the most prestigious orchestras and opera houses in the world including the Bayerische Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, Royal Concertgebouworkest, Staatskapelle Dresden and BBC Symphony Orchestra; and Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, English National Opera, Seattle Opera, Den Norske Opera and the Hamburgische Staatsoper. He makes his debut at San Francisco Opera in June 2012.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Stemme to debut as Minnie

Operalovers in Sweden and the capital Stockholm can be lucky. Nina Stemme will debut as Minne in Puccini's "La Fanciulla del west" just before Christmas. Performances run from December 17 to January 31.
On stage is also John Lundgren/Lucio Gallo as Jack Rance and Aleksandrs Antonenko/Torsten Kerl as Dick Johnson. The rest of the cowboys are sung mainly of in-house singers. Italian opera specialist Pier Giorgio Morandi will conduct.
Creative team is headed by Christopf Loy, for the first time at Royal opera in Stockholm. Loy has done several works in Gothenburgh and we can only congratulate Royal Opera that they at last has got him to Stockholm. This will surely raise the level of opera in Stockholm. Stellar cast, stellar creative team!
Hey ho boys, let's play some cards!

More info on Royal Opera homepage:

Thursday, 24 November 2011

La Fille from down under...

From fellow blogger Intermezzo Classicalify hear the rumour that Dame Edna Everage will enter the stage as La Duchesse de Crackentorp in the wonderful "La Fille du régiment" at Covent Garden. IF this is true, Classicalify will do whatever is needed to secure tickets!

Performances 19 April to 10 May. General tickets on sale 7 February.

Read more from:

Rosenblatt Recitals London

If you, like Classicalify, travel to London now and then to attend world class performances, Classicalify guess you would like the Rosenblatt Recitals.

Ian Rosenblatt started the concerts in 1999 and today it's one of the prestigious platforms of music in London, most of the concerts taking place at St John's at Smith Square.

Read more on the website, where you can also book tickets. The spring season highlight is of course the concert with star tenor Juan Diego Flórez at Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy!

Picture: Ian Rosenblatt

"The idea for the Rosenblatt Recitals first took shape in 1999, when my law firm sponsored a concert by José Cura and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. It seemed to me that British audiences deserved more frequent opportunities to experience truly great voices, generally only heard at the Royal Opera House or the occasional one-off concert.
My plan was to present recitals by singers of international stature at regular intervals throughout the year. The programmes, each performer's own selection of arias and songs, would showcase vocal talent to the full. The idea took off and over the past nine seasons, Helga Schmidt, former Artistic Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has brought dozens of exceptional artists to the Rosenblatt Recital Series, some already world-renowned, others in the early days of a major career.
People often say that the golden age of singing is dead. The Rosenblatt Recital Series is devoted to proving that bel canto - in its broadest sense - is very much alive!"

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Riga - Wagner city...

Richard Wagner spent the years 1837-1839 in Riga before he had to escape from his creditors, as usual his financial situation was chaotic.

If you visit Riga today, you can see the traces of the grand master. In Rigas Old town you find the Richard Wagner street and the Richard Wagner concert hall.

So, with this history it's strange that the Latvian opera had to wait untill 2011 to complete the four parts of the Ring. Classicalify went to see the opening night of Götterdämmerung, and are looking forward to complete Ring Cycles in 2013 (of course!).

And at last, Classicalify got to see a performance where the slightly neurotic Gunther and Gutrune show what they really are... two lovers, enjoying themself in a sex relationship with Hagen. The scen with all three of them in bed was hilarious and very funny.

The singing was overall good, though Brünnhilde seemed to have a bad night and Siegfried maybe was a little to cautios.

So if you enjouy crazy and funny stagings of Wagner operas, go to Riga and check out for the complete cycles in 2013.

Classicalify also noted that five of the main roles was sung by Swedes. Good Wagner singing tradition in that country!

Music Director and Conductor
Cornelius Meister
Joana Mallwitz
Viesturs Kairišs
Set and Costume Designer
Ieva Jurjāne
Lighting Designer
Christophe Forey
Jochen Breiholz
Agris Daņiļēvičs

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Norwegian soprano star.

From artist manager friends in Oslo we got this press release:

The young Norwegian soprano Mari Eriksmoen has been named the Classical Music Talent of the year for 2011, receiving a grant by Statoil worth NOK 1 million (130.000 EUR).

Mari Eriksmoen graduated from the Opera Academy in Copenhagen in the summer of 2010. Already in October the same year she had her international breakthrough when she took over Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos from the pregnant Diana Damrau at Theater an der Wien.

Other recent opera and concert engagements have brought her to Oper Frankfurt, Royal Swedish Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Norwegian National Opera, Opéra de Lille, Theatre de ville Luxembourg, Festival d'Aix en Provence, Lucerne Festival and Festival La Coruña.

Upcoming highlights include Euridice in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann at Theater an der Wien, Fiakermilli in Arabella at Oper Frankfurt as well as at Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Adele in Die Fledermaus at the Norwegian National Opera and concerts with Orchestre de Paris/Paavo Järvi, Lucerne Festival/Daniel Harding, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra/Louis Langrée, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Marc Soustrot.

Former receivers of the Classical Music Award include the current chair of the judging panel, Leif Ove Andsnes. The award ceremony is taking place in Oslo today; November 14, 2011.

Artefact Artists Management
St. Olavs Plass 3
0165 Oslo, Norway

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Atomic bomb in Helsinki

Classicalify flew to Helsinki to see John Adam's horrifying opera "Dr Atomic". Classicalify went back home more than satiesfied. We strongly recommend this performance. Performances run until December 9.

Doctor Atomic
John Adams

The contemporary opera Doctor Atomic transports us back to July 15, 1945, when preparations for the first test of an atomic bomb are underway. Scientists aren't quite sure what will happen - only one thing is certain: the world will never be the same again.

This stirring opera by the American composer John Adams focuses on the thoughts and fears of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his colleagues at a crucial moment in history. In the fine line between genius and lunacy, a silent voice persists in its query: Was constructing the atom bomb the right course of action? The moments leading up to the test prove to be a moment of truth for everyone involved.

Adams has composed an impressive, melodic and rhythmically persuasive opera on a topical subject, delving into questions people who choose to confront the forces of nature are obliged to consider.
A production of Saarländisches Staatstheater.

Conductor Stuart Stratford
Director Immo Karaman
Choreography Fabian Posca
Sets Johann Jörg
Costumes Nicola Reichert
Lighting design Immo Karaman, Johann Jörg

Oppenheimer: Lee Poulis / Jaakko Kortekangas
Kitty: Jessica Rivera / Sabina Cvilak
Wilson: Per Håkan Precht
Teller: Mika Kares / Rolf Broman
Pasqualita: Sari Nordqvist
Hubbart: Hannu Forsberg
Groves: Nicholas Söderlund / Olafur Sigurdarson
Nolan: Jyrki Anttila / Joonas Eloranta

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Harteros cancels Don Carlo in Berlin

In den Vorstellungen DON CARLO am 23. und 26. Oktober 2011 singt Seth Carico anstelle von Simon Pauly die Partie des 3. Flandrischen Deputierten. In allen Vorstellungen singt Matthew Peña anstelle von Jörg Schörner die Partien des Herold sowie des Grafen Lerma. Am 23., 26. und 29. Oktober singt anstelle von Anja Harteros Lucrezia Garcia die Partie der Elisabeth.

Viking opera in Malmö, Sweden

The Swedish opera "Tirfing" by Wilhelm Stenhammar opens tonight at Malmö Opera. Vikings and trouser role lead mezzo. What more can we ask for? The opera hasn't been played in Sweden for over 100 years... Is this maybe a revival for old Swedish opera? Well, go to Malmö and see for your self.

Musik: Wilhelm Stenhammar

Libretto: Anna Boberg

Dirigent: Arnold Östman

Regi: Per-Erik Öhrn

Scenografi: Lars Östbergh

Kostym: Constance Hoffman

Ljus: Zerlina Hughes

Rörelseinstruktör: Patrik Sörling

Hervor: Martina Dike

Angantyr: Bengt Krantz

Konung Gudmund: Bengt Krantz

Gullväg: Ulrika Mjörndal

Vidar: Daniel Hällström

Herden: Daniel Hällström

Barden: Jakob Högström

Friday, 14 October 2011

2011 Birgit Nilsson Prize awarded to Maestro Riccardo Muti

Maestro Riccardo Muti was awarded the 2011 Birgit Nilsson Prize by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a festive ceremony of celebration and musical inspiration held at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm on Thursday evening, October 13. This Prize of one million dollars, established by Birgit Nilsson herself, is the most generous prize in the world of classical music.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ingvar Wixell - Favourites

Ingvar Wixell 1931-2011

One of Swedens greatest baryton singers has passed away. Classicalify is very sad.
Ingvar Wixell passed away recently at the age of eighty at his home in Malmoe Sweden.
Classicalify heard him as the music teacher in 2003 in Strauss opera "Ariadne" and stood outside the stage door to have his autograph. He was a charming and warm person and his voice was very special. Ingvar was only 21 when he heard his first opera and his mind was maid. Opera or nothing. He studied at the academy of music in Stockholm and went the same year as Birgit Nilsson. He maid his debut in Mozarts "The Magic Flute" in 1955 and the rest is history as the say. He was named kammersänger at the Deutsche oper in Berlin 1970.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A solid Tosca from Toulouse

On a recent visit to Toulouse, Classicalify didn't miss out on a chance to catch some opera at the Théâtre du Capitole, bien sûr. Toulouse is justifiably proud of it's opera, given the high level of quality on offer in this house. Classicalify saw the old war horse Tosca in a production shared with the Maggio Musicale in Florence. What met the eye was a more or less standard old fashioned stage production, with no particular idea or insightful view from the director of this often played piece. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, when it comes to Tosca.

In the pit was music director Tugan Sokhiev, serving up a dramatic reading of the score. The orchestra played well, if not with the perfect blend and polish you expect from a world class ensemble. If something was missing from Mr Sokhiev it was a certain Puccinian flow, of drawing out some melodies and of giving more presence to inner voices in this luscious score.

On the vocal side, Tosca herself, sung by Catherine Naglestad, ruled the evening. This is a well schooled voice, well placed and with a solid technique. The timbre in itself is warm and round and it has true spinto qualities. Add the fact that Mrs Naglestad can scale down her voice to a true pianissimo, and yet anchor solid top notes and you have a pretty good Tosca voice. Her Tosca is not on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but a normal woman driven to acts that are completely alien to her. On the minus side is an Italian pronunciation that sounds distinctly American, and maybe a lack of the last degree of beauty in the timbre. Also a certain blandness sometimes creeps in, both in the vocal delivery and the sharpness of characterization.

The night's Cavardossi was Vladimir Galouzine, probably a bigger name than Mrs Naglestad on the international opera circuit. This is a big voice, no doubt. And for some roles, it probably is a major voice. But for Puccini and Cavaradossi, Mr Galouzine could use some of the varied dynamics that his Tosca so masterfully mastered. This is consistently loud and monotonous singing. The timbre in itself is not what you would describe as melting, but distinctly slavic in tone. The voice really blooms and develops overtones in the highest register, though. The most memorable moment was not surprisingly a heroic and glass shattering Vittoria outburst.

Scarpia was sung by Frank Ferrari and if the evening's Cavaradossi showed off some huge high notes, Ferrari's Scarpia often completely disappeared when the vocal line went upwards. This was not caused by the orchestra drowning Mr Ferrari, but probably by a faulty vocal production. Otherwise it was a rather civil Scarpia that harassed our Tosca, with some nice vocal underlinings. What was lacking was the raw power and lust that for example Bryn Terfel brings to this role.

In all a solid night at the opera, if not something for the record books.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

CD's for fun or pleasure...Classicalify like!

ROH Covent Garden Ring 2012

Today Classicalify got an invitation by mail from ROH Covent Garden to book tickets for the coming Ring Cycles autumn 2012. The cast is of course world class and so are also the prices... The cheapest (Lower and Upper slips and standing) are £44 then raising to £1000.

Booking open on Tuesday 25 October via phone, online or in person.

Antonio Pappano conducts and Bryn Terfel sings Wotan/Wanderer.

Here are the dates for the four Rings:

Cycle One
Das Rheingold 24 September, 2012 7.30–10.10pm Die Walküre 26 September, 2012 4–9.50pm Siegfried 29 September, 2012 3–9pm Götterdämmerung 1 October, 2012 4–10.30pm
Cycle Two
Das Rheingold 2 October, 2012 7.30–10.10pm Die Walküre 4 October, 2012 5–10.50pm Siegfried 7 October, 2012 3–9pm Götterdämmerung 9 October, 2012 4–10.30pm
Cycle Three
Das Rheingold 16 October, 2012 7.30–10.10pm Die Walküre 18 October, 2012 5–10.50pm Siegfried 21 October, 2012 3–9pm Götterdämmerung 24 October, 2012 4–10.30pm
Cycle Four
Das Rheingold 26 October, 2012 7.30–10.10pm Die Walküre 28 October, 2012 3–8.50pm Siegfried 31 October, 2012 5–11pm Götterdämmerung 2 November, 2012 4–10.30pm

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Grand russian Opera

Sergei Prakofiev's impressive and grand opera "War and Peace" is seldom staged (if you see it you'll understand why), so given the opprotunity, Classicalify went from London to Cologne, Germany for a grand occasion.

The opera is based on the novel "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy, and composed in the beginning of the 1940's. First performances were of different parts of the opera at the end of the 1940's. The 13-scenes version (several versions excists) became popular during the 1950's.

The version used in Cologne is 13 scenes made into two parts with an interval between. This is probably one of the hardest operas to stage and to cast, you need about 30 soloists where some is also singing several roles. You need extra chorus, children, people, people and more people...

The production in Cologne is well sung in all parts and the staging is massive. You do get the big battle (Napoleon's invasion of Moscow), you get fire, you get the new years ball, you get rape, you get Napoleon Bonaparte, russion war prisoners, french drunk soldiers...

If you EVER have the possibility to see this masterpiece of opera, just go!

The conducting from young Michael Sanderling was brilliant and impressive!


Fürst Andrej Bolkonski
Johannes Martin Kränzle
Natascha Rostowa
Olesya Golovneva
Sonja / 2. französische Schauspielerin
Adriana Bastidas Gamboa
Gastgeber / Iwanow
Alexander Fedin
Dalia Schaechter
Peronskaja / 1. französische Schauspielerin
Kathleen Parker
Graf Ilja Rostow / Marschall Davout
Wilfried Staber
Graf Pierre Besuchow
Matthias Klink
Gräfin Hélène Besuchowa
Katrin Wundsam
Anatole Kuragin
Mirko Roschkowski
Leutnant Dolochow / Capitaine Jacqueau
Daniel Golossov
Werner Sindemann
Fürstin Marja Bolkonskaja
Regina Richter
Fürst Nikolaj Andrejewitsch Bolkonski / General Belliard
Magnús Baldvinsson
Sandra Janke
Anthony Sandle
Doktor Métivier / Marschall Berthier
Johann-Werner Prein
Matias Tosi
Ordonnanzoffizier des Fürsten Andrej
Philipp Hoferichter
Miljenko Turk
Adjutant des Generals Compans
Jeongki Cho
Adjutant des Generals Murat
Gustavo Quaresma Ramos
Adjutant des Fürsten Eugène / Gérard
Ralf Rachbauer
de Beausset
Martin Koch
Capitaine Ramballe
Dennis Wilgenhof
Leutnant Bonnet
John Heuzenroeder
Ein französischer Offizier
Sévag Serge Tachdjian
Platon Karatajew
Manfred Fink
Chor der Oper Köln

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

1, 2, 3… The Puccini triple bill at Covent Garden

When Classicalify planned this tour, one of the main reasons was the performance of Puccini’s “Il Trittico” at ROH Covent Garden. The planned cast was Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta in “Il Tabarro”, Anja Harteros as heartbreaking Angelica in “Sour Angelica”, Lucio Gallo as Michele in “Il Tabarro” and also as Gianni Schicchi. Combined with Swedish worldstar alto Anna Larsson’s debut at ROH as La Principessa in “Sour Angelica” this was about to be a once in a lifetime experience. Alas, about a month before opening night it was announced that Anja Harteros had cancelled her Angelica and was replaced by Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho (who Classicalify is waiting for to sing Violetta in Stockholm).

The production at Covent Garden is directed by Richard Jones and conducted by sweetheart Antonio Pappano. Tabarro and Angelica being new productions and Schicchi a production played before at ROH.

Pappano knows his Italian opera inside out, no question about that and no further comments. Tony is good, very good and simply the best… Of the three operas you get what you expect from Tabarro and Schicchi… but what is done to Angelica only Richard Jones, Miriam Buether (set design) and Nicky Gillibrand (costumes) know! “Sour Angelica” is set in a children’s hospital and you just wonder why?

Eva-Maria Westbroek as Giorgetta is frustrated, horny and do whatever she can to get out of her misery life at the barge and boring husband Michele (Lucio Gallo). Sorry for her, lover Luigi (Aleksandrs Antonenko) is getting killed by Michele before she gets away… Westbroek and Antonenko superb together, Lucio Gallo more withdrawn and not in his right place.

“Sour Angelica” is pain, pain, pain and tears running… you can’t just refuse or deny it, this is Puccini at his very best. Ermonela Joho sings her heart out and the Principessa bitch Anna Larsson is just as disgusting as you want her to be… What tension, what drama, what singing!!! OK, there were some other nuns on stage, but did we notice them… Naw! “Sour Angelica” is all about Angelica and her bitch aunt, the Principessa.

In “Gianni Schicchi” Lucio Gallo seems more in the right place. Now he really seems to enjoy it and he really takes the chance to be the central figure, and he does it good and he sings it good. The two young lovers, Lauretta and Rinuccio, do what they are supposed to, and so do the other singers.
But how much can you hate “O, mio babbino caro”?

Classicalify’s top list for “Il Trittico”:
1. Ermonela Jaho (Sour Angleica)
2. Eva-Maria Westbroek (Giorgetta)
3. Aleksandrs Antonenko (Luigi)
4. Anna Larsson (La Principessa)
5. Antonio Pappano (conductor)
6. Lucio Gallo (Michele, Gianni Schicchi)Elena Zilio (Monitress/Zita)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Day 3 - Faust without Grigolo.

Classicalify spent day 3 in London scanning the CD stores, which is easy... The only shops worth it is HMV and Harold Moore's. HMV with two shops on Oxford street and Harold Moore just one block away from Oxford street, you can easily do them in the morning.

After a siesta in the afternoon it was time to prepare for Gounod's "Faust" at ROH Covent Garden. This was a performance Classicalify saw some years ago with Gheorghiu, Alagna, Terfel and Keenlyside to much appriciation! For this round, ROH is casting two sopranos, Gheorghiu and Swedish soprano Malin Byström together with Vittorio Grigolo, René Pape and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

In good time to ROH to enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace Classicalify found out smoking is no longer allowed on the terrace... Quelle surprise! Classicalify also found out Vittorio Grigolo was indisposed and replaced by Philadelphian tenor James Valenti... hmmm...

The production by David McVicar with sets by Charles Edwards and costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstuel is a masterpiece of opera and much enjoyable, even if we prefer an interval after act 2...

The night belonged to René Pape as Méphistophélès and Malin Byström as Marguerite (a role she sang in Gothenburgh some years ago). To see Pape in gala drag for the Walpurgis Night scene is just as fun as Terfel in drag... but it seemed to Classicalify Pape did it with more style, feeling more comfortable than Terfel did.