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.