Wednesday, 27 April 2011

New hunk CD releases.

Ever so hot bariton Erwin "Netrebkohusband" Schrott and Wagner hunk René Pape has released new CD:s...
Why not lose yourself in Erwin's hot tango or René's Wagner.

Here are the links:

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wagner Ring all over...New Swedish Brünnhilde

For the coming Wagner jubilee year 2013, several opera houses are going Ring nuts! We will enjoy Ring Cycles all over, some have already started and will be finished in time. As mentioned earlier, Karlstad in Sweden is going 5-time-Ring-crazy already this year. Hamburg will complete their ring this coming fall. Opera North is starting and doing semi-staged version of the four operas. Here is the cast for The Walkure in june 2012:

Opera North are doing Walkure in Leeds, Gateshead, Salford and Birmingham only. All are semi staged concert performances. The cast list is

Alwyn Mellor - Sieglinde

Annalena Persson - Brünnhilde

Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts - Siegmund

Béla Perencz - Wotan

Katarina Karnéus - Fricka

Clive Bayley - Hunding

Katherine Broderick - Helmwige

Giselle Allen, Miriam Murphy,Emma Carrington, Catherine Hopper,Madeleine Shaw, Antonia Sotgiu - Valkyries

Richard Farnes conductor

Dame Anne Evans artistic consultant

Peter Mumford concert staging, lighting design

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Salzburg Easter Festival goes south

Fitting for Easter, the Salzburg Easter Festival has announced a group of new coproduction with Teatro Real in Madrid that includes Parsifal in 2013. A new Carmen (2012) and the recent Herheim Salome from this year's Easter Festival is also included in the package. The great news is that not only the productions will travel, but also the orchestra and it's conductor. As that orchestral combo is probably the best in the world, the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, we at Classicalify offer a big congratulation to all Madrilenos! Mortier is starting to prove his worth to the Madrid opera house.

The Salome will also travel to the Norwegian Opera, alas without the orchestra this time. And the Carmen will also be a coproduction with the Salzburg summer Festspiele 2012, where Rattle will follow but change the band to the Vienna Phil.

Also the programme for the Salzburg Easter Festival 2012 (31/3 - 9/4) is here, with the aforementioned new Carmen directed by Aletta Collins. Kozena sings Carmen, a doubtful cast if you ask Classicalify, but Jonas Kaufmann tops up the casting nicely. Maybe the highlight of the festival will be the das Lied von der Erde under Rattle's superb Mahler baton and with Kaufman and von Otter as soloists. Start saving now, if you want to go. Tickets are outrageously expensive.

Photo credits go to the Salzburg Easter Festival

The Norwegian Opera 2011-2012

Almost all opera houses have released their coming seasons and here is den norske operan or the Norwegian Opera's offering. Unfortunately it's almost completely uninteresting. The big plans launched with a fantastic new Don Carlos at the opening of the house today seem shelved. The one shining light is a new La Boheme directed by the always interesting Stefan Herheim. What the Boheme shares with all other productions is an utterly boring casting with a complete lack of star power. Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, seems uninterested in investing in culture. Shame. Still the house itself, is as beautiful as ever. Shame that what's going in inside is so lacklustre.

Photo credit The Norwegian Opera/Erik Berg

Friday, 22 April 2011

Vattnäs Concert Barn

They are not just singers and have their own agency together. They have become owners of a new concert hall. Or rather a concert barn. On a private initiative they are now building a new venue for music in miss Larssons home county of Dalarna. Together with their Future stars singers they will have concerts in the barn opening on the 16th of july. This is realy unique today that opera singers on their own show such dedication to create something new for the performing arts. Go to for more info. Anna Larsson is one of the most sought after singers in the world today. She has her own blogging on her website .

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

FIDELIO. New Album release June 14th.

If you weren't there in person to hear it live last year in Luzern then this new release is a must.

Go to our blog archiv for august and read our review of the concert. This is Nina Stemmes first ever recording of Beethovens only opera. And she did it with the best there is in the business. Can't wait for this one.

Summer music festivals 2011.

Summer is soon upon us and with that plenty of music festivals. Here are few suggestions on what to do for the summer.
BBC Proms 15/7-10/9

is one of the most famous music festivals in the UK and around the world.

Booking opens on saturday may 7th 9am GMT. A total of 74 concerts will be performed in the Royal Albert Hall with orchestras and artists from around the world.

If you are fan of Gustav Mahler some of his best symphonies will be performed at this years proms. Symphony nr 9 conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, the second symphony with the Simon Bolivar Youth orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and the best alto singer in the world Anna Larsson will sing in the fourth movement. Miah Persson will sing the soprano part. Classicalify can reveal that Miah Persson will sing the second symphony in Stockholm with Daniel Harding next year.

The sixth symphony is performed by the BBC symphony orchestra and Semyon Bychkov conducts. Hold on tight by your computer or phone it can be a struggle.

All concerts will be broadcasted on BBC radio 3.

For complete program go to www.


Classicalify reported directly from Lucerne last year and will do so again this year.

Lucerne Festival Orchestra will get together again and with Claudio Abbado they will perform Brahms piano concerto no 1 with Helene Grimaud and Mahler symphony nr 10 the adagio. They will also perform Bruckner symphony nr 5 and Mozart Haffner symphony.

As usual in Lucerne you can hear just about every orchestra in the world. From the Berliner Philharmonic to Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Booking opens on May 2 12am. 13 am gmt.

Go to for more info. Make sure you have plenty of money because the tickets are not cheap. But worth every cent. It's always tickets availble and if it's sold out don't worry you can buy tickets at the KKL Luzern when the festival opens. Or keep an eye on their website before you go.

Festivals are a great way to hear live music. If you are a beginner to classical music and opera you can start by hearing vocal works in concerts before going to the opera house.

In the concert repetoars there are always concerts with an overture from an opera or a choral work by for example Verdi. Many composers who wrote opera has also written a mass or song cykles to be performed by either male or female singer. Or both together.

So start planning.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Wagner Festival in Wermland

(Pictures: Walkure and Rheingold in Karlstad).

Classicalify is always looking for new, hot and exceptionell performances around Europe. In Karlstad, Sweden, close to the Norwegian border, The Wermland Opera is doing something VERY special. This small operahouse in the middle of nowhere is playing FIVE complete Wagner Ring Cycles, starting today, April 18. Several of Sweden's most famous local singers are casted...some internationel Swedes also sing the main roles so there will be good singing, we can tell from earlier Wagner experiences in the Karlstad Theatre.

Our big hopes go to Fredrik Zetterström who will debut as Wotan/Wanderer... in the complete Ring, five times... What a killer!!! (Castlist also list Urban Malmberg).

This Five-Ring-Project is to celebrate a one-year closure for refurbishment. Is this a mission to big? Well, we will follow this with interest and Classicalify will attend Ring 3 in June.

Here are the dates for the coming performances:

Ring 1: 18/4 Rhenguldet 20/4 Valkyrian22/4 Siegfried24/4 Ragnarök Ring 2: 6/5 Rhenguldet8/5 Valkyrian13/5 Siegfried15/5 Ragnarök Ring 3: 13/6 Rhenguldet15/6 Valkyrian17/6 Siegfried19/6 Ragnarök Ring 4: 27/6 Rhenguldet29/6 Valkyrian1/7 Siegfried3/7 Ragnarök Ring 5: 8/7 Rhenguldet10/7 Valkyrian15/7 Siegfried 17/7 Ragnarök

As we are hard to sell for Swedish travel companies... So maybe this is to big... We are eagerly waiting for reviews and critics from newspapers and operafriendly blogs! Get back to us and we'll keep you updated.

If you want to experience the city of Karlstad and the beautiful theatre and get yourself a nice Wagner orgasm, log in to The Wermland opera site:

or via email:

Combination with hotel can also be arranged via the operahouse. Of course we also advise you to spend time in the beautiful area of Wermland, Sweden.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

2011-2012 season at the Bayrische Staatsoper

It's harvesting time for new season announcements. A few days ago the Bayrische Staatsoper presented their new offerings to the opera world. And there's some nice things happening. For example a new Ring by Andreas Kriegenburg (who did the new Otello at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin). The Ring casting shows some strength, with the highlight being Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung. Also interesting is Klaus Florian Vogt as Siegmund, and Stephen Gould as Siegfried. Classicalify heard that Anja Harteros had planned to debut her Sieglinde in this Ring, but decided to pass. Pity, we think.

Apart from the new Ring, the most promising show seems to be the revival of Don Carlo in January with Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Rene Pape, Mariusz Kwiecien and Anna Smirnova in the absolutely world class cast. A new Les Contes Hoffmann by Ricahard Jones has it's premiere on October 31 and is interesting mainly for Damrau's four heroines and Villazon's Hoffmann. The latters likely cancellation makes it a gamble of course.

There are som more goodies, for example a I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Anna Netrebko and Vesselina Kasarova, a Cenerentola with Joyce DiDonato and a Rosenkavalier with Renée Fleming, Sophie Koch and Camilla Tilling.

We will probably go for the Don Carlo and possibly the Götterdämmerung.

Picture courtesy of the Bayrische Staatsoper

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Lucia di Lammermoor in Göteborg

Classicalify was one of the lucky ones to experience the premier of Donizett's "Lucia di Lammermoor" at the Göteborg Opera. Overwhelming performance with great singing and playing. The production is a 2008 ENO David Alden production brought to Göteborg. For the first time in Nordic opera history we can experience the glass harmonica in this work... a ghostlike, etheric sound that sends shiver down your spine. Strongly recommended.

From the Göteborg Opera homepage:

Power struggles, impossible love and murder. Kerstin Avemo creates a moving impersonation of the unhappy Lucia in our first ever Donizetti opera. Opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848).

Bel Canto – beautiful song – is a term originating in Italy, the home of opera. Gaetano Donizetti is seen as one of the most prominent of the 19th century composers of the Bel Canto genre. In his popular opera Lucia di Lammermoor, shown for the first time at The Göteborg Opera, the soprano passages of the title role are are dizzyingly beautiful – and master pieces of virtuosity.

This production was a success when it premiered at the English National Opera in 2008, directed by award winning director David Alden, and was performed again in February 2010. The story takes place in ghostly castle milieus and tells of a power struggle between two families, impossible love versus economical interests and forced marriages with deadly consequences.

Lucia is sung by coloratura soprano Kerstin Avemo, much in demand internationally, not least because of her success in this role. Many will remember her hypnotic Lulu in Alban Berg’s opera of the same name which was performed at The Göteborg Opera in 2002. Now she plays the tragic heroine who is driven to insanity and, as author and philosopher Cathérine Clément says “dances with her desires”.

Lucia’s beloved, Edgardo, is sung by tenor Bülent Bezdüz, whose impression of Rodolfo in Bohème at The Göteborg Opera in 2008/2009 was very impressive. First guest conductor Giancarlo Andretta will lead the orchestra and in accordance with Donizetti’s original intentions we have included something as unusual as a glass harmonica in the orchestra.

Pergolesi Stabat Mater with Netrebko

Deutsche Grammophon Releases “Stabat Mater: A Tribute to Pergolesi” Featuring Anna Netrebko.

Opera superstar Anna Netrebko, who has recorded numerous chart-topping albums for Deutsche Grammophon, now turns her attention to sacred music for the first time on the Yellow Label with works by the Italian composer Giovanni Pergolesi including his famous Stabat Mater. Netrebko is joined by mezzo-soprano Marianna Pizzolato and maestro Antonio Pappano who conducts the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Anna Netrebko has built a career singing in operas and on concert stages with unbridled enthusiasm and a rich voice on unusual beauty and color. Her roles have included both the comic and the tragic, and she fearlessly commands the stage in Russian, Italian and French repertoire. For her concerts in Baden-Baden in July, 2010, Netrebko decided not to perform Russian repertoire (her Iolanta in 2009 received dazzling reviews) or a recital of opera arias but instead a program devoted to a period with which she is not associated – the Baroque. She decided to concentrate on Giovanni Battista Pergolesi whose tercentenary was being celebrated in 2010.

Classicalify (who saw the Baden-Baden Iolanta) luckily found this CD when recently in Göteborg for opening night of "Lucia di Lammermoor". Strongly recommended. This is a new side of the super soprano Netrebko and hopefully we will see more!

Lohengrin correction...

Classicalify must correct some information about the coming "Lohengrin" at Royal Opera, Stockholm. Hard gossip says Ortrud will be shared by Lena Nordin, over-aged Agneta Lundgren and Susanne Resmark (only 3 performances). Elsa will be sung by Emma Vetter. Classicalify is looking forward to the Ortrud Disaster!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Season 2011-2012 at the Royal Swedish Opera

The new opera seasons in Sweden are coming together, and more nicely than usually. Sweden, the birth place of opera legends such as Björling and Nilsson and a host of now active singers who are internationally successful, has a rather patchy record for mounting great opera the last three decades. This time around things looks somewhat brighter.

Let's start by looking at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm where the season's first premiere will be a new Carmen (thank God, the current production is just awful) by Vincent Broussard and Lionel Bringiuer. The (anti)heroine will be sung Katarina Dalayman, probably on a break from a some Brünnhildes and Elektras. Dalayman might prove a success though, her voice has always sounded best in her dark and smouldering middle voice. Her stage presence is also quite animalistic. Not a Carmen in the de los Angeles mould, but more of Bumbry probably.

The biggest draw of the season is the new La Fanciulla del West with the role debut of fabulous Nina Stemme mounting the horse in a Christof Loy production. On her side will Aleksandr Antonenks be, a reliable and robust voice with a somewhat quite rounded timbre. A fun fact is that Loy was originally contracted to direct a new Un Ballo in Maschera with Stemme and Mattei but plans were changed when Mattei withdrew and the hunt for a decent tenor failed.

Lohengrin gets a new production by Stephen Langride,with Weinius as Lohengrin and Susanne Resmark as Ortrud. Unfortunately Elsa is miscast with house soprano Lena Nordin, whose nowadays rather sharp end metallic voice is not what you hope for in an Elsa.

There will also be new productions of Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelite Sisters, a double bill of Bluebeard's Castle and Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and a new opera by Anders Eliasson called Karolinas sömn (The Sleep of Karolina).

The most interesting guest appearance is probably Ermonela Jaho as Violetta in October. And to kick off the season the Kirov Opera and Valery Gergiev will make a two day guest appearance. Let's hope there are more interesting guest appearances from international singers to round out the season. Given that, the next season will be a distinct improvment compared to the two last mediocre (at best) seasons.

(Picture by Alexander Kenney courtesy of the Royal Swedish Opera)