Sunday, December 30, 2012

Maria Stuarda opens Tomorrow

The Met opens its first production of Maria Stuarda on New Year's Eve starring Joyce Didonato. Matthew Polenzani and Elza Van Den Heever also star with Maurizio Benini in the podium. David McVicar directs the second Tudor opera. 

For more information on Maria Stuarda click here 
For more information on Joyce Didonato read our The Enchanted Island review.
For more information on Matthew Polenzani read our L'Elisir d'Amore review

Maria Stuarda Preview 2012-2013

Joyce Didonato sings the towering role of Maria Stuarda in David McVicar's new production. Elza Van Den Heever and Matthew Polenzani also star.  

The Production
After directing the opening night of last season in Anna Bolena, David McVicar continues the Tudor trilogy with Maria Stuarda. The director which took Bolena literally has stated in interviews that he plans on taking some liberties with Stuarda. He stated that he wants to blend both fantasy and realism. He stated that his set designer john Macfarlane will bring painterly perspective to the sets. For example the writings on the wall of Act Three will represent the letters that Maria Stuarda wrote while in prison. While Anna Bolena was unimpressive, Maria Stuarda is a more theatrical opera and could give David McVicar an opportunity to shine. The opera will be part of the Met's HD performances.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Met Opera Review: Graham triumphs in revival of Les Trojans

By Francisco Salazar
(For performance of December 21, 2012)

It has been nearly 20 years since the Metropolitan Opera has presented Berlioz's masterpiece Les Troyens. The work which was written in fives acts spans a lengthy running time of 4 hours of music and five hours in the theater. It is not only a long night but also a difficult opera to cast as their are a number of solo roles and a number of ballets. On December 21, the Met's Francesca Zambello production demonstrated that Berlioz's work should be performed more often and a staple of the repertoire.

Susan Graham sang the role of Didone for the first time in more than ten years. She previously sang the role in 2002 at the Bastille and never returned to it. Ten years have passed and Graham's voice has changed but her  artistry was in full display throughout the performance. At the beginning of act three Graham sang her first aria "Chers Tyriens" with with softness and gentleness. The voice gleamed in the top notes and even though it sometimes sounded like she was overpowered by the orchestra, Graham's Didone was a a righteous and cheerful queen. Her subsequent duet with her sister Anna (played by Karen Cargill), was also sung with an extended legato lines and tender phrasing. However the highlight of the evening was during her duet with Enee and her mad scene at the end of Act five. During Nuit d'ivrese Graham gave off purity without any force. It also helped that she moved around the stage as if she glided without any effort. Graham gave each praise a lovely character and one was convinced that her love for Enee was sincere. Her transformation in the following act was complete. During her mad scene Graham's smile and and delicate gestures were transformed into harsh and quick movements. Her voice opened up and even soared through the orchestra. Her phrasing was no longer as delicate and instead it was filled with intensity, and passion. As she remembered her time with Enee, Graham brought back the delicacy giving us a sense of Didone's suffering. All in all Graham demonstrated that this is a role that fits her voice and one that should remain in her repertoire.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I wish everyone a Happy Christmas filled with joy and love.

Attached I have put a video of Rolando Villazon's new L'Elisir d'Amore. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Olga Peretyatko to sing Puritani in 2013-2014 Met Season

The rising star Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko will sing the role of Elvira in I Puritani in 2013-2014. Previously when I wrote about the complete 2013-2014 season their was no confirmed Elvira. According to Olga Peretyatko's website, she will sing the role in the Met's current production in April 2014.

The cast also includes Lawrence Brownlee and Mariusz Kwiecien.

Marcello Giordani withdraws from Les Troyens

The Met press department just announced: “Tenor Marcello Giordani has decided to withdraw from the remaining four performances of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, permanently retiring the role of Aeneas from his repertory. In his place, American tenor Bryan Hymel will make his Met debut, singing the role on December 26, December 29 matinee, January 1, and January 5 matinee (the date of the global HD transmission).”

A message to my fans and friends
Many of you may already know of my decision to withdraw from the last four performances of Les Troyens. The decision was made in mutual agreement with the administration of The Met and, in order to counteract any misunderstanding which leads to erroneous assumptions and unpleasant conclusions, I want to say that it is with profound regret that I give up one of the most interesting roles in the entire operatic repertoire. I realize that, in spite of the success of my last performance on Friday, my voice is no longer suited to the role of Aeneas and because of this, I cannot give my best interpretation to a role so complex both musically and dramatically. To continue to keep it in my repertory would be unfair to all those who have followed and supported me throughout my career. I thank you wholeheartedly, and hope to see many of you when I return to The Met in February as Paolo il Bello in Francesca da Rimini. I take this opportunity to wish you all, together my Wilma, a very Happy Holiday Season.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nino Machaidze is out of Le Comte Ory, Pretty Yende makes Met Debut

Pretty Yende will make her Met debut as Countess Adèle in this season’s performances of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, replacing Nino Machaidze, who is ill. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Barber of Seville Opens Today

Isabel Leonard and Alek Shrader lead the new English translation of The Barber of Seville. Yves Abel Conducts the Met Orchestra in Bartlett Sher's hit production

For more information on the Barber of Seville Click here to read our preview
For more on Isabel Leonard and Rodion Pogossov's Barber of Seville read last years review linked here.
For more on Alek Shrader click here for our Tempest Review.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Barber of Seville Preview 2012-2013

Isabel Leonard leads the cast of The Barber of Seville in Bartlett Sher's hit production. The production part of the Met's Holiday season presentations. 

The Production
Bartlett Sher's production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia returns to the Met. The production which premiered in 2006 has become one the Met's best new productions since the inception of the Gelb era. The production was revived last year and continues to be refreshing. It is made up of doorways, trees and an anvil. It has a walkway in front of the orchestra which can sometimes get in the way of the acoustics but helps to bring some intimate moments Critics have called delightful and one of the highlights of Peter Gelb.The revival this year may be one of the least interesting revivals but what is intriguing is what cuts will be made for the English version. The production which flows so well will most likely be reworked for the cuts and for the new text.     

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Les Troyens Opens Tomorrow

Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham and Marcello Giordani lead the cast to Berlioz's extraordinary Les Troyens. The opera conducted by Fabio Luisi is a revival of the Francesca Zambello production and will transmitted through HD.  

For more information click on our preview linked here.
For more information of Deborah Voigt read our Gotterdammerung review.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Garanca cancels Last Sesto

“French mezzo-soprano Géraldine Chauvet will make her Met debut as Sesto in this evening’s performance of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, replacing  Garanca, who is ill.” (Met press release.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Notable DVD and CD releases for the month of December and some gifts for the holiday season

December brings the holiday season and everyone most look for a gift for a special person. So what is out on the market and what is coming, here is a list of the following DVD coming out and what you should get for the holiday season.

The first release is Anna Netrebko's new christmas Boheme. Netrebko's harrowing and raw interpretation was one of the highlights of the Salzburg festival this past summer and is one that should not be missed by Netrebko fans or fans of the opera. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

San Francisco Opera 2013-2014 season announced

The San Francisco Opera has announced their 2013-2014 season. Patricia Racette will lead the season opening with Mefistofele as well as with Showboat and Madama Butterfly. Ramon Vargas, Dolora Zajick, Ildar Abdrazakov, Isabel Leonard, and Bryn Terfel also make up the lineup.