Coming Up on World of Opera
W.A. MOZART: Don Giovanni
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
Week of 4/26/2014
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Nicola Luisotti, conductor
CAST: Mariusz Kwiecien (Don Giovanni); Alex Esposito (Leporello); Malin Byström (Donna Anna); Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira); Antonio Poli (Don Ottavio); David Kimberg (Masetto); Elizabeth Watts (Zerlina); Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Commendatore)
If ever a story fell right into a composer's wheelhouse, this would be the one. It's hard to imagine a more complex weave of antic comedy, shocking violence and emotional betrayals than librettist Lorenzo da Ponte's incisive adaptation of the Don Juan legend -- or a composer better equipped to handle it than Mozart.
NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: The Tsar's Bride
La Scala, Milan
Week of 5/3/2014
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala
Daniel Barenboi m, conductor
CAST: Anatoly Kotscherga (Sobakin); Olga Peretyatko (Marfa); Johannes Martin Kränzle (Gryaznoy); Tobias Schabel (Skuratov); Pavel Cernoch (Lykov); Marina Prudenskaya (Lybasha); Stephan Rügamer (Bornelius)
This often spectacular score comes complete with palace intrigues, a deadly poisoning, and misplaced vengeance that leads to insanity and murder. It's also home to some of Rimsky's most dazzling music.
GIACOMO PUCCINI: Tosca
Royal Theater, Turin
Week of 5/10/2014
Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Renato Palumbo, conductor
CAST: Anna Pirozzi (Tosca); Marto Berti (Cavaradossi); Marco Vratogna (Scarpia); Gabriele Sagona (Angelotti); Marco Camastra (Sacristan)
While careening from passion-driven corruption to torture, murder and suicide, Puccini's popular thriller proves that sensational entertainment can also make an artistic statement that's both enduring, and profoundly beautiful.
RICHARD WAGNER: Das Liebesverbot
Week of 5/17/2014
MDR Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
CAST: Melanie Diener (Isabella); Morten Frank Larsen (Friedrich); Sonja Freitag (Dorella); Anna Gabler (Mariana); Bernhard Berchtold (Luzio); Benjamin Bruns (Claudio); Maximilian Argmann (Antonio); Julian Prégardien (Pontio)
This early and rarely-heard comedy by Wagner comes to us from one of music's truly legendary venues, the third incarnation of Leipzig's historic Gewandhaus.
CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI: Orfeo
Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Cracow
Week of 5/24/2014
La Venexiana Orchestra; Claudio Cavina, conductor
CAST: Anicio Zorzi (Orfeo); Roberta Memeli (Euridice/La Musica); Marina de Liso (La Messigiera/Speranza); Gioria Milanesi (Proserpina/Ninfa); Ugo Guagliardo (Plutone/Apollo); Salvo Vitale (Caronte)
CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK: Orfeo ed Euridice
Week of 5/24/2014
Göteborg Opera Orchestra; Laurence Cummings, conductor
CAST: Katerina Kaméus (Orfeo); Kerstin Avemo (Euridice); Mia Karlsson (Amore)
In this fascinating double bill of "Orfeo operas," we hear two sides of one coin. When Gluck started his operatic "reform" movement he was looking back to opera's early days, when the genre was simpler and more directly expressive -- as in the time of Monteverdi. So it's ironic that of these two versions of the Orpheus legend, Monteverdi's seminal opera may actually be the more elaborate score.
NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh
Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Week of 5/31/2014
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Josep Pons, conductor
CAST: Eric Halfvarson (Prince Yuriy); Maksim Aksenov (Prince Vsevolod); Svetlana Ignatovitx (Fevroniya); Dmitry Golovnin (Grishka Kuterma); Dimitris Tiliakos (Fyodor Poyarok)
This fanciful concoction by Rimsky-Korsakov has all the orchestral brilliance of the composer's familiar concert works, to complement a charming story blending Christian mysticism with age-old folk beliefs.
GIOACHINO ROSSINI: William Tell
Royal Theatre, Turin
Week of 6/7/2014
Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
CAST: Carlos Alvarez (William Tell); John Osborn (Arnold Melcthal); Anna Maria Chiuri (Hedwige); Erika Grimaldi (Jemmy); Angela Meade (Mathilde); Giacomo Prestia (Melcthal); Luca Tittolo (Gessler); Mirco Palazzi (Walter Furst); Mikeldi Atxalandabaso (Ruodi)
If William Tell, the complete opera, was as familiar as its ubiquitous overture, it might just be the most famous opera ever composed! Still, as this production from Turin demonstrates, Rossini's final opera is far more than just the original home to "the theme from the Lone Ranger."
BOHUSLAV MARTINU: Mirandolina
National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Ostrava
Week of 6/14/2014
National Moravian-Silesian Theatre Orchestra
Marko Ivanovic, conductor
CAST: Katerina Kneziková (Mirandolina); Eva Drizgová-Jirusová (Ortensia); Anna Nitrová (Dejanina); Josef Moravec (Count d'Albafliorita); Jan Willem Bajlet (Cavaliere di Ripafratta); Martin Gurbal (Marchese di Forlimpopoli); Ales Briscein (Fabrizio)
Like his more famous countrymen Dvorak, Smetana and Janacek, Martinu displays a musical style that's both intrinsically Czech, and uniquely his own. In this charming comedy, a seductive noblewoman surprises three aristocratic suitors by falling for one of her own servants, instead
W. A. MOZART: La Clemenza di Tito
La Fenice, Venice
Week of 6/21/2014
La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Ottavio Dantone, conductor
CAST: Carlo Allemano (Tito); Carmela Remigio (Vitellia); Monica Bacelli (Sesto); Raffaella Milanesi (Annio); Juli Mathevet (Servilia); Luca Dall'Amico (Publio)
The characters in Mozart's final opera discover that even when it seems things could hardly go more horribly, disastrously wrong, everything can eventually turn out just fine -- thanks to this drama's generous, and almost surreally tolerant title character. The production comes to us from one of opera's most glamorous destinations.