Sunday 22 February 2009

Los Angeles Ring 2009-2010

The 2009-10 Los Angeles Opera Ring will be directed by Achim Freyer and conducted by James Conlon.

Rheingold and Walküre opens Spring 2009. Three complete cycles will be given in 2010.

A website has been set up for the LA Ring with plenty of information.

75-year German director Achim Freyer, a former pupil of Bertold Brecht has worked with opera for 30 years, staging many world premieres. Freyer´s most important stagings may be seen here. One of Freyer´s greatest successes to date is Mozart´s Magic Flute, which he has reinterpreted for several theaters, currently on the schedule in Dresden.
Achim Freyer´s most recent staging was Eugen Onegin in Berlin ealier this season. In 2007 he staged the world premiere of Alice in Wonderland in Munich.

Achim Freyer works with his 1992-founded Freyer ensemble and has developed a highly individual theatrical language emphasizing strictly formalized gestures and movements within a colourful geometric environment of almost childlike simplicity.

What to expect from Achim Freyer´s Nibelungen Ring?

I am relatively well acquainted with Achim Freyer´s work and the below Nibelungen Ring photos as well as the promotional video, a video from the Munich Alice in Wonderland and photographs from previous Achim Freyer productions including extensive Eugen Onegin photos (and review) will provide a reasonable idea. What one does not get from the photographs is the highly stylized movements of the singers, almost like string puppets, one of Freyer´s trademarks which I´d be very surprised if he didn´t continue for this Ring.

Below photos and video excerpts from Achim Freyer´s upcoming Los Angeles Opera Ring:





Wednesday 18 February 2009

Birgit Nilsson Prize: One million dollars to Plácido Domingo

The biggest prize (in monetary terms) of the classical music world, The Birgit Nilsson Prize, awarding one million dollars to the winner was awarded for the first time, the winner being: Plácido Domingo.

The identity of the first winner was already decided by Birgit Nilsson before her death and has until now been kept in a sealed envelope. The prize will be awarded every second or third year, the winner from now on to be chosen by an international committee.

To be considered for the award: A male or female opera or concert singer, or conductor within the same area. Or a specific production for an opera company.

Rutbert Reisch of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation explains that it was at Birgit Nilsson´s specific request that the prize should only be awarded three years after her death to avoid unwanted focus on Birgit Nilsson´s person as opposed to the purpose of the award (to promote opera and culture). He furthermore explains that there is enough money to award the prize in many years to come.

Further information (in Swedish) here.

Christianne Stotijn: Tchaikovsky romances

Christianne Stotijn with Julius Drake: Tchaikovsky romances. Released January 2009. Further information here.

Dutch mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn (born 1977) seems set on making an international singing career centered around concert- and liedsinging and just released her fourth solo album "Tchaikovsky romances" on Onyx.

What genuinely places Christianne Stotijn apart from the vast majority of her colleagues is not fundamentally the voice. Though Christianne Stotijn´s voice is beautiful as well as first-rate, it doesn´t have the even, creamy beauty of colleagues such as Angelika Kirchschlager or Magdalena Kozena.
What she does have, though, is a genuinely unique expressivity based around a seemingly deep understanding of the text and musical structures. The myriads of moods and colours she applies to these Tchaikovsky songs are quite extraordinary, always emphasizing the words and clearly chosing expressivity over beauty of tone, when faced with the choice.

Highly recommended.

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):


Monday 16 February 2009

Faust in Berlin: Superb singing in confusing production

Faust. Berlin State Opera, February 15th, 2009 (premiere). Production: Karsten Wiegand. Cast: Charles Castronovo (Faust), René Pape (Méphistophéles), Marina Poplavskaya (Marguerite), Silvia de la Muela (Siebel), Roman Trekel (Valentin). Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Further information here.

Initially we see Méphistopheles and Faust as Franciscan monks in front of a black wall, Méphistophéles covering his face from the audience. Upon being summoned by Faust, he initiates the action by activating a slot machine, after which a three-storey set inhabited with punk-look-alikes in a casino is revealed, Marguerite lying in her bed upstage.
Quite unusually, the music as well as the stage movements occasionally ceases only to begin when activated by Méphistophéles. In this rather boring white-trash environment including a procession of dophin masks (point unkonwn), Marguerite is easily seduced by a few pieces of fake jewelry supplied by Méphistopheles, now dressed like a catholic priest.

After the intermission things get more interesting when the choristers form a crucifix around Méphistophéles, now in seemingly Russian orthodox church regalia, in a rather effective church scene. Faust remains a passive character throughout, far too passive to kill Valentin, which Méphistophéles does for him. As Marguerite, covered in blood, displays the body of her dead child, she is substituted for a parade of hookers in the Walpurgis night and ultimately kills herself. Is she saved? I think not: Upon Marguerite falling lifeless to the floor on the empty stage, the stage walls are removed to display a dinner party, behind which Méphistophéles disappears with Faust. Theater within the theater, presumably.

Karsten Wiegand´s overall point being? I am not sure, though my first guess would be a statement against organized religion. Where this staging fails however, is with the characterization of the protagonists and though Wiegand has some interesting points, there is simply not enough dramatic tension to keep this the boat floating throughout. Not to mention a more stringent dramaturgy in order to understand what is going on without having to rely on programme notes etc.

The singers, however were first rate.

Marina Poplavskaya was announced as indisposed with a cold, but nevertheless sang beautifully with her dusky soprano and strangely intense stage appearance.

René Pape was not initially announced as indisposed (at his own request apparently), though he clearly should have been, strangely unfocused in appearance, dashing aimlessly around the stage, forgetting the text and entrances as well as occasionally intonating flat, something I have never previously heard from him. Furthermore his entrances and exits from stage seemed very uncoordinated, particularly in Act 2, though perhaps he left as he was unwell. Immediately after the intermission came the announcement that he was indisposed and needed treatment for "circulatory problems", but would continue after an additional 10 minutes. Indisposed or not, he remains a smashing Méphistophéles, though, knowing his usual standards, this was not his evening.

Charles Castronovo was a wonderful Faust with beautiful tone, fine phrasings, understandable French, effortless high notes as well as a sympathetic, though not overly engaged stage presence. Silvia de la Muela was a sympathetic Siebel and Roman Trekel a dramatically convincing, though dry Valentin.

Much applause for Alain Altinoglu in the pit, the only intrinsic French element to this performance. He obviously has plenty of ideas with this score, though his shift in tempi were rather abrupt and lacked consistency. But the orchestra played well for him, though at times he was almost intolerably slow.

Exactly what version of Faust was played I am not sure, but it is one I have never heard before. Both Marguerite´s spinning wheel scene and the Walpurgis night was included, both abridged, however and by more than just the ballet. And several small spoken recitatives were included, as well as plainly spoken sentences within some of the arias, most notably Siebels.

I was surrounded by (as well as deafened by) very loud booers, and it is my clear impression that they won out, for what it is worth.

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Marina Poplavskaya: 4-5
Charles Castronovo: 4-5
René Pape: na
Silvia de la Muela: 3
Roman Trekel: 3-4

Karsten Wiegand: 2-3

Alain Altinoglu: 3-4

Overall impression: 4

Photographs from the company website

Sunday 15 February 2009

Berlin: Major success for new production of Die Ägyptische Helena

Die Ägyptische Helena. Berlin Deutsche Oper, February 14th 2009. Production: Marco-Arturo Marelli. Cast: Ricarda Merberth (Helena), Robert Chafin (Menelaos), Laura Aikin (Aithra), Morten Frank Larsen (Altair). Coductor: Andrew Litton. Further information here

Apparently Richard Strauss and Hofmannsthal were surprised by the lack of success of Die Ägyptische Helena when it opened in 1928 at the Dresden Semperoper. From a musical point of view, its easy to see why as it contains some of Richard Strauss´ most glorious music, closely related to Die Frau Ohne Schatten. The action, however is too hopeless to be relayed here in detail (go here), however in brief: Helen of Troy and her cuckolded husband Menelaos have marital troubles, but are ultimately reconciled, helped by the sorceress Aithra. All while The Omniscient Mussel yells out prophecies and warnings from the sideline.

Marco-Arturo Marelli obviously has the major advantage that nobody really knows what this piece is about, thus the action as described in booklets is compared to Marelli´s vision as opposed to the other way around. Marelli, of the stylish Vienna Cappriccio, is equally stylish here, making efficient use of a revolving set, placing the action within three frames: The war of the past; Aithras world of the present, complete with faded oriental charm; and lastly, the fantasy world of Zweite Brauchtnacht with furniture turned upside-down. Very elegantly done. Complete with repositioning and cutting of a few scenes to make the action "believable for the public", in Marelli´s word.

As Helen of Troy, one has to be able to sing Strauss´ soaring tones as well as look like the most beautiful woman in the world. Ricarda Merbeth with her expressive, though slightly dry voice gets reasonably away with it, matched by a vivacious Laura Aikin as Aithra. Robert Chavin was indisposed as Menelaos, but fought his way through the evening. Finally, Andrew Litton succeeded in bringing out myriads of details from the orchestra in an elegantly subdued performance.

Clearly one of the best performances I have seen at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in recent years, if not the best.

The critics wrote:

Tagesspiegel: picturesque staging from Marelli..praise for the singers
Berliner Morgenpost: A triumph
Die Welt: Deutsche Oper masters Richard Strauss´ difficult work with bravour

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Ricarda Merberth: 3-4
Robert Chavin: 3-4
Laura Aikin: 4
Morten Frank Larsen:3

Marelli´s production: 5

Andrew Litton: 4

Overall impression: 4

Photographs from the company website.

Carmen on DVD: Shattering Antonacci and Kaufmann in 2006 London performance

Carmen. Royal Opera Covent Garden 2006. Production: Francesca Zambello. Cast: Anna Caterina Antonacci (Carmen), Jonas Kaufmann (Don José), IldebrandoArcangelo (Escamillo), Norah Amsellem (Micaëla). Conductor: Antonio Pappano. Further information here.

Director Francesca Zambello opted to create a "realistically desolate" production of Carmen for the Royal Opera in order to reflect on the every-day background on which the drama unfolds. And she succeeds admirably, presenting dreary, rusty simple sets and singers in period costumes. Admittedly, it could have been much worse. And indeed, with the cast presented I am inclined to not care about Zambello´s staging at all.

Ironically, most Carmen performances end up with plenty of praise for Micaëla and Escamillo, as more often than not Don José and Carmen doesn´t really kick it off. Oppositely here. IldebrandoArcangelo looks great as Escamilla, but I don´t really take to his grainy voice. Same goes for Norah Amsellem as Micaëla, whose vibrato, though less obtrusive here than in the Berlin Carmen, really does her no favor. However, I am inclined not to care about these issues either as both Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann are shattering as the leads with stage chemistry and acting making this, by far, the best Carmen on DVD.

Anna Caterina Antonacci is not a mezzo-soprano and though her center voice lies higher than the traditional Carmen, she pulls both the cards scene and final scene off, vocally as well. Her stunning and completely involving acting is on a level of its own, places her Carmen in a league with very few members.

Jonas Kaufmann superbly portraits Don José´s change from obediant, rational soldier to a virtually insane man. Though Don José really is a whimp, Jonas Kaufmann avoids making him appear as such. Vocally, it does sound like he pushes hard for the top-notes, however Plácido Domingo has always sounded like this in his seemingly endless career.

Combined with a straight-forward engaged reading from Antonio Pappano, this is one of the most successful productions of the last decade for the Royal Opera.

Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann: Final scene

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Anna Caterina Antonacci: 5
Jonas Kaufmann: 5
Norah Amsellem: 3-4
IldebrandoArcangelo: 4

Francesca Zambello: 4

Antonio Pappano: 4-5

Overall impression: 5

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Metropolitan Opera 2009-10 HD season announced

Officially, the Metropolitan has announced the 2009-10 HD season:

Tosca, October 10 – Levine; Mattila, M. Álvarez, Uusitalo, Plishka

Aida, October 24 – Gatti; Urmana, Zajick, Botha, Guelfi, Scandiuzzi, Kocán

Turandot, November 7 – Nelsons; Guleghina, Poplavskaya, Giordani, Ramey

Les Contes d’Hoffmann, December 19 – Levine; Kim, Netrebko, Gubanova, Garanča, Villazón, Pape

Der Rosenkavalier, January 9 – Levine; Fleming, Graham, Schäfer, Cutler, Allen, Sigmundsson

Carmen, January 16 – Nézet-Séguin; Frittoli, Gheorghiu, Alagna, Kwiecien

Simon Boccanegra, February 6 – Levine; Pieczonka, Giordani, Domingo, Morris

Hamlet, March 27 – Langrée; Dessay, Larmore, Spence, Keenlyside, Morris

Armida, May 1 – Frizza; Fleming, Brownlee, Ford, Zapata, Banks, van Rensburg

dvd reviews

DVD reviews listed alphabetically by the composer


Duke Bluebeards Castle - film by Kováts 1981. Solti (c)


Fidelio - Metropolitan Opera 2002; Flimm (d), Levine (c)
Fidelio - Zurich 2004; Flimm (d), Harnoncourt (c)
Fidelio - Valencia 2006; Pier´Alli (d), Mehta (c)
Missa Solemnis. 2005, Dresdner Frauenkirche. Fabio Luisi (c)


I Puritani - Metropolitan Opera 2007; Sequi (d), Sumners (c)


Lulu - Glyndebourne 1996; Vick (d), Davis (c)
Lulu - Zurich 2002; Bechtolf (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Lulu - London Royal Opera 2009; Loy (d), Pappano (c)
Lulu - Barcelona Liceu 2010; Py (d), Boder (c)

Wozzeck - Berlin State Opera 1994; Chéreau (d), Barenboim (c)
Wozzeck - Barcelona 2006; Bieito (d), Weigle (c)
Wozzeck - Bolshoi, Moscow 2010; Tcherniakov (c), Currentzis (c)


Carmen - London Royal Opera 2006; Zambello (d), Pappano (c)
Carmen - Met Opera 2010; Eyre (d), Nezet-Seguin (c)
Carmen - Liceu Barcelona 2011; Bieito (d), Piollet (c)


Damnation de Faust - Salzburg 2000; Fura del Baus (d), Cambreling (c)

Les Troyens - Paris Châtelet 2003; Kokkos (d), Gardiner (c)
Les Troyens - Valencia 2009; Fura del Baus (d), Gergiev (c)
Benvenuto Cellini - Salzburg 2007; Stölzl (c), Gergiev (c)


Julie - Aix-en-Provence 2005; Bondy (d), Ono (c)


Mefistofele - San Francisco 1989; Carsen (d), Arena (c)
Mefistofele - Palermo 2008; Del Monaco (d), Ranzani (c)


Peter Grimes - Zurich 2005; Pountney (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Peter Grimes - Metropolitan Opera 2008; Doyle (d), Runnicles (c)


Doktor Faust - Zurich Opera 2006; Grüber (d), Jordan(c)


Adriana Lecouvreur - London Royal Opera 2010; McVicar (d), Elder (c)


Pélleas et Mélisande - Welsh National Opera 1992; Stein (d), Boulez (c)
Pélleas et Mélisande - Zurich 2004; Bechtolf (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Pélleas et Mélisande - Theater an der Wien; Pelly (d), De Billy (c)


Faustus, the last night - Opéra Lyon 2006; Mussbach (d), Stockhammer (c)


Le fille du regiment - Covent Garden 2007; Pelly (d), Campanella (c)

L´Elisir d´Amore - Vienna State Opera 2005; Schenk (d), Eschwé (c)


The first emperor - Metropolitan Opera 2007; Yimou (d), Dun (c)


Rusalka - English National Opera 1986; Pountney (d), Elder (c)
Rusalka - Paris Bastille 2002; Carsen (d), Conlon (c)
Rusalka - Bavarian State Opera 2010; Kusej (d), Hanus (c)


Faust - Vienna State Opera 1985; Russell (d), Binder (c)
Faust - London Royal Opera 2004; McVicar (d), Pappano (c)

Mireille - Paris Bastille Opera 2010; Joel (d), Minkowski (c)

Romeo et Juliette - Salzburg Festival 2008; Sher (d) Nézet-Séguin (c)


La Juive - Vienna State Opera 2004; Krämer (d), Sutej (c)


Alcina - Vienna State Opera 2010; Noble (d), Minkowski (c)

Giulio Cesare - Royal Danish Opera 2006; Negrin (d), Mortensen (c)
Giulio Cesare - Glyndebourne 2005; McVicar (d), Christie (c)
Giulio Cesare - Paris Garnier 2011; Pelly (d), Haïm (c)

Messiah - Theater and der Wien 2009; Guth (d), Spinosa (c)
Partenope - Royal Danish Opera 2008; Negrin (d), Mortensen (c)
Rodelinda - Glyndebourne 1998; Villegier (d), Christie (c)
Theodora - Salzburg 2009; Loy (d), Bolton (c)


Boulevard Solitude - Barcelona Liceu 2007; Lehnhoff (d), Pesko (c)
L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe - Salzburg 2003; Dorn (d), Stenz (c)


Cardillac - Paris Bastille 2005; Engel (d), Nagano (c)


Hänsel und Gretel - Semperoper Dresden 2006; Thalbach (d), Hofstetter (c)
Hansel and Gretel - Metropolitan Opera 2007; Jones (d), Jurowski (c)
Hänsel and Gretel - London Royal Opera 2008; Leiser&Caurier (d), Davis (c)
Hänsel and Gretel - Glyndebourne 2009; Pelly (d), Ono (c)

Königskinder -Zürich Opera House 2010; Herzog (d), Metzmacher (c)


Cunning little Vixen - Paris Châtelet 1995; Hytner (d), Mackerras (c)
Cunning little Vixen - Paris Bastille 2008; Engel (d), Russell Davies (c)

From the house of the dead - Aix-en-Provence 2007; Chéreau (d), Boulez (c)

Jenufa - Glyndebourne 1989; Lehnhoff (d), Davis (c)
Jenufa - Barcelona 2005; Tambosi (d), Schneider (c)

Katia Kabanova - Salzburg 1998; Marthaler (d), Cambreling (c)
Katia Kabanoa - Madrid 2008; Carsen (d), Belohlavek (c)

Makropoulos Case - Glyndbourne 1995; Lehnhoff (d), Davis (c)
Makropoulos Case - Salzburg 2011; Marthaler (d), Salonen (c)


Die Tote Stadt - Strasbourg 1999; Levant (d), Latham-König (c)


Antikrist - Copenhagen 2001; Holm (d), Dausgaard (c)


The merry Widow - San Franciso 2001; Mansouri (d), Kunsel (c)


Pagliacci - Madrid 2007; Del Monaco (d), Lopez Cobos (c)


Le Grand Macabre - Barcelona Liceu  2011; Fura dels Baus (d), Boder (c)

1984 - Covent Garden 2006; LePage (d), Maazel (c)


Cendrillon - London Royal Opera 2011; Pelly (d), de Billy (c)

Don Quichotte - Bruxelles La Monnaie 2010; Pelly (d), Minkowski (c)

Manon - Paris Bastille 2001; Deflo (d), Lopez-Cobos (c)
Manon - Berlin State Opera 2007; Paterson (d), Barenboim (c)
Manon - Barcelona 2007; McVicar (d), de Billy (c)

Werther - Vienna State Opera 2005; Serban (d), Jordan (c)
Werther - Paris Bastille 2010; Jacquot (d), Plasson (c)


Saint Francois d´Assise - Amsterdam 2008; Audi (d), Metzmacher (c)


A Mozart Gala - Salzburg 2006; Daniel Harding (c); Kozena, Netrebko, Pape, Siurina etc

Clemenza di Tito - Salzburg 2003; Kusej (d), Harnoncourt (c)

Cosí fan Tutte - Berlin State Opera 2002; Dörrie (d), Barenboim (c)
Cosí fan Tutte - Aix-en-Provence 2005; Chéreau (d), Harding (c)
Cosí fan Tutte - Glyndebourne 2006; Hytner (d), Fischer (c)
Cosi fan Tutte - Salzburg 2009; Guth (d), Fischer (c)

Don Giovanni - film by Peter Sellars 1990. Craig Smith (c)
Don Giovanni - Aix-en-Provence 2002; Brooks (d), Harding (c)
Don Giovanni - Liceu Barcelona 2002; Bieito (c), de Billy (c)
Don Giovanni - Zurich 2006; Bechtolf (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Don Giovanni - Salzburg 2006; Kusej (d), Harding (c)
Don Giovanni - Salzburg 2008; Guth (d), De Billy (c)
Don Giovanni - London Royal Opera 2008; Zambello (d), Mackerras (c)
Don Giovanni - La Scala 2011; Carsen (d), Barenboim (c)

Entführung aus dem Serail - Salzburg 2006; Herheim (d), Bolton (c)

Idomeneo - Salzburg Festival 2006; Herrmann (d), Norrington (c)
Il re pastore - Salzburg Festival 2006; Hengelbrock (d and c)

Nozze di Figaro - Glyndebourne 1994; Medcalf (d), Haitink (c)
Nozze di Figaro - Covent Garden 2006; McVicar (d), Pappano (c)
Nozze di Figaro - Paris Palais Garnier 2006; Marthaler (d), Cambreling (c)
Nozze di Figaro - Salzburg 2006; Guth (d), Harnoncourt (d)

Zauberflöte - Paris Palais Garnier 2001; Besson (d), Fischer (c)
Zauberflöte - Covent Garden 2003; McVicar (d), Davis (c)
Zauberflöte - Salzburg 2006; Audi (d), Muti (c)
Zauberflöte (Magic Flute) - film by Kenneth Branagh 2006. Conlon (c)


Cavalleria Rusticana - Madrid 2007; Del Monaco (d), Lopez Cobos (c)
Cavalleria Rusticana - Salzburg Easter Festival 2015, Michelietto (c), Thielemann (c)


L´incoronazione di Poppea - Glyndebourne 2009; Carsen (d), Haïm (c)
L´incoronazione di Poppea - Liceu Barcelona 2009; Alden (d), Bicket (c)


Boris Godunov - Mariinsky 1990; Tarkovsky (d), Gergiev (c)
Boris Godunov - Barcelona 2004; Decker (d), Weigle (c)
Khovanshchina - Vienna State Opera 1989; Kirchner (d), Abbado (c)
Khovanshchina - Liceu Barcelona 2007; Winge (d), Boder (c)
Khovanshchina - Bavarian State Opera 2007; Tcherniakov (d), Nagano (c)


Maskarade - Royal Danish Opera 2006; Bech Holten (d), Schønwandt (c)


Les Contes d´Hoffmann - Paris Bastille 2002; Carsen (d), Lopez-Cobos (c)
Les Contes d´Hoffmann - Geneve 2008; Py (d), Davin (c)


Palestrina - Bavarian State Opera 2009; Stückl (d), Young (c)


Assassinio nella Cattedrale - Bari, 2006. D´Onofrio (d), Morandi (c)


Dialogue des carmelites - La Scala 2004; Carsen (d), Muti (c)
Dialogue des carmelites - Hamburg 2008; Lehnhoff (d), Young (c)
Dialogue des carmelites - Munich 2010; Tcherniakov (d), Nagano (c)


A streetcar named desire - San Francisco 1998; Previn (c)


L´amour pour les trois oranges - Paris Bastille 2005; Deflo (d), Cambreling (c)
The gambler - Berlin State Opera 2008; Tcherniakov (d), Barenboim (c)


Fanciulla del West - Nederlandse Opera 2009; Lehnhoff (d), Rizzi (c)

Madame Butterfly - film by Mitterand 1985. Conlon (c)
Manon Lescaut - Metropolitan Opera 2008, Levine (c)

Tosca - Amsterdam 1998; Lehnhoff (d), Chailly (c)
Tosca - Zurich Opera House 2009; Carsen (d), Carignani (c)
Tosca - London Royal Opera 2010; Kent (d), Pappano (c)
Tosca - Metropolitan Opera 2009; Bondy (d), Colaneri (c)

Turandot - Metropolitan Opera 1986; Zeffirelli (d), Levine (c)
Turandot - Salzburg 2002; Pountney (d), Gergiev (c)
Turandot - Metropolitan Opera 2009; Zeffirelli (d), Nelsons (c)


Dido and Aeneas - Paris Opera Comique 2008; Warner (d), Christie (c)


Selma Jezkova - Copenhagen 2010; Holten (d), Schønwandt (c)


L´amour de loin - Finnish National Opera 2005; Sellars (d), Salonen (c)


Katerina Izamailova - 1966 film based on Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk
Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk - Barcelona Liceu 2003; Winge (d), Anissimov (c)
Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk - Amsterdam 2006; Kusej (d), Jansons (c)


Fierrabras - Zurich 2007; Guth (d), Welser-Möst (c)


Genoveva - Zurich Opera 2008; Kusej (d), Harnoncourt (c)


Moses und Aron - Vienna State Opera 2006; Nickler (d), Gatti (c)


Die Gezeichneten - Salzburg 2005; Lehnhoff (d), Nagano (c)


Arabella - film from 1977 by Schenk; Solti (c)
Arabella - Zurich 2007; Friedrich (d), Welser-Möst (c)

Ariadne auf Naxos - film 1978 after Sanjust´s Vienna production. Böhm (c)
Ariadne auf Naxos - Zurich 2006; Guth (d), Dohnanyi (c)

Capriccio - Paris Palais Garnier 2004; Carsen (d), Schirmer (c)

Die Frau Ohne Schatten - Bav. State Opera in Japan 1992; Ishikawa (c), Sawallisch (c)
Die Frau Ohne Schatten - Salzburg 1992; Friedrich (d), Solti (c)
Die Frau Ohne Schatten - Salzburg 2011; Loy (d), Thielemann (c)

Elektra - Metropolitan Opera 1980; Levine (c)
Elektra - film 1981; Friedrich (d), Böhm (c)
Elektra - Vienna State Opera 1989; Kupfer (d), Abbado (c)
Elektra - Zurich 2006; Kusej (d), Dohnanyi (c)
Elektra - Salzburg 2010; Lehnhoff (d), Gatti (c)
Elektra - Baden-Baden 2010; Wernicke (d), Thielemann (c)

Rosenkavalier - Salzburg 2004; Carsen (d), Bychkov (c)
Rosenkavalier - Zurich 2004; Bechtolf (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Rosenkavalier - Semperoper Dresden in Japan 2007; Laufenberg (d), Luisi (c)
Rosenkavalier - Baden-Baden 2008; Wernicke (d), Thielemann (c)

Salome - film 1974; Friedrich (d), Böhm (c)
Salome - Deutsche Oper Berlin 1990; Weigl (d), Sinopoli (c)
Salome - Covent Garden 1997; Bondy (d), Dohnanyi (c)
Salome - La Scala 2007; Bondy (d), Harding (c)
Salome - Covent Garden 2008; McVicar (d), Jordan (c)
Salome - Metropolitan Opera 2008; Flimm (d), Summers (c)


The Rakes Progress - Bruxelles 2007; LePage (d), Eno (c)
The Rakes Progress - Glyndebourne 2010; Cox (d), Jurowski (c)


Eugene Onegin - Metropolitan Opera 2007; Carsen (d), Gergiev (c)
Eugene Onegin - Salzburg 2007; Breth (d), Barenboim (c)
Eugene Onegin - Paris Garnier 2008; Tcherniakov (d), Vedernikov (c)

Pique Dame - Paris 2005; Dodin (d), Rozdestvensky (c)
Pique Dame - Barcelona Liceu 2010; Deflo (d), Boder (c)


Anna Nicole - London Royal Opera 2011; Jones (d), Pappano (c)


Aida - Zurich Opera 2006; Joël (d), Fisher (c)

Don Carlos - Paris Châtelet 1996; Bondu (d), Pappano (c)
Don Carlo - Amsterdam 2004; Decker (d), Chailly (c)
Don Carlos - Vienna State Opera 2004; Konwitschny (d), de Billy (c)
Don Carlo - London Royal Opera 2010; Hytner (d), Pappano (c)

Falstaff - Covent Garden 1999; Vick (d), Haitink (c)
Falstaff - Aix-en-Provence 2001; Wernicke (d), Mazzola (c)

Forza del Destino - Vienna 2008; Pountney (d), Mehta (c)

Il trovatore - Covent Garden 2002; Moshinsky (d), Rizzi (c)
Il trovatore - Bregenz 2005; Carsen (d), Rösner (c)
Il trovatore - Metropolitan Opera 2011; McVicar (d), Armiliato (c)

La Traviata - Aix-en-Provence 2003; Mussbach (d), Sado (c)
La Traviata - La Fenice 2004; Carsen (d), Maazel (c)
La Traviata - Salzburg 2005; Decker (d), Rizzi(c)
La Traviata - Los Angeles 2006; Domingo (d), Conlon (c)

Macbeth - film 1987; Claude D´Anna (d), Chailly (c)
Macbeth - Zurich 2002; Pountney (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Macbeth - Metropolitan 2008; Noble (d), Levine (c)
Macbeth - Paris Bastille 2009; Tcherniakov (d), Currentzis (c)

Otello - Covent Garden 1992; Moshinsky (d), Solti (c)
Otello - Metropolitan Opera 1995; Moshinsky (d), Levine (c)
Otello - Berlin State Opera 2001; Flimm (d), Barenboim (c)
Otello - La Scala 2001; Vick (d), Muti (c)
Otello - Barcelona 2006; Decker (d), Ros-Marbá (c)

Rigoletto - Covent Garden 2001; McVicar (d), Downes (c)
Rigoletto - Zurich 2006; Deflo (d), Santi (c)
Rigoletto - Dresden 2008; Lehnhoff (d), Luisi (c)
Rigoletto - Palazzo Ducale di Mantova 2010; Bellocchio (d), Mehta (c)

Simone Boccanegra - Firenze 2002; Stein (d), Abbado (c)


Flying Dutchman - film 1975; Kaslik (d), Sawallisch (c)
Flying Dutchman - Savonlinna 1980; Bäckman (c), Segerstam (c)
Flying Dutchman - Bayreuth 1985; Kupfer (d), Nelsson (c)
Flying Dutchman - Nederlanse Opera 2010; Kusej (d), Haenchen (c)

Götterdämmerung - Bayreuth 1997; Kirchner (d), Levine (c)

Lohengrin - Bayreuth 1982; Friedrich (d), Nelsson (c)
Lohengrin - Metropolitan 1986; Everding (d), Levine (c)
Lohengrin - Bayreuth 1990; Werner Herzog (d), Schneider (c)
Lohengrin - Vienna State Opera 1990; Weber (d), Abbado (c)
Lohengrin - Barcelona 2006; Konwitschny (d), Weigle (c)
Lohengrin - Baden-Baden 2006; Lehnhoff (d), Nagano (c)
Lohengrin - Munich 2009; Jones (d), Nagano (c)
Lohengrin - Bayreuth 2011; Neuenfels (d), Nelsons (c)
Lohengrin - Dresden 2016; Mielitz (d), Thielemann (c)

Meistersinger - Bayreuth 1984; Wagner (d), Stein (c)
Meistersinger - Sydney 1988; Hampe (d), Mackerras (c)
Meistersinger - Deutsche Oper Berlin 1995; Friedrich (d), Frühbeck de Burgos (c)
Meistersinger - Bayreuth 1999; Wagner (d), Barenboim (c)
Meistersinger - Metropolitan Opera 2002; Schenk (d), Levine (c)
Meistersinger - Zürich Opera 2003; Lehnhoff (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Meistersinger - Bayreuth 2008; Wagner (d), Weigle (c)
Meistersinger - Vienna State Opera 2008; Schenk (d), Thielemann (c)

Nibelungen Ring - comprehensive post providing an overview of all seven comercially available releases

Nibelungen Ring - Bayreuth 1980; Chéreau (d), Boulez (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Metropolitan Opera 1989/90; Schenk (d), Levine (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Bayreuth 1991; Kupfer (d), Barenboim (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Amsterdam 1999; Audi (d), Haenchen (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Stuttgart 2002-3; Various (d), Zagrosek (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Barcelona 2003-4; Kupfer (d), de Billy (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Copenhagen 2006; Bech Holten (d), Schønwandt (c)
Nibelungen Ring - Valencia 2009; Fura del Baus (d), Mehta (c)

Parsifal - Bayreuth 1981; Wagner (d), Stein (c)
Parsifal - film by Syberberg 1983. Jordan (c)
Parsifal - Metropolitan Opera 1992; Schenk (d), Levine (c)
Parsifal - Berlin State Opera 1992; Kupfer (d), Barenboim (c)
Parsifal - Bayreuth 1998; Wagner (d), Sinopoli (c)
Parsifal - Baden-Baden 2004; Lehnhoff (d), Nagano (c)
Parsifal - Zurich Opera House 2007; Hollmann (c), Haitink (c)
Parsifal - Metropolitan Opera 2014; Girard (c), Gatti (d)
Parsifal - Berlin State Opera 2015; Tcherniakov (c), Barenboim (d)
Parsifal - Bayreuth 2016; Laufenberg (c), Haenchen (d)

Rheingold - film staged and conducted by Karajan 1978.

Rienzi - Deutsche Oper Berlin; Stölzl (d), Lang-Lessing (c)

Tannhäuser - Bayreuth Festival 1978; Friedrich (d), Davis (c)
Tannhäuser - Metropolitan Opera 1982; Schenk (d), Levine (c)
Tannhäuser - Bayreuth 1989; Wagner (d), Sinopoli (c)
Tannhäuser - Munich 1995; Alden (d), Mehta (c)
Tannhäuser - Zurich 2003; Jens-Daniel Herzog (d), Welser-Möst (c)
Tannhäuser - Baden-Baden 2008; Lehnhoff (d), Jordan (c)
Tannhäuser - Barcelona Liceu 2008; Carsen (d), Weigle (c)
Tannhäuser - Copenhagen 2010; Holten (d), Schønwandt (c)
Tannhäuser - Bayreuth 2014; Baumgarten (d), Kobe (c)
Tannhäuser - Berlin State Opera 2014; Waltz (d), Barenboim (c)

Tristan and Isolde - Bayreuth 1982; Ponnelle (d), Barenboim (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Deutsche Oper 1993; Friedrich (d), Kout (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Bayreuth 1995; Müller (d), Barenboim (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Munich 1998; Konwitschny (d), Mehta (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Metropolitan Opera 2001; Dorn (d), Levine (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Barcelona Liceu 2002; Kirchner (d), de Billy (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Geneva 2005; Py (d), Jordan (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Glyndebourne 2007; Lehnhoff (d), Behlohavek (c)
Tristan and Isolde - La Scala 2007; Chéreau (d), Barenboim (c)
Tristan and Isolde - Bayreuth 2009; Marthaler (d), Schneider (c)

Walküre - Aix-en-Provence 2007; Braunschweig (d), Rattle (c)
Walküre - Bayreuth 2010; Dorst (d), Thielemann (c)


The art of singing - Golden voices of the century

Beethoven - complete piano sonatas by Daniel Barenboim

Gala concert of the 50th anniversary of the reopening of the Vienna State Opera (2005)
Leif Ove Andsnes - Ballad for Edvard Grieg 2007
The matchstick man and the Seventh door - films on Kurtag and Eötvös
Natalie Dessay - Le miracle d´un voix (2004)
Parsifal - the search for the grail. A film special with Plácido Domingo (1998)

Valery Gergiev with Prokofiev´s Scythian suite, Stravinsky and Debussy with the Rotterdam Philharmonics (1996)
Waltraud Meier - a portrait (2002)

Sunday 8 February 2009

Anna Caterina Antonacci: Superb solo disc Era la notte

Anna Caterina Antonacci: Era la notte. Released 2006. Further information here.

Giramo´s La Pazza, Monteverdi´s Lamento d'Arianna and Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda as well as Strozzi´s Lamento.

Such is the content of soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci´s as yet only solo-disc released in 2006. A soprano, of whom it is often said, that she should be experienced live to be fully appreciated. However, her performance on this disc is nothing short of superb, infusion life and commitment into every inch of this repertoire. Without selling short on vocal precision and intonation.
Not to miss is Monteverdi´s Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorina, where Antonacci takes the part of both lovers, who actually end up in mortal combat, not recognizing each other .

For early music lovers, this disc is a must. So is a new solo disc by Anna Caterina Antonacci, despite her recent successes, still vastly underrated.

Anna Caterina Antonacci with the first part of Il combattimento di Tancredi et Clorinda (audio only):

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):


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