This live issue from the 2008 Salzburg Festival centers around Riccardo Muti’s driving, powerful take on Verdi’s score. He gets wonderful, idiomatic playing from the Vienna Philharmonic, and the recorded balance in fact tends to favor the orchestra over the fine, largely fresh-voiced singers. (Muti uses an unusual edition of Act III’s concertato that Verdi wrote for the opera’s Paris premiere, featuring considerable variants in the soprano line and lighter orchestration.)
Giovanni Simone Mayr‘s „Medea in Corinto“ is „the most absolutely amazing opera discovery in decades“ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). A triumph for the Bavarian State Opera, the work was staged with a roster of top vocalists headed by Nadja Michael and Ramon Vargas in a production crafted by one of the leading directors of our time, Hans Neuenfels, and with a musical director in demand all over the world, Ivor Bolton. Born near Ingolstadt, Germany, in 1763, Mayr moved to Italy around 1787 and became one of the most important composers of Italian opera between Mozart and Rossini. He also taught many reputable composers, such as Donizetti. Written at the dawn of romanticism and the bel canto era, his main works unite stylistic characteristics of Viennese classicism with Italian melodic exuberance. „Medea in Corinto“ was premiered in Naples in 1813.
Verdi's brilliant final masterpiece Falstaff, in its first new Met production in 50 years – and conducted by Met Music Director James Levine in his first new production since his return to his podium at the Met. When it comes to theatrical flair, captivating costumes, stage antics and imagination, there are not many shows on Broadway to rival the Met s new Falstaff. “Ambrogio Maestri is made for the title role, with the apt physique, nimble acting and superb vocal presence that make him the leading Falstaff of the day. There is no weak link in a finely balanced, comically-attuned cast (the women are especially impressive) and Levine’s conducting is pitch-perfect. The show fizzles from start to finish and is tremendous fun” (Classical Music).
The great Renée Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all Paris in Lehár’s enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!, Contact). Stroman and her design team of Julian Crouch (Satyagraha, The Enchanted Island) and costume designer William Ivey Long (Cinderella, Grey Gardens, Hairspray) have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim’s. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo and Kelli O’Hara is Valencienne. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.
Coproduced with Siberia's Novosibirsk Opera, this new Macbeth uses cutting-edge multimedia technology to give the viewer a fresh perspective on the work. Google Earth satellite images plunge us into the heart of the action: a gloomy square surrounded by soulless buildings, and the interior of an aristocratic residence. Witches are no more a part of Tcherniakov's Macbeth that the duel was of Onegin, but once again the atmosphere is one of brooding claustrophobia. Tcherniakov has chosen a great cast, beginning with the marvellous Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana as Lady Macbeth. Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos is a powerful presence as Macbeth, while the Italians Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass) and Stefano Secco (tenor) are sumptuous as, respectively, Banquo and Macduff. In this, his second production at the Paris Opera, Teodor Currentzis, music director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre conducts with verve and a splendid theatrical sense.
Dvorak’s enchanting fairytale of the water-nymph Rusalka has been a signature role for Renée Fleming for the past 25 years. The Gramophone Classical Music Guide writes: “Renée Fleming's tender and heartwarming account of Rusalka's Song to the Moon reflects the fact that the role of the lovelorn water nymph, taken by her in a highly successful production at the MET in New York, has become one of her favourites”.
Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in Giancarlo Del Monaco’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the girl of the title and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game, and a snowstorm, La Fanciulla del West is Puccini at his most colorful.
Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles, set in Sri Lanka, is known above all for its unforgettable duet for tenor and baritone, but it its score is full of delightful and dramatic music. When recently staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York it proved a major success, both for the production by Penny Woolcock and the musical performance, conducted by Paolo Noseda, with (once again) Diana Damrau as the priestess Leïla and, as the two men competing for love, the tenor Matthew Polenzani (Nadir) and the baritone Mariusz Kwiecien (Zurga). Woolcock’s concept brought the production up to date, with photographic and video references to the 2004 tsunami, and offered a superb ‘aquatic’ spectacle during the overture: the whole stage appeared to be beneath the Indian Ocean and acrobatic divers ‘swam’ down from the surface (located in the flies of the theatre).
Inspired by Mary Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein is the world premiere of Liam Scarlett’s new full-length ballet. A story of betrayal, curiosity, life, death and, above all, love, exploring the very depths of human nature. Laura Morera takes the role of Elizabeth, Federico Bonelli is Victor, and Steven McRae is the creature. Koen Kessels conducts Lowell Liebermann’s newly commissioned score in this collaboration between The Royal Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.