January 24, 1986 |
A cultural--and economic--exchange was carried on in grand scale here Wednesday as the Public Broadcasting Service and the Austrian Broadcasting Corp. joined forces to produce a "gala of stars" for American and European TV audiences. The setting was the Vienna State Opera in the center of this musical capital, with James Levine, music director of the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Chorus joined by a number of prominent European artists.
July 17, 1989 |
After years of strife over the new Opera Bastille and a fair amount of ridicule over its exterior appearance--its eight-story bulk in glass, steel and off-white stone likened by some to a huge, immobile ship and by others to a rhinoceros in a bathtub--it turns out that the Paris press, despite some quibbles, rather likes the place.
July 25, 1992 |
Spanish and artistic temperament, as stormy as the second act of "Carmen," erupted at a news conference for the operatic portion of the Olympic opening ceremony. On hand to signal their presence in the Games and the release of a recording of their part in them were Spain's most celebrated divas and tenors, including the internationally renowned, Spanish-born Placido Domingo.
December 16, 1989 |
Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" has seen better days at the Metropolitan Opera. Otto Schenk's crisply fanciful staging scheme of 1982, now entrusted to Lesley Koenig, has lost some of its original focus and momentum. Gunther Schneider-Siemssen's lavish, ultra-clever sets are beginning to show signs of wear. Sylvain Cambreling, the new conductor, paces Offenbach's score with momentum that often exhilarates but sometimes invites frenzy.
September 24, 1992 |
Donizetti's should-be charming, must-be stylish "L'Elisir d'Amore" has returned to the War Memorial Opera House after a seven-year absence in a revival that honors a lazy, laissez-faire tradition. San Francisco has poured a flat new elixir into a shabby old bottle. When this production was first seen, 25 years ago, it represented the first independent effort here by an extraordinarily resourceful stage director named Lotfi Mansouri.
October 24, 1986 |
Charles Gounod's sometimes poignant, sometimes syrupy setting of Goethe's "Faust" has survived many indignities in the past 127 years: wholesale revisions of the gushing score and prettified text, odd interpolations, eccentric interpretations, careless productions, bizarre ego indulgences, periods of overpopularity, periods of benign neglect.
February 13, 1995 |
When the San Diego Opera is good, it is very good indeed. Remember "Rusalka" just last month. When the San Diego Opera is bad, it's provincial. Try to forget the revival of "Lucia di Lammermoor," Donizetti's very Italian translation of Sir Walter Scott's very Scottish novel, which opened Saturday night at the Civic Theatre. This was a rather crass, possibly even cynical demonstration of easy, old-fashioned, laissez-faire opera.
August 12, 1990 |
Expo '92, scheduled to take place in Seville, Spain, from April 20 to Oct. 12, 1992, will mount six famous operatic works set in Seville. The six operas--Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Le Nozze di Figaro," Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia," Beethoven's "Fidelio," Verdi's "La Forza del Destino" and Donizetti's "La Favorita"--will be performed in Seville's new opera house, the Maestranza Theater, which will open in the spring of 1991.
April 22, 1993 |
Jules Massenet's "Werther," written in 1892, is a fragile little opera. The libretto--a superficial gloss on Goethe's sorrowful novel, "Die Leiden des jungen Werthers"--is mired in mushy Germanic sentiment. The score adds layer upon delicate layer of gently perfumed Gallic gush. It is all terribly pretty, terribly sad and terribly romantic in its unabashedly bourgeois-intimate manner. Also a bit gooey.
October 8, 1988 |
When Sesto Bruscantini says, "If a singer lives in a sane manner and has a good technique, it is very difficult for the voice to give out," he ought to know. The Italian baritone, Don Alfonso in L.A. Music Center Opera's "Cosi fan Tutte," opening tonight in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, made his operatic debut in 1946.