April 22, 2013 |
It looks like Christoph Waltz, who won his second Academy Award in February for "Django Unchained," will be taking a career detour into the world of opera later this year. The Austrian-born actor is reportedly set to make his opera directorial debut with a new production of "Der Rosenkavalier" by Richard Strauss. Waltz recently told the German-language newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he will helm the production at the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Belgium. The debut is scheduled for Dec. 15, according to the newspaper.
April 8, 2013 |
Kent Nagano's tenure at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra appears uncertain following reports that the American conductor will depart the orchestra when his current contract as music director expires in 2016. But the orchestra's management has vigorously denied the reports. A report this month from Montreal's La Presse stated that Nagano's contract with the orchestra won't be renewed beyond 2016. The report, written by Claude Gingras, cites sources saying that Zarin Mehta is helping the orchestra find Nagano's successor.
April 5, 2013 |
The Britten year in Los Angeles has begun with a bang. This weekend, you can hear Britten in Walt Disney Concert Hall, at Jacaranda in Santa Monica -- and most of all, in the Colburn School's Zipper Hall where the ever-on-the-move sparkplug James Conlon is presiding over an extraordinary marathon of songs and opera that rarely get a live hearing in this country. For starters Thursday night, in a setting that imaginatively re-invents the format of an art song recital, there was a long “prelude” of often stark songs by Benjamin Britten and others by his teachers Frank Bridge and John Ireland and his foremost predecessor in English opera, Henry Purcell.
April 4, 2013 |
Los Angeles Opera wheeled into its final three performances of Rossini's “Cinderella” Wednesday night with a new Cinderella toiling amid her cadre of lovable, helpful rats. She is the Georgian mezzo-soprano Ketevan Kemoklidze -- yet another winner of Plácido Domingo's Operalia competition to appear on the L.A. Opera stage (her debut), and also somewhat of a contrast to the previous Cinderella, Kate Lindsey. This Cinderella registered a distinctive vocal presence with a Slavic accent (which lessened as the performance unfolded)
March 25, 2013 |
The romanticized image Los Angeles Opera is promoting for "Cinderella" shows a pretty princess, a pumpkin-shaped carriage and ample fairy dust. Opera, perhaps, for preteens? Fortunately not. The opera is in fact Rossini's "La Cenerentola," and it advances no fairy godmother, no glass slippers, no gold carriage, no pumpkin. There is no magic whatsoever, just satire and class warfare, which might actually be a better come-on for kids. And rats. Big ones. They are a special attraction in the production L.A. Opera unveiled at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday night.
March 22, 2013 |
Conditions on the ground weren't ideal, and "The Flying Dutchman" did not achieve liftoff when Los Angeles Opera opened its gloomy new production of Wagner's gloomy early opera the second Saturday of March at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. But by the first day of spring, a little elevation, if not exactly winged victory, had become possible. As the curtain was about to rise on that uncertain opening night, Portuguese soprano Elisabete Matos felt suddenly unwell, giving her cover and former L.A. Opera chorus member Julie Makerov only 12 minutes to get costumed and made up (with no time left to fit her wig)
March 16, 2013 |
Inevitably, our tastes change as we grow older. Most of the pop songs that once served as anthems are now exercises in nostalgia, calling up happy ghosts rather than anything new and urgent. The dense romantic adventure novel that we swore by in our teens no longer holds our interest, but we can lose ourselves in the hitherto-impenetrable nuances and shadows of Henry James. The sentimental sweetness of Charles Chaplin remains affecting, but we are increasingly grateful for the stoniness of Buster Keaton and the petty but hilarious cruelties of W.C. Fields.
March 4, 2013 |
This is the time to start a discussion of "Aida. " A view of ancient Egypt from the perspective of the 19th century - Verdi was commissioned to write the opera as part of the celebrations of the opening of the Suez Canal - "Aida" forecasts a Middle East we recognize today, one in which religious fundamentalism, militarism and popular uprisings are dangerously incompatible. Opera Santa Barbara didn't have to stretch operatic truth terribly far to pluck images of Arab Spring on Sunday afternoon, for the second of the two performances of its apt new production of "Aida" at the Granada Theater.
February 23, 2013 |
MUNICH, Germany - Wagner's "The Ring of Nibelung" is no picnic. The epic four-evening mythic drama is the macho challenge with which operas prove themselves. It practically did in Los Angeles Opera when the company finally got around to mounting this monumental if confrontational pillar of Western civilization in 2010. The "Ring" has been no picnic, that is until now. As audience members found their seats at the Bavarian State Opera's historic National Theater here last month for "Das Rheingold," the first opera in the cycle, some 100 exceptionally good-looking young people dressed in summer whites (it was snowing outside)
February 20, 2013 |
James Conlon is a born and bred New Yorker but sunny Los Angeles apparently agrees with him. The 62-year-old conductor has renewed his contract with the Los Angeles Opera for five more years, and will remain music director at least through the end of the 2017-18 season. The company made the announcement Wednesday evening at an event honoring Conlon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Conlon works closely at L.A. Opera with Plácido Domingo, the tenor who is the general director of the company.