Opera

Erica Miner

Furlanetto Shows Mastery in San Diego Concert

To witness the American debut concert of a renowned, distinguished, much beloved opera star is truly a unique opportunity. That this established world-class musical celebrity has long been one of San Diego Operaís most cherished stage luminaries makes the event even sweeter. On Mar. 5, Ferruccio Furlanetto celebrated the 31st anniversary of the singerís debut with SDO by presenting a concert featuring excerpts from some of the singerís most favored arias. Making his debut on the podium, young maestro Emanuele Andrizzi conducted the full forces of the San Diego Symphony. Consistently praised by critics, Furlanetto carried the heavy, difficult program with unflagging confidence, astonishing consistency in his range from highest to lowest notes, and a stage presence that remains as imposing as ever

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Vera Stepanovskaya

Simon Boccanegra in St.Petersburg: after the premier in short

Mariinsky Theater turned a new page in its history: on February 5 Verdiís Simon Boccanegra was staged for the first time in St.Petersburg. The driving force of the premiere was Valery Gergiev by all means: as an artistic lead of the Company and a musical director at the pit conducting brilliantly. The guest star of the premiere became legendary bass Ferruccio Furlanetto. The production of Andrea de Rosa (direction and sets) came from Venice (La Fenice) and Genova (Carlo Felice) theaters, which gave it some authentic Mediterranean flow. Besides the sea, skies and air of Repubblica Marinara was presented at the background, showing the sea, the clouds, the light of the Ligurian shores, visually giving Verdiís dark masterpiece some nature beauty and worked beautifully. In the whole the production was true to the spirit of Verdi and in a modern way very simple. The dark construction on the stage with the gothic windows added to the atmosphere.

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Mario Hamlet-Metz

Barcelona and Milan, two bastions of opera

A couple of weeks ago, the passion for opera was relived once again in two European theaters of great tradition, Barcelonaís Liceu and Milanís La Scala. In the Catalonian city, the presence of Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez singing his first Edgardo Ravenswood, the unhappy lover of Lucia di Lammermoor, was awaited with huge expectations and made the prices of the already expensive tickets soar to unheard heights. In the Lombard capital, the opening of the season, traditionally on December 7, always constitutes a national socio-cultural event, with an audience filled of politicians, members of the diplomatic corps and of the social elite and personalities of the world of the arts and fashion; these distinguished guests occupy most of the places in the beautifully renovated auditorium and leave little room for the ďreal opera fanaticsĒ, who are seatedóand heard--in the two upper galleries. Here too, it was harder than ever to get a ticket, given the fact that the opera to be performed, Verdiís Giovanna díArco, was revived after an absence of 150 years and, no less important, that the protagonist would be the much admired Anna Netrebko. In both cities the events were highly publicized and an electric atmosphere of anticipation invaded the air.

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Mario Hamlet-Metz

Metropolitan Opera House: Welcome back, Valery and Jimmy

In his Eugene Oneguin, Pushkin seemed to announce from afar the theories advanced later on by the writers belonging to the Realistic movement, who were denouncing the excesses of romanticism. Balzac used to say that the monotony and the boredom that characterized provincial life often caused passions that inevitably must end sadly, as he illustrated in his Eugenie Grandet. Flaubert warned his contemporaries of the dangers of those readings that inflamed the imagination of vulnerable feminine minds with an over-sensitive personality, giving a magnificent example of it in his masterpiece Madame Bovary. By nature, Tatiana belongs in this group of vulnerable minds and souls...

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Mario Hamlet-Metz

Metropoliten Opera: Verdi and Berlioz

After an absence of over thirty years, the producer David Alden returned to the Metropolitan Opera, in charge of mounting a new production of Verdiís Un Ballo in Maschera, the first of two new productions of operas by this composer (Rigoletto is still to come) in the season of the bicentennial of his birth. (There will be a total of seven Verdi operas this season.) Alden sets the action in Stockholm in the 1920s twenties and stresses the abundance of ďchiaroscuroĒ of which both the libretto and the score are filled: humor vs. irony; frivolity vs. real risks; loyalty vs. betrayal; love vs hatred; love vs. duty. The producer, who has worked in Germany extensively, seems to have assimilated the far-fetched interpretations of the words and music...

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Mario Hamlet-Metz

Metropoliten Opera: Donizetti's Elexir and Verdi's Otello

The Elixir of Love was the last performance that we saw last season and the first one we attended in the current one. The 20-year old more or less caricaturesque production mounted for Luciano Pavarotti and Kathleen Battle in 1991 was finally replaced by a new one signed by the dynamic team of Michael Yeargan (sets), Bartlett Sher (producer) and Catherine Zuber (costumes) and served as a season opener on September 24, 2012. The choice of a Donizetti opera for a second year in a row (Anna Bolena in 2011) may seem strange to some opera lovers and especially critics but Mr. Gelb, the able and visionary General Manager, seems to know exactly what he is doing, was willing to take the chance, and proved to be right, once again, as the popular and much-loved opera scored a huge success and won practically universal appraise. (The live in HD telecast was seen by 3 million spectators in 1900 theatres in 64 countries.)...

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