Created by Antonio Gades in collaboration with Carlos Saura, this masterpiece of ballet shows how the power and strength of traditional flamenco are able to express the intense emotions of Merimée’s novel perfectly.
Vanesa Vento plays Carmen, a many-sided character: feminine, passionate, combative and free, inconstant in love and a shameless flirt, inspiring desire, rivalry and jealousy among both men and women. Carmen’s indomitable nature will lead to her doom, when she takes up with her next lover, a bullfighter, and rejects Don José, whose desperation marks a tragic ending.
In addition to postponing her LIFE Victoria debut - scheduled for spring 2020 - Sylvia Schwartz's confinement also led her to reflect on the power of escape. Music is precisely one of the quickest ways to escape, how with these vibrations in the air we can flee to other worlds, embarking on perhaps one of the most intense journeys. The soprano presents us with a three-part programme, together with Malcolm Martineau, which also becomes very pictorial (another evasive world): in the first, dedicated to German Lied, we experience romantic evasion through passionate poetry, as in a painting by Friedrich; in the second, we escape through Granados into the world of Goya, an evasion that the composer himself experienced at a time of war - the First World War - which ended his own life; in the third, Poulenc presents us with the most primal and greatest evasion: that of children. Before that, the promising Lluís Calvet i Pey and Èric Varas on piano offer two delightful cycles, as LIFE New Artists: Let us Garlands Bring by Finzi and Chansons gaillardes by Poulenc, in which constant reference is made to an ideal woman... called Sylvia.
BEST NEW PRODUCTION | INTERNATIONAL OPERA AWARDS 2021
The titles of some operas are in themselves sufficient to capture the imagination. For the centenary of Pushkin's birth in 1899, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov drew inspiration from one of his celebrated fairy tales and composed a delightfully imaginative opera, with the Flight of the Bumblebee as instant hit.
The composer's gift for melody and orchestration combines perfectly with the poet's often absurd humour and overflowing imagination. Alain Altinoglu can here revel in the role of orchestral wizard, while the Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov returns with a many-layered psychological staging.
Tsar Saltan marries the youngest of three sisters, having heard that it is her dearest wish to present him with a heroic son and heir. Her jealous sisters and the old Aunt Barbarikha cannot bear this, and by trickery see to it that the Tsaritsa and her newborn son Gvidon are thrown into the sea. In their barrel they are washed ashore on an enchanted island where the rapidly growing tsar’s son saves a swan from the clutches of a wizard. In gratitude, the swan helps Gvidon to visit his native country once again in the guise of a bumblebee. Three wishes, three miracles and three bee-stings later, father and son are finally able to get to know each other.
With the collaboration of Naxos
The debut of Billy Budd in Madrid, without doubt, was one of the most important moments of the Bicentenary of the Teatro Real.
The magnificent libretto is based on the novel with the same name by Herman Melville. The action takes place aboard a ship of the British Royal Navy, it tells the story of the sailor Billy Budd: a beautiful youth who is loyal, generous, strong, naive and kind. Billy’s physical attributes and charisma disarm the ship's master-at-arms who is incapable of controlling the situation and in the end, he sacrifices the innocent lad without compunction.
This new production by the Teatro Real, in conjunction with the Opéra national de Paris and the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, and staging by renowned Deborah Warner, was an unforgettable experience.
For over a century, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci have been performed together, because they are a perfect fit. In fact, they go together so well that the prologue of Pagliacci is often performed before the first scene of Cavalleria Rusticana, to introduce both operas, as is the case here. Both are known for some short arias which are often selected for recitals. And both use traditional operatic techniques, with a defined interchange of expressive melodies and narrative passages. But it is the terse, flowing way used by Mascagni and Leoncavallo to establish the scene, and the manner in which both composers clearly define the importance of the dramatic events in what appears to be real time, that are the crucial distinguishing features in the composition of these first, iconic examples of verismo.
When Il trittico premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in December 1918, Gianni Schicchi became an immediate hit. The libretto is based on an incident mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The action takes place in 13th century Florence, in Buoso Donati’s bedroom, immediately after his death, as his greedy relatives feign grief and search for his will. The mood shifts to anger when the relatives discover that they have been disinherited. They seek out the clever and resourceful Schicchi to make a counterfeit will. Schicchi, however, turns their scheme against them, bequeathing most of the dead man’s fortune to himself while the relatives, all parties to the crime of forgery, are forced to sit by silently.
Based on Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love), Verdi’s tragic melodrama Luisa Miller revolves around the loves of the heroine of the title and Rodolfo, son of Count Walter, and the machinations of the Count’s steward, Wurm, who wants Luisa for himself, resulting in the death of all three. Directed by Arnaud Bernard, who took as his inspiration Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1976 film 1900, this La Fenice production is led by the outstanding Bulgarian soprano Darina Takova whose intense characterization of Luisa emphasizes the heroine’s inner torture, and Giuseppe Sabbatini who brings a thrilling theatricality to the rôle of Rodolfo, especially in the most famous aria from the opera, "Quando le sere al placido".
With the collaboration of Naxos.
Samson et Dalila is a representative example of that exoticism which in the 19th century acted as one of the main movements of the French imagination. The only one of his thirteen operas that has remained in the repertoire, Saint-Saëns adheres to an authentic stage tradition that includes titles such as Meyerbeer's L'Africaine, Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, or Delibes' Lakmé. The well-known biblical plot is used to create a work that is somewhere between an oratorio and a grand-opera. From the former, the structural sense, the importance of the chorus and a certain staticism, evident in Act I. From the latter, the almost grandiloquent tone, the spectacular staging and the importance of the ballet, as well as an enveloping voluptuousness.
Along with the frequent choral interventions, the numbers of Samson, a tenor with heroic tonalities, and especially those of Delilah, one of the most important roles assigned to the mezzo-soprano voice in the history of the genre, such as the beautiful "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix", from Act II, are worth mentioning. In the orientalism that dominates the brilliant setting, Saint-Saëns uses procedures derived from Arab music, often from North Africa, and which are also reflected in the last of his piano concertos, subtitled "Egyptian" in the Suite Algérienne or in Africa, for piano and orchestra.
The opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi with libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni is embedded in the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires from its beginnings. It was the title with which the current building was inaugurated in 1908. Since then it has been performed countless times, with dazzling figures as Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Renata Tebaldi and María Callas, among others.
From 1966, the Argentine Roberto Oswald was in charge of the set and costume design and in 1989 was also responsible for the staging, with costumes by Aníbal Lápiz. This classic production of the Argentine house, made entirely in its workshops, was revived in May 2018 to celebrate the 110 years of the building, with a cast that featured the voices of Latonia Moore and Riccardo Massi along with local figures, the Resident Orchestra, Ballet and Choir of the Teatro Colón.
David Alden approaches the setting of Othello from the point of view of Giuseppe Verdi’s adaptation of the Shakespeare text. In the first act of the play, which Verdi omits, we see the great love of Desdemona, a young, beautiful woman of the Venetian upper class, for the rough-mannered and hot-tempered foreign soldier Othello. Her father, the patrician Brabantio, opposes their love. In the first act he asks how his daughter could have chosen to “run from her guardage to the sooty bosom of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.”
Desdemona’s love for Otello is even thought to be a thing of magic. In contrast, Otello’s love for Desdemona is perfectly logical: Desdemona is so refined, so white, so aristocratic and so devout that anyone could understand why Otello would fall in love with her. They love each other, but their difference in social standing is undeniable. And these differences will be how the resentful, devilish Lieutenant Iago is able to wreak his vengeance on his General, Otello, for not promoting him to Captain as he had hoped.
This vengeance requires a minimum of effort, because all he really has to do is convince Otello of what everyone else already believes: such a gentlewoman could never really love someone like him. Consequently, it is very easy for him to make Otello believe that Desdemona has fallen in love with a man of her own rank, Cassio, whom Iago describes as the antithesis of Othello. And so, despite Otello’s noble soul - even though Desdemona truly loves him, even though Cassio is loyal and honourable -, Iago’s insinuations take root and Otello believes that Desdemona is unfaithful to him.
In the play, Shakespeare explains the action through the theme of racism, this is the driving force of the tragedy. But both the librettist, Arrigo Boito, and Verdi understood that the drama could be even more intense if racism played a less prominent part. The focus was put on the fragility of a character who physically differs little from any of the others; a vulnerable character who is dominated by inner turmoil. Thus Verdi reduces racism to a marginal issue which is scarcely mentioned. David Alden takes a similar approach: Otello is an outsider; he is “other” because that is how he feels inside. He need not be black or physically different from the other characters.
His conflict is internal: insecurity, that which has led so many men to commit the worst atrocities. We watch with horrified fascination the tragic disintegration of the hero, locked into the destructive cycle of destiny. The set design suggests a courtyard in Cyprus, but above all, this is a militarised, brutal world with dehumanised soldiers in a war which prevents them from responding to love or tenderness. In this context, Otello brings us face-to-face with one of the most secret human fears: to not feel worthy of what one loves most.
Renato Palumbo, who has conducted Les Huguenots, Tosca and La Traviata at the Real, returns with another Verdi classic with the Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho, much acclaimed for her performance in La Traviata in 2014. She is accompanied by tenor Gregory Kunde, whose interpretation of the difficult role of Otello is one of the most highly regarded. He also opened the 2016 season at the Teatro Real to great applause for his Roberto Devereux. Alongside them as the cruel and crafty Iago is baritone George Petean, who brought the 2016 season to a close in the opera I puritani.
The starting point for La bohème and its entire creative process up until the first performance of the opera in Turin’s Teatro Regio on 1 February 1896 is documented in minute detail in the abundant correspondence between Giacomo Puccini, his publisher and mentor Giulio Ricordi, and the librettists Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. The latter began their stormy, yet fruitful, collaboration with this opera and went on to write the librettos for Tosca and Madama Butterfly.
Starting with the book Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger (1882-1861), originally a series of autobiographical stories published in a magazine, the two librettists, closely supervised by Puccini, built an ensemble plot in which four young bohemian artists confront financial difficulties and bad weather with humour and good cheer, finding their way in an effervescent, bustling, wintry Paris.
A love affair between one of them, aspiring poet Rodolfo, and the seamstress Mimi is cut short by her death. We watch the story move from the pleasures and dreams of youth to the solidity of real life, with all its problems.
With his sublime orchestral palette, his mastery of poetic rhythm and his enormous talent for drama, Puccini builds the personalities of the young people with his usual skill, contrasting sparkling anecdotes and fun with deep and heartfelt passions. Their short, conversational phrases are interlaced with others of much greater melodic and dramatic power. The orchestration is expressive and effective, suggesting tiny details such as flickering flames or jingling coins, while setting scenes in an almost cinematic fashion, from the chilly garret to the busy streets of Paris at Christmas time, or the loneliness and deprivation of poverty.
Past moments are evoked like flashes of memory by a masterly use of musical motifs associated with emotions or even objects to which Puccini gives great symbolic significance: Mimi’s candle, the pink bonnet Rodolfo buys for her, Colline’s overcoat, or the muff which warms the heroine’s hands on her deathbed…These moments which come and go in our memory, concealed and then revealed in the everyday affairs which make up our lives, are the narrative thread running through this new production of La bohème, which was broadcast live.
The prestigious British stage director Richard Jones and the set and costume designer Stewart Laing present the opera as a series of scenes from bohemian life, without hiding the backstage work that usually goes on behind the scenes. The audience can see how the sets are changed, how different devices are used to create theatrical effects, and how props are piled up in the wings, like scraps of life crammed into our memory.
From their vantage point, the audience watches the past and present of the characters at the same time, unable to immerse themselves in the cold, bright Paris of the young bohemians because they will always see it depicted on stage. But this ‘play within a play’ device, which blurs real time and theatre time, the auditorium and the stage, drama and metaphor, will bring the audience to a richer interpretation of Puccini’s work, enhanced by viewing it from different angles, with all its images.
Deborah Warner's beautiful and evocative production of Britten's final operatic masterpiece has been acclaimed as an 'exquisitely achieved marriage of music, drama and design' (The Independent). In Britten's luminous and compelling interpretation of Thomas Mann's classic novella, the ageig writer Gustav von Aschenbach's infatuation witht he Polish boy Tadzio and his subsequent decliena re portrayed in a 'remarkable and harrowingly believable' performance (The Guardian) by John Graham-Hall, who had already won golden opinions for singing the role of Aschenbach at La Scala. The superb ENO Chorus and orchestra are conducted by Edward Gardner, a long-standing champion of Britten's music.
With the collaboration of Naxos
La bayadère is the first production of Nacho Duato for his return to St Petersburg. The Spanish choreographer has already worked on Russian golden ballet classics: his original versions of The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, created for the Mikhailovsky Theatre, were staged to great critical acclaim in many cities of the world – from Milan and Berlin to Novosibirsk.
The exquisite simplicity of the classics blends with the exotic opulence of the Maharajas in this ballet, which boasts a history of over a hundred and fifty years. Nacho Duato has created a production that harks back to Marius Petipa’s original, preserving the customary order of the scenes and the libretto’s climaxes, and leaving intact valuable pieces of the canonical choreography. At the same time, the ballet has freed itself of anachronisms and static pantomime episodes, replacing them with lavish, sculptural decor. In this story, Ancient India becomes a brilliant backdrop for the love of a temple dancer and a fine warrior who are fated to remain apart in both the real world and the astral one.
With the collaboration of Naxos
The iconic ballet, reimagined. Following its sensational 2016 world premiere and UK tour, Akram Khan’s Giselle returns to London by popular demand, and is performed in Liverpool and Dublin for the first time. One of the greatest romantic ballets of all time, Giselle is the first full length ballet choreographed by Akram Khan.
The classic story of love, betrayal and redemption has been reimagined in this stunning new version, with sets and costumes by Academy-Award winning designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), an ‘ominous, gothic’ (The Observer) adaptation of Adolphe Adam’s original score by composer Vincenzo Lamagna and performed by English National Ballet Philharmonic, dramaturgy from Ruth Little and lighting design from Tony Award-winner Mark Henderson.
Christopher Wheeldon, Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet, created his adaptation of Shakespeare’s late great romance The Winter’s Tale for The Royal Ballet in 2014. Building on the success of Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale received ecstatic praise at its premiere, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for its intelligent, distinctive and emotionally powerful story, told through exquisite dance. It is now widely judged to be a modern ballet classic.
The story follows the destruction of a marriage through consuming jealousy, the abandonment of a child and a seemingly hopeless love. Yet, through remorse and regret – and after a seemingly miraculous return to life – the ending is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. With powerful designs by Bob Crowley and atmospheric music by Joby Talbot, The Winter’s Tale is a masterful modern narrative ballet.
Con la colaboración de Naxos
Since its very first performance 1856 at the Paris Opera, Le corsaire has been regarded as one of the most impressive narrative ballets of the 19th century. The director of the Wiener Staatsballett has choreographed a new version, basing his interpretation mainly on the rich French and Russian performance traditions.
Action, music, choreography, scenery and costumes are carefully combined into a new overall picture which focuses on the high points of the colourful events surrounding the leading couple of Conrad and Medora.
With the collaboration of Naxos
Fuenteovejuna, Antonio Gades’ greatest creation, is above all extremely beautiful, the final work of his personal and artistic maturity. Its subtle emotional quality does not come from its refined aesthetic or its showmanship, but rather from its great simplicity, as it expresses the essence of the stories it wants to tell. An essence that only a select few, such as Gades in the world of dance or Peter Brook in that of theatre, have been able to capture and communicate, almost always after a long process accompanied by considerable sacrifice. This piece is based on the comedy of the same name by Lope de Vega, it is very different to the source material that usually inspires Spanish dance and flamenco, including works by this choreographer.
The play was written in 1612 - 1614 based on a historic event previously published in the Crónica de las tres Órdenes Militares by Rades y Andrada. It tells how an entire village in the Alta Andalucía area, Fuenteovejuna, rebelled against the abuses of an aristocrat, the Commander of the Order of Calatrava, Fernán Gómez de Guzmán, who was eventually executed. When the Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand send a magistrate to investigate, not even the worst of tortures force the villagers to point to a ringleader. As one voice, they all declare the whole village to be responsible for killing the ignoble noble and accept their fate as the consequence. This sense of solidarity had an obvious appeal to the political ideas and social aspirations of Antonio Gades, who listened to the suggestion of the writer and flamenco scholar, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, and decided to take the project on. Gades was able to make every voice and every body - the choruses of men and women often act as a single voice and a single body in this work- express their own unique language, just as the characters in the Lope play use the words and verses they are most in tune with. Fuenteovejuna is undoubtedly one of the great ballets of the 20th century.
White swan by day, human by night, the beautiful Odette awaits an oath of true love to break the curse. The great legend of the enigmatic swan/woman is one of the most romantic classical ballets, appropriately set in the era of courtly romance and characterised by elegance, style and harmony.
With Tchaikovsky’s famous, lyrical score, Swan Lake depicts the tragic love between Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried, and will no doubt be performed to perfection by the unparalleled virtuosity of Russia’s great Bolshoi Ballet. This universal and enchanting masterpiece of love, deception and drama is a must.
With wonderful ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, one of the most beautiful Odette / Odile of the time, Denis Rodkin, Artemy Belyakov and Bolshoi Ballet.
With the collaboration of Naxos
A unique concert, due to the historical and artistic framework, promoted by the Junta de Castilla y León and recorded by RTVE, with whom the Foundation has a collaboration agreement. From the High Altar of the temple, as part of the events programmed by the Foundation VIII Centenary of the Cathedral of Burgos 2021 to commemorate the 800 years of the Cathedral of Burgos.
With the presence of four international soloists whose careers are touring the world's main theatres, including the Teatro Real, where they have been heard on several occasions:
Soprano Sylvia Schwartz, protagonist in two of the most beloved productions at the Teatro Real: Hansel and Gretel and The Magic Flute, among others; tenor Toby Spence, whose last appearance at the Real was to participate in the most awarded production of recent years, Billy Budd; mezzo-soprano Marifé Nogales, one of the regular voices at the Madrid coliseum for her great versatility, and bass Alexander Tsymbaliuk, who left his mark in two recent productions: Das Rheingold and Idomeneo.
Together with them, for the first time in Burgos Cathedral, the Coro y Orquesta Titulares del Teatro Real, conducted by maestro Ramón Tebar, performs this sublime composition by the genius of Salzburg, whose notes will be heard in the central nave of the temple.
This score, W.A. Mozart's last (incomplete) creation, of extraordinary beauty, where death is the protagonist both as an end and as a transit, contains moments of great drama, sublime sweetness and resigned intimacy, in a masterly composition. Beloved by all audiences, music lovers or not, this Requiem has always been surrounded by mystery and legends that have only enhanced its popularity and made it a point of reference.
In recognition of the career of Teresa Berganza, one of the most important voices in the history of opera, last year the Teatro Real hosted a special gala to celebrate her 80th birthday. The evening included works by Mozart and Rossini, featuring iconic performances by the Spanish mezzosoprano, but there was also a place for the traditional Spanish music she loves.
Conductors Sylvain Cambreling and Alejo Pérez led the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real, they were joined by well-known Spanish singers such as Carlos Álvarez, María Bayo, Annick Massis and José Van Dam, as well as other international prestigious figures including José Bros, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Helene Schneiderman and Sofia Soloviy. All the singers are colleagues and friends of Teresa Berganza, who came to share this very special day with her.
Since 20 years the Berliner Philharmoniker have celebrated their foundation on May 1st with the annual Europa Konzert - 2010's concert takes place in Oxford. The orchestra, under the baton of worldwide renowned musician Daniel Barenboim, welcomes cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who has attracted widespread attention for a playing that combines natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship.
For 20 years the Berliner Philharmoniker have marked their founding in 1882 with a concert – every year at a venue of cultural importance in a different European city. 2011's Europa Konzert takes place at the beautiful Teatro Real of Madrid in Spain. The Berliner Philharmoniker and their musical director Sir Simon Rattle welcome famous flamenco guitarist Cañizares. His virtuosity, his technique, harmony, strength and sensitivity have distinguished Cañizares as a unique artist, considered as one of the great flamenco musicians of the turn of the century.
This concert was to celebrate the 5th anniversary of China NCPA Orchestra. It was conducted by Chief Conductor of the Orchestra Lü Jia and presented by renowned pianist Sa Chen with the Orchestra.