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Opera
Glyndebourne Festival
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ryan Wigglesworth, Barbe & Doucet

One of Mozart’s most enchanting works, Die Zauberflöte is a fairy tale that uses familiar archetypes to ask provocative and difficult questions about religion, the nature of power, the bonds of family, and of course love. Premiered just months before Mozart’s death, Die Zauberflöte in many ways represents a new departure for the composer. Catching the spirit of revolution in the air, Mozart turned his attention for the first time from court opera to popular opera, writing this singspiel (‘sung-play’) for a new and much broader audience.

 

Celebrated Canadian directing duo Barbe & Doucet make both their British and Glyndebourne debuts here with their new Die Zauberflöte, a veritable “theatrical feast of eccentricity.” (The Guardian). Ryan Wigglesworth conducts an outstanding cast including Russian soprano Sofia Fomina as Pamina, David Portillo as her beloved Tamino, Brindley Sherratt as Sarastro, and the ebullient Björn Bürger as Papageno.

 

Con la colaboración de Naxos

Dance
Royal Opera House
Adolphe Adam
Peter Wright, The Royal Ballet

Giselle is the classic ballet of the Romantic era. It transformed the dance world when it was first performed in Paris in 1841 and remains at the centre of the classical repertory. Giselle’s essence has remained the same through many different productions in well over a century of continuous performance. Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet is based on Marius Petipa’s classic version (after the original 1841 choreography by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli), which was first staged in St Petersburg in 1884.

Opera
Dutch National Opera
Ruggero Leoncavallo / Pietro Mascagni
Lorenzo Viotti, Robert Carsen

Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana are probably the most famous double bill in the history of opera. Packed with love, infidelity, betrayal, jealousy and murder, these two pinnacles of the Italian opera repertoire have it all. Both are classic examples of “verismo” operas, telling so-called realistic stories about the lives of ordinary people. Here, hot-headed southern temperaments spark off rivalries and threaten relationships. Whereas Pagliacci is fuelled by the tension between everyday life and the aesthetic world of the stage, Cavalleria rusticana juxtaposes unbridled passion with profound faith.

 

Robert Carsen flips tradition by opening with Pagliacci and plays a masterful game of theatre-in-theatre, calling into question the nature of reality. Are the emotions we see on stage acted, or are they real? And in how far do we project ourselves into the characters? When the masks come off, truth becomes theatre and theatre becomes truth.

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

Opera
Teatro Real
Giacomo Puccini
Nicola Luisotti, Bob Wilson

Giacomo Puccini’s last opera needs no introduction. After a 20 year absence, Turandot returns to the Teatro Real in a new production by one of the greatest stage directors of the 20th and 21st centuries: Robert Wilson, the creator of unforgettable images in The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic and Pelléas et Mélisande.

 

In a cast led by Nina Stemme, Gregory Kunde and Yolanda Auyanet, the Associate Musical Director of the Teatro Real, Nicola Luisotti, conducts one of the greatest operas of Italian repertory.

 

Opera
Teatro Real
Charles Gounod
Dan Ettinger, Àlex Ollé

The Teatro Real opened its 2018/19 season with a new production of Faust by Charles Gounod, the version of the German legend in a grand opera format. Piotr Beczala as protagonist - the figure of relentless ambition par excellence - and Marina Rebeka sing the role of Marguerite. Àlex Ollé directs this captivating opera after his recent success of The Flying Dutchman in this theatre It will be the third time that La Fura dels Baus stages the Faustian legend.

 

 

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Opera
Teatro Real
Gaetano Donizetti
Daniel Oren, David Alden

Celebrating Semana de la Ópera (Opera Week), the Teatro Real broadcasted Lucia di Lammermoor live.

 

Daniel Oren, in the musical direction, and David Alden, in the stage direction, will transport us to the cold and humid Scotland together with a cast that includes Lisette Oropesa, Venera Gimadieva, Javier Camarena, Ismael Jordi and Roberto Tagliavini, among others .

 

A true paradigm of romantic Italian opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, the most accomplished and famous of Gaetano Donizetti's extensive list of lyrical dramas, aroused admiration from the beginning for making singing a vehicle to move, and not a mere succession of fireworks vowels. The work opened the doors of Paris to the Bergamasco, and it was the only one that was lit up that remained in the repertoire before the Donizetti Renaissance that, from the 1950s on, would definitively consecrate the composer.

 

The plot revolves around a young woman in love who falls into the deepest despair when she is accused by her lover of treason for having married another man against her will. What the lover does not know is that the nuptials were celebrated under a false presumption of infidelity. The pain that floods the young woman overwhelms her to the point of making her go crazy, giving rise to one of the most famous scenes in the history of opera, both for its musical genius and for the level of psychological introspection it reveals. The inescapable tragic denouement initiates a work that, without a hint of doubt, today maintains its capacity to move intact.

Dance
Mariinsky Theatre
Igor Stravinsky
Valery Gergiev, Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky

In celebration of the venue of the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1909, a wonderful Stravinsky night at the Mariinsky (ex-Kirov) with the original Nijinsky version of the Rite of Spring for the first time on DVD and the Firebird both conducted by Valery Gergiev.

 

The Firebird is a Russian folk tale in two scenes commissionned at the young Stravinsky by Diaghilev and premiered at the Paris Opera House in 1910. The ballet was an immediate success. The Ballets Russes enabled the choreographer Fokine could bring his enterprise the right amount of novelty needed to captivate but not clash with the audience.

 

The premiere of The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, on May 1913 caused a veritable scandal. The audience was shocked by the primitive violence of the ballet. It was so radically rejected that the ballet was taken off after eight perfomrances. Although long forgotten, thanks to the relentless work of Millicent Hodson, Nijinsky’s original choreography was recreated.

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

Concerts
Teatro Real
Ludwig van Beethoven​
Pablo Heras-Casado, Teatro Real Orchestra

The conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, solidarity ambassador for Ayuda en Acción, is leading the Acordes con Solidaridad initiative for the sixth consecutive year to support the most vulnerable children in Spain in the face of the consequences of COVID-19.

 

On this occasion, Orquesta titular del Teatro Real conducted by the main guest conductor of the Teatro Real, will perform the 'Coriolano Overture' and the 'Symphony No. 7', by Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

The proceeds of the concert will go entirely to the response that Ayuda en Acción is giving to the emergency caused by COVID-19 in Spain. Through the program Aquí también, the NGO fights to reduce the educational gap that has been accentuated after the closure of educational centers last school year, supporting more than 11,000 children and adolescents who are at risk of social exclusion in Spain.

Opera
La Monnaie
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Alain Altinoglu, Dmitri Tcherniakov

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

Opera
Royal Opera House
Jacques Offenbach
Evelino Pidò, John Schlesinger

Vittorio Grigòlo in the lead role leads an excellent cast that includes Thomas Hampson, Sonya Yoncheva, Christine Rice and Sofia Fomina in Offenbach's fantastic operatic drama.

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

 

Opera
Festival della Valle d’Itria
Georg Friedrich Händel / Leonardo Leo
Fabio Luisi, Giorgio Sangati

For the first time in modern times, Festival della Valle d'Itria stages the Neapolitan version of Händel's Rinaldo, a pastiche with a Mediterranean allure which Leonardo Leo assembled in 1718 and which was considered lost until a few years ago. The story behind this most rare opera is captivating: the score of Händel’s masterpiece was illegally brought to Naples by the castrato singer Nicolò Grimaldi, who first interpreted Rinaldo in London. Once in Italy, the work was rehashed by Leo as well as other local composers, who adapted it to the taste of the local Neapolitan public, adding some intermezzos and amusing characters.

 

Director Giorgio Sangati turns this work into a “ba-rock” opera set in the 1980’s, where the struggle between Christians and Turks becomes a battle between pop-rock singers (the Christians) and dark-metal ones (the Turks). These two factions represent two opposite perspectives on love and life.

 

Conductor Fabio Luisi is at the head of the baroque Ensemble La Scintilla, a group of specialists in the baroque repertoire.

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

Concerts
Beijing NCPA
Ludwig van Beethoven
Lü Jia, NCPA Orchestra

This live recording of the performance marking the 10th anniversary of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, presented by the NCPA Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Lü Jia, conductor of the NCPA.

Opera
Municipal de Santiago
Gioachino Rossini
José Miguel Pérez Sierra, Fabio Sparvoli

Il barbiere di Siviglia has been acclaimed over and over again as the opera buffa by excellence. It's one of the last classical operas and one of the first romantic ones; it's a work that looks to the past while opening the doors to bel canto. Il barbiere di Siviglia was performed all over Europe right after its premiere and, almost two hundred years later, it is still as fun as at the beginning, mainly thanks to the musical richness Rossini showed in his composition.

 

Its characters are full of life, problems and ideas, who are quickly introduced in a series of scenes, each of them more famous and iconic than the first one, as  “Largo al factótum”, “Una voce poco fa” and “La calunnia”.

 

Fabio Sparvoli's version is a proposal that takes elements from modernity and combines them perfectly with the historical costumes and that, alongside the musical direction of the Rossini expert José Miguel Pérez-Sierra, are clearly a good opportunity to appreciate Pesaro's genius' masterpiece.

 

Concerts
Escuela Reina Sofía
Varios autores
Péter Csaba, Camerata Viesgo

The Franciscan monastery of Santo Toribio, located in the Cantabrian region of Liébana, in the foothills of the Picos de Europa, is one of the main holy places of Catholicism along with Rome, Santiago, Caravaca and Assisi and, like them, is an important centre of pilgrimage. The lignum crucis it houses is considered by the Church to be the largest surviving fragment of the cross of Jesus Christ. The monastery also houses works by Beatus of Liébana, author of the famous illuminated manuscripts of the Commentary on the Apocalypse. Every seven years, when the feast of Santo Toribio falls on a Sunday, as was the case in 2017, the Lebaniego Jubilee Year is celebrated, which includes a multitude of cultural initiatives. One of these was this special concert in celebration of the Jubilee Year which was held on 13 July of that year with the sponsorship of Viesgo.


The concert was performed by the Camerata Viesgo under the direction of Maestro Péter Csaba. The programme consisted of a journey through the instrumental music of the 18th century. The second of Arcangelo Corelli's Concertos op. 6 was played, which became the birth certificate of a key musical form of the baroque period: the concerto grosso. By Georg Philipp Telemann, one of the many concertos he wrote in this form was performed. By Georg Friedrich Händel, an example of another of the most important musical forms of that period was included: the trio sonata. A sonata by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was also programmed, which already looks to a new time, the same one to which Father Antonio Soler opened the doors of the monastery of El Escorial in Madrid. One of Soler's masterpieces was heard: the Fandango for harpsichord. An interesting detail of this concert is that the works are arranged in reverse chronological order, starting with the post-baroque Soler and ending with the pioneering Corelli.

Opera
BAYERISCHE STAATSOPER
Jean-Philippe Rameau
Ivor Bolton, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Very much in keeping with the spirit of his age, Jean-Philippe Rameau measures the European culture of being lucky or unlucky in love against the image of the noble savage and takes the audience on a journey to four exotic realms. Given that, in the mythical land of Arcadia, people are walking away from Love and choosing to follow the god of war, Amor encourages Love to seek new followers on other continents. Regardless of whether the portrayals of distant lands are accurate representations of reality as conveyed by geographers, or simply a propagation of colonial clichés, Europeans are reflected just as much in the sultan who declines to take advantage of the highly desirable prisoner; in the self-destructively jealous Inka priest; in the love games of Persian princes; and in the prairie Indians who love faithfully and peacefully, as Rameau's furiously portrayed storms and volcanic eruptions stand for their emotional turbulence.

 

Recollecting the origins of French music theatre within a culture of dance, Rameau plays with a genre which was enjoying a high degree of popularity among his contemporaries, but which today classifies as terra incognita, ripe for rediscovery: the Opéra-ballet. Using a balanced mix of music, drama and dance, and with multiple long-distance location changes, the focus alternates between four couples and their handling of fidelity, trust and jealousy - variations on the increasingly pertinent question: How do we love right?

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

 

Opera
Gran Teatre del Liceu
Giacomo Puccini
Marc Piollet, Jonathan Miller

Puccini's La bohème, one of the world's most famous verismo operas, in a traditional production by Jonathan Miller, full of realism, inspired by the photographs of Brassaï and Cartier-Bresson from the 1930s. Marc Piollet conducts the Liceu Orchestra in a Bohème that stands out for the excellence of its cast: in the role of Mimì, Eleonora Buratto, and in that of Musetta, Olga Kluchynska, winner of the 2015 edition of the Tenor Viñas Competition. The group of bohemians is led by tenor Saimir Pirgu as Rodolfo, and Marcello by baritone Gabriel Bermúdez.

 

The love story between Rodolfo, the poet, and the sweet Mimì, a neighbouring embroiderer, sets the pace of the work, which is set in Paris in 1830, a hundred years before Miller's wager. In the Latin Quartier, a group of bohemians, including the protagonist, with his companions Marcello, Schaunard and Colline, live in a garret in the cold and hunger, unable to pay the rent. The counterpoint to the protagonist couple, who are torn between jealousy and fear of the girl's illness, are the couple Marcello, a painter, and Musetta, a femme fatale who ends up helping Mimì in difficult times. The opera features great musical moments, such as the famous Act I aria "Che gelida manina", in which Rodolfo warms the hand of a helpless Mimì who has come to the artists' house to ask for matches. After the poet introduces himself in "Chi son? Sono un poeta", it is the girl's turn to sing "Mi chiamano Mimì", a page full of tenderness that reflects the idealism that surrounds the plot.

Opera
Teatro Real
Vincenzo Bellini
Evelino Pidò, Emilio Sagi

Known as a masterpiece of Romantic opera, it was staged for the first time in the Teatro Real in June 2016, with an exceptional cast including Diana Damrau, Javier Camarena, Venera Gimadieva and Celso Albelo, with the Teatro Real Orchestra and Chorus.

 

This is the last opera by Bellini, who died at the young age of 34 after having triumphed in Parisian high society, and finally —in a music scene dominated by Italians, from Rossini to Donizetti, his great rival— having been commissioned to write a piece which would be first performed at the Théâtre Italien in 1835. The Sicilian composer chose a historical subject, set during the English Civil War when Cromwell and the Puritans clashed with the Royalists. He created an exciting love story featuring plenty of passion, treachery and madness. The opera centres on a typical Romantic heroine, Elvira, who finds herself inexplicably abandoned by her betrothed on her wedding day. The pain this causes her is so unbearable that she goes insane. Madness was characteristic of the Romantic era: the physical fragility and social marginalisation of the characters was a way to make the irrepressible force of their emotions more expressive. In the stylised staging by Emilio Sagi, the characters appear to be overcome by melancholy.