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Dance
Teatro Real
Various authors
Antonio Gades, Carlos Saura, Antonio Gades Company

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.

Concerts
Lied Festival Victoria de los Ángeles
Varios autores
Fatma Said, Kunal Lahiry

What is exotic and what is exoticism? In a kind of aesthetic fever, exoticism permeated art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: it influenced decoration, fashion, architecture... and also music. Bizet with Carmen, Verdi with Aida are two well-known musical examples that correspond well to the programme carefully put together by Fatma Said and Kunal Lahiry, as it focuses on Egypt and Spain. The aesthetics of these two countries have seemed - albeit now - very exotic to Central European eyes and have greatly influenced the very aesthetics of exoticism.

 

However, Said - of Egyptian origin - and Lahiry - of Indian origin - approach these countries to get to know the identity. They begin the programme with the beautiful but distant vision of the East of the French composers of the end of the century - Ravel, Bizet, Gaubert and Berlioz - and then move on to contemporary Egyptian composers. They do the same with Spain, approaching the country through Falla's Siete canciones populares españolas, enormously popular with the public but always under the shadow of a somewhat standardised folklore, and then move on to the songs composed by Lorca with a greater depth of identity.

 

*Available until June 12, 2021
Opera
Opéra National de Paris
Gaetano Donizetti
Laurent Pelly, Edward Gardner

A simple but effective plot (a shy and naive young peasant buys a charlatan a love potion, actually a simple bottle of wine, to conquer the girl he is in love with; the beauty will finally realize that he loves the young man without the help of the elixir), a joyous musical language with bright and particularly inspired melodies (including the famous "Una furtiva lagrima"), made this opera composed in 15 days by Donizetti a true masterpiece.

 

Transposing the action into Italy in the 1950s, director Laurent Pelly achieves a true gem, finely chiseled and highly poetic.

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

Opera
Teatro Real
Benjamin Britten
Ivor Bolton, Deborah Warner

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 staging by renowned Deborah Warner, was an unforgettable experience. 

Opera
Teatro Real
P. Mascagni / R. Leoncavallo
Jesús López Cobos, Giancarlo del Monaco

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.

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.

Opera
Arena di Verona
Giuseppe Verdi
Daniel Oren, Arnaud Bernard

“Va pensiero,” the famous chorus from Verdi’s Nabucco is often cited as an official national anthem for Italy and proved as much throughout the Risorgimento when the country is battling for its independence from the Austrian.

 

The choral passage, with its nostalgia for a home lost, was truly emotional and established. Verdi as an composer of the revolutionary movement. So it is no surprise that at the same point, some production of Verdi’s Nabucco would be set, not in Babylon, as the libretto originally notes, but during the era where the Hebrews, seeking independence, would be portrayed as Italians and Nabucco and his oppressive babylonians would be Austrian Empire.

Opera
From the archive
Camille Saint-Saëns
Luis Antonio García Navarro, Beni Montresor

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.

Opera
Teatro Colón
Giuseppe Verdi
Carlos Vieu, Roberto Oswald

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.

 

Opera
Teatro Real
Giuseppe Verdi
Renato Palumbo, David Alden

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.

Opera
Teatro Real
Giacomo Puccini
Paolo Carignani, Richard Jones

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.

Opera
English National Opera
Benjamin Britten
Edward Gardner, Deborah Warner

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

Dance
Teatro Mikhailovsky
Ludwig Minkus
Nacho Duato, Ballet Mikhailovsky

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

Dance
Bolshoi Theatre
Leo Delibes
Marius Petipa, Bolshoi Ballet

The Bolshoi's unique version of Coppélia showcases a fascinating reconstruction of the original 19th-century choreography of this exuberant comedy involving a feisty heroine, a youthful fiancée with a wandering eye and an old dollmaker. The company's impressive corps de ballet shines in the divertissements and the famous "dance of the hours", and its leads abound with youthful energy and irresistible humour in this effervescent production.

 

 

With the collaboration of Naxos

Dance
Royal Opera House
Joby Talbot
Christopher Wheeldon, The Royal Ballet

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

Dance
Wiener Staatsoper
Adolphe Adam
Manuel Legris, Wiener Staatsballett

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

Dance
Teatro Real
Various authors
Antonio Gades, Antonio Gades Company

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.

Dance
Bolshoi Theatre
Piotr Illitch Tchaïkovski
Yuri Grigorovich, Bolshoi Ballet

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

Concerts
Teatro Real
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ramón Tebar, Teatro Real Chorus & Orchestra

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.

Concerts
Teatro Real
Various authors
Alejo Pérez, Sylvain Cambreling

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.

Concerts
From the archive
Gustav Mahler
Pablo Heras-Casado, RTVE Symphony Orchestra

Pablo Heras-Casado conducts the Orquesta de Radiotelevisión Española at the Teatro Auditorio in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Conciertos
Filarmónica de Berlín
R. Wagner, E. Elgar, J. Brahms
Daniel Barenboim, Alisa Weilerstein

Desde hace 20 años, la Filarmónica de Berlín celebra su fundación el 1 de mayo con el concierto anual Europa Konzert, que este año tiene lugar en Oxford. La orquesta, bajo la dirección del mundialmente conocido músico Daniel Barenboim, da la bienvenida a la violonchelista Alisa Weilerstein, que ha llamado la atención por una interpretación que combina el dominio virtuoso natural y la precisión técnica con una apasionada musicalidad.

Conciertos
Filarmónica de Berlín
E. Chabrier, J. Rodrigo, S. Rachmaninov
Sir Simon Rattle, Filarmónica de Berlín

Desde hace 20 años, la Filarmónica de Berlín celebra su fundación en 1882 con un concierto, cada año en un lugar de importancia cultural de una ciudad europea diferente. Este año, el Europa Konzert tiene lugar en el Teatro Real de Madrid. La Filarmónica de Berlín y su director musical, Sir Simon Rattle, reciben al famoso guitarrista flamenco Cañizares. Su virtuosismo, su técnica, armonía, fuerza y sensibilidad han distinguido a Cañizares como un artista único, considerado como uno de los grandes músicos flamencos del cambio de siglo.

Conciertos
NCPA de Pekín
Franz Schubert
Lü Jia, Orquesta NCPA

Lü Jia dirije a la orquesta del National Centre for the Performing Arts de Pekín en este fantástico concierto.