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Ivor Bolton, musical director of the Teatro Real, takes on the challenge of conducting one of Benjamin Britten’s least known operas: Gloriana. The work was a commission for the coronation of Elizabeth II, and its debut in Madrid was on April 12, 2018. After last season’s resounding success of Billy Budd, also by Britten, the English conductor will work alongside stage producer David McVicar to present a historical and unpleasant account of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
On this occasion, Anna Caterina Antonacci performs the principal role, portraying an Elizabeth who is trapped between her obligations as a queen and her tempestuous relationship with the ambitious Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux.
In this new version of Les contes d’Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, Nicklausse, the muse and alter ego of Hoffmann, sings at the end of the opera: “On est grand par l’amour, mais plus grand par les pleurs” (Love makes us great, but weeping makes us greater still). This is a motif by who was considered “the ever-entertaining Offenbach”, however the composer’s artistic concept is linked to the Romantic movement from Victor Hugo via Berlioz to Thomas Mann, where art and inspiration develop from the suffering and melancholy of human life. This makes Offenbach’s only full-length opera a unique creation where art triumphs over the pain of love.
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A return to the essence of opera is perceived in the work of Gluck. Following the ideas put forward by Rousseau, he brings the dramatic action to the fore and discards all unnecessary ornamentation. A transitional figure between Baroque and Classicism, Gluck often turned to subjects from Antiquity, seeking what he called “beautiful simplicity”.
In Alceste, Gluck not only achieved a radically innovative score, he also gave dignity to women who were so often treated carelessly in the libertine 18th century. In his idealisation of the feminine figure, he turns to characters like Iphigenia and Alceste, prepared to sacrifice themselves instead of their consorts, taking their place among the noblest heroines of universal literature since Euripides.
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.
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.
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.
The Ciclo Jóvenes Talentos Fundación Banco Sabadell is organised by the Fundación Amigos del Teatro Real, in collaboration with the Fundación Banco Sabadell and the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía.
This concert, which takes place at the Sony Auditorium, offers works by Franz Joseph Haydn, Vincenzo Bellini, Antonino Pasculli and Fryderyck Chopin, on the occasion of the performance of Norma at the Teatro Real. Of great humour and wit is Haydn's Quartet op. 33 no. 2, known by the nickname "The Joke". In it, the composer explores a new way of elaborating themes in the form of a fragmentation of small motifs combined in a variety of ways. The last movement is a rondo in which the theme or refrain, of a joyful and playful character, contrasts with the intermediate sections to give way to a hesitant and unexpected finale, displaying its jocular character.
A work by the composer paraphrased in this evening, Vincenzo Bellini, could not be missing. In his Oboe Concerto in E flat major, he displays a lyricism directly related to bel canto and the instrumental poetics of Chopin, while at the same time giving the strings tinges reminiscent of Viennese orchestras, giving the ensemble a great internal balance without renouncing the expressive. Pasculli's work, originally for English horn and harp, is based on themes from Bellini's operas Il Pirata and La Sonnambula. And this was not the only occasion on which Pasculli turned to opera, as he had already dedicated part of his catalogue to other composers such as Donizetti, Verdi and Meyerbeer. In this Omaggio, written in the form of a fantasy, all the technical resources of the instrument are exploited, while the warm, deep timbre of the horn underlines the dramatic and theatrical character of the works from which it draws its inspiration.
The evening ends with three works from the piano repertoire par excellence: a Nocturne, a Waltz and a Ballade, all by the brilliant Chopin. To speak of his music is to speak of voice, singing, expressiveness and poetry. The aperitif of the two short pieces gives way to an immense, unrepeatable work, the pinnacle of his entire output. Narrated in the form of a varied theme, each episode of this Ballade in F minor takes us into an emotional universe of great intensity, which feeds and grows until it reaches the final paroxysm, the last breath, the last beat.
In times of pandemic it is a challenge to organise any event, especially cultural ones. But often the vital need is so strong that it helps to overcome all the difficulties. It is with this idea, to bring music back to the stage after so many months, that the Ciclo Reencuentro was born, organised in Santander by the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in July 2020. This new encounter with the public brings us all the depth of the cello in two works from the second half of the 19th century.
Brahms' first Sonata for cello and piano op. 38, written after the death of his mother, was the result of several elaborations, finally remaining in a three-movement structure that lacks a proper slow tempo. In addition, Brahms, always faithful to his German roots, takes material from J.S. Bach's Art of the Fugue to elaborate part of his movements. Thus, the final fugue follows a form based on the Contrapunctus XIII of that piece.
Klid, Silent Woods op. 68, is one of four short pieces that Dvorák wrote for cello and piano, arranged from the original for piano four hands. In contrast to the magnificence of the Cello Concerto, in this Klid Dvorák evokes stillness and calm, in a more than successful attempt to capture silence through sound.
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
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.
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
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
On the afternoon of 18 October, Burgos Cathedral once again hosted a concert by the Orquesta y Coro Titulares del Teatro Real de Madrid.
The High Altar of the temple was the setting for the masterful performance of works by Pergolesi and Vivaldi, a performance that forms part of the calendar of events programmed by the VIII Centenary of the Cathedral Foundation.
20 July 2021 will mark the 800th anniversary of the laying of the first stone in Burgos Cathedral, which is why the VIII Centenary of the Cathedral Foundation was created. Burgos 2021, whose Honorary Presidency is held by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain. This project, declared an event of Exceptional Public Interest, is intended to unite the city of Burgos around the celebration of this event, through the development of various cultural and social projects over the coming years.
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.
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.