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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.
Mozart had just turned 16 in March 1771 when he was commissioned to write Lucio Silla. A year and a half later he had written all the recitatives and had travelled to Milan, where he would work on the music for the arias and begin rehearsals. His third opera was first performed at the Teatro Regio Ducal in December 1772, with a cast including some of the best voices of the moment. It was just as well: the notoriously difficult score can only be tackled by singers with a solid command of vocal technique.
The libretto, which just two years later would be used by Johann Christian Bach for his own opera, follows the typical format of 18th century European opera seria, and proposes magnanimity as the moral value which is central to the plot. Silla, the dictator of Rome, based on the historic figure Sulla, plans to use his political power to win the woman he loves, Giunia, the daughter of his enemy. However, she loves Cecilio, a senator exiled for political reasons. Silla’s initial intention gradually falls away and is replaced by compassion, leading him to make way for love, and even to give up power. The opera shows us that virtuous decisions are always the right ones.
*Title available only in non-EU countries, with the exception of Spain
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.
Set in 1940s Spain, this production by Lluis Pasqual for the Teatro Real, with sets by Ezio Frigerio and costumes by Franca Squarciapino, has an illustrious cast, headed by the Malaga-born baritone Carlos Álvarez in the leading role. Sonia Ganassi as Donna Elvira, the splendid María Bayo in the difficult role of Donna Ana, and José Bros as Don Ottavio, a role for which he was awarded the 2006 Teatro Campoamor prize for Best Opera Singer, complete the starry line-up in this staging of this Mozart and Da Ponte opera. Directed by the masterly Victor Pablo Pérez, it was recorded in high definition in the Teatro Real’s 2005-2006 season.
The name Pierre-Laurent Aimard is synonymous with quality and mastery at the piano. Considered by many as a visionary of the piano repertoire, he appeared at the Granada Festival recovering Tombeau à Claude Debussy, a collective work commissioned by the musicologist Henri Prunieres in 1920 as a tribute to the brilliant French composer. The Tombeau collects some of the most complex and moving pages for piano of the early twentieth century by authors such as Malipiero, Bartók, Goossens, Stravinski or Dukas. Aimard's intervention was completed with a selection of the best piano pages by Debussy, an omnipresent genius during the 2018 Festival.
La Ritirata offers a program conceived as a map of the sounds we could hear during an imaginary journey to the courts of Italy and Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For this purpose, the conductor and cellist Josetxu Obregón has rescued some of the most sublime and representative pages of Antonio de Cabezón, Gaspar Sanz, Diego Ortiz and other composers halfway between the Renaissance and the Baroque. The suggestive title of the project, Il Spiritillo Brando, refers both to the palatial dances of the Spanish viceroyalty in Italian lands and to the mischievous sprites of the Neapolitan popular tradition.
The orchestra Les Siècles distilled French essence of high level at the 2018 Granada Festival. Led by its founder François-Xavier Roth, it proposed a journey to the sound universe of the late 19th century and the conjunction of avant-garde and creativity that came together in the Paris of those years at a fundamental moment in the formation of modern styles. Together with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, they performed César Franck's Symphonic Variations. The program included, among other works, Debussy's evocative Nocturnes, with the collaboration of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada Choir for the "Song of Sirens".
Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker is one of the fixed stars of the classical ballet repertoire. Since its premiere in 1892 it has undergone many changes in both the dramaturgical and choreographic conception and artistic director Director Petr Zuska perfectly understands like no other, how to inject new life and a modern flavor into the veins of this beloved classic. In this new staging, the scenery erupts into an explosion of colours and the dancers deliver a performance, brilliant enough to match the bounty of stage design and costumes. Being one of the best ballet companies in the world, the Czech National Ballet’s witty performance coats us in a bubble of magic and brings us just in the right mood for the winter festivities.
Los protagonistas de 'La Cenerentola', descubren los detalles de la producción de Stefan Herheim.
La historia de la sirvienta que se transforma mágicamente en princesa está presente en las tradiciones folclóricas de la antigua Grecia, la dinastía Tang en China, Las mil y una noches, así como en las antologías de Perrault, los hermanos Grimm y –como todos sabemos– Walt Disney. Ahora bien, en ninguna de ellas –que sepamos– se pronuncia la pregunta de resonancias hamletianas que si escuchamos en La Cenerentola de Rossini: ≪.Soy un príncipe o una coliflor?≫. En efecto, un siglo y medio de tradición de commedia dell’arte y otro mas de opera buffa no habían transcurrido en balde y, así, el último dramma giocoso del último gran representante de este género batió todas las expectativas en su tiempo –la ópera llegó hasta Constantinopla, Buenos Aires, Calcuta y Sidney a solo unas pocas décadas de su estreno en Roma– del mismo modo que sigue sin defraudar en el nuestro.
La divertida y animada producción de Stefan Herheim que nos visita en esta ocasión añade un inesperado ingrediente a esta excitante mezcla de humor y fantasía, pues en ella el propio compositor hará acto de presencia y demostrara como la verdadera magia se encuentra, en realidad, en la voz humana.
José Luís Téllez analiza La cenerentola.
The story of the servant girl magically transformed into a princess is found in the traditional stories of ancient Greece, the Tang dynasty of China, Arabian Nights, as well in the fairytales of Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and –as we all know – Walt Disney. However, in none of these - as far as we know - is there the Hamlet-like question we hear in La Cenerentola: ≪.Am I prince or a cauliflower? ≫. In effect, a century and a half of commedia dell’arte tradition and another of opera buffa had not elapsed in vain for this dramma giocoso exceeded all expectations of its time –the opera reached Constantinople, Buenos Aires, Calcutta and Sydney only a few decades after its premiere in Rome – and its popularity continues to captivate audiences today.
On this occasion, the light-hearted and lively production by Stefan Herheim adds an unexpected ingredient to an exciting mix of humour and fantasy because the composer himself makes an appearance and demonstrates how, in reality, true magic is found in the human voice.
Announced in the two previous editions of LIFE Victoria, the Festival wanted to maintain its commitment to Dame Sarah Connolly, one of the great mezzo-sopranos on the current scene. It will do so by maintaining the programme it was going to offer in 2019 around Alma Mahler and the contemporary composers of Vienna at that time, putting into context the compositions of this artist who has often been hidden under the lengthening shadow of her first husband.
It begins with the preamble of Johannes Brahms, through Hugo Wolf, who exploited the exacerbated romanticism of the song, arriving at the compositions of the Mahler couple. The marital relationship between Gustav and Alma was rather tortuous: judged as a femme fatale for her infidelity with Walter Gropius - founder of the Bauhaus and whom she would later marry - recent studies have shown that her history with Mahler was full of shades.
Here Connolly confronts his compositions. The tour will end with the Viennese post-Romanticism of Alexander von Zemlinsky and these six Lieder based on symbolist texts by Maurice Meterlinck. A fascinating woman in a fascinating historical moment.
Anne Schwanewilms' debut is one of the most eagerly awaited at LIFE Victoria. Born in Germany, she excels in the female roles created by Richard Strauss - her last appearance in Barcelona was Arabella at the Liceu - but also in Wagnerian roles such as Elsa (Lohengrin) or Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), as well as in other titles such as Dialogue des Carmélites, Wozzeck or Otello. Inspired by the drama of opera, the soprano performs once again in Barcelona in a programme divided into four parts, four journeys of the soul that review some of her favourite recitalistic composers.
In the first part, Himmelfahrt (Ascension) will perform Lieder eteris by Mahler, such as "Wo die Trompeten blasen" and Debussy, such as "L'invitation au voyage", which gives its name to the 2020 edition. The three Lieder d'Ofelia by Strauss, her composer of choice, will be the focus of the second part devoted to Reisen in den Irrsinn (Journeys into Madness), while Debussy's Proses lyriques will be the focus of the Traumreisen (Poetic Journeys). Finally, Wolf's Lieder will bring the magic to a close with the last part Phantasiereisen (Journeys into Fantasy) of this long-awaited recital.
Four suitors for one woman –one is a transvestite in disguise – is the point of departure of one of the most remarkable operas composed by Handel for the audiences of London. With Partenope, the Saxon composer employed a dramatic register that combined the antihero and satirical character of 17th century Venetian operas with the sentimental comedies of confusion that characterized opera buffa. Rejected by the head of the Royal Academy of Music because the libretto was a product of “the depraved taste of the Italian audience”, nonetheless, Partenope was such a commercial success that it was revived seven years later on the same stage at the King’s Theatre.
At a distance from the musical conventions of opera seria, the score of Partenope is lighter than customary, with its short arias and numerous ensembles. These push the action forward and bring it closer to a symbiosis between the singing voice and theatre. The stage direction of Christopher Alden –recipient of the Oliver Award for the Best New Opera Production in 2009– brings this delightful work to life in a sophisticated and urban setting inspired by the mansion of Nancy Cunard, where the world of photographer and visual artist Man Ray plays an important part.
The story of the maid who is magically transformed into a princess is present in the folkloric traditions of ancient Greece, the Tang dynasty in China, The Thousand and One Nights, as well as in the anthologies of Perrault, the Grimm Brothers and -as we all know- Walt Disney. However, in none of them - as far as we know - is the Hamlet-like question uttered that we do hear in Rossini's La Cenerentola: ≪.Am I a prince or a cauliflower?≫. Indeed, a century and a half of commedia dell'arte tradition and another century of opera buffa had not passed in vain, and so the last dramma giocoso by the last great representative of this genre beat all expectations in its time - the opera reached Constantinople, Buenos Aires, Calcutta and Sydney just a few decades after its premiere in Rome - just as it continues to disappoint in ours.
Stefan Herheim's fun and lively production on this occasion adds an unexpected ingredient to this exciting mix of humour and fantasy, with the composer himself making an appearance and demonstrating how true magic is, in fact, to be found in the human voice.
Available from November 26
Purcell's most important collection of keyboard music appeared posthumously in 1696 entitled A Choice Collection of Lessons for the Harpsichord and contains his eight suites for keyboard. In 1720 Handel published his Suites de pièces, a representative corpus of a genre composed between Hamburg and London. The performance of this harpsichord repertoire on the piano offers a new insight into the greatness of this music.
The Spain of the past criticises the Spain of the present. The Spain of the present complains about the inheritance received. And, in between, two bride and groom with a dark future plan their wedding. Costumbrismo and social criticism characterise the tonadillas, a dramatic-musical genre that flourished in Spain at the end of the 18th century. This production recovers three tonadillas by one of the most renowned authors of his time: Blas de Laserna.