Good times at the opera in 2013
It’s the time of the year to reminisce about the good things that happened in the past 12 months and to let the less good ones go. So on to the good things relevant to this blog:
April: Verdi, Nabucco (Nucci, Monastyrska, Pizzolato), ROH – “Stamford Hill” regie production with excellent singing. I’m not a great Verdi fan but I have a weak spot for Nabucco so that’s with what I kicked off the operatic year.
May: R. Strauss, Ariadne auf Naxos (Isokoski, Lindsey, Claycomb, Allen), Glyndebourne – a much criticised production that was thoroughly enjoyed (twice) by yours truly. Waiting for the DVD. Unlike Verdi, I generally like R. Strauss and I specifically like Ariadne’s quirky mix of irony and high drama. Will also see ROH’s own production in the Summer of 2014.
June: Rossini, La donna del lago (DiDonato, Florez, Barcellona), ROH – a somewhat fussy production featuring consummate Rossinians in great voice and a loud mobile ringing out during one of DiDonato’s quiet moments. Rossini is also one of my favourite composers (who knew!) and whilst I’m not in love with La donna, who can say no to that cast?
August: Rameau, Hippoliye et Aricie (Connolly et al.), Glyndebourne – a very fun and inventive production of a not very entertaining opera. I went mainly because I had so much fun at Glyndebourne in May and because I wanted to see Sarah Connolly in anything Baroque. She most certainly didn’t disappoint, although I wasn’t so taken with the other singers or with the opera in general, save for the fast bits.
September: Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro (Pisaroni, Bengtsson, Pokupic), ROH – good times at ROHigh with their 2006 production. Will see it again in May with a different cast. Does anyone need a reason to see Nozze?
September: Monteverdi, L’Orfeo (John Mark Ainsley et al.), The Barbican – gangster Orfeo with gorgeous singing by JMA. I was so impressed with this version of Possente spirto, I was compelled to see L’Orfeo live. Lo and behold, The Barbican had it on.
October: Strauss II, Die Fledermaus (sorry, don’t know the cast), ENO – lively and well sung but not entirely successful production. They made Orlofsky weird to the max but the mezzo singing him coped rather well with the weirdness. This was my first time seeing opera in English live and I figured a comedy would work better in translation than something serious. I was right.
December: Handel recital (Sonia Prina & Ensemble Claudiana), Wigmore Hall – fun ending to the year with one of the cutest singers on the scene today. The woman is one of my favourite low-voiced singers so, naturally, I wanted to hear her live when she was in town.
A good, pretty varied year opera-wise, although lacking in foreign trips. Here’s hoping I’m going to be able to squeeze something next year. Either way, I’ve booked three so far at ROH and I’m waiting for Damrau’s Traviata and Die Frau ohne Schatten to go on general sale in on 14 January and Der Rosenkavalier on 10 March – along with more about which I have not made up my mind yet. Also coming up in March is Brigitte Fassbaender’s Masterclass which sounds tempting and of course Ann Hallenberg’s recital in late April.