Blog Archives

Hello from Glyndebourne 2017!

There is WiFi! So as a first from yours truly, I’m waving at you from the Glyndebourne main lawn ūüôā it’s a gorgeous sunny day out here – very windy! My hair is messier than usual (a fright, as one says here), which is a good thing, as it would be too hot otherwise and I’m not wearing shorts today ūüėČ

Tonight’s entertainment is Cavalli’s Hipermestra, or fifty brides for 49 soon to be dead dead husbands. There is a Saudi Prince waving in and out with his bride, so I’m guessing he’s the lucky one ūüėČ

There will be pics!

Interval edit: ah, good acoustics, how I missed you! I think Glyndebourne hall is also on the dry side but, damn, that crispness is nice on these ears. The two theorbists really worked for their money! So do the rams in the distance, they’re making a racket ūüėÄ

Damsel in distress the woods (ok, the desert), petrol pumps – deja vu?

Just after the show edit: gotta give it to Vick, that was some effective inserting of the band!

ps: Emoke Barath is sitting one seat up from me on the bus back to Lewes. Yes, I know, it’s that kind of summer.

Guth Tito at Glyndebourne 2017

  1. YES! Tito returns and not in that tilted floor production from ~1990.
  2. Oh, dear god Guth, please let it be half good – and no additional characters, thanksbye.
  3. Mantra: decent Sesto, decent Sesto, decent Sesto… After the mega neurotic Nerone in Vienna I’m afraid to think too much about this. Also who. Just not EG, KL or Carmen Tancredi, please ye gods above and below.
  4. Alice Coote is Vitellia, which is an interesting thought, although that really scuppers my Sesto hopes.

edit: now that we know Sesto is Kate Lindsey, let’s remember how that worked out last time:

PS: thanks to Giulia and Baroque Bird for the prompt alert ūüėÄ

Glyndebourne general sale madness 2015

Online general sale started tonight – with queues forming since before 11pm for a 12am start. The madness takes new shape every year. I didn’t even know, as last year nothing was happening yet around 11pm, good thing I texted opera buddy who got himself in queue way ahead of me and got us cheapy standing tickets for the Ravel double bill. I trudged on for another hour for a ticket to Die Entfuhrung and callled it a day when I had to queue again if I wanted something else. Possibly a slip on my part as I was on the phone with opera buddy but there you go.¬†Saul and anything else are left up to chance for now.

Good times at the opera in 2014


2014 turned out to be a fun, busy year.¬†I hit most eras, from Monteverdi to Adams, lieder and Masterclasses, the Proms, two festivals and a good number of local venues, many of them for the first time. I ended up changing my mind about ROH’s starry cast Ballo¬†but apparently it wasn’t such a bad decision on my part. Skipping¬†L’elisir because I didn’t like Grigolo was the worse idea, judging by the rather fun broadcast. Oops.


Theodora | Barbican – concert performance – live Handel at last.
Don Giovanni | ROH Рrather controversial production at the time but Veronique Gens was lovely to listen to.


Brigitte Fassbaender | Wigmore Hall/Masterclass – lieder singing introduction from one of the lieder legends.
La fille du regiment | ROH Рold, still fun. I like Ciofi a lot. Ewa Podles and Dame Kiri were cameo-ing as well.
Die Frau ohne Schatten¬†| ROH – what a monster: staggering noise level, tremendous music and Guth’s production really appealed to me.


Ann Hallenberg | Wigmore Hall/Farinelli recital – the woman owns this repertoire.
La traviata¬†| ROH – Damrau’s fault.


Le nozze di Figaro¬†| ROH – this one was Boni’s fault but I’m glad I heard Gerald Finley as well.


Der Rosenkavalier | Glyndebourne Рlike with Le nozze, nobody needs an excuse to go. Plus the very funny Erraught.
Dorothea Roschmann | Wigmore Hall/lieder recital – what a goddess!


Anne Sofie von Otter | Wigmore Hall/song recital – semi-legendary lyric mezzo = yes, please.
Ariadne auf Naxos | ROH Рdude, Ariadne. Matilla and Donose were very good.
Maria Stuarda¬†| ROH – this one has grown on me enormously since then. It’s silly, it’s fun. JDD and Giannatassio sparing ftw.
JPYP | ROH youth¬†–¬†should we hope for the future? We should.


Coronation of Poppea | Grimeborn Festival Рwho knew Poppea in English would be so much fun? Clever staging as well.
Salome | Proms concert performance РStrauss, Nina Stemme and Rattle for £5.


Anna Nicole¬†| ROH – colourful! And sometimes they even sang ūüėČ
Griselda | Cadogan Hall – concert performance – Griselda is up there with the best of Baroque opera.
Franco Fagioli | Wigmore Hall/Porpora recital – you should hear Franco live if you enjoy the Baroque repertoire.
Xerxes | ENO Рin English, of course; that old production everyone knows; Alice Coote acting like a brat. All around winner.


L’incoronazione di Poppea | Barbican – concert performance – no self respecting lyric mezzo lover misses Sarah Connolly in a fun Baroque role.
Alcina (part I and part II) | Barbican – concert performance – 3 mezzos in Alcina! Mind = blown.
Il mondo della luna | Hackney Empire Рhilarious ETO production.
Ottone | Hackney Empire Рexcellently performed Handel.
I due Foscari | ROH РDomingo, nuff said.
Lawrence Zazzo | RCM/Masterclass – Zazzo is one funny chap.


Idomeneo 3 November and 24 November | ROH Рcontroversy! Mozart opera seria!
Judas Maccabaeus – Handel oratorios need no recommendation. I think one can just press the book ticket button.
La mort de Cl√©op√Ętre and other French sh…tuff | Bozar, Brussels¬†– Cl√©op√Ętre, VK and an outing abroad¬†= just what the mood doctor ordered for mid November.
La clemenza di Tito | St. John’s at Waterloo/Midsummer Opera – I scoured the internet hoping when I realised I’d missed the concert performance at Cadogan Hall earlier in the year. You know I loved it.
The Gospel according to the other Mary | ENO Рa lot more engrossing than I thought.


Messiah | Wigmore Hall – cosy, lovely performance.

I’ll be very happy if 2015 will be just as much fun ūüôā

Zealous usher rant: upgrading

ffwSome of my best friends… you know what I’m going to say: most ushers are fine, helpful, courteous. But some seem to channel snotty butlers.

Last year at Glyndebourne – where else? – me and opera buddy ran into one of these Cerbers when¬†went to see¬†Hippolyte et Aricie. Even before the intermission¬†we’d already eyed the sole floor seats¬†left unoccupied, which just so happened to be the best seats in the house. Normally I’m not fussy, any kind of upgrade is fine by me. In fact I often don’t even bother to.

But since truly these were the only seats we could spot and the production would have been fun to see up-close, we thought we should go for it. After first bell we made our way to the arena and sat down. Nobody else had claimed them by the time the¬†lights were about to dim. That’s when Mr. Jeeves showed up and demanded to see our tickets. WHY? What did he bloody accomplish by¬†keeping a couple of opera lovers from getting a better reception of the show? Did he think he was better than us because he ushered at Glyndebourne and we had Standing seats? Did some snobbish arsehole “tip” him? To what end? Nobody sat in those seats until the end of the performance.¬†From what he let on it emerged that the seats were actually unsold.

Nobody wins when seats remain empty. Unless the house feels good about itself in admitting it has not managed to sell out said performances or did not convince patrons to attend…

this “blast from the past”¬†rant¬†brought to you by frustration old and¬†new with customer service (nothing to do with yesterday’s performance)

Quick opera Q and A

ffwI’m very fond of the search engine terms. Even though google tries to hide them (I don’t believe for a moment that it’s for “safety” reasons – as if any of these big, faceless conglomerates care about people; it’s obviously for their own gain) some still escape.

Some are rather funny and to the point:

la finta giardiniera rubbish – pithy!

what was kate royal wearing at glyndebourne?quick answer: nothing! ūüėÄ elaborate answer: obviously a skinsuit

glyndebourne prices stupid – sort of… not worse than ROH’s I’d say

Others make you think:

mozart la clemenza di tito finale analyse – right… taken at face value, the answer¬†is obvious: balance is restored, the greater good prevails, characters subordinate their personal feelings to it. But the fun part is¬†the answer varies greatly from production to production.

what exactly is opera? –¬†1. Opera is the audax of the classical world. Characterised by incomprehensible content and sections that are much longer than they look on the map, you‚Äôll need endurance, a comfortable saddle, and a plentiful¬†supply of snacks. Short naps are advisable. (funny answer found on¬†accidento bizzaro)

Quick Der Rosenkavalier note

Just got back from Glyndebourne. Sunny but very breezy day and excellent company (I went with two of my opera buddies).

The show:¬†briefly put it was¬†cute, colourful and light-hearted (I know it’s a comedy but some Marschallins get a bit too moody. Not this one.) For those who have been thinking about catching the live stream on Sunday – there’s lots of lively making out. Did I mention cute? Very cute. Also excellent¬†interactions between the 4 mains, really well done Act II, which is not always the case.

There were cameras all over the place, so I’m hoping for a DVD.

I’m busy tomorrow all day so I won’t¬†be able to post a proper run-down until Saturday.

Ticket update: Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne 2014

General sale kicked off at midnight. Madness as usual – damn you, popular operas! I got Upper Slips seats (hey, it’s a long one) for 5 June1. Phew. I can go to sleep now. Looks like this might be it for Glyndebourne 2014 for me, as I’m already seeing (or have seen) both Don Giovanni and La Traviata¬†at ROH and I severely disliked their Rinaldo production. I’d like to see Rinaldo but I want to enjoy what I’m seeing… at least partially2. I’m ridiculously overdue for Handel. Looks like Barbican’s concert version of Alcina will be my first Handel opera after all.

General Glyndebourne bitching aside3Der Rosenkavalier. I’m really curious to hear Tara Erraught live, after that excellent performance in the Munich¬†Clemenza.

  1. Busy week, that first week of June. ‘kavalier on the 5th, Roschmann on the 8th. Annoyingly, Glyndebourne‘s livestreaming of ‘kavalier is also on the 8th. 
  2. Or maybe I should go blindfolded? Hehe. 
  3. The programme is a bit boring this year, innit? Aside from Rinaldo and La finta giardiniera (which I also confuse with La finta semplice and thus am not sure which one I don’t like, possibly both), the rest are all safe bets. Which of course doesn’t mean they are shit operas just that you don’t need to see 2 different productions a year unless you really care who’s in it. 

Thursday’s Something Else (Puccini)

tseSince I spent most of the day in bed, I thought I’d go for a short opera. I chose the 2004¬†Gianni Schicchi production from Glyndebourne. Typical Puccini: I liked the drama way more than the music. Not that the music was rubbish, in fact it was very clever, just sort of… what can I say? my usual reaction to Puccini: a bit underwhelming emotionally. But the comedy was funny and the production top notch. I’d like to see more productions where stage movement is so well directed.

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.