Blog Archives

Upcoming at ROH and Glyndebourne 2019

What with everything, I missed the Gen Sale for the return to Wagner at ROH (oh, no!). The Ring Cycle is back this Autumn, with Pappano at the helm. I may look up returns for Stemme’s sake (aka, best intentions). Otherwise, we have the following:

Solomon in concert with Zazzo in the title role

Verdi’s Requiem with Jamie Barton and Stoyanova; sold out at this point

Simon Boranegra… for those of strong Verdi constitution (but where there is Wagner, there is also Verdi and there will be another production for the hardcore Verdians soon; an opera we know and I love to make fun of, because a recent new production at ENO clearly was not enough)

Carmen and Hansel and Gretel for the mezzo-deprived; Dudnikova might be an interesting Carmen, I liked her Principessa de Bouillon.


The Queen of Spades = must not forget

Traviata for the casual goer – it’s still the much loved production

Katya Kabanova – I’ll probably go

Cos√¨ returns but don’t count me in

Insights Masterclass with soprano Angel Blue who’s doing a stint of Traviata this season


La forza del destino ūüėČ yep, that one, in Loy’s vision; with Trebs and the Alvaro of our times

Faust – hm, I might go, see how Damrau is holding up, PLUS it’s got Abrahamyan in her ROH debut (!) as Siebel (let’s all lament the fate of very good mezzos). On the downside, Ettinger conducts.

Billy Budd conducted by Ivon Bolton – the all male cast opera, let’s check it out…

Andrea Chenier – NOT with the Alvaro of our times but with Alagna and Radvanovsky! How can we resist that offer?!

Tosca with Opolais/Grigolo/Terfel but the last show brings Draculette back to her rightful territory so yay for those who care.


Boris Godunov still with Terfel but without Ain Anger; so soon? Maybe because they were short of money for a new production…

Carmen, because we’d already missed her, this time with Margaine, and Pisaroni as Escamillo, ha!

Figaro after a couple of seasons, because there are only 3 operas and 1/2 by Mozart; this is the season with Kimchilia Bartoli as Cherubino but also unusually with Gerhaher as Figaro plus Keenlyside as the Count. You know it might actually be worth revisiting and weirdly enough, for the men.

La fille du regiment returns once more, now with Devieilhe, and Camarena will show us his 3283576 high C in a row. Then again, Pido conducts.

In conclusion, some interesting turns but generally a rather meh year ahead for yours truly’s taste.

Glyndebourne 2019

La damnation de Faust – a Richard Jones production, so it could be much fun

Rusalka – nah

Il barbiere – see below

Die Zauberflote – I’ll have to see it at some point, don’t know that this is that point; however, Agathe, David Portillo is Tamino ūüėČ

Cendrillon – usually a spectacular mezzo-mezzo borefest, now with DeNiese and the ever trouserable Kate Lindsey; I mean, they had to make up for the music…

Rinaldo with DeShong in the title role. A bit of a strange choice IMO, but to be honest I have not heard her live and in Handel to boot. I was proven wrong before.

What to see at Glyndebourne 2017

Glydenourne auditorium (Daily Mail – click to check some interesting backstage pictures)

Important: next year, General ticket sale will start at the unusual hour of 6pm on Sunday, 5 March. They really want to keep us at home on a Sunday afternoon.


  • Hipermestra (Cavalli) 20 May – 8 July (new production)

Conductor/ Orchestra: William Christie | Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Emöke Baráth takes the title role.

  • La traviata 21 May – 19 June and again (different cast/conductor) 1 – 27 August

Kristina Mkhitaryan and Joyce El-Khoury take the title role.

  • Hamlet (Brett Dean) 11 June – 16 July (new commission)

Conductor/ Orchestra: V. Jurowski | London Philharmonic Orchestra

Cast: Allan Clayton (Hamlet), Sarah Connolly (Gertrude), Barbara Hannigan (Ophelia), Rod Gilfry (Claudius), Kim Begley (Polonius), John Tomlinson (Ghost of Old Hamlet)

Badass cast, I wonder about the music.

  • Ariadne auf Naxos 25 June – 27 July

Conductor/ Orchestra: Cornelius Meister | London Philharmonic Orchestra

2015 Operalia Winner Lise Davidsen takes the title role. So young and already Ariadne! I am as usual tempted to go but…

  • Don Pasquale 13 July – 23 August

Conductor/ Orchestra: Giacomo Sagripanti | London Philharmonic Orchestra

  • La clemenza di Tito 26 July – 26 August (new production)

Conductor/ Orchestra: R. Ticciati | Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Tito: Steve Davislim
Vitellia: Alice Coote
Sesto: Kate Lindsey
Servilia: Joélle Harvey
Annio: ?
Publio: ?

Leander and I have already talked about picnic-ing for this one (and probably Hipermestra as well). Anyone who wants to join us is more than welcome!

Related image

This is the main lawn, with the manor house in the background.

Please accept our humble, out of tune homage

I suspect most of us non-singers have at some point sung along to CDs, DVDs, mp3s, even crackling records Рin the privacy of our own homes, or maybe (after a pint or two) in public. Here are a couple of operatic tributes from pop singers who are paid better than most of their opera counterparts and which should make us all feel better about our own mad skillz:

Fellow mezzo lovers, this one’s for you. The fun starts at 2:15:

Remember these the next time you’re not happy with your tenor/mezzo.

The lure of love

GtraviataThe neat thing Verdi does in La traviata‘s Act I is Alfredo and Violetta’s duet (with extension) Un di, felice, eterea +E strano…folie! It’s a truly great musical illustration of trying to resist falling in love –¬†and failing. I like how contrasting the musical lines are at first – Alfredo romantic, sincere, Violetta hiding behind sarcasm and fake cheerfulness. Later on she¬†pretends she’s still the same old party girl¬†but as soon as she hears Alfredo’s love tune she falters. She tries to keep her distance¬†via strident coloratura but Sempre libera is already related to Alfredo’s music. Love has seeped in. Poor Violetta…

Michael Fabiano and Venera Gimadieva do a good job at conveying¬†all that in Glyndebourne’s new production. I’d have liked a warmer Violetta acting-wise but vocally Gimadieva is very assured. Fabiano’s Alfredo looks like a git and vocally he could’ve been more agile and more italianate but he ain’t that bad, in fact his tone is pleasant.

La traviata matinee (ROH, 30 April 2014)

  • Violetta Val√©ry:¬†Diana Damrau¬†
  • Alfredo Germont:¬†Francesco Demuro
  • Giorgio Germont:¬†Dmitri Hvorostovsky
  • Baron Douphol:¬†Michel de Souza
  • Doctor Grenvil:¬†Jihoon Kim
  • Flora Bervoix:¬†Nadezhda Karyazina
  • Marquis D’Obigny:¬†Jeremy White
  • Gastone de Letori√®res:¬†Luis Gomes
  • Annina:¬†Sarah Pring
  • Giuseppe: Neil Gillespie
  • Messenger: John Bernays

Conductor: Dan Ettinger | Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House

What a sentimental opera! ¬†Act III, dear, dear… not a dry eye in the house but plenty of dry throats… But before things get all sobby, there’s the party in Act I and the drinking song everybody knows and most love.

party at Violetta’s

ROH server sucks

Although I was signed on at 10:00am, it took me 45min to book a ticket. True I snuck in once earlier after about 20min of continuous refreshing but then it kicked me out. I understand Traviata is one of them super popular works but, dude! Booking for Don Giovanni was easy-peasy in comparison. I guess Kwiecien is not Damrau, eh.

I’m trying to get back in for Die Frau and it’s the same deal. I got in, weirdly got the same seat but then it won’t register.

Two hours later I’m done. Same seat for both shows. The ROH server sucks.

Starting the year on a positive note

I’ve some whingey drafts started in the past few days but I really don’t want to look back and think “ha, great way to start the year, mofo”. So here’s a cheerful thought: 10 days until the ROH Traviata tickets go on general sale. Apparently La Damrau was in good voice as Violetta in Milan. Can’t wait!