Apr 29, 2009

Opéra Comique Live Broadcast

The Opéra Comique in Paris is the first opera in France to actually duplicate the Met HD broadcast concept.

The June 25th performance of Carmen (with Anna Caterina Antonacci in the lead role) will be broadcast in HD in selected movies in France, Belgium and Switzerland by the same operating firm that already has the Met HD Broadcast licence, CielEcran.

From Le Matin.

Orange on TV

After the success of live performances from Les Chorégies d'Orange (1.6 million* viewers for Il Trovatore in 2007 and 1.8 million* viewers for Faust last year), France Televisions will broadcast live the two productions performed this year in Orange.

  • Traviata on July 11th (Myung-Whun Chung conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France) on France 2
  • Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci on August 4th (Georges Prêtre conducting the Orchestre National de France) on France 3
* France Televisions numbers

Apr 28, 2009

Berlioz extract

King Lear, overture Sir Colin Davis (check out Mark Elder's version if you can)

By the way, it helps being monomaniac about Muti and checking the Paris Opera website every couple of days or so: a few seats have just been put out for sale for the June 16th performance of Demofoonte (finally getting a long-sought ticket for this Muti's performance is what I call happiness people).

Apr 24, 2009

Another frustrating season: Lyon 2009-10

So, yesterday evening Serge Dorny, GM of the Opéra de Lyon, proudly introduced us to his next season, that he "humbly" described as a season of accomplishments centered around the theme of wandering.

As a matter of fact, the presence of Dorny in Lyon has been a strange kind of accomplishment: he successfully managed to ignore the monuments of opera, the French repertoire and the first-half of the XIXth century altogether and turned the House into a kind of experimental laboratory for XXth century (or even XXIth century) operas.

After quite a few seasons of that regime, you'd be crying for classicism as well. And once again, I'm left with this daunting and harrowing question: when will someone finally offer Dorny a new job so that he can get the hell out of Lyon?

I must admit however the new season has a clear highlight (for those who like the music involved, that is): the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho's latest piece, Emilie, an opera in 9 scenes composed for Karita Mattila, who will effectively sing the 4 performances schedules in early March (the opera will then inaugurate the exchange program Dorny finalized with Pierre Audi and the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam where it will be performed for 3 nights at the end of March ; Michel van der Aa's After life is the production Audi will send to Lyon in late March).

Karita Mattila is, desperately enough, the only attractive singer to come to Lyon next year. As usual, Dorny failed in securing attractive casts, and Puccini's Manon Lescaut (Jan/Feb) is even listed without a name for Manon (a very frustrating trick, if you ask me).
It's worse on the conductors front, as Dorny, ending his 3-opera cycle around Mozart and Da Ponte (Don Giovanni to open the season in October) couldn't convince William Christie, who led the first 2 pieces (Nozze and Tito), to come back and finish the job.

By the way, Dorny confirmed that all three operas will be performed again for the 2010-11 season. Seeing how unattractive the cast of Don Giovanni is, I'm guessing I'll wait til next year in hopes of an improvement there.

This 2009-10 season is basically a showcase of Russian operas.
For Christmas, Dorny chose to exhume Macha Makeïeff and Jérôme Deschamps's production of Chostakovitch's Moska, Cheremushki, and the three Tchaïkowski's productions of Peter Stein will be performed altogether in a pretentious "Pouchkine Festival" (April and May) that will feature Mazeppa, Oneguin and The Queen of Spade as well as two concerts. Dorny prided himself on being able to create an homogeneous company for the occasion, and assured us Peter Stein would make a lot of changes to his direction (which frankly is pretty blend and unimaginative, so that clearly can't hurt, can it?).

The season will then end with Humperding's Hänsel und Gretel in the production Laurent Pelly created for the Glyndebourne Festival last summer (June) and two performances of last year's success, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, directed by José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu (July 16 and 17). José Van Dam will come on Nov. 8 for a concert around Fauré, Duparc and Poulenc; Jérémie Rhorer and his ensemble will (attempt to) play Mozart on Jan.17 and principal conductor Kazushi Ono will conduct the remaining concerts scheduled.

Dorny chose the slogan "Entrez sans frapper" for the season. In my perspective, he should substitute it for "Leave without notice".

[The new season is online].  

Further reading: - "En avance la musique!", Libé Lyon

Apr 15, 2009

Opéra National de Paris 2009-2010

Better late than never... Here are my comments about the 2009-10 season of the Paris Opera (Nicolas Joël's first season).
  • The season will open with Charles Gounod's Mireille, directed by Nicolas Joël (Sept.14 to Oct.14, Garnier). Clearly not the masterpiece Faust is, this light opera marks at least the comeback of Gounod to the Opéra de Paris. The cast is rather unexciting (Inva Mula, Charles Castronovo and Franck Ferrari in the main roles). Marc Minkowsky will conduct the Paris Opera Orchestra and I must say it is quite a surprise to see him choose such a repertoire. I wonder what reading he has of Gounod.
  • The revival of Laurent Pelly's 2006 production of L'Elisir d'Amore is a guaranted sales success, as the cast features Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon (Oct.10 to 25, Bastille); the two will also sing in Mozart's Idomeneo in Jan. (Luc Bondy's production from 2006 , Garnier)
  • Korngold's Die Tote Stadt is coming in Paris in the Willy Decker's production that premiered in Salzburg in 2004 and has already traveled to Vienna last year and London in February (Oct.9 to 27, Bastille)
  • The new production of Bellini's La Sonnambula will surely be the event of the season in Paris, with Natalie Dessay coming back at the Paris Opera for the first time since her Lucias in Oct.2006 (Evelino Pidò conducting, Michele Pertusi as Rodolfo and Javier Camarena as Elvino, Jan.25 to Feb.23, Bastille); Natalie Dessay will also sing the tiny part of Musetta in La Bohème (Oct.29 to Nov.29, Bastille)
  • Rossini's La Donna del Lago will allow for the rare opportunity to hear Juan Diego Florez in Garnier (June 18 to 30), with Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona and Roberto Abbado conducting.
  • Other noticeable facts: Rameau's Platée (Laurent Pelly prod., Marc Minkowsky conducting his Choeur et musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble) in December (Garnier); Marcelo Alvarez as Andrea Chénier (Dec., Bastille); Jonas Kaufmann as Werther in Jan. (but unfortunately with Michel Plasson conducting);
  • Selected revivals: Corine Sereau's 2002 production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Graham Vick's Don Carlo from 1998
All and all, I can't say a season full of revivals is exciting, but at least it's not such a bad start for Nicolas Joël.

Apr 10, 2009

Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera, NYC April 2008

Apr 9, 2009

Dresden Semperoper

Dresden Semperoper June 30, 2008

Apr 8, 2009

Zürich Opera

Opernhaus, Zürich April 4-5, 2009
more pictures of the city there

Lyon to announce 2009-10 season