As the Royal Opera opens its new Don Giovanni, Jessica Duchen argues that its theme of moral vacuity is as relevant now as in Mozart's day
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Monday 23 May 2011
Jonathan Kent sees the prime challenge of ‘Don Giovanni’ as being to find a way to ‘give its hero a life’, since his mix of charm and demonic psychopathy is entirely unexplained: he wants it to be clear that this is the first time the Don has killed, and that it’s murder rather than libertinage which sends him to hell. Kent’s thesis worked well when the show was unveiled last year, thanks to Gerald Finley’s charisma in the role, but the production was in some ways problematic.
Sunday 22 May 2011
Tuesday 15 March 2011
Further to the obituary of Malcolm Smith (11 March), during the interval of Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland's 2006 performance in Cadogan Hall, I found a morose, pessimistic Malcolm reflecting blackly on the decayed state of the London musical world as he knew it, writes Robert Maycock. Not a hint of optimism from anybody listening went unchallenged.
Saturday 26 February 2011
The connection between Verdi’s Overture to Luisa Miller and Mozart’s G major Piano Concerto No.17 may not immediately have been apparent but a few pages of both quickly pointed up operatic common ground. The curtain was duly raised on two very distinct and vivid dramas.
Sunday 06 February 2011
Dame Margaret Price: Opera singer noted for her tonal splendour and celebrated for her Mozart and Verdi interpretations
Wednesday 02 February 2011
The Welsh soprano Margaret Price had one of the most beautiful voices of thesecond half of the 20th century. Lustrous in tone and smooth-textured, it was also extremely flexible – her trill was quite amazing – and perfectly graduated from a thread of sound to a full-blooded forte. In the earlier part of her career she wasfamous for her singing of Mozart, but as her voice grew in power, without losing its beauty, she widened her repertory to take on certain roles by Verdi and Richard Strauss. Always conscious of the dramatic importof whatever she was singing, whether German Lieder or Italian opera,Price never sacrificed words to sheer tonal splendour.
Thursday 27 January 2011
Wednesday 05 January 2011
Having just praised the Wigmore Hall for bravely flying the flag during most schedulers’ dead-time at Christmas, I must now give a similar accolade to London’s new chamber venue in the wilds of Kings Cross – Kings Place.
Sunday 02 January 2011
Friday 03 December 2010
BBC Radio 3 is to dedicate its entire schedule to the works of Mozart for almost two weeks.
Monday 29 November 2010
It is the story of an immoral Lothario, a tale which begins with sexual violence and ends with divine justice. You'd have thought seasoned opera-goers would be well prepared for the exploits of Don Giovanni. But that hasn't stopped a new production from being accused of "shock tactics" by suggesting scenes involving gang rape.
Monday 29 November 2010
Prepare to be shocked if you go to the English National Opera at the moment. In Don Giovanni there is a gang rape by a group of masked men wearing Jesus Christ T-shirts. In a new opera, A Dog's Heart, there are four-letter words. Down the road at the Royal Opera House the recent production of Rigoletto included rape, oral and anal sex and much else that Verdi never envisaged.
Sunday 14 November 2010
Sunday 07 November 2010
In one respect at least Rufus Norris' new ENO production of Don Giovanni might truthfully be described as electrifying.
Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London<br/>Jonas Kaufmann, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>The Marriage of Figaro, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Sunday 07 November 2010
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