Recommended: not so much for the performance or even the work as for the experience. And even that is not necessarily something you will want to repeat very often. The point is that it may be now or never. Robert le diable, received triumphantly in Paris at its premiere in 1831, took centre- stage in the opera houses of Europe for two or three decades: a pantechnicon of an opera I was about to call it, and then thought to see what the dictionary had to say, finding there ‘the name of a bazaar of all kinds of artistic work’ – and the date 1830!
“If we weep from emotion on hearing it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of” Richard Wagner on Bellini’s most famous opera Norma, the most successful work by the last and greatest composer of bel canto. This new production of Norma, directed by Grammy Award-nominated opera, theatre and film director Kevin Newbury and starring Sondra Radvanovsky as a “powerful, elegant” Norma (New York Times) and Gregory Kunde as Pollione, is “something very special. The word ‘historic’ is used perhaps a little too often but tonight there really is no other adjective to describe the sensational performances offered to us by Sondra Radvanovsky and Gregory unde.” (operatraveller.com)
An operatic whodunit with gravitas: Francesco Cilea's 'Adriana Lecouvreur'. It is said even Giuseppe Verdi briefly gave consideration to writing an opera based on this whodunit, when Cilea decided to set the material to music in 1899. The opera's world premiere in Milan in 1902 was a triumph, due in no small measure to a stellar cast of singers that included Enrico Caruso as Maurizio.
TDK presents Rossini’s popular comic opera, La Cenerentola, in a staging from the opera house in Naples. The operatic re-telling of this much loved fairy-tale centres on Cinderella’s honesty and integrity, and on her willingness to forgive others, and to encourage those around her to be equally tolerant.
Instead of the working of magic and fairy godmothers, the opera offers a moral message, encapsulated in its subtitle: ‘goodness triumphant’. Angelina (the Cinderella or Cenerentola) has a stepfather (Don Magnifico), and the traditional Fairy Godmother is replaced by Alidoro, who is a Philosopher and former Tutor to the Prince…
There have never been better days for Rossini enthusiasts. Since my Rossini conspectus was published, in two parts, in November 2005, and a clutch of Rossini operas, not previously or easily available, have appeared on CD and DVD. These include DVDs of three of the early farse in productions by Michael Hempe, Maometto II from La Fenice, Moïse et Pharaon from Milan and La Gazzetta…– Robert J. Farr, MusicWeb International