Wednesday, March 29, 2017
The death is reported of Alberto Zedda, long-standing conductor of the Rossini Festival at Pesaro and an international authority on Handel, Bellini and Donizetti. As a young man, he was thrown out of La Scala by Herbert von Karajan. He went on to conduct at all the major Italian opera houses, including La Scala, as well as Covent Garden,Vienna, Paris, the Mariinsky, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He was an irrepressible enthusiast for Rossini and worked closely with Claudio Abbado on the new editions. Alberto Zedda died yesterday in Pesaro.
The Princeton Festival: Conducting Master Class Princeton, NJ (USA) Conducting Master Class with The Princeton Festival Chamber Choir and Baroque Orchestra June 18 – 24, 2017 with Dr. Jan Harrington Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Conducting Indiana University Jacobs School of Music George Frideric Handel Chandos Anthem no. 11, “Let God Arise,” HWV 256a Antonio […]
Sabata/Armonia Atenea/Petrou (Aparte)Look at Xavier Sabata, all wet and gladiatorial! It’s one way of selling a countertenor disc, though this one shouldn’t need it: Sabata’s selection of 18th-century Italian arias, in which a variety of troubled characters go through the mill, includes gems you won’t often hear by Orlandini, Ariosti, Handel, Hasse and others, and showcases a supple, communicative voice that is honeyed and forthright by turns. But the relentless bounce and in-your-face character of George Petrou’s orchestra won’t be to all tastes; the aria from Vivaldi’s Il Farnace – which is, admittedly, inspired by a horrific dramatic situation – sounds like it’s being played on elastic bands stretched around a biscuit tin. This does at least make for a bold contrast with Sabata’s voice, which takes on extra sweetness in these long, sinewy lines; elsewhere, the most athletic fast passages can sound choppy. He’s going to need a lot of towelling down. Continue reading...
Britten theatre, Royal College of Music, London Overtones of The Godfather lurk around every corner of William Relton’s cool and clever staging of Handel’s problematic piece, which is exquisitely sungFirst performed in 1738, Faramondo has long been regarded as one of Handel’s problem pieces. Written while he was recovering from a stroke, it’s disquietingly bleak, and the dramaturgy is puzzling. The opera examines the relationships between desire and war and explores queasy ideas of sexual and military conquest. Yet there’s no real plot, only a static emotional gridlock, in which two pairs of men, allied on each side of an age-old conflict, find themselves rivals for women in the enemy camp: the protagonists, none of them remotely sympathetic, react rather than act throughout.A collaboration between the London Handel festival and the RCM International Opera School, William Relton’s staging relocates the work to some nameless modern urban hellhole. There are overtones of both The Godfather and West Side Story as mafiosi and bike gangs fight for control of the streets and knife-wielding psychopaths lurk round every corner. It’s consistently well sung, though Ida Ränzlöv’s Faramondo and Harriet Eyley as his sister Clotilde are particularly outstanding. Ränzlöv blazes through her arias with thrilling conviction; Eyley, silver-toned and effortless, is by turns virtuosic and exquisite. Continue reading...
Charlotte Bray’s new work incorporating Shostakovich and Schumann tops the list, while Laurence Cummings conducts Handel’s 1738 operaFramed by Schumann’s Piano Quartet and Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, Charlotte Bray’s new work is the centrepiece of the Schubert Ensemble’s programme. Each of the three movements of Zustände is inspired by a different form of ice, all photographed by Bray on a recent trip to Greenland. Continue reading...
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