Rossini and Kit & the Widow

“We’re off to Glyndebourne to see a rather boring opera by Rossini,
We both like Glyndebourne; it gives us scope to be particularly queeny.”
Kit & the Widow, ‘Glyndebourne’ (tune: overture to Il Barbiere di Siviglia)

A curious link between my last two artistic experiences.  As this year’s Glyndebourne whirl approaches, Kit & the Widow’s rather wonderful song about the experience of a day in Sussex focuses on the process of actually getting there.  Traffic problems and overly fancy picnics culminate in the sort of flustered arrival in the gardens which seems to be such a feature of a relaxed afternoon’s opera-going in the Sussex Downs.

Ah well, back to Rossini, and in particular a belated comment on the Caurier/Leiser production of Il Turco in Italia at the Royal Opera House.  The production style is evident from photos and heartily meets with my approval.  The cast, containing buffo stalwart Alessandro Corbelli as the hapless husband and Aleksandra Kurzak providing a lighter Fiorilla than the last run’s Cecilia Bartoli.  Colin Lee got an outing of his own accord as Narciso, rather than playing second fiddle to Flórez, and the Turk himself was Ildebrando d’Arcangelo.  Both Lee and d’Arcangelo were more satisfying that in previous roles: Narciso seemed more lyrical, requiring less dexterity than does Almaviva, and this suited Lee better.  d’Arcangelo was a far more satisying Turk than he had been a Toreador in runs of Carmen.  His voice came across full and firm, with a weight equal to the role. (more…)

Another roundup

Have been a bit tardy in committing thoughts to keyboard.  So, recently:  Kat’a Kabanova; Fascinating Aida; Sweet Nothings.  Reasonably varied, n’est ce pas?

Kat’a:  brilliant performances, especially Patricia Racette as an assured but tortured Kat’a; well-paced; production lost some of its power through overdoing the caricature of Kabanicha and leaving too much draughty, empty space; from dress circle side, words were much more audible than usual at ENO.  A brilliant evening, all in all.

Fascinating Aida:  fabulously filthy in parts; touching in others; cleverly satirical throughout; overall enjoyment just the same as the last two times I saw that show

Sweet Nothings:  appallingly banal and irritating first act full of characters about which I couldn’t have cared less; more mature and interesting second act with a bit more development and interaction; clever production; tireless performances.

Sondheim on Saturday, hooray…  and thank God for bank holiday weekends…