Fresh from the rather disappointing performance at the rather special Bayreuth Festspielhaus, it was back into Proms season and a run of tremendous performances in the dismal Royal Albert Hall… it would seem that the Albert Hall has a message for Bayreuth: you can have a special and well-designed theatre, but it ain’t much use if what you put on isn’t up to scratch. It goes without saying that all of these performances would have been that much more special in a better acoustic, but they still achieved rare levels of intensity in Kensington’s cavernous barn. (more…)
“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…)
This is, I think, the third of these Sondheim extravaganzas I’ve been to at Cadogan Hall, all of them centred on Maria Friedman. On this occasion she was joined by Graham Bickley, Daniel Evans and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with David Firman as musical director.