Jules Massenet

Manon, thoroughly revived

On Friday 24 January, I caught the revival of the Royal Opera’s Manon. I looked back at my musings on the first run back in 2010, when it functioned as a star-vehicle for Anna Netrebko and Vittorio Grigolo.  I was distinctly underwhelmed by the piece, and not particularly swept away by the two lead singers. Happily, whilst still remaining not entirely convinced by Massenet in this work, the performance was more impressive. (more…)

Where’d he go??

Oh, dear.  A bit of a bloggin’ disaster.  Moving house got me out of the habit, out of the frame of mind, and out of the path of a computer for rather too long.  I do apologise, and especially to the two people who were kind enough to trouble themselves with comments on previous blogposts, which then sat in unloved cyberspace for two months.  Tsk tsk, not good enough. (more…)

The Sorrows of an Audience Member at Werther

I can’t compare the opera Werther to the Goethe novel The Sorrows of Young Werther on which it is based, on account of not having read it.  However, given Goethe’s status in the annals of world literature, I can’t imagine it is a clunky and crude as Massenet’s presentation of the story.

Act 1 reminded me of all the reasons I disliked Manon.  The preposterous turns of drama, linked to music which sounds gorgeous but appears to go nowhere.  The end of Act 1 concludes with a frankly hilarious exchange, where the sweet nothings of our hero and heroine are interrupted by news of the arrival of the heroine’s betrothed, and the dialogue goes: “Ah, I forgot I promised to marry him.”  “Then you must do that, and I must die.”  Cue exit, Werther’s anguished cry of “Marry another!”, and down comes the curtain. (more…)

Been busy…

It’s a good job that the readership of this blog is intermittent and doesn’t rely on it for anything.  Sorry, I’ve been moving house, so there’s some catching up to do.  At the rate I’m going, Opera magazine will get the reviews out before I commit my thoughts to the public realm.

Anyhow, somewhere in the middle of the packing up of boxes there was Le Nozze di Figaro at Covent Garden.  Erwin Schrott’s Figaro was the main draw; the women were Annette Dasch (Countess) was Eri Nakamura (Susanna); Mariusz Kwiecien was the Count.  A wonderful evening, in summary, with some quick observations to be made. (more…)