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Opera Now provides a unique and all-encompassing perspective on the international opera scene through its lively and colourful mix of news, reviews, interviews, travel articles and commentary.

Read about new productions, festivals, performance previews and world premieres, as well as reviews of all the latest opera CDs, DVDs, books, websites and films.

With our mixture of celebrity interviews, leadership profiles and behind-the-scenes features, you'll appreciate the diversity, passion and dynamism of the people who make opera happen. It is the global platform for opera, reaching out to opera lovers worldwide, but also into the heart of the industry from the grassroots to the glamorous.


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Flórez returns to London for his fourth Rosenblatt Recital

2 April 2012, London, UK

Ian Rosenblatt and Juan Diego Flórez at the Rosenblatt Recitals in 2011
Ian Rosenblatt and Juan Diego Flórez at the Rosenblatt Recitals in 2011(Photo: Jonathan Rose)

Opera Now’s April issue cover artist, Juan Diego Flórez, is to perform at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 May as part of London’s prestigious Rosenblatt Recital series.

The event will be only the second time in living memory that a tenor has given a solo recital with orchestra at the vast 5,200-seat venue.

Flórez’s programme includes songs and arias by Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Vives, Serrano, Giménez, Lehár, Brodzsky and Donizetti, accompanied by the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra of Heilbronn under Alessandro Vitiello.

Ian Rosenblatt, founder of the recital series, said: ‘I’m really excited to welcome Juan Diego back for his fourth Rosenblatt Recital. Since giving him his UK debut in 2001 we’ve had to hire bigger and bigger venues to satisfy demand, so this performance at the Royal Albert Hall will be a truly historic occasion.  It’s going to be a night to treasure.’

For tickets visit rosenblattrecitals.com or call the Royal Albert Hall on 020 7589 8212

 

COMPETITION | Win a copy of Juan Diego Flórez's new DVD

26 March 2012

Opera Now is giving away five copies of Le comte Ory starring Juan Diego Flórez!

To enter, simply drop us an email with the subject FLOREZ to competitions@rhinegold.co.uk, or send a postcard to Rhinegold Competitions, 20 Rugby Street, London WC1N 3QZ. Please include your full name, address and a contact telephone number. (Deadline: 30 April 2012)

Le comte Ory is Rossini’s last comic opera and, although relatively rarely performed, it ranks alongside The Barber of Seville in its deft torrent of screwball hilarity and irrepressible, florid music.

It’s all riotous fun from the outset: a randy French aristocrat (Count Ory) is desperate to seduce the beautiful and virtuous Countess Adèle while all the men of the town are away at the Crusades. 

Hi makes his bid in various cunning disguises, first as a hermit and then, improbably, as a nun. In fact, it is Ory’s young pageboy, Isolier, whom the Countess ends up loving. In spite of all his cunning, the last laugh is on Ory: his schemes are foiled at every turn and in a darkened tryst, he mistakenly attempts to seduce his pageboy.

The opera, with all its cross-dressing antics, drunken nuns and gender-bending seduction scenes, must have seemed rather racy when it was first performed in Paris in 1828. In the Met’s 2011 production, award-winning Broadway director Bartlett Sher conceives of the scenario as an ‘opera within an opera’, and at the denouement, he captures the erotic innuendo of the lovers’ tryst by putting all three main characters in a big bed, where they disappear into a tangle of limbs.

The Met has fielded an absolutely first-rate international cast: Juan Diego Flórez as the Count, Diana Damrau as Adèle and, best of all, Joyce DiDonato as Isolier the pageboy are the accomplished trio at the heart of it all, never missing a comic beat among all the vocal fireworks demanded of them. Impressive too are Stéphane Degout’s dark-toned Raimbaud, who delivers a rollicking drinking song, and Michele Pertusi as the disapproving Tutor.

Rossini specialist Maurizio Benini conducts this breathless romp with tremendous comic pacing, and the DVD captures all the rich colour and zany energy of a production that is sure to become a Met classic.

 

BBC 2 TV launches a new series of Maestro

19 March 2012, London, UK

(Photo: Gary Moyes)

The line-up of celebrities for a new series of the BBC 2 TV series Maestro has been announced as part of a partnership between the BBC and London’s Royal Opera House.

Four stars, including the judge of BBC 1 TV’s Strictly Come Dancing, Craig Revel Horwood, will compete to master the art of conducting, with the winner going through to conduct an entire act from an opera.

Antonio Pappano and Sir Mark Elder are among the experts chosen to coach the stars, who have all admitted feeling daunted by the challenge ahead after watching a recent ROH performance of The Marriage of Figaro.

[Pictured, right: Maestro contestants Marcus Du Sautoy, Craig Revel Horwood, Josie Lawrence and Trevor Nelson at London’s Royal Opera House]

 

Mandela Trilogy to tour the UK this summer

16 March 2012, London, UK

Aubrey Poo (Nelson Mandela) with Gloria Bosman (Dolly Radebe) in Cape Town Opera's 'Mandela Trilogy'
Aubrey Poo (Nelson Mandela) with Gloria Bosman (Dolly Radebe) in Cape Town Opera's 'Mandela Trilogy'(Photo: Val Adamson)

Tickets are now on sale for the forthcoming UK tour of Cape Town Opera's ground-breaking Mandela Trilogy, which tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s life and work. The tour in June and July will also mark the production’s European premiere.

A unique collaboration involving three composers, each act of the Trilogy presents a different aspect of South African musical culture – Xhosa oratorio, jazz musical and opera. This stylistic transition mirrors Mandela’s own development from birth to marriage (Act I), his political education and emergence as a community leader (Act II), and finally his trial, incarceration and release (Act III).

The tour, which visits Birmingham, Edinburgh Festival, the Wales Millennium Centre, Canterbury, Southampton and London’s Coliseum, also includes a revival of Porgy & Bess set in South Africa at the height of apartheid.

 

Barcelona's Liceu reverses plans for closure

16 March 2012, Barcelona, Spain

After nearly two months of intense negotiations, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu (pictured, right) has come to an agreement with workers that reverses an earlier cost-cutting plan to close for eight weeks.

The theatre, which has a running deficit of €3.7 million (£3.1 million), announced in January that 27 performances of seven productions would be cancelled in the periods 20 March to 10 April and 5 June to 8 July.

To prevent this, 450 workers have agreed to postpone their extra summer payment to a later date, saving the theatre €1.5 million. As yet, no terms have been agreed for the delayed payments.

The Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell, expressed his satisfaction with the agreement, saying: ‘The prestige and the future of the theatre have gone before individual interests’, adding that the deficit ‘without any doubt might have put the quality of the programme and activities at risk’.

Representatives of the workers’ committee are reported to be less pleased with the handling of the crisis, however, and believe that it could lead to the resignation of some members of the Liceu’s senior management team.

 


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