Opera Australia to begin UK cinema screenings on 24 April
13 April 2012, London, UK
Passionate romance: Takesha Mashé Kizart (Mimi) and Ji-Min Park (Rodolfo)
Report by Richard Fawkes
On 24 April, Opera Australia breaks new ground by beaming its production of La bohème to cinemas in the UK, launching a regular series of UK opera screenings from the Sydney Opera House.
The vast time difference between Australia and the UK means that live screenings won’t be possible, but delayed broadcasts will be relayed to some 50 or more UK cinemas. There are also plans to transmit the series to the United States once the logistical details have been finalised.
The production of La bohème that opens the Down Under season features Ji-Min Park as Rodolfo and Takesha Mashé Kizart as Mimi. Also in the cast of Gale Edwards’ production are José Carbó, Shane Lowrencev, David Parkin and Taryn Fiebig. Shao-Chia-Lü conducts.
Other productions to look forward to this summer include La traviata performed on a floating stage in the middle of Sydney Harbour.
Lyndon Terracini, Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, said of the season: ‘I’m delighted that we now have the opportunity for opera lovers in the UK to be able to enjoy some of Opera Australia’s most wonderful productions.’
Read more about Opera Australia in our May issue 'Postcard from Australia', out on 3 May.
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(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 email@example.com, 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
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'(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.
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