Glorious ensembles in Dutch National Opera’s new Tannhäuser

Wagner: Tannhäuser

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 6th of April, 2019

The unveiling of Dutch National Opera’s new Tannhäuser was a very good night for Wagner, chiefly thanks to the magnificent orchestra and chorus. Director Christof Loy offered an interesting take on the singing knight torn between carnal rapture with the goddess Venus and his socially acceptable love for Elisabeth, and there was some fine solo singing. But it was the spellbinding colours and three-dimensional splendour of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the house chorus that swept one away.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Perfect symbiosis of words and music in Fin de partie at the Opera Forward Festival

Kurtág: Fin de partie

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 6th of March, 2019

György Kurtág’s only opera Fin de partie, based on Samuel Beckett’s play, has had a long gestation period. After being announced a number of times without materialising, it received its world premiere at La Scala last November, when it was declared to be a masterpiece. Kurtàg, now in his early nineties, was unable to travel to Milan, or to Amsterdam, where the same cast and conductor have brought the production to the Opera Forward Festival. At the curtain call last Wednesday, conductor Markus Stenz and director Pierre Audi held up the score and accepted the fervent applause on the composer’s behalf.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Chameleonic new opera featuring Caruso in Amsterdam

Hamel: Caruso a Cuba

At Internationaal Theater Amsterdam on the 3rd of March, 2019

Micha Hamel’s new opera, Caruso a Cuba, is constantly on the move. The chameleonic score takes on a myriad flavours, all with a strong sense of mood or place. 

With 19th century Italian opera tunes flowing into Afro-Cuban percussion and chromatic free falls, there is never a dull moment in this fictionalized account of tenor Enrico Caruso’s 1920 visit to Cuba. It has meaty roles for the lead singers too. 

Full review on Opera Today.

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Albrecht’s Mahler 8 is a fierce struggle for redemption

Mahler: Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/Albrecht

At the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on the 23rd of February, 2019

After ten years as chief conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch National Opera, Marc Albrecht will leave both posts halfway through 2020. In the meantime, Amsterdam audiences can look forward to another year of performances with his firm imprint, such as this high-octane Symphony no. 8 in E flat major by Gustav Mahler.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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The many facets of Renée Fleming in recital at the Concertgebouw

Brahms/Schubert, et al: Fleming/Höll

At the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on the 7th of February, 2019

A diva recital comes with big expectations – diva vocalism, diva artistry, diva gowns. At her Concertgebouw recital with pianist Hartmut Höll, soprano Renée Fleming fulfilled those expectations, but not the whole time.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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La Cetra dazzles in Juditha Triumphans at Dutch National Opera

Vivaldi: Juditha Triumphans

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 26th of January, 2019

Juditha triumphans, Antonio Vivaldi’s only surviving oratorio, was composed for spiritual edification rather than the opera house. Yet director Floris Visser’s new production at Dutch National Opera successfully transforms it into a plausible wartime drama.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Vivaldi scores intriguing but uneven Dangerous Liaisons in The Hague

Vivaldi & Moretto: Dangerous Liaisons

At the Koninklijke Schouwburg, The Hague on the 17th of January, 2019

“Why should I spend good money on tables when I have men standing idle?” asks a Regency country squire in the British sitcom Blackadder the Third. The Marquise de Merteuil in OPERA2DAY’s Dangerous Liaisons would agree with him. 

Full review on Opera Today.

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