Pelléas et Mélisande at the Holland Festival: austerely beautiful but flawed

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 5th of June, 2019

After skipping a year, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra returns to Dutch National Opera for its annual stint at the Holland Festival, this time in Claude Debussy’s only finished opera, Pelléas et Mélisande. It was a proposition full of promise – hearing a 24-carat orchestra in this water-and-light composition, conducted by French repertoire specialist Stéphane Denève.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Cool beauty in Dutch National Opera’s Madama Butterfly

Puccini: Madama Butterfly

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 23rd of April, 2019

It is hard to imagine a more beautifully sung Cio-Cio-San than Elena Stikhina’s. For her, Dutch National Opera has revived Robert Wilson’s ultra-minimalistic Madama Butterfly, first unveiled in 1993 at the Paris Opera, and presented many times since at various houses. The severe beauty of the production has not aged a bit. Yet, despite the satisfaction they give to the senses, both Wilson’s images and Stikhina’s singing leave one wanting more.

Full review on Opera Today.

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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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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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Young audience embraces Die Zauberflöte at Dutch National Opera

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

At Dutch National Opera on the 4th of September, 2018

The Dutch National Opera season opens officially on the 7th of September with a third run of Simon McBurney’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, an unqualified success at its 2012 premiere. Last Tuesday, however, an audience aged between sixteen and thirty-five got to see a preview of this co-production with English National Opera and the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Full review on Opera Today.

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Superb, sinister Tales of Hoffmann at Dutch National Opera

Offenbach: Les Contes d’Hoffmann

Dutch National Opera, 3 June 2018

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Caricature of Offenbach by André Gill, 1874, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

No colourful tavern scenes and Venetian gondolas in this new Amsterdam production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Off-white and black dominate its three-floor set of many rooms. Moreover, this three-hour version assembled by conductor Carlo Rizzi and director Tobias Kratzer is likely to dissatisfy both purists and traditionalists.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Spectacular Gurrelieder revived at Dutch National Opera

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Dutch National Opera, 18 April 2018

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Plan of Gurre Castle, Denmark. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Toward the end of Pierre Audi’s last season at Dutch National Opera, the house has revived one of its artistic director’s most admired productions. The first ever and, so far, only staged version of Schoenberg’s gargantuan cantata represents the best of Audi’s innovative work.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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