Posts Tagged ‘English National Opera’
Last week the BBC Proms launched their program for 2012. The exciting program includes a concert performance of the much lauded, 2009 English National Opera production of Benjamin Britten’s PETER GRIMES, again starring Australian tenor, Stuart Skelton. The concert will also include Amanda Roocroft as Ellen Orford, Iain Paterson as Captain Balstrode, Felicity Palmer as Mrs Sedley, and will be conducted by ENO Musical Director, Edward Gardner.
This is the third time that Mr Skelton has performed at the BBC Proms, following performances in 2004 in the title role of Dvorak’s DMITRIJ and in 2011 in Mahler’s DAS KLAGENDE LIED.
Other exciting operas and choral works announced in the BBC Proms 2012 Program include:
Debussy’s PELLEAS AND MELISANDE
Lerner and Lowes’ MY FAIR LADY
Berlioz’ THE TROJANS
Gilbert and Sullivans’ THE YEOMAN OF THE GUARD
Mozart’s THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
Adam’s NIXON IN CHINA
Bach’s MASS IN B MINOR
Handel’s JUDAS MACCABAEUS
Elgar’s THE APOSTLES
The program is extremely varied with many exciting works being presented. If you wish to read more on the BBC Proms 2012 Program look here:
Ex-patriate Australian director and self admitted infant terrible of theatre, Barrie Kosky is to make his London directorial debut.
The crowning achievement of French Baroque opera – and the first of Rameau’s works ever to be staged by the English National Opera – CASTOR ET POLLUX will have its premier on the 24th October. The opera is unusual in being a celebration of brotherly rather than romantic love. It is a work of ethereal beauty, rich in affecting airs, elegant dances and powerful choruses, with a plot that sweeps spectacularly from ancient Sparta down to the gates of Hell and up to the starry vault of Heaven.
CASTOR ET POLLUX is a new co-production with the Komische Oper Berlin. Conducting is period music specialist Christian Curnyn, whose previous ENO credits include PARTENOPE (a co-production with Opera Australia) and AFTER DIDO. Christian Curnyn also conducted the brilliant performances of PARTENOPE in Sydney earlier this year. Allan Clayton and Roderick Williams star as the legendary twins whose mutual devotion is so strong that each is willing to die in place of the other.
Australian born Stuart Skelton has received rave reviews for his thrilling and highly intelligent performance of the role of Parsifal in the English National Opera’s revival of Wagner’s PARSIFAL.
The critic, Hugo Shirley, reviewing the performance for MusicalCriticism.com states “Vocal honours for the evening must go to Stuart Skelton‘s powerful Parsifal. The voice is big, and there’s a visceral thrill in hearing it get cranked up to full power. However, this was also an intelligent performance, charting the character’s trajectory from impetuous inquisitiveness in Act One, via moving anguish in Act Two, to true nobility in Act Three”.
The review on Whatsonstage.com has the following to say about his performance – “In the title role Stuart Skelton was quite simply a revelation. He is a true Heldentenor – his cries of ‘Amfortas’ in the second act pinning you to the back of the seat – yet he never forces, is capable of much soft singing, phrases sensitively and is a consummate actor. His transformation from the ‘fool’ of Act One, through his emotional growth in Act Two, to the wise and worldly knight in Act Three was not only achieved through his acting but with the voice as well. Suffice it to say his is the most complete portrayal of the role I have ever seen”.
High praise indeed !
Stuart will be singing in Mahler’s DAS LIED VON DER ERDE with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez in March 2012 and making his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Drum Major in Berg’s WOZZECK later this year. The Metropolitan Opera has just announced it’s 2011/12 Season which will see Stuart return to the Met to sing Siegmund in their new RING. Jonas Kaufmann is Siegmund in the second cast.
The supposed shooting star of dramatic sopranos, Irene Theorin has withdrawn from the English National Opera’s production of Wagner’s PARSIFAL. An official announcement by Dan Phelan, Director of Communications at ENO, passed on the following statement from Irène’s agent:
“Irène Theorin has withdrawn from the role of Kundry in Parsifal because of artistic differences.”
Rumours concerning her departure are flying willy nilly and range from not being able to sing the role adequately in English, to being dismissed by the conductor, Mark Wigglesworth (who conducted the electrifying PETER GRIMES for Opera Australia in 2009), or being told to do it by Klingsor. Personally, I would sack her for using too much peroxide and heavy black eye shadow.
American mezzo soprano Jane Dutton will now be making her debut in a Wagner role singing Kundry.
The Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s Parsifal is acclaimed as one of the great Wagnerian stagings of our time. It has already had triumphant performances in San Francisco, Chicago, Baden-Baden and Barcelona. So what artistic differences could Ms Theorin have with the production? And when did she withdraw? The production opens in 14 days. If the withdrawal was as late as the 29th January as suspected, that leaves a very small window for Jane Dutton to take over such a massive role.
Anyway, the Insider wishes Sydney born Stuart Skelton and the rest of the cast best wishes for a fabulous opening night and run.
The Opera Australia Summer Season features a new production of Handel’s comic opera, PARTENOPE. The opera is a co-production with the English National Opera and has already been staged by ENO in London in 2008. Interestingly the translation from the original Italian is by Amanda Holden, the English librettist for OA’s 2010 production of Brett Dean’s sensational new Australian Opera BLISS. This trans-Continental borrowing is not a one way street. with many artists from Australia contributing to ENO’s 2010/2011 Opera Season.
First up for comment is the revival of the highly acclaimed production of Wagner’s PARSIFAL, directed by Nicolaus Lehnhoff. The production has already been previously seen in London, San Francisco, Baden-Baden and Barcelona to critical acclaim and is starring Australian wunder-helden tenor, Stuart Skelton, and conducted by Mark Wigglesworth whom Australian will recall in the pit of the Sydney Opera House Opera Theatre for the new OA PETER GRIMES in 2009 (Hmm wouldn’t Wigglesworth be a catch for the proposed part-time Musical Director for OA). No doubt Stuart will knock the socks of the Brits yet again in one of his highly intelligent characterisations and his deeply moving singing. Stuart Skelton joins an elite list of Australian helden tenors, including Kenneth Neate, Ronald Dowd, Gregory Dempsey, Jon Weaving and Glenn Winslade who have graced International stages. His voice has been compared to the late James King – may he continue to channel him ! Other stellar Wagnerians in the ENO Parsifal include Sir John Tomlinson and Irene Theorin.
Australian director, Benedict Andrews is to direct a new production of Monteverdi’s THE RETURN OF ULYSSES which will star amongst others, Pamela Helen Stephen as Penelope. Ms Stephen (the widow of the late Richard Hickox, the last Musical Director of OA) will be remembered embroiled in the controversy that erupted in 2008 concerning the quality of work under his leadership and Ms Stephen’s casting in major roles in Australia. It is clear she has, and always had the goods as she continues to be cast in major roles in Britain and Internationally and continues to make International recordings. Benedict Andrews was to have directed a new production of Mozart’s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO for OA this year. The expensive staging updated the opera to a celebrity compound in Florida was deferred until 2012, but rumours suggest it may never see the light of day.
Claire Rutter, who sang the title role in AIDA for the OA in 2009 (top E flats at the end of the Triumphal Scene) will be singing the title role in a new production of Donizetti’s LUCREZIA BORGIA, an opera well known to Sydney audiences from the Sutherland years.
Ann Marie Owens who sang the Witch in the revival of HANSEL AND GRETEL in 2005 and Jezibaba in RUSALKA in 2007 for OA, is to sing Katisha in the long standing Jonathan Miller production of THE MIKADO.
Christopher Alden, who directed the controversial TOSCA in 2009, and directs this years new production of PARTENOPE for OA, is directing a new production of Britten’s A MIDSUMMERS NIGHT DREAM. The production transplants Shakespeare’s moonlit world of woods and fairies to the hormonal hothouse of a 1960′s boys’ school.
The American stage designer, Michael Yeargan known here for designing the OA productions of RIGOLETTO, LA TRAVIATA, THE BARBER IF SEVILLE, WERTHER and BEATRICE AND BENEDICT will be designing the World premier of Nico Muhly’s new opera TWO BOYS, a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York.