Posts Tagged ‘Royal Opera’
With the six performances sold out, the opening night full of D-list celebrities, an age limit of 16 years imposed by the Royal Opera on the audience, the traditional red curtain in the auditorium replaced with a pink curtain emblazened with the initials A N, and the singers miked, trailer trash has arrived at Covent Garden and given it more excitement than it has ever seen.
The show, described by the Royal Opera House as a “celebrity story of our times that includes extreme language, drug abuse and sexual content”, opened in London on Thursday.
The libretto was written by Richard Thomas, best known for Jerry Springer: The Opera, music by Mark-Anthony Turnage, and starring Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek (Suart Skelton’s Sieglinde at the Met in 2012).
The music embraces jazz, blues, musical comedy, and lounge – not the usual fare at the Garden.
The controversy surrounding the opera has spilled over to the critics, with both positive and less favourable reviews.
“It’s often very funny, but it’s not just a crude farce with a downbeat ending,” the Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen said.
“It is underpinned by genuine compassion for Anna Nicole and genuine scorn for the forces that mould, and then destroy her.”
Westbroek was lauded by Christiansen for playing the lead role “with inexhaustible energy … which never strikes a false note of sentimentality”.
Jessica Duchen, the Independent’s reviewer, was equally enthusiastic after witnessing “the most hotly anticipated night in contemporary opera in years”.
“It’s a tremendous show, fast-paced, spare and concentrated,” Duchen wrote.
Andrew Clements writing in The Guardian had the following to say:
“An orchestral interlude in the second act provides a sudden reminder of what he can produce, but otherwise it’s necessary to listen to what is churning away beneath the anonymous vocal lines (sub Sondheim when reflective, off-Broadway musical when flippant) to find a real musical personality. The amplification of the singers, “to increase clarity of the words”, reinforces the tacky sense of a misfiring musical, and Richard Jones’s functional production, designed by Miriam Buether, inhabits a similar two-dimensional world.”
My own view, is Anna Nicole is a brave leap of faith into evolving opera from museum works to rich works that express our aspirations and views in the here and now. Perhaps with modern works such as BLISS and ANNA NICOLE, Pierre Boulez may want to rethink his statement that “all opera houses should be burnt down”.
Please Mr Terracini, beg borrow or steal ANNA NICOLE for staging in Australia. Box office receipts will not be sorry ! PS could we add a scene where Anna Nicole sings “Happy birthday Mr President” to Bill Clinton in the White House?
ANNA NICOLE (the opera), which has it’s world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on the 17th February is virtually sold out ! Helped by the British tabloids beating up the opera with promises of flesh, tits, bums, pole dancing, blow jobs, sex and drug taking it had to be a success (the Press Releases from the Royal Opera must have made interesting reading). Unfortunately many of the more traditional works by Rossini, Verdi and Puccini are not fairing near as well at the Covent Garden box office.
Well opera administrators and culture vultures have been telling us for years that contemporary themes are required to prevent opera from becoming a dead art form and certainly ANNA NICOLE proves the power of contemporary themes. In Australia Alan John and Dennis Watkins’ THE EIGHTH WONDER certainly attracted good houses with a topical theme.
I am at a loss to find a suitable sexy and tragic celebrity in Australia as a theme for a similar opera (hmmm Shane Warne? He already has a musical and isn’t dead yet – unless you count his divorce and demise from the Australian Cricket Team). Perhaps operas on THE dismissal, Christopher Skase, Rose Porteus or the Bangalow murders. Anything but Ned Kelly !!! Any ideas?
Making her role and house debut at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Jessica Pratt has scored considerable success. reviews are now starting to filter through.
George Hall writing in STAGE REVIEWS, comments she “supplies physical authority and all the money notes”.
Michael Church reports in THE INDEPENDENT, ”Jessica Pratt sails effortlessly through the Queen of the Night coloratura”
and in OPERA TODAY Clair Seymour comments “As the Queen of the Night, Jessica Pratt, making her role and house debut, had all the notes, and hit them cleanly. While her top notes were warm and true, without a hint of stridency or loss of power, her lower register projected less well”.
Despite a few quibbles by Ms Seymour, Jessica has accomplished an auspicious debut in one of the great opera houses of the world. Next LINDA DI CHAMOUNIX for Opera de Toulon, Elvira in I PURITANI at Teatro Verdi di Salerno, and Lucia at La Fenice, Venice.
Despite the Arts Council slashing £23m from the 2010/2011 £468m budget and the Royal Opera budget cut by £142,185, there seems to be little effect on the exciting new productions of rarely performed operas they are rolling out over the next three years. These include:
Rimsky-Korsakov’s THE TSAR’S BRIDE, Massenet’s CENDRILLON and Cilea’s ADRIANA LECOUVREUR during 2011.
Wagner’s DIE MEISTERSINGER with Simon O’Neill singing his first Walther, Berlioz’ LES TROYENS to be directed by David McVicar and starring Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westerbroek, and Delius’ A VILLAGE ROMEO AND JULIET directed by William Kentridge in 2012.
Verdi’s LES VEPRES SICILIENNES to be directed by Stefan Helmheim, Britten’s GLORIANA to be directed by Richard Jones, Meyerbeer’s ROBERT LE DIABLE directed by Laurent Pelly, Ades’ THE TEMPEST directed by Robert Lepage and starring Simon Keenlyside as Prospero, and Tchaikovsky’s YEVGENY ONEGIN in the 2012/13 season.
Giordano’s ANDREA CHENIER directed by David McVicar and starring Jonas Kaufmann in 2015.