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February 2010

Review of Ensemble Parallèle's Wozzeck

Wozzeck-bojan * Notes *
John Rea's reorchestration of Wozzeck had a West Coast premiere last night in San Francisco. Ensemble Parallèle was both robust and focused under conductor Nicole Paiement. The 28 musicians produced a much sound, despite their small numbers, even overwhelming the singing on occasion. Brian Staufenbiel's production made artful use of video that eschewed, for the most part, the effect of an oversized screen saver. There were two instances of live video capture, one of the Hauptmann when he was being shaved and one of the Doktor when he was experimenting on Wozzeck. The latter came off as somewhat artificial, since there is no reason in the plot the Doktor is obliged to stand so still and face away from the person he is speaking to. The set was versatile and clean, essentially consisting only of two pieces that were rolled this way and that to suggest the many scenes.

The singers were uniformly strong. Along with nearly everyone else in the cast, bass John Bischoff sang heartily in the inn scene of Act II. AJ Glueckert was appropriately self-important as the Drum Major, and was convincing. Philip Skinner (the Doctor) and John Duykers (the Captain) expressed much through their faces in their aforementioned close-ups. Patricia Green was piercing as Marie, yet not unsympathetic as a character. In the title role, Bojan Knežević was quite disturbing, his voice is splendidly beautiful. He was able to emanate the despair and hopelessness of the character.

* Tattling * 
The audience uncommmonly well-behaved. There was no electronic noise, only a slight bit of whispering, and a few coughs. For 90 minutes in one go, it was rather remarkable.

LA Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 23- October 16 2010: Il Postino
September 26- October 17 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro
November 27- December 18 2010: Lohengrin
February 19- March 13 2011: Il Turco in Italia
March 12-27 2011: The Turn of the Screw

LA Opera's new season opens with a world premiere, with Plácido Domingo singing the part of Pablo Neruda. Domingo conducts Le Nozze, with Bo Skovhus singing Almaviva in his LA Opera debut. Ben Heppner sings the title role of Lohengrin, Soile Isokoski is Elsa, and Ortrud Dolora Zajick. Paolo Gavanelli sings Don Geronio in Il Turco. Patricia Racette and William Burden star in The Turn of the Screw.

Press Release | Official Site

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2010-2011 Season

October 1-30 2010: Macbeth
October 13 2010- March 27 2011: Carmen
November 5-23 2010: A Midsummer Night's Dream
November 15- December 10 2010: Un Ballo en Maschera
December 6 2010-January 21 2011: The Mikado
January 22- February 21 2011: La Fanciulla del West
February 11- March 8 2011: Lohengrin
March 4-21 2011: Hercules

Lyric Opera of Chicago announced the 2010-2011 season today. Thomas Hampson is Macbeth, David Daniels sings in Midsummer, and Sondra Radvanovsky stars in Un Ballo. Deborah Voigt is opposite Marcello Giordani in Fanciulla. Eric Owens, Alice Coote, and Richard Croft are in Hercules.

Press Release | Official Site

Canadian Opera Company's 2010-2011 Season

October 2- November 5 2010: Aida
September 15- October 1 2010: Death in Venice
January 29- February 25 2011: The Magic Flute
February 5-26 2011: Nixon in China
April 23- May 25 2011: La Cenerentola
April 30- May 29 2011: Adriane auf Naxos
May 8-28 2011: Orfeo ed Euridice

Today the new season of the Canadian Opera Company was unveiled by Alexander Neef, who claimed COC is the third-largest opera in North America, after the Met and Lyric Opera Chicago. Sondra Radvanovsky shares the role of Aida with Michele Capalbo. Isabel Bayrakdarian sings Euridice.

Season | Official Site

San Francisco Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 10- December 5 2010: Aida
September 15- October 1 2010: Werther
September 21- October 22 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro
October 12- November 27 2010: Madama Butterfly
October 24- November 12 2010: Cyrano de Bergerac
November 10-28 2010: The Makropulos Case
June 14-July 3 2011: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Dolora Zajick shares the role of Amneris with Guang Yang. Plácido Domingo sings the title role in Cyrano, Ramón Vargas is Werther, and Karita Mattila is the lead in The Makropulos Case. Noteworthy debuts at San Francisco Opera next season include Danielle de Niese as Susanna in Figaro and Elīna Garanča as Charlotte in Werther.

Season Announcement | Official Site

Standing Room at Opéra National de Paris

Whilst looking at tickets for Opéra national de Paris I learnt that they do have standing room, but only at Opéra Bastille. The official site of the opera says that the tickets go on sale when the doors open, approximately 90 minutes before curtain up. This seems rather vague, as it does not say where said tickets can be purchased.

The French language site was not much more help, reading: Les places de 9e catégorie (debout) sont vendues à l’ouverture des portes soit environ 1 heure 30 avant la représentation and Les places de 9e catégorie (debout) à l’Opéra Bastille sont vendues dès l'ouverture des portes, soit environ 1h30 avant le lever de rideau.

After a bit more research, I found that AP reported that 62 tickets go on sale from machines in the lobby, which helps a little bit but still leaves me with a lot of questions. One wonders when and where the queue forms. Any advice on this is welcome.

Portland Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 24- October 2 2010: Pagliacci and Carmina Burana
November 5-13 2010: Hansel and Gretel
February 4-12 2011: Turandot
April 1-9 2011: L'Heure Espagnole and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges

Portland Opera is having 6 operas in 4 productions next season, though the two Ravel operas part of the Portland Opera Studio program.

Oregon Live | Official Site | Subscriptions

Dietmar Schwarz & Deutsche Oper Berlin

Dietmar Schwarz, the Operndirektor at Theater Basel, is to become the Intendant of Deutsche Oper Berlin with the 2012-2013 season. The current Intendantin, Kristen Harms, is leaving her post in the Summer of 2011, so the post will be filled in the interim by the Generalmusikdirektor, the Kaufmännischen Geschäftsführer and the Operndirektor.

Press Release (Auf Deutsch) | Deutsche Oper Berlin

Washington National Opera's 2010-2011 Season

September 11-25 2010: Un Ballo in Maschera
October 7-23 2010: Salome
February 26- March 19 2011: Madama Butterfly
February 27 2011: Juan Diego Flórez Concert
March 12 2011: Bryn Terfel Concert
May 6-29 2011: Iphigénie en Tauride
May 13-27 2011: Don Pasquale

Today WNO announced the new season, which is reduced to 5 operas, but does include two "Celebrity Concerts." Deborah Voigt sings Salome. Patricia Racette makes a role debut as Iphigénie opposite of Domingo.

Press Release | Official Site