Monday, March 27, 2017
The death is reported of Alberto Zedda, long-standing conductor of the Rossini Festival at Pesaro and an international authority on Handel, Bellini and Donizetti. As a young man, he was thrown out of La Scala by Herbert von Karajan. He went on to conduct at all the major Italian opera houses, including La Scala, as well as Covent Garden,Vienna, Paris, the Mariinsky, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He was an irrepressible enthusiast for Rossini and worked closely with Claudio Abbado on the new editions. Alberto Zedda died yesterday in Pesaro.
Gianluca Macheda, the bureau chief who quit troubled IMG Artists two months ago, launched his new business today. Almost all his former artists have joined Gianluca in the move. They are mostly opera singers – including Diadkova, Fabiano, Kurzak, Rene Pape, Polenzani and Stuart Skelton – plus such busy conductors as Roberto Abbado, Nicola Luisotti and Nicole Paiement. GM Art and Music has offices in Warsaw, Lucca and New York.
From a teenage obsession with Wagner to the inspirational Giulini and the daily necessity of Bach, the conductor shares his musical passionsVinyl or digital?I have wonderful memories of the vinyl recordings my father used to play at home – Il barbiere di Siviglia (Abbado, Berganza, Pray, Alva), Le nozze di Figaro (Bohm, Prey, Mathis, Janowitz, Fischer-Dieskau) and Beethoven 9 (Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic). I still have a big collection of vinyl, especially historical performances of Italian opera, but I don’t often have the chance to listen to them because I am rarely at home. But I consider these recordings to be some of the most precious things I own. As a student I bought lots of CDs, and nowadays I always listen with headphones on my phone or laptop to digital music. But of course, nothing is better than the live concert experience and live music making. Continue reading...
Venue: Large hall of the Friends of Music, Vienna, Austria Address: Bösendorferstraße 12, 1010 Vienna, Austria Performers: Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) Date/Time: Thursday, 16. February 2017 19:30 ARTISTS: Franz Welser-Möst, Conductor Rudolf Buchbinder, Klavier PROGRAM: Johannes Brahms Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 1 d-Moll, op. 15 ——– Break ———- Franz Schubert: Symphonie Nr. 7 h-Moll, D 759, „Unvollendete“ (Unfinished) Béla Bartók: Der wunderbare Mandarin. Konzertsuite, op. 19 (The remarkable Mandarin) Here is the Schubert Unfinished Symphony, conducted by the late Claudio Abbado.
There were boos on two successive nights at the Vienna State Opera. The first was a lone protestor who had something against the (excellent) conductor. The second was a spattering of hoots at Daniele Abbado’s fine design team for Trovatore . The Vienna rag Kurier this morning made the – brief and unrepresentative – booing their main headline. Booing has been common in European opera houses ever since audiences were first affronted by modern and post-modern productions. In both of these case, the productions were elegant and unexceptionable. But booing has become a habit for some operagoers – a bit of fun, a dare. Actually, it’s a bore. The people who do it would never stand up in a crowded restaurant and boo a dish they did not like. If they did, they would be banned for life. Or beaten up by the chef. Everyone has a right to an opinion, of course. But opera houses need to take measures against persistent, disruptive, nuisance booers. A warning on first offence. A ban on second. They have their credit card numbers at the box-office and they know where they sit.
Arturo Toscanini, asked what was required to cast Il Trovatore, is said to have replied: ‘Only the four best singers in the world’. Vienna did not quite achieve that elite distinction in its first new Trovatore of the 21st century, but it came close, breathtakingly close. It is hard to imagine there is a more moving Leonora anywhere at the moment than Anna Netrebko, visually eye-catching and vocally incomparable. She commands the stage with ease and uses her pianissimo to even greater effect than her formidable great fortes. Roberto Alagna gave his all as Manrico, sometimes more than his all, so determined was he to surmount the massed sound of two armies and an orchestra. In tender moments, notably in duet with his doomed mother Azucena, he was compassion itself. Luciana D’Intino’s Azucena walked the edge of madness across four acts while simultaneously giving the impression of being the only sane person on stage, secure in her vocal serenity. Ludovic Tezier was beyond evil as the Conte di Luna, expressing his awareness of the wrong he was doing with several shades of musical subtlety. Daniele Abbado directed with taste and discretion, setting the opera in the Spanish Civil War; Marco Armiliano conducted with an Abbado-like cohesion; and the chorus and Vienna Philharmonic orchestra were, as so often, in a class all their own. The bonus? Jongmin Park, was a flawless Ferrando, rolling out the complicated backstory without one superfluous gesture. A Vienna ensemble member, aged 30, he may well be the next great bass. When opera is this intense, you wonder why it can’t always be like this. Netrebko with conductor Armiliato. Photo (c) Michael Poehn