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ROH GalaNew works at a Royal event


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#1 Mashinka

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:55 AM

[font=georgia, serif][size=4]Last night I saw a Gala at the Opera house ‘One Extraordinary World’ which was a tie in with the Queen’s jubilee. You tend to get a different audience at these affairs, a moneyed audience that doesn’t quite grasp the concept of applause. The steep prices meant I sat in the Upper Slips which gave a view of about three fifths of the stage, so I shan’t attempt to review what I saw because I missed too much of the danced content for a fair assessment. What impressed me with the evening though was the amount of new dance that was presented with three short world premieres by Messrs McGregor, Marriott and Scarlett who each produced a pas de deux of some interest. As the ballet content was overseen by very new director Kevin O’Hare I feel it augers well for the RB’s future that he apparently takes every opportunity to present new work. Among the other pieces on show was a pas de deux by John Neumeier, a choreographer whose works have been woefully ignored in London for too long, and at the end of the evening Mr Neumeier took a bow with his dancers which leads me to hope that the RB may have undergone a sea change in its attitude towards him.[/size][/font]


[font=georgia, serif][size=4]I was also delighted to see Natalia Osipova dancing in the new McG. with Edward Watson, Osipova has just finished three guest O/O’s with the company and the sight of her appearing in the house choreographer’s newest work might indicate she has more of a future with the RB than being a one-off guest, at least I hope so.[/size][/font]


[font=georgia, serif][size=4]The evening wasn’t just ballet of course with Gheorghiu and Alagna appearing too, she not quite the right voice type for Carmen and he singing two extracts from Massenet’s glorious (but politically incorrect I’m told) Le Cid. But it was Bryn Terfel who stole the show and actually woke up the woefully moribund audience with a super-charged Mephistopheles (Boito) and provided the dramatic finale with the Te Deum from Tosca. I saw his stunning interpretation of Wotan on Sunday and know that this is a singer on top of his form, but it isn’t just the glorious voice that makes Terfel so great, it’s the way he OWNS the stage in a way that all the greats used to but so very few do today. Perhaps we should initiate some reminiscences of dancers that had that quality, there aren’t too many around at the moment.[/size][/font]

#2 Birdsall

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 08:42 AM

I do think Terfel is a creature of the stage. I have seen him, and he can be riveting. I think he's been taking on roles that are a little heavier than his voice is naturally suited to however (I personally like a more bass sound in Wotan as opposed to a baritone sound) and he sometimes resorts to bellowing, barking, and snarling in order to act in some of his roles. But overall, he does own the stage when he is on stage. He does make you feel that you are getting your money's worth.

Gheorghiu is probably my favorite soprano currently, and I do think her lower register (which is terrfic on cds) disappears with an orchestra before a live audience. She has a naturally dark sound for a soprano, so I understand why she thinks she can sing Carmen, but the role really needs an authentic mezzo (we want a Carmen who has a solid lower register), in my personal opinion. I was disappointed in Gheorghiu's recent Covent Garden Tosca dvd that I bought. I loved her in the Covent Garden Adriana Lecouvreur dvd, so I thought she would be amazing as Tosca and pre-ordered it, but she is so mannered in the first act. She gets pretty good in the second act, but overall, I was surprised that Tosca is not a good fit, since I like her previous studio recording and film of it. Did you get to see her in both these roles at Covent Garden? I loved her and Olga Borodina in Adriana Lecouvreur. They made a good case for that opera, in my opinion!!!! Both were quite exciting!

Thank you for making me think and talk opera! It helped me overcome my sister's death 20 years ago, and I was a FANATIC, but I followed my partner to a new town and walked away from a career I loved, and so opera was not pulling me out of the depression, and that is why I decided to learn about ballet. But every now and then (like reading your post) I remember the joy I used to get from opera!

#3 Mashinka

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 09:14 AM

I do think Terfel is a creature of the stage. I have seen him, and he can be riveting. I think he's been taking on roles that are a little heavier than his voice is naturally suited to however (I personally like a more bass sound in Wotan as opposed to a baritone sound) and he sometimes resorts to bellowing, barking, and snarling in order to act in some of his roles. But overall, he does own the stage when he is on stage. He does make you feel that you are getting your money's worth.

He can also sing very softly and be heard at the back of the ROH amphi, I find he gets better and better as he gets older.

Gheorghiu is probably my favorite soprano currently, and I do think her lower register (which is terrfic on cds) disappears with an orchestra before a live audience. She has a naturally dark sound for a soprano, so I understand why she thinks she can sing Carmen, but the role really needs an authentic mezzo (we want a Carmen who has a solid lower register), in my personal opinion. I was disappointed in Gheorghiu's recent Covent Garden Tosca dvd that I bought. I loved her in the Covent Garden Adriana Lecouvreur dvd, so I thought she would be amazing as Tosca and pre-ordered it, but she is so mannered in the first act. She gets pretty good in the second act, but overall, I was surprised that Tosca is not a good fit, since I like her previous studio recording and film of it. Did you get to see her in both these roles at Covent Garden? I loved her and Olga Borodina in Adriana Lecouvreur. They made a good case for that opera, in my opinion!!!! Both were quite exciting!

I saw both those roles, but perhaps it was Rondine that I liked her in best.

Thank you for making me think and talk opera! It helped me overcome my sister's death 20 years ago, and I was a FANATIC, but I followed my partner to a new town and walked away from a career I loved, and so opera was not pulling me out of the depression, and that is why I decided to learn about ballet. But every now and then (like reading your post) I remember the joy I used to get from opera!

Music has a healing power for me as well, opera is now my great love but unusually it is baroque that I love the most and am already quite excited about a Bartoli concert I have tickets for next month. She and Andreas Scholl are my great favourites.



#4 Birdsall

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:22 AM

Music has a healing power for me as well, opera is now my great love but unusually it is baroque that I love the most and am already quite excited about a Bartoli concert I have tickets for next month. She and Andreas Scholl are my great favourites.


Bartoli is incredible to see live. She is full of energy. You will enjoy it. Another creature of the stage! She specializes in very rare repertoire now and rarely sings on this side of the pond! But in her early career I saw her several times in concert and recital when she used to tour the U.S. more often. She gives her all to the audience! Some people criticize her aspirated coloratura, but I think her rapid machine gun runs are something unique to her. I don't think it is the normal aspirated coloratura. I hear her new CD "Mission" has less aspiration, but I actually don't mind the way she sings runs myself. I think she has recorded Norma, believe it or not, but I don't know when it will come out. The unusual part is that we tend to think of Norma as a role for a dramatic soprano, not a mezzo, but she was supposedly recording it with Sumi Jo as Adalgisa. Should be very interesting.


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