Teatro Real De Madrid 2017-18 – Gloriana: Anna Caterina Antonacci & David McVicar Team Up For Sensational Revival of Neglected Britten Work

Benjamin Britten’s “Gloriana” was supposed to be one of his great triumphs. The composer himself is quoted, prior to its premiere in 1953, that he saw it as his best work to that point (he had already written “Billy Budd” and “Peter Grimes,” mind you). It was composed for the regal occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It was one {…}

Prague National Theatre 2017-18 Review – Billy Budd: Britten Masterwork Capsizes In a Sea of Questionable Direction

Herman Melville, E.M. Forster, Eric Crozier and Benjamin Britten all believed that “Billy Budd” was set at sea. Czech theatre director Daniel Špinar thinks otherwise. His new four-act production of Britten’s psychologically fascinating, demonstrably homoerotic and deeply disturbing drama for the National Theatre in Prague had as much to do with HMS Indomitable as “Madama Butterfly” moved to Mozambique. In the {…}

Des Moines Metro Opera Review 2017 – Billy Budd: Zachary James Illuminates Britten Masterwork With His Own Masterpiece Interpretation

If you surveyed the most recent 1,000 opera reviews, “testosterone” would not be one of the top hits. Unless you were Googling the Des Moines Metro Opera’s new production of “Billy Budd,” which promises to be the hit of its 45th season. Energized by the transformative performance of Zachary James as the “villain” John Claggart, this story is about much {…}

Theater Bonn Review 2016-17 – Peter Grimes: José Cura Shifts The Blame On Main Character, Concocting An Engrossing Production

The starting point for any production of Peter Grimes lies in the interpretation of the opera’s central character, namely Peter Grimes himself: to what extent should the audience be encouraged to view the anti-hero as an outsider, a victim of the underlying, but all-pervading intolerance and hypocrisy which saturates the Borough, rather than simply as a sadistic sociopath? Clearly, any {…}

CD/DVD Releases -Week of April 17: Christiane Karg and Christian Gerhaher Headline New Releases

Two distinct solo albums headline this week’s new releases. Christian Gerhaher will take on a journey through a song cycle while Christine Karg will take you on a poetic journey. Johannes Brahms’ “Die schöne Magelone” Sony Classical releases a Brahms song cycle featuring baritone Christian Gerhaher, together with his long-time piano partner Gerold Huber. The cycle in question is “The {…}