Here’s what I’m looking forward to in February plus a few gigs I can’t make:
February 1st and 2nd the Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti are performing at Koerner Hall. It’s a rare opportunity to hear a top orchestra in the wonderful Koerner acoustic but it’s probably sold out already.
On February 3rd the COC opens a run of Richard Strauss’ Salome with Ambur Braid in the title role and a stellar supporting cast. Hard core Braid fans (and that includes me) know that this is a role she was born to sing. It’s an Atom Egoyan production and he’ll likely tweak it but here’s a link to my review of the 2013 run.
February 6th sees the return of the Quilico Awards; a competition for the singers of the Ensemble Studio. That’s at 5.30pm in the RBA and it’s free.
A couple of years ago I produced a series of “best of” lists for video recordings, which I’ve updated from time to time. One can find them on the Index of DVD reviews page. So, for fun, I thought I’d put together a “weirdest” list. Mostly this captures operas that are intrinsically weird but I’ve included the odd recording where the director has gone a bit nuts in an attempt to get something out of non too promising material. So, in alphabetical order by composer, here is the “weird list”. Continue reading →
Cherubini’s 1797 opéra comique Médée was one of the first to use the form for serious drama. Krzysztof Warlikowski’s 2011 production filmed at La Monnaie in Brussels is certainly that. Jason, Medea and the rest are very contemporary characters though we often see them against a backdrop of 1960s style home movies and the chorus too, which tends to remain in the background also seems to be from the same period.The meaning of this juxtaposirtion isn’t clear and there is nothing on the disks or in the documentation to help. We are also told that the libretto was adapted by Warlikowski and dramaturge Christian Longchamp but nothing more than that. This is definitely a production where the director’s notes would be a major plus.
There can’t be many French Revolutionary propaganda comedies but Cherubini’s Koukourgi is one of them. Written in the crisis year of 1792 and intended for the Théatre Feydeau it never actually made it onto the stage and remained unperformed until it was staged by the Stadttheater Klagenfurt in 2010. By then the dialogues, the overture and the finale had been lost but music director Peter Marschik found a couple of bits from other Cherubini operas to fill the musical gaps and director Josef E. Köpplinger supplied rather arch German dialogue to link the musical numbers (sung in French).