La fuga in maschera

I find it interesting the way some opera composers become canonical to the point where their most unsuccessful (often deservedly so) works still get produced while others, equally famous in their day, disappear pretty much entirely.  One of the latter group is Gaspare Spontini who had a long career stretching from the the late 18th into the middle of the 19th centuries during which he was active in Italy, Paris, Vienna and Germany.  There was a revival of his La Vestale at La Scala with Visconti directing and Callas in the title role but otherwise the 20th century pretty much ignored him.  So obscure had he become that the Wikipedia entry for his operas describes his La fuga in maschera as “genre unknown”.  Perhaps that’s not so surprising as the work was last performed in 1800 and the score was thought to be lost until it turned up in an English bookshop in 2007.  Subsequently it was performed in 2012 at the Teatro GB Pergolesi in Jesi as part of the Festival Pergolesi Spontini.

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David Alden’s Poppea

I’m never quite sure what to expect from David Alden.  Some things are predictable; striking images, bold colours and a degree of vulgarity, but beyond that it’s hard to be sure.  Sometimes he seems to be trying to be deep (his Lucia for example), sometimes more kitschy (Rinaldo) and there’s always a slight undercurrent of him thumbing his nose at the audience.  His production of L’incoronazione di Poppea at Barcelona’s Liceu is a curious combination of all these things and I think it works pretty well.

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