La campana sommersa

Respighi’s La campana sommersa is interesting in that it’s one of comparatively few post-Puccini Italian operas to get some sort of traction.  It premiered in Hamburg in 1927 and saw quite a few productions between then and 1939 including one at the Met in 1929.  Then it pretty much descended into obscurity before being revived in 2016 by a co-pro between Teatro Lirico di Cagliari (where the recording reviewed here was made) and the revived (more or less) NYCO (which used the Cagliari orchestra and chorus but American soloists).  It’s based on a symbolist poem by German poet Gerhart Hauptmann and concerns a bell; which has been hoofed into a lake by fauns, a master bell maker who thinks he is the pagan god Balder, a water sprite, Rautendelein, and assorted mortals, elves, witches, fauns and so on.  As with all these works no-one lives happily ever after.

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Intense, if a bit weird, Onegin

Mariusz Treliński’s Eugene Onegin originated in Warsaw but was filmed in Valencia.  It’s distinctly on the Regietheater end of the spectrum but it’s intense and oddly compelling.  The sets are spare and almost abstract.  A silent character, O***, is interpolated.  he’s a sort of Commendatore’s ghost who comments on the action and interacts with characters at key moments; with Tatiana during the letter scene and with Lensky before the duel for example.  A lot of action takes place in front of the pit, usually simultaneously with action further back on stage making for quite complex (and hard to film) visuals.

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High tech Orfeo marred by artsy video direction

La Fura dels Baus mounted a spectacular production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Festival Castell de Peralada in 2012.  The concept has the orchestra in costume, on stage and fully involved in the action.  There are lots of video projections and spectacular lighting effects.  In fact at times the whole thing resembles a son et lumière.  There’s also lots of aerial action.  It’s all rather exciting.  Great work from director Carlus Padrissa.

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