Masterclass with Soile Isokoski

Ms. Isokoski looking less down to earth than this morning

Ms. Isokoski looking less down to earth than this morning

This was a really interesting morning.  The TSMF runs a “fellow” program for singers and collaborative pianists and this morning, as part of that program, there was a masterclass with Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski.  There were eight singers and four pianists with seven German songs (Strauss, Schubert and Wolff) and one in Finnish prepared (and preparing a Finnish piece for an Isokoski masterclass reminds me of that Youtube thing of the kitten walking down a line of Alsatian guard dogs).  It was classic masterclass format.  Each singer sang their piece and then went over fine points; diction, legato, phrasing, breathing, emotion, colour, at Ms. Isokoski’s direction.  It was fascinating.

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The Harnoncourt show

Unusually, the Theater and der Wien’s 2011 production of Handel’s Rodelinda features a father and son team.  Philippe Harnoncourt directs and Nikolaus conducts.  It’s an interesting production with great acting, very decent singing and the always excellent Concentus Musicus Wien in the pit. 1.wardrobe Continue reading

Orlando in Craiglockhart

Handel’s Orlando is pretty classic opera seria stuff.  It’s based on an episode in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso.  Orlando, a great soldier in Charlemagne’s army has lost his ardour for military glory because he has fallen desperately in love with the pagan princess Angelica, who is in turn in love with another man, Medoro. Orlando cannot accept this and he is driven to madness, prevented from causing absolute carnage only by the magician Zoroastro (who eventually restores his sanity).  There’s also a shepherdess, Dorinda, who is also in love with Medoro, but comes to accept her lot.  It’s all a bit daft and screams for a strong production concept.  In his 2008 Zürich production Jens-Daniel Herzog finds one.  He relocates the action to a military psychiatric hospital during, or just after, WW1.  Orlando is suffering from battle fatigue or PTSD and Zoroastro is a psychiatrist.  Angelica is still a princess but Dorinda has become a nurse.  It all works rather well.

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