Opera

June 2017
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Reviewed in London

A bronze-toned lion: Kaufmann debuts as Otello

After all the speculation, Jonas Kaufmann made his role debut as Otello at The Royal Opera – an impressive, if not unqualified, success. 
****1
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Reviewed in Milan

Strehler's dreamy Entführung returns to La Scala

Zubin Mehta brings a great deal of class to most things he conducts at La Scala, and here his bright account of Mozart's score was a joy. 
****1
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Reviewed in St Petersburg

Intoxicating, mystic, sacred, profane

Rodion Shchedrin's opera mixes singing, choreography and storytelling to lend a potent sacred and mystic overlay to Nikolai Leskov's folk tale.
*****
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Season preview

Netrebko headlines new La Scala season

Few opera singers capture the public imagination like Anna Netrebko. And there are few more glittering occasions in the opera calendar than the opening night of the season at the Teatro alla Scala.
Season preview

Deutsche Oper's new season

Deutsche Oper has a cornucopia in store for the new season. It promises some bold takes on the core repertoire, several enticing rarities, and a world première by the eminent German composer Aribert Reimann.
Interview

Breathing life into The Snow Maiden

Ahead of her Paris Opéra debut in a new production of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden, we speak to Aida Garifullina about Operalia and her favourite Russian repertoire. 
Interview

Ermonela Jaho on her heartbreaking soprano roles

Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho is renowned for heartfelt performances as some of opera's most tortured soprano roles, especially Violetta in La traviata, the opera in which she sprang to fame in London when she jumped in for an indisposed Anna Netrebko. 
Interview

Creating opera roles: Stéphane Degout

With two new role creations in progress, baritone Stéphane Degout will be back this summer to the Aix Festival for the world première of Pinocchio. He talks to us about the process of creating new opera roles.
Interview

Kate Lindsey on Così fan tutte in Aix

For mezzo-sopranos, playing boys comes with the job. Kate Lindsey is no different, but it's the –very feminine – role of Dorabella we spend much time discussing. 
Season preview

Carry on Cleo: ETO's Baroque autumn

When it is not digging up Donizetti rarities, English Touring Opera can often be found performing Baroque opera. Artistic Director James Conway has decided on a return to the Baroque for its autumn season. 
Interview

A childhood drama queen: Aleksandra Kurzak

Aleksandra Kurzak tells us about making ten role debuts in a year as her voice shifts from bel canto to the dramatic repertoire she has been dreaming about since childhood.
Interview

“It’s not a Cinderella story”: Kristine Opolais

Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais shot to international fame in 2010 in Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Bavarian State Opera. She talks to us having recently performed the role in Mary Zimmerman’s much anticipated new production at The Met.
Interview

Ferruccio Furlanetto on a lifetime with Philip II

The great Italian bass talks about his relationship with Philip II in Verdi's Don Carlos, and about other seminal roles.
Interview

“Violetta is my life's work”: Corinne Winters

Corinne Winters shot to fame when she starred in Peter Konwitschny’s controversial staging of La traviata at ENO and it’s the character of Violetta which is the focus of our conversation.
Interview

Crossing borders: Roberto Alagna

Ahead of Vienna's première of Il trovatore, the tenor who crosses borders between France and Italy, opera and popular song, spoke to us about the roles of Manrico and Cyrano, being a gypsy, a hero, returning to Italy, about family and more.
Season preview

An invitation to travel: Opéra de Dijon's 2017-18 Season

Following on from Central Europe, the East and North America, Dijon takes on the flavours of the Iberian world – Spain, Portugal and Latin America
Festivals

Guide to Opera Festivals 2017

Opera with the stars or under the stars? Country house picnics or rare repertoire in smaller venues? Our 2017 opera festivals guide has something for everyone!
Interview

Brian Jagde on flawed characters

American tenor Brian Jagde discusses two key roles in his career so far, Don José in Carmen and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.
Interview

No cookie cutter soprano: Joyce El-Khoury

Joyce El-Khoury discusses her long-awaited Covent Garden debut and the role Violetta has played in her career. 
Interview

Stuart Skelton on tackling Tristan

The Australian Heldentenor shares his preparations for learning Tristan, his thoughts on opera productions and his passionate views about the current state of Opera Australia and ENO.
Interview

Interview: Saimir Pirgu

Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu, a protégé of Luciano Pavarotti, has steadily built a strong international career, performing with the world’s leading opera companies. He describes his inspirations on the road to “tenordom”, the importance of Mozart in building his career, maintaining good health, and which baritone roles he would sing in the shower!  
2016 in stats

Gergiev tops Bachtrack’s 2016 classical statistics

Some people crack open the Champagne to launch the New Year, but here at Bachtrack Towers the corks have barely popped before we dive into the classical music statistics for the year just ended.
Interview

Michael Chance on the new Grange Festival

Michael Chance tells us about planned improvements to the festival-going experience and tells us about the operas that will form part of the new festival.
New opera seasons

Insider Guide: New Seasons, New Listings

It’s the time of year when opera houses and concert halls begin to announce their new seasons and – where possible – we try and upload listings to Bachtrack quickly. So far, opera announcements have been made at Opéra de Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Dallas.
For Bachtrack members

Bachtrack Insider Guide: Opera House tips II

Want to know where to sit? When to book?Our reviewers offer an inside guide to some of the world's great opera houses. 
For Bachtrack members

Insider Guide: Key new opera productions in 2017

As another year dawns, it’s time to look ahead to some of the key highlights for 2017. Here is our selection of what to look out for, along with a couple of tips for new productions yet to be announced.
We preview

The Wiener Staatsoper's Live at Home

The Vienna State Opera's subscription service offers 45 live broadcasts a year for a monthly fee. The intention is to foster in your home a sense of the live occasion, as distinct from the mere provision of a video library.
Upcoming eventsSee more...

GlyndebourneHipermestraNew Production

Cavalli: Hipermestra
William Christie; Graham Vick; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Stuart Nunn; Emőke Baráth; Raffaele Pè; Renato Dolcini

BrnoThe Barber of Seville

Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)
Ondrej Olos; Sandro Santillo; Janáček Opera NTB; Michele Chiapperino

BarcelonaDon Giovanni

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Josep Pons; Kasper Holten; Gran Teatre del Liceu; Es Devlin; Anja Vang Kragh; Mariusz Kwiecień; Carlos Álvarez

ToulouseLe ProphèteNew production

Meyerbeer: Le Prophète
Claus Peter Flor; Stefano Vizioli; Théâtre du Capitole; Alessandro Ciammarughi; John Osborn; Ekaterina Gubanova

MilanDie Entführung aus dem Serail

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Harem)
Zubin Mehta; Giorgio Strehler; Teatro alla Scala; Luciano Damiani; Lenneke Ruiten; Sabine Devieilhe

GlyndebourneHamletNew Production

Dean: Hamlet
Vladimir Jurowski; Neil Armfield; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Ralph Myers; Alice Babidge; Allan Clayton; Barbara Hannigan

ViennaPelléas and MélisandeNeue Produktion

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Alain Altinoglu; Marco Arturo Marelli; Vienna State Opera; Dagmar Niefind; Olga Bezsmertna; Adrian Eröd

MadridMadama Butterfly

Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Marco Armiliato; Mario Gas; Teatro Real; Ezio Frigerio; Franca Squarciapino; Ermonela Jaho; Hui He
Latest reviewsSee more...

A peach of an Albert Herring at Grange Festival

With a combined age of 161 years, John Copley and Steuart Bedford certainly bring ample experience to Grange Festival's new production of Britten's Albert Herring
****1
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Keep calm and carry on singing

A superlative cast and perceptive staging make for a gripping revival of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos at the Glyndebourne Festival.
****1
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Wim Wenders successful dive into opera

Internationally acclaimed film director Wim Wenders and Daniel Barenboim give their debut with a rarely played opera by Georges Bizet.
****1
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Impressive singing in Longborough Fidelio

Strong casting but intrusive direction makes this Fidelio a bizarrely intriguing experience, salvaged by some memorable singing. 
***11
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A buoyant revival of Billy Budd

At the opera’s great climaxes Suffolk’s famous wood-and-brick building could barely contain it.
*****
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A stylish Tancredi in Valencia

Daniela Barcellona and Jessica Pratt lead a strong cast in an emotional and elegant performance of the first opera seria by Rossini under the expert baton of Roberto Abbado. 
*****
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Rossini's The Touchstone triumphs at Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap Opera delivers high camp Rossini true to the composer.
****1
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Ridding Carmen of cliches in Auckland

A superlative performance of Carmen that was certainly among the most thrilling performances New Zealand Opera has put on in recent memory.
*****
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Opinion: Touting the ticket price myth

On Monday’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4, presenter John Humphrys boldly – deliberately even – stepped into an operatic minefield. It blew up in his face.

Opinion: Another Op'nin', Another Show

When is opera not opera? When companies wheel out a musical...

Opinion: Juggling the role of artistic director and artist

Yesterday, Benjamin Millepied stepped down as director of Paris Opéra Ballet, prompting the question: can the director of a large international company juggle a management role with the desire to create?