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Performer: Alvis Hermanis

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Tears of blood among the cherry blossoms

A beautiful production by Alvis Hermanis of Madama Butterfly to open La Scala's new season, but it was Riccardo Chailly's presentation of Puccini's original 1904 score which caught the ear. 
****1
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Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae returns to Salzburg

Strauss' penultimate opera is treated to a lavish if superficial staging at the Salzburg Festival, but the real rewards come from the musical performance of this unjustly neglected work.
****1
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Two Toscas a century apart in Berlin

Staatsoper Berlin revives its new production of Tosca with an excellent cast including a last minute substitution of the tenor.
***11
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Grotesque, gritty Die Soldaten at La Scala

Tonight's setting of Die Soldaten in a WWI stable is so sordid you can almost feel the rats gnawing. Alvis Hermanis was right to warn in a newspaper interview that we would leave the theatre feeling shocked.
***11
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A bewildering Berlin Tosca

Alvis Hermanis' new Tosca for the Berliner Staatsoper mixes innovation with tradition in an interesting, but ultimately ineffective, way. 
***11
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Zimmermann's Die Soldaten at the Salzburg Festival

The German thinker Theodor Adorno once wrote that a musical setting of Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck, considered in its own literary right a masterpiece, may well have proved redundant.
****1
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