Dutch National Opera successfully resurrects La morte d’Orfeo

Landi: La morte d’Orfeo

Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, 23 March 2018

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Apollo and Orpheus, 17th Century, Anonymous, (Metropolitan Museum of Art via Wikimedia Commons)

In the operas of Monteverdi and Gluck, Orpheus, poet and musician, is a tragic hero. He loses his wife Eurydice twice, first when she dies on earth, and again on their way out of Hades, where he descends to revive her. In Stefano Landi’s La morte d’Orfeo (ca 1619), he is a less sympathetic, but more interesting figure.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Probing Bernstein and MacMillan double bill in Amsterdam

Bernstein: Trouble in Tahiti

MacMillan: Clemency

De Meervaart Theatre, Amsterdam, 22 March 2018

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Abraham, Sarah and the Angel (circa 1520) by Jan Provoost, Louvre Museum (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

The Opera Forward Festival (OFF) in Amsterdam is about new things: new compositions, rediscovered works and new faces. This year’s program included a double bill produced by Dutch National Opera’s talent development wing. Leonard Bernstein’s portrait of a miserable marriage in affluent suburbia, Trouble in Tahiti, was the contrasting companion piece to James McMillan’s Clemency, a study of the sinister side of religious belief.

Full review on Opera Today.

 

 

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Musically superlative Das Floß der Medusa at Dutch National Opera

Henze: Das Floß der Medusa

Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, 13 March 2018

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Study for The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) by Théodore Géricault, Louvre Museum (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

The events that inspired Das Floß der Medusa, an indictment by Hans Werner Henze against social injustice, are the stuff of nightmares. Romeo Castellucci has now staged it for Dutch National Opera, where it opened the third edition of the Opera Forward Festival. Despite his bold cinematographic concept, the musical performances were the strongest dramatic aspect of the production.

Full review on Bachtrack.

 

 

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Traetta’s Antigona a forceful Baroque drama in Amsterdam

Traetta: Antigona

Stadssschouwburg, Amsterdam, 10th of February 2018

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Antigone in front of the dead Polynices (1865) by Nikiforos Lytras

The small Dutch company Opera Trionfo, collaborating with Theater Osnabrück in Germany, is currently touring with an ambitious project, Tommaso Traetta’s little-known opera Antigona. At its Dutch première in Amsterdam, Floris Visser’s staging vibrated with violent emotions and the cast gave physically explosive performances.

Full review on Bachtrack.

Tristan und Isolde smoulders at Dutch National Opera

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Dutch National Opera, 18 January 2018

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Tristan and Isolde on a German stamp issued in 1933

After its co-producers in Paris and Rome, it is Dutch National Opera’s turn to present director Pierre Audi’s shadow-clad Tristan und Isolde. In Amsterdam Audi’s lucid visuals complemented a strong, balanced cast. Conductor Marc Albrecht kept a lyrical Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra on a concentrated simmer for the full four hours. This was a Tristan und Isolde to treasure.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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The Golden Cockerel bedazzles in Amsterdam

Rimsky-Korsakov: The Golden Cockerel

Concertgebouw, 16 December 2017

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The Tale of the Golden Cockerel, illustration by Ivan Bilibin, 1907, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s fairy tale The Golden Cockerel was this holiday season’s ZaterdagMatinee operatic treat at the Concertgebouw. There was real magic to this concert performance, chiefly thanks to Vasily Petrenko’s dazzling conducting and the enchanting soprano Venera Gimadieva.

Full review on Opera Today.

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Dutch National Opera revives a musically gorgeous La bohème

Puccini: La bohème

Dutch National Opera, 1 December 2017

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The original Café Momus, the Christmas Eve party venue in La bohème

Benedict Andrews’ staging of La bohème is seriously flawed, but this revival was a triumph, thanks to picture-perfect, vocally enticing soloists and the copiously talented young conductor Andrea Battistoni.

Full review on Bachtrack.