Musically superlative Das Floß der Medusa at Dutch National Opera

Henze: Das Floß der Medusa

Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, 13 March 2018


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.






Traetta’s Antigona a forceful Baroque drama in Amsterdam

Traetta: Antigona

Stadssschouwburg, Amsterdam, 10th of February 2018


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


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.



The Golden Cockerel bedazzles in Amsterdam

Rimsky-Korsakov: The Golden Cockerel

Concertgebouw, 16 December 2017


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.


Dutch National Opera revives a musically gorgeous La bohème

Puccini: La bohème

Dutch National Opera, 1 December 2017


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.

Thrilling singing in Simon Boccanegra at the Concertgebouw

Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Concertgebouw, 16th September 2017


Victor Maurel sang the title role in Simon Boccanegra at the premiere of the revised 1881 version

This is what Verdi should sound like. Idiomatically sung by confident singers, with role-tailored voices that make one sit up and listen. The NTR ZaterdagMatinee concert series at the Concertgebouw, a long-standing institution financed with public broadcasting funds, traditionally opens with an opera. This year it was Simon Boccanegra, Verdi’s sombre study of personal tragedy lurking behind public success.

Full review on Backtrack.

Diana Damrau puts the sparkle into the RCO’s Opening Night

Mozart/Dvořák/Bernstein: RCO/Hengelbrock/Damrau

Concertgebouw, 14 September 2017


Drawing of Antonin Dvořák by M. V. Nadherny

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra officially opened their 2017-18 season with a well-chosen, festive programme. In the presence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, conductor Thomas Hengelbrock led an all-Mozart first half, introducing arias with anecdotes and great enthusiasm. Antonín Dvořák’s optimistic Eighth Symphony took up the second half.

Full review on Bachtrack.