Perfect symbiosis of words and music in Fin de partie at the Opera Forward Festival

Kurtág: Fin de partie

At Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam on the 6th of March, 2019

György Kurtág’s only opera Fin de partie, based on Samuel Beckett’s play, has had a long gestation period. After being announced a number of times without materialising, it received its world premiere at La Scala last November, when it was declared to be a masterpiece. Kurtàg, now in his early nineties, was unable to travel to Milan, or to Amsterdam, where the same cast and conductor have brought the production to the Opera Forward Festival. At the curtain call last Wednesday, conductor Markus Stenz and director Pierre Audi held up the score and accepted the fervent applause on the composer’s behalf.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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Chameleonic new opera featuring Caruso in Amsterdam

Hamel: Caruso a Cuba

At Internationaal Theater Amsterdam on the 3rd of March, 2019

Micha Hamel’s new opera, Caruso a Cuba, is constantly on the move. The chameleonic score takes on a myriad flavours, all with a strong sense of mood or place. 

With 19th century Italian opera tunes flowing into Afro-Cuban percussion and chromatic free falls, there is never a dull moment in this fictionalized account of tenor Enrico Caruso’s 1920 visit to Cuba. It has meaty roles for the lead singers too. 

Full review on Opera Today.

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New opera Caliban banal and wearisome

Eggert: Caliban

Compagnietheater, Amsterdam, 30th March 2017

CalibanByFranzMarc

Caliban by Franz Marc (1880-1916), courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Listening to Moritz Eggert’s Caliban is the equivalent of watching a flea-ridden dog chasing its own tail for one-and-half hours. It scratches, twitches and yelps. Occasionally, it blinks pleadingly, but you can’t bring yourself to care for such a foolish animal and its less-than-tragic plight.

Full review on Opera Today.

Brave but flawed world premiere: Fortress Europe

Tsoupaki: Fortress Europe

Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam, 22nd March 2017

Refugees_on_a_boat_crossing_the_Mediterranean_sea,_heading_from_Turkish_coast_to_the_northeastern_Greek_island_of_Lesbos,_29_January_2016

Refugees heading for Lesbos, January 2016 (Courtesy of Mstyslav Chernov via Wikimedia Commons

Calliope Tsoupaki’s latest opera, Fortress Europe, premiered as spring began taming the winter storms in the Mediterranean. The number of migrants trying to reach Europe by sea is already picking up, as it does every year. Putting their lives in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers, scores of them will drown.

Full review on Opera Today.