Tag Archives: Berlioz

The Damnation of Faust, BBC Prom 31, Royal Albert Hall, RAH, August 2017

Opera at the Proms is one of the glories of the summer season, allowing music and singers to communicate directly, with no director’s vision getting in the way. Two nights ago, Khovanshchina helped lay bare the soul of Russia, and now Berlioz’s magnificent musical evocation on the Faust myth, where the brilliant scholar veers into …

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Béatrice et Bénédict, Glyndebourne, GFO, August 2016

In his last opera Berlioz extracts a single thread from Much Ado About Nothing by his beloved Shakespeare. Composed to a libretto he fashioned from the play the score’s wit and inventiveness delight the ear, but it is more a series of tableaux than a fully formed whole, and the question is how to stage …

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Roméo et Juliette, Berlioz, BBC Proms, Prom 20, Royal Albert Hall, 30 July 2016.

This remarkable choral symphony is a broader and deeper work than the composer’s earlier and oft-played Symphonie fantastique. Based on David Garrick’s mid-eighteenth century version of Shakespeare’s play, which held the stage for some hundred years, its seven parts start with an overview of the heady emotions involved, and end with reconciliation between Montagues and …

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Benvenuto Cellini, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, June 2014

What fun this was! Terry Gilliam has done it again, following his opera directing debut with The Damnation of Faust in 2011. Mr. Gilliam’s earlier success was with a later Berlioz opera, and he has now turned to the composer’s first with a story involving the mad genius Benvenuto Cellini, Pope Clement VII and his …

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Les Troyens, Metropolitan Opera live cinema relay, January 5, 2013

Where are the Trojans when we need them? They provided the Greeks with stories portraying a welcome incompetence, letting a wooden horse full of Greeks into their city, and having their great warrior Hector defeat someone he thought was Achilles, only to be killed by the real one. But in this Met production the Trojans …

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Les Troyens, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, June 2012

As the Euro crisis deepens, it is salutary to see Cassandra on stage — her foresight ever accurate but never believed. In the first part of this grand opera, Cassandra is the main character, superbly sung and acted by Anna Caterina Antonacci. It all starts with the chorus happily expressing their joy that the Greeks …

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The Damnation of Faust, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, May 2011

This is ostensibly a French opera sung in English, though it’s not really an opera but a légende dramatique by Hector Berlioz — a musical and vocal canvas on which a clever director can paint his own picture. And this is exactly what Terry Gilliam does by turning the whole thing into a history about the rise …

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