All tagged Alexander Joel
Jonathan Kent’s production, based in Rome around 1800, is in its tenth (or is it eleventh) revival. This awkward two tier production has lasted well, but is now tiring. Surely it is time to invest in a new grand staging of this most famous of operas.
Giacamo Puccini’s La boheme is probably the most popular of all operas in the classical repertoire. This 4 act opera had its world premiere in Turin in 1896 and was conducted at that time by Toscanini. 50 years later he conducted a commemorative performance in New York, which was recorded by RCA.
First staged as a double bill in New York in 1893, these two operas have been part of the standard opera repertoire as a duet ever since. Geneva Opera provides us with two very contrasting productions, which made for a varied but interesting musical evening.
If the French had anything to do with it, Rigoletto would never have been performed. Based on Victor Hugo’s play ‘Le roi s’amuse’, where Verdi described the subject matter of the play as ‘immense’, it was highly controversial as it depicted the King of France as an immoral and cynical womaniser. As a result, the opera had to undergo many changes before the censors allowed it to be performed, opening at La Fenice in Venice in 1851. Even though the King of France was deleted from the opera – he was converted to the Duke of Mantua – the opera was banned in France and not performed there until 1882.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold was born in 1897 in Austria/Hungary and died at the age of 60 in California. He was a child prodigy, having a great European career until the rise of the Nazi regime forced him to flee to America in 1934. Thereafter, he worked on some 16 Hollywood films, writing the scores and receiving two Oscars for his work. His main classical work was written in Europe and this particularly applies to the opera, Das Wunder der Heliane (The Miracle of Heliane), which is written in three acts and was first performed at the Hamburg State Opera in October 1927.