All tagged Daniel Kramer

War Requiem at the English National Opera

In 1958, Benjamin Britten was asked to write a work for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral – the old one had been bombed and destroyed in 1940 and hundreds of people had died.  Britten decided that this work would commemorate the dead of both World Wars and his text combines the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead, with fairly dour poems by Wilfred Owen.  After its premiere in 1962, Shostakovich regarded Britten’s War Requiem as ‘The greatest work of the 20th century’ and indeed it was universally hailed as a masterpiece. 

Paul Bunyan by the ENO at the Wilton's Music Hall

Paul Bunyan is an American legend – a giant lumberjack with Titanic power and strength. In folklore, he and his blue ox named Babe are said to be responsible for the creation of several American landscapes and natural wonders including the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota, Mount Hood and the Grand Canyon. Today undoubtedly, in Trump’s America, they would regard this as ‘fakelore’!

La Traviata at the English National Opera

La Traviata had a somewhat complicated beginning. This opera – The Fallen Woman – is a Verdi opera in three acts, adapted from the novel La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas. It opened in 1853 at La Fenice in Venice. Despite the Composer’s wish for a contemporary setting, the local authority insisted that the action be set in the early 18th century and it wasn’t until the 1880s that a more contemporary production was staged. In the original production, the acclaimed soprano singing the lead of Violetta was booed because she was considered to be too old (at 38) and too overweight to credibly play a young woman dying of consumption!

Sadko at Vlaanderen Opera in Ghent

Sadko is an extraordinary opera, written by Rimsky Korsakov in 1891 and premiered in Moscow in 1898.  It is an opera rarely performed today, probably due to its production complexities and the difficulty of finding a tenor to sing the enormously complicated and high lying role of Sadko.