Saturday, June 25, 2016
Much was made in London reviews of the loud prompt received by Placido Domingo during a recent opening night of Nabucco at Covent Garden. Today’s Telegraph obituary of Alberto Remedios reveals that the great English heldentenor was unashamed of acknowledging a little help with lapsed memory. Despite his thrilling voice, Remedios struggled with memorising his lines. Once during Siegfried the front-row audience at ENO could hear frequent whispers from the prompt box. As the applause thundered at the end he picked up one of the flowers that had been thrown on stage and strode over to the box to present it to the unseen prompter. The audience cheered even louder until Remedios helped the prompter on to the stage to take a well-earned bow. He often worked with Rita Hunter, with whom he was close, and much fun was had by their respective families when they appeared together and she sang the line: “Oh Siegfried, don’t you know how much I love you?” On another occasion, when he was singing Erik in The Flying Dutchman at Covent Garden, Hunter’s character Senta had to leap from a cliff to her death. He forgot that they were on stage and called after her: “Are yer al’ right, Scouse?” For a personal appreciation of Alberto, see here.
With war ravaging their homeland, the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians has been scattered across the globe. But five years since the violence erupted, the group are reuniting for a cathartic tour – and opening GlastonburyFive years ago, the 90-strong Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music drew stars from Plácido Domingo to Gorillaz to perform with them at their home in Damascus Opera House. Today, with the bitter civil war still raging, its musicians are scattered across the globe. Some former performers of the prestigious orchestra and the choirs that accompany it are refugees in the Middle East, Europe and the US, while others are still struggling to live and perform in the conflict-torn country.“Music, these days, is like a painkiller,” says Raneem Barakat, a singer in the orchestra’s choir. The 24-year-old regularly braves bombs and snipers on the roads on her two-hour journey to Damascus to study and perform. “You have to take the risk. When I sing it hypnotises me; I leave reality.” Continue reading...
Royal Opera House, London In the title role, Domingo played the ageing king with captivating physicalityAround a decade ago Plácido Domingo was still singing Tristan. Shortly after, his tenor voice fading, he switched down to baritone, choosing his roles carefully, favouring Verdi. Managing the notes is only a starting point to distinguishing a voice type. Timbre, strength and control from top to bottom of the range all contribute. The common complaint has been that Domingo still has the vocal character of a tenor, without the necessary baritonal weight. Some mind, and think he should retire. The rest still revel in the musicality, intelligence and experience of a singer nearing the close of a 45-year career. He returned to Covent Garden last week to reprise the title role in Verdi’s early Nabucco.Domingo sang it when Daniele Abbado’s austere staging, in Alison Chitty’s understated designs, was new in 2013. The production treats the work more as oratorio, letting the chorus hold sway – which they do, singing superbly under the experienced baton of Maurizio Benini. Abigaille (Liudmyla Monastyrska), Ismaele (Jean-François Borras), Fenena (Jamie Barton) and Zaccaria (John Relyea) are all more than reliable, but bring little in the way of characterisation. This played to Domingo’s strengths. Others may produce greater volume (the Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias will sing five performances). Domingo offered dignity, courage and charisma. Now in his mid-70s, he played the ageing king, made insane by a raging god, with compelling physicality. White-haired and grizzled, he had the look of El Greco’s penitent St Peter. The prompt box was in use: Domingo won’t be the first, or the last, to need it occasionally. Less visible devices – various kinds of earpieces used by some actors – are available. He is a man of the theatre, happy to stick with a tradition going back to the Elizabethans. Continue reading...
Plácido Domingo as Nabucco in The Royal Opera's Nabucco © ROH/Catherine Ashmore Free opera in Trafalgar Square. Great atmosphere, everyone clapping. Magnificent. Thanks @RoyalOperaHouse pic.twitter.com/sZlyT9DVCQ — Melanie Ward (@melanie_ward) June 9, 2016 I don't care if she can't hear me. I will damn well Brava that diva and clap till my hands hurt. #ROHnabucco — Simon H (@FreelanceCynic) June 9, 2016 Couldn't tell at all that @PlacidoDomingo just sang #ROHnabucco with a cold - this guy is amazing @TheRoyalOpera — Claire Liu (@theclaireliu) June 9, 2016 Had never heard #JamieBarton and she's an amazing #Fenena but #PlacidoDomingo is hypnotic - thank you #ROHnabucco — omlidia (@omlidia) June 9, 2016 A photo posted by Laura C (@lauracoul) on Jun 9, 2016 at 1:59pm PDT Liudmyla's Abigaille is astounding. Truly well developed Anti-heroine. She literally takes no prisoners with this performance #ROHnabucco — Christopher Arroyo (@TisChris) June 9, 2016 These @RoyalOperaHouse midweek livestreams are a real midweek pick-me-up. Love them. #ROHnabucco — Stuart Melling (@stu_melling) June 9, 2016 In Verdi Heaven watching live on youtube @TheRoyalOpera What a perfect cast! #ROHNabucco Domingo, Monastyrska, Barton and Relyea rule! — Ingrid Haas (@lahaas75) June 9, 2016 Almost religious! @ROHchorus Va pensiero, the star of #ROHnabucco Bravi Bravi Bravi! Spine tinglingly good! pic.twitter.com/lTbjAk7zEs — Achyuta Nori (@AchyutaNori) June 9, 2016 A photo posted by Vanessa (@vcaevans) on Jun 9, 2016 at 11:04am PDT Heavy theme for an atheist, but some brilliant performances and a great chorus. How can Plácido sing so well in that position? #ROHnabucco — Marverde is #IN (@wlate17) June 9, 2016 #ROHnabucco Greatest Maestro, wonderful Cast!!! Thank you ROH for an amazing evening on YouTube! — starry6365 (@starry6365) June 9, 2016 #ROHnabucco thank you for an excellent evening's cultural experience. Pjs, prosecco, Placido. Sofa, singalong superb performance! Bravo xxx — ajogle (@ajogle) June 9, 2016 @RoyalOperaHouse #ROHnabucco fantastic production. Special shout out to Leonardo Capalbo for his ROH debut! — James Hutchings (@HutchingsJames_) June 9, 2016 A photo posted by Debashis Puhan (@debashispuhan) on Jun 9, 2016 at 12:59pm PDT What did you think of Nabucco live on BP Big Screens and YouTube? Let us know via the comments below. The final BP Big Screen of 2015/16 will be Il trovatore on 14 July 2016. Find your nearest screen .
Giuseppe Verdi ’s opera is presented by Dominic Peckham , who will be joining audiences live from Trafalgar Square in London. For specially selected films and articles about the production download our Nabucco digital programme – for free using the promo code FREENABUCCO. The story: Daniele Abbado's production of Nabucco © Rudy Amisano/Teatro alla Scala Nabucco, King of Babylon, is at war with the Israelites – but his daughter Fenena is in love with Ismaele, who is one of them. When he captures Jerusalem, Fenena goes against her father and releases his prisoners, leading her vengeful half-sister Abigaille to plot to take power. Nabucco is struck by lightning and in his weakened state is tricked into signing a death warrant for the Israelites by Abigaille. He prays to the God of Israel for forgiveness. But does his awakening come in time to save the Israelites from death? The production: Daniele Abbado's production of Nabucco © Rudy Amisano/Teatro alla Scala Abbado’s production is set in the second half of the 20th century and explores the reality of conflict, where friend and enemy may become indistinguishable. There are wonderful bass and baritone roles in the figures of Nabucco, the Babylonian King and Zaccaria, the Hebrew prophet – while in Abigaille, Verdi created a memorable anti-heroine, at once terrifying and pitiable. Throughout, the score blends rhythmic vitality and powerful drama, and is on a scale to do justice to the opera’s epic themes. The music: An epic drama in every sense of the word, Nabucco features an enormous chorus that sing iconic choral works including ‘Immenso jehova’ and ‘Va pensiero’, the unofficial national anthem of Italy . Find out more about the true story behind ‘Va pensiero’ . The cast: Domingo sings the title role of Nabucco joined by the Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille, in this first revival of Abbado’s production. In this short film, shot in 2013, the pair discuss the complexities of Verdi’s Biblical epic, a challenge for any singer. Review and competition After the relay, we will publish a roundup of the audience tweets, so share your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHnabucco . Audiences will also have the opportunity to win an ROH prize by sharing their picnic selfies from venues around the UK. Tweet or Instagram your pictures with the hashtag #ROHnabucco for the chance to win. Nabucco runs 6–30 June 2016. Tickets are still available. The performance on 9 June 2016 will be broadcast live to outdoor screens around the UK and to YouTube around the world for free – f ind a BP Big Screen near you . The production is a co-production with La Scala, Milan , Lyric Opera of Chicago and Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona , and is generously supported by Rolex and The Friends of Covent Garden.
Tonight’s menu: 1 New Tristan and Isolde opens at ENO 2 Nabucco with Domingo at Covent Garden 3 Trifonov at the Wigmore Hall 4 Lisa Batiashvili with the LSO at the Barbican 5 Gil Shaham with the Philharmonia at the RFH. Just another Thursday night. Anyone staying home?
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