Monday, July 26, 2004

Stephen Gould at Bayreuth

So far, a rare musicality has marked his Tannhauser today.  His is not the brazen sound we sometimes associate with past interpreters, but there is a rare capacity to sustain the longest phrases with finish and conviction, and the focus and resiliency in the tone are exceptional.  A born musician, he seems in surprising control of this role's rigorous demands, and only a brief moment of effortfulness at the end of Act I really brought him up short.  Quite a find.  Above all, he can combine much sweetness of tone with genuine authority and keen intelligence.  How very rare!  Wagner himself considered the "Zum Heil" sequence in Act II as the make-or-break moment for the role, and Gould came through here with panache and security.

I urge those not yet tuned in to check out the last act with its Rome narration (the last act will be starting in less than an hour).  A sound this steady and sympathetic has not been heard in this music for a long time.  (The Bartok Radio stream has been very steady all day and can be accessed at .)



RED ALERT: Excellent Tannhauser stream!

This just in!  There will be a broadband-level stream carrying today's Tannhauser in less than half an hour.  If you refresh today's This Week page (httw://, you will see Bartok Radio's excellent stream link now provided "for the pleasure of opera lovers everywhere", as Milton Cross used to say.



Saturday, July 24, 2004

Saturday's Offerings

Welcome to the weekend of Bayreuth's opening.  Before citing today's chief offerings, just want to remind you all, first and foremost, that Pierre Boulez will be conducting tomorrow's Parsifal, starting this year's series of annual "live" broadcasts from the summer festival at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the oldest continuous festival dedicated to one composer's works for the lyric stage.  The performance starts at GMT 1355/EDT 9:55AM tomorrow, Sunday, July 25th.  Heard in the principal roles are Endrik Wottrich, Michelle de Young, Robert Holl and Alexander Marco-Buhrmester.  Full details are available on our Bayreuth page.

For today, Saturday, Wagner aficionados needn't wait for tomorrow's Parsifal to enjoy the "Meister". Starting almost immediately, we can savor Ward Marston's superb restoration of a true piece of history: Covent Garden's 1936 performance of Tristan und Isolde under Fritz Reiner, with the timeless pairing of Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior.

Live from Salzburg, Purcell's King Arthur is heard under Nicolaus Harnoncourt, with a cast that includes Barbara Bonney.  On the NPR World of Opera series, from Houston, is Verdi's Rigoletto, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Laura Claycomb.  You'll also have a chance to hear Verdi "in the workshop": his original Ballo in Maschera, entitled Gustave III, with dozens of unfamilar sequences heard by the public for the first time.  More Verdi as we hear Bryn Terfel and Krassimira Stoyanova in his Falstaff.

From Munich, a Handel masterpiece, his Saul, starring Alastair Miles, Rebecca Evans and David Daniels under Ivor Bolton.  An unusual opportunity to hear Piccinni's Finte Gemelle: it's always intriguing to hear something from Gluck's leading rival in Paris.  Gluck is also heard from today, with his Parnaso confuso, composed before his great reforms.  Another mainstay in Paris, of a few generations later, was Giacomo Meyerbeer, whose Dinorah can be heard today with Deborah Cook in the title role.  For those who may have missed it, you have another chance to catch this season's Covent Garden Faust, with Alagna, Gheorghiu, Terfel and Keenlyside.  Another important rerun today will be Weber's Oberon in its original English version, starring Griffey, Flanigan and Neill.  From the world of Russian Opera, Valery Gergiev leads a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada.

Happy listening,


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Saturday's Lineup

We are back from a week of rest and relaxation on an island in Maine (very remote - and on a very slow dial-up connection).
The Summer Festival season is upon us, and I am now working to finalize a Bayreuth 2004 page for all you eager Wagnerians (although I must say the casts this year are not much different from last year's and they don't thrill me overmuch). Bayreuth kicks off on July 25th with Parsifal.
In London the Proms are already in full swing (staring on July16th) and we will be listing those that have vocal "interest." Many different stations broadcast these, some on a delayed basis, and in case you miss one you desperately wanted to hear, BBC 3 does archive the concerts for a week after the initial broadcast.  See the link to the left for the official PROMS page.
This Saturday afternoon, there are three purple items: Weber's Oberon with Lauren Flanigan and Stuart Neill (on NPR's World of Opera); Handel's Hercules with Joyce Di Donato and William Shimell (although I am not wild about Shimell, I still want to hear Di Donato in this role); and a rebroadcast of the Covent Garden Faust with Alagna, Gheorghiu, and Keenlyside (if you miss this one again you can still find it in the achives at Latvia Radio Klasika - just click one of the links (Real player of Windows Media Player) to the left of the program and it will start to play).
Also on tap this afternoon:
  • CESKY ROZHLAS 3-VLTAVA is doing a program on Edita Gruberova, including a complete Maria de Rohan (Donizetti).
  • DR P2 is now airing Naumann's Acis og Galatea with Roman Trekal.
  • RADIO 4 NETHERLANDS is carrying a Zauberfloete from the Barok Opera Festival in Beaune with Isolde Sibert and Christoph Genz.
  • RADIO CLASICA DE ESPANA is airing an evening with Martine Dupuy, including a complete 1989 Giulio Cesare (Handel).
  • CBC TWO is carrying a performance from Sweden's Baltic Sea Festival of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mzensk, starring Gennady Bezzubenkov, Evgeny Akimov, and Larissa Gogolevskaia, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
  • DEUTSCHLANDRADIO is carrying a performance of Rossini's L'amor coniugale (which I am told is a variation on the Fidelio theme).
  • MDR KULTUR is rebroadcasting the performance of Rameau's Les Paladins first heard on June 12th.
  • RADIO CANADA CHAINE CULTURELLE (French CBC) is rebroadcasting Rameaus' Les Indes Galantes with the forces of Les Arts Florissantes conducted by William Christie, first heard in September, 2003.
  • WOSU is broadcasting a Canadian Oper Company performance of Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades (in Russian), featuring Vadim Zaplechny, Hamik Papian, John Fanning and Judith Forst, conducted by Richard Bradshaw.
  • WRTI is rebroadcasting Verdi's Don Carlo with  Olga Guriakova, Ildiko Komlosi, Gabriel Sade and Roberto Frontali, conducted by Myung Whun Chung, from Semperoper, Dresden.
  • SVERIGES RADIO P2 is airing an opera I know nothing about - Arret "av Paula af Malmborg Ward /Opera. Libretto: Kerstin Perski efter Michail Bulgakovs roman En hunds hjärta."
  • WOMR is airing a performance of Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina (using the 1959 Shostakovich orchestration and the 1913 ending) from the Wiener Staatsoper, with Aage Haugland, Vladimir Atlantov, Paata Burchaladze, and Marjana Lipovsék, conducted by Claudio Abbado.
A friend tells me that the streams for both KLARA and RDP ANTENA 2 are much improved in quality in recent weeks.  RDP has retooled its website and its schedule information is now unfortunately very sketchy, although there is hope that they may yet add more detail to their listings (each listing now links to a subsidiary page that is currently blank - one hopes they will eventually make proper use of it...).
That's about all for this weekend. Happy listening, all...