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Salzburg Festival: Le Nozze Di Figaro
September 28 & 30 & 3
Salzburg Festival: Le Nozze Di Figaro(2017)
When he wrote The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart created an unforgettable work about love and desire, about the primal force of uncontrollable passion. Director Sven-Eric Bechtolf presents this storm of emotions to the Salzburg Festival in the very model of an English stately home of the 1920s, undoubtedly inspired by the setting and furnishings of the fictional Downton Abbey. In a parallel staging worthy of the cinema, the nobility and their servants live side by side in a world of their own, ensuring fast-paced action derived precisely from the libretto, a game of love that never fails to entertain. The young conductor Dan Ettinger is fascinating for the great musical sensibility with which he directs an attractive young cast that is absolutely ready to grace the screen. And it is those very singers – “the sweet-voiced, appealing soprano Marina Janková”, “the alluring soprano Anett Fritsch” and “the charismatic bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni” (New York Times) – who capture our hearts. It all sounds so full of life and so finely judged as it plays out on stage. At the end, Luca Pisaroni’s vocally impressive Count approaches his melancholy Countess (Anett Fritsch) with a glass of champagne and a plea for pardon. “The waves of applause have already begun, for Bechtolf extends Da Ponte’s ‘corriam tutti a festeggiar’ almost as an invitation to the audience, which indeed joins in the festivities with gusto.” (Die Presse) The concluding work of the Da Ponte trilogy succeeds as a great evening of opera in the hands of Sven-Erich Bechtolf with the Vienna Philharmonic – an evening of simply marvelous Mozart music celebrated from Mozart’s birthplace! Conductor: Dan Ettinger | Director: Sven-Eric Bechtolf Opera in four acts. Total running time 192 min Sung in Italian with English subtitles.

Opera national de Paris: La Fille de neige
October 26 & 28 & 31
Opera national de Paris: La Fille de neige(2017)
Snegúrochka was born in times of old in Tsar Berendey’s mythical kingdom, the fruit of the union between Spring Beauty and Grandfather Frost. Protected by her parents from the jealousy of the Sun god Yarilo, (who vowed to warm her heart when she gets older and falls in love), Snegúrochka’s fate is entrusted to a wood sprite. Ten years after its creation, Rimsky‑Korsakov wrote: “anyone who fails to love The Snow Maiden understands nothing of my works nor of myself”. A masterpiece of popular Slavic literature, The Snow Maiden brings to the stage a magical fantasy of love and mythical renewal. Aida Garifullina sings the role of Snegúrochka whilst the production and musical direction have been left in the capable hands of two other Russian artists: the young conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov and director Dmitri Tcherniakov. Conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov Staged by Dmitri Tcherniakov Sets Dmitri Tcherniakov Costumes Elena Zaitseva Lighting design Gleb Filshtinsky Chorus Master José Luís Basso Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra de Paris Sung in Russian with English subtitles From Opéra de Paris (Opéra Bastille) Recorded April 25, 2017 at 18:45 (Paris time) Running Time: 4 h 00 min 
(including 1 intermission of 30 min) Detailed running time: Act 1: 80 min | Act 2: 115 min

Bayerische Staatsoper: La Favorite
November 9 & 11 & 14
Bayerische Staatsoper: La Favorite(2017)
Donizetti’s La Favorite at the Bayerische Staatsoper presents a cast of outstanding bel canto singers: star mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as the seductive Léonor de Guzman, Matthew Polenzani as her desperate lover Fernand, and Mariusz Kwiecień as King Alphonse. Numerous myths surround the historical figure of Léonore de Guzman, mistress of King Alfons XI of Castile, who becomes embroiled within an intrigue-laced political power play. Léonore, whose love for the King is revealed to be a farce, flings herself upon the young Fernand, who, for her sake, has eschewed the life of a monk in Santiago de Compostela. Yet, he is unaware of her status as a mistress, thus allowing the pair to become victims of a conspiratorial trial of strength between church and state, which in the end denies the couple even the hope of a joint future after death. Amélie Niermeyer transforms the tragedy of the female role torn between spiritual and secular values into “a concentrated and intense drama […] with high acting quality” (Münchner Merkur). This contrast is highlighted by enormous architectural box structures that continually transport the characters between the convent and the royal palace, emphasizing the influence each party has on the current scene. The “fabulous Elīna Garanča […] sings beautifully and emotionally restrained, leaving the audience deeply moved during her dying scene”, while Matthew Polenzani, in his debut as Fernand, scores with superb singing and acting, “reaching high tones with ease” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Mariusz Kwiecień “convinces with the proper dandified arrogance and impressive acting”, while conductor Karel Mark Chichon completes the musically fantastic performance by “getting the most out of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, impressively bringing out the dark, viscous sounds of the score and following the soloists with great intuition” (BR Klassik). Conductor Karel Mark Chichon | Director Amélie Niermeyer |Cast Elīna Garanča | Matthew Polenzani | Mariusz Kwiecień Number of acts Opera in 4 Acts Total running time 2h37min Sung in French with English subtitles