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I'd love to see more performances of "modern" (20th century) works at the South Bank: for example, more Kurt Weill, Xenakis and Richard Strauss, to name but a few. It'd also be great if the South Bank could have more concert performances of "difficult-to-stage" operas, such as the big houses never seem to stage, (Feuersnot by R. Strauss comes to mind, for example); you know, the kind of concert performances of rarely staged operas that the Chelsea Opera Group does in the QEH @South Bank- but they only do three per year and it'd be nice to have performances from other companies, too! And please call back Henry Rollins for another spoken word show; he was awesome at the South Bank in 2012- and not one of their spoken word shows since has been remotely as funny.
Cheeky Intermezzo... For a moment we thought this was YOU on the photo with Cutie... tsk,tsk ;) Any views for Die Frau? Can't wait to read what you have to say! Bychkov is now my God and I believe!
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2014 on Meet Jonas Kaufmann in NY at Intermezzo
I see you were there too, manou... ;)
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2014 on Frau ohne 50% at Intermezzo
I'd like to add my voice to those agreeing with you about the awful direction of Mr Holten: Rape is not to be joked about. In this matter, I didn't find the direction just misogynistic, but "misanthropistic" in general (males can be victims of rape too!). Even if Mr Holten believed that rape is not rape in ACT I, and that the "nos" of the libretto mean "yes", he must certainly be in the wrong to suggest in ACT II that the rape victim would be asking for it a second time, even after she knows that her rapist is the murderer of her beloved father! Utter nonsense! Mr Holten should perhaps be asked to sit through 4 and a half hours of his compatriot von Trier's recent film "Nymphomaniac" just in order to get the message at the film's end: rape is never acceptable and in this country (the Far West of Europe), we shoot rapists, Mr Holten and we shoot them dead (tongue-in-cheek, when I say that, but still....). I deeply regret he ruined one of my most favourite operas.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2014 on Don Giovanni comes up short at Intermezzo
Guess who feels like a complete idiot now: ME! I have booked to see it twice; once with my bestie on opening night and once on my own on 26.03... I feel so stupid for missing this offer. I cannot believe people are not more keen to see this rarely staged incredible opera! With this offer I am tempted to go see it a 3rd time (plus none of my previous seats are in the stalls!). By the way, thank you so much for previously suggesting I should try to book the Frau's insight evening on the opening day of public booking, when I couldn't get a seat with the friends' booking. Not only did I manage to see the FRAU insight, but there were even a couple of seats free when I was there!
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2014 on Frau ohne 50% at Intermezzo
Thank you both. I'll definitely try to book on the 14th January, as this is one insight I'd hate to miss!
Toggle Commented Dec 13, 2013 on Royal Opera House spring season 2014 at Intermezzo
LOL: "Any Jonas is better than none".... I'm loving you Intermezzo, and I'll loving you bad. Talking about first booking choices and tickets going quickly though, I wanted to book for the 25th February 2014 "Frau... Schatten" insight evening... and that appeared to be fully booked at 10.09am (9 minutes after friends' booking opened)! So, I expect all chance for seeing Jonas had gone by 10.01am, then?!? ************ Intermezzo replies - I'm not sure, but one big reason why the Insights sell out so quickly is the very limited number of seats. Don't forget they hold some seats back for public booking, so you can always try again. Has worked for me in the past.
Toggle Commented Dec 12, 2013 on Royal Opera House spring season 2014 at Intermezzo
Thank you for the heads up to see the Herz film on 7.12; I owe you, because if I wasn’t a subscriber to your blog I’d totally have missed it, with it being screened on one of the busiest festive weekends of the year and all! It was an experience- the singing smooth like a glove, the locations majestic, the feeling Ibsenobergmanesque, the Dutchman’s ship’s figurehead out of this world- and when his dead crew came to life, pure joy! Only disappointment for me was the actress chosen to mime Senta (she spent the entire film looking like a blonde wide open-eyed Bambi, blinded by headlights). Much enjoyed Herz’s interpretation of Senta’s role in the drama! I’ve always felt that Senta’s adolescent infatuation with the mythical Dutchman (very female trait, that) barely masks a very real need that she “needs to scratch” (to put it bluntly). However, she can’t (possibly due to the conventions of the era she lives in?), so it’s fantasy instead. This film almost interpreted her role in such a way. It’s not the first time I’ve seen Senta not commit suicide (the last ROH production I attended also let her live) but it certainly was my most exciting! And did you know the late director’s wife turned up to introduce the screening? Her speech was very touching; her love obviously of Wagnerian proportions. Have you seen this film? Do you have an opinion/insight, because if yes, I’d love to read it, please.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2013 on Wagner, on screen, in London at Intermezzo
Thank you for responding. As always, you are an inspiration and your precious insight is very much appreciated!
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2013 on Wozzeck returns at Intermezzo
Intermezzo, why do you say you believe the torture by the Captain and the Doctor was in Wozzeck's imagination? Do you know of a sub context? I am asking because it looked real to me, not imaginary, and the Buchner play on which this is based seems support this. I took it for granted when watching that all the experimenting was really happening and not in the character's mind (and the ROH programme seems to indicate that experimenting on human subjects is a part of the plot). Was I wrong? ********* Intermezzo replies - I don't say the torture is in his imagination; I say he imagines torments. Maybe he is being experimented on, maybe not, but what we're shown in the experiment scene in this production is Wozzeck's version of events, not the objective truth. His tormentors are grotesques because that's how he sees them. Wozzeck doesn't literally spend the entire opera in a grubby laboratory; it's just how he views his life. Not every director would interpret the opera in that way, but the music does support Warner's expressionist perspective.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2013 on Wozzeck returns at Intermezzo
Saw this yesterday. He had a tube in his mouth to breathe through and it was sometimes visible from the front stalls.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2013 on Wozzeck returns at Intermezzo
That was all quite idealistic and happened only about a week ago but did you learn that suddenly on Tuesday 11th June 2013, within 5 hours on that day (6pm announced and 11pm implemented), the Greek Government shut down the National Greek TV and Radio broadcaster ERT (the equivalent of the BBC in Greece)? It was (and still is) a huge shock to everyone in Greece (especially to people living in remote islands and remote parts of Greece, who do not receive transmissions from private channels and the only radio and tv channels' transmissions they ever get is from the ERT service). These people can now only receive the ERT transmissions through EBU, the European Broadcasters Union, based in Switzerland and better known for Eurovision. The reason I am writing this is to let Intermezzo know that this move by the Greek government (or, to be precise, the Greek PM and his party, which is only one of three parties in the government coalition), is an enormous blow to the Greek lovers of classical music! ERT has three of the very few national classical music orchestras and choirs (I think they actually are the 3 ONLY ones in Greece), one of which is the ERT National Symphony Orchestra, the first one ever created in Greece back in 1938, which was about to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year! These talented and regularly performing (120 public concerts per year) musicians were made jobless within one evening on the 11th June and basically accused by the PM that they are corrupt worthless individuals and “sacred cows”, despite the fact that admission in the 3 national Orchestras is only after a super rigorous auditioning programme and despite the fact that for residents of many Greek regions and of all remote Greek villages, towns, cities and islands, these National Orchestras represent the only chance to ever be in contact with and/or see performed any kind of classic music, in any form! It might be worth for Intermezzo to perhaps write a small article on this. Angela Gheorghiu has already expressed her solidarity and support to these Music Ensembles of ERT, who have overnight on June 11th become jobless and all their scheduled concerts as of June 12th 2013- and for ever- have been cancelled! You can look at Gheorghiu’s facebook page for more info on her support.
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2013 on Free opera for unemployed at Intermezzo
I attended the opening night too and didn't quite get the presence of Rossini and Scot as characters. The idea must have been "borrowed" from that inimitable old classic La Scala production of La Cenerentola, with the unforgettable Federica von Stade. Only thing is: Rossini's character had a reason for being present in that one: he was the Godfather! I don't get the point of his character being there in La Donna. I belong to the younger part of the opera audience and am frankly tired of seeing "challenging" and "innovative" productions all the time. I ache to see something more classic and traditional, if only occasionally. The older audiences might have seen it all and want something new, but for those of us that are younger, not that affluent (and still regularly fork out £45 to sit very high up with the gods), the occasional traditional production WOULD actually, at the moment, feel quite innovative and blissfully challenging! It would only be polite to occasionally be done the courtesy of being allowed to see a proper staging of something, without having to suffer directors' "challenging" ideas for every single production we attend. Rossini offers himslef to classic stagings. He appreciated properly done things; didn't he create the "Tournedos Rossini" dish after all? Hardly nouvelle cuisine. He'd probably have flinched last Friday. Oh, and if I was Scottish I'd have been very offended; besides, it is not like other soldiers all over the world, during any era, were more gentlemanly. Best thing of the evening: discovering Barcelona! My mouth dropped open and I have not recovered from her brilliance yet.
Toggle Commented May 27, 2013 on La donna del lago, Royal Opera House at Intermezzo
Oh, bother! Why do they always make these offers at the last moment? I've already got my ticket for the 14th and it cost almost as much to sit up with the gods as it would to sit in the stalls with this offer! I'd love to sit in the stalls for a change; it's not that the amphitheatre isn't ok, but there's almost always some noisy person there (last time it was a man attending with a plastic bag at his feet, which he just couldn't let go off and he totally ruined the experience for me)! How I wish I hadn't booked anything yet....
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2012 on Bloody good deal on ROH Salome at Intermezzo
I saw this yesterday and, even though the singing of many of the singers was not perfect (even Falstaff lost his breath a bit occasionally), somehow the whole thing clicked and the entire production felt very euphoric! Quite like a party, really. It made me forget myself (and my critical mind) and my worries at home. Pure escapism, I'd call it. A guy in the amphitheatre just couldn't stop himself giggling all the time, after he saw the horse on stage. It didn't help that the horse appears in the "outside the inn" scene that comes AFTER the break (and the boozing). Poor guy obviously hadn't read Intermezzo and he certainly hadn't seen that horse coming. It all added to the jolly atmosphere. All the audience was in a great mood. Rarely have I witnessed a ROH production that's amde people so childishly happy (maybe it's the brilliant weather too, but somehow I don't think so)... Does anyone else feel that this is a production set in the 50s and shown this May 2012, just for the sole purpose to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee? It seemed that way to me.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2012 on Falstaff, Royal Opera House at Intermezzo
Intermezzo, thank you so much for the invaluable information about the view from the stalls. Was planning to see this and I now feel quite lucky not to have booked already, before reading your comments on the seats! I saw Bryn Terfel as Sweeney Todd at the Southbank a few years back and found that performance very good, even though it was semi-staged. I have bigger hopes for this one- but it would only work for me if I can see everything.
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2012 on Sweeney Todd returns to London at Intermezzo
Really Intermezzo? I had no idea day seats sometimes go unsold. I'll give it a try in the future.
Operagooner I assure you that becoming a friend won't be much help in securing seats for popular and much awaited for productions, such as Les Troyens. I'm not a "friend" myself, but one of my best friends is and she tried to get tickets for both of us. She managed to get in the waiting area at 9.40am(!) the morning friends' booking opened, was about 1500th in the line, waited for hours and hours and when she managed to "get in" at around 11.40am, after putting 2 seats in her basket, the system threw her out! So now we have no Troyens tickets and are waiting for 10th April. With so many "friends", that membership hardly means much any longer - not for the very popular productions. Only get it if you wish to support the ROH and plan to go to many many productions.
Oh, no!!!! So sorry - I admire you sooooo much and this is the first time we don’t agree! I was there at the ROH on Monday 27.02.12 and I really hated this production. I usually agree with everything you say in your blog and it is an absolute delight for me to read it- but not this time. For me, the ethereal music of the piece was ruined by the brothel setting - and it did appear to me to be a brothel setting RIGHT from the start, not just in the 3rd act. Maybe I am too cheap in my experiences? However, I am no prude (I love McVicar, by the way). I just felt this production cheapened the beauty of the music. I am sorry; I didn’t like the staging at all. Also, could I please point out that, no, not everyone knew what to expect from this production, just because this came from 2008 Salzburg. You must realise your blog is famous and people who read it may be ardent music fans, but they will not necessarily be super-informed opera goers, who will know what the production was like in other countries! I didn’t know anything about the Salzburg production! You must realise that not all people who love opera are actually “in the know”. I am not “in the know”- except in musical terms. I love this piece, yet I have never pictured Rusalka remotely in a brothel; I have never imagined the water nymphs as hookers - and I shall never will. I am a fan of various types of music and I do not know what the productions in other countries look like. I am just saying this so that you do not take it for granted that everyone that reads (or subscribes to) your blog is a fully advanced fan of opera. I personally love to experience many different music idioms, not only opera. When I saw this production, I hated the brothel setting, which I took to be a brothel even before the interval. My intuitive reaction to this music has never had anything to do with a brothel ever, not even in the 3rd Act. For me, Rusalka will always be ethereal and hookers will never have a place in it in any form! Am I naïve maybe? May be. I am also not Czech, conservative, old, rich, “connected”, or in any way part of the “cultural establishment” and I think it was very wrong for the directors to do this to Dvorzak! To you this might just be a piece about “a bunch of fairies in a pond” but to others it is just beautiful music that should never be associated with a director’s need to appear “break through” or “revolutionary”. Besides, not many directors can pull that of. I have only known one in the UK: Dave McVicar. (I know you won't include this comment in your blog; I just wanted you to know). ************************************************ Intermezzo replies - Photos and references to the original Salzburg production have been on the ROH website since booking opened, and they give a clear idea of the visuals. Loads more information can be unearthed easily with Google. That's how I found out what to expect; like you I hadn't seen the production before. Nothing to do with expertise! I am afraid that if you have strong ideas about how operas should be produced, but you still choose to book without doing a couple of minutes research, then you shouldn't be surprised if what you see fails to meet your expectations. If you bought a dress without checking the size, would you blame the shop if it didn't fit you?
Toggle Commented Feb 29, 2012 on Rusalka at the Royal Opera House at Intermezzo
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Feb 28, 2012