Don Carlo

Cond.: Marco Armiliato

Philip II: Rene Pape

Don Carlo: Franco Farina

Rodrigo: Thomas Hampson

Elisabeth: Norma Fantini

Eboli: Janina Baechle

Production: Pier Luigi Pizzi

Went to the last performance of Don Carlo this season last night, which was outstanding. The orchestra under Marco Armiliato was in top form, the singing was consistently excellent, and the sets were effective. Continue reading



Back from Salome. Very good. The Herod (Wolfgang Schmidt) was a bit on the weak side, with a wide, wobbly vibrato that constantly threatened to swing out of orbit; Herodias (the generally excellent Janina Baechle) was solid, in the relatively small part she has; Camilla Nylund’s Salome was competent and occasionally thrilling, without being revelatory. The best of the evening was no doubt Jokanaan, sung by Alan Titus, who possesses a deep, rich, resonant bass usually restricted to Russians and Finns and other existential pessimists. Continue reading

Strauss On A Rainy Evening

I’m sitting in the old flat now, listening to Salome, and thought I’d kill the hour or so before the performance starts at the opera by jotting some random notes. I went to Rosenkavalier the other day (Sunday, I suppose it was), and enjoyed it a great deal. The singers were quite good, if not uniformly spectacular; Ricarda Merbeth’s Marschallin was perhaps the best, with an indisposed Angelika Kirchschlager replaced by a very good Octavian whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten. Sophie (Jane Archibald) was a tad shrill, and thin (her voice, I mean), but a pleasant eyeful, at least from the back of the Gallerie. Continue reading

Giuseppe Di Stefano 1921 – 2008

Yes, sadly the old fellow is no more.

That’s all I can manage for the moment.


Groans as Staatsoper Director Ioan Hollander appeared before the curtain before the prelude. It had been known for several days that tenor Michael Schade wouldn’t be able to sing David, due to a sudden ‘illness’; but there was more bad news—Johan Botha, the wonderful tenor who had sung Siegmund last month, had also contracted some sort of illness which prevented him from appearing. Fairly sudden, or so Ioan said: Botha had sung all the rehearsals very well, but then had suddenly become sick only a day or so ago. In Continue reading


A fantastic Werther on Saturday; here’s the cast: Continue reading

Don Giovanni (Berlin)

A few pics from Barenboim’s Don Giovanni here in Berlin today…

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