Bicycle Opera in Hamilton

bear_on_bikeThe full schedule of events around Bicycle Opera Project’s weekend in Hamilton in conjunction with the Hamilton Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre have now been announced.  We are looking at the weekend of July 15th/16th and the details are as follows:

Saturday, July 15th
2:00 pm  |  Hamilton Labour History Bike Tours (registration link)
6-8 pm  |  Handmade Marketplace at WAHC
8 pm  |  Sweat (link to tickets)

Sunday, July 16th
10:30 am  |  Hamilton Labour History Bike Tours (registration link)
12-2 pm  |  Handmade Marketplace at WAHC
2 pm  |  Sweat (link to tickets)

It’s all pay what you can.  Registration in advance is required for the bike tours. Full details on the tour and Sweat are here.


Met HD line up for 2017/18

I missed this when I wrote up the Met season this morning but the HD cinema season has been announced too.  The line up includes all four new productions but also repeats of La Bohème and L’elisir d’amore.  Outside of the new stuff there’s nothing exciting but then that’s pretty much the story on stage too.  Here’s the line up.

October 7th 2017 – Bellini – Norma

It’s the new McVicar production which sounds utterly traditional though no doubt we’ll get an over sized axe and a few human sacrifices.  This is one of the shows where both Sondra Radvanovsky and Joyce DiDonato appear which would seem to be the main attraction.  Carlo Rizzi conducts.


The new Norma

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On stage at the Met 2017/18

The Metropolitan Opera has announced its 2017/18 season.  It’s quite heavy on warhorses.  La Bohème, Tosca and Turandot each get fifteen performances and there’s plenty more standard fare in there.  Once again, there’s nothing pre Mozart and the only nods to modernity are a revival of Elektra (six shows) and a new production of Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel (eight shows).


The Exterminating Angel at the Salzburg Festival.  Photo: Monika Rittershaus

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Jordan de Souza on the rise

Jordan de SouzaJordan de Souza, late of the COC and Tapestry, continues to make news.  Having recently joined the Komische Oper Berlin as Studienleiter, he will, from the 2017/18 season, be the Kapellmeister (but not GMD).  I think (my knowledge of German musical semantics being imperfect) that this represents a step up from Assistant Conductor to Chief Conductor with a policy role but stops short of implying overall control of musical policy.  Apparently the Komische is still looking for a GMD.  For those who might be able to wring more out of it than I, here is the article from Musik Heute (auf Deutsch).

ETA:  A kind German correspondent provided further information on the semantics of “Kapellmeister” as it generally applies in German houses (i.e. may not be 100% correct for the specific case of the Komische).  So, Kapellmeister is basically the second resident conductor of an opera orchestra after the GMD, without (usually) being in any real sense an “assistant”to the GMD though possibly a “deputy”. Generally the Kapellmeister takes on a number of repertoire productions per season and perhaps also new productions and/or concerts.

Sweet prince

192996050Just been checking out the Glyndebourne 2017 season announcement.  Not that I’ll be going or anything but one production did catch my eye.  There’s a new Hamlet opera from Brett Dean and Matthew Jocelyn to be directed by Neil Armfield and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski which sounds promising enough but look at this cast: Allan Clayton (Hamlet), Sarah Connolly (Gertrude), Barbara Hannigan (Ophelia), Rod Gilfry (Claudius), Kim Begley (Polonius), John Tomlinson (Ghost of Old Hamlet).  There had better be a DVD.

Oh yes and they’ve unearthed yet another previously (more or less) unheard of Cavalli.

Scott of the Amazon

Apparently the Amazonas Festival is on this year which means a chance to see opera in the perhaps the world’s most unlikely opera house, the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, 1000 miles up the Amazon.  Iain Scott of IS Opera Tours is looking to organise a trip, if there is enough interest, to see Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur in Manaus on the evening of Friday 27th May with a couple of days sightseeing either side. Basically the deal is that you get yourself to Manaus and Iain organises accommodation, sightseeing, opera tickets etc.  Anyone up for an unusual opera adventure should contact Iain for more details at


Harnoncourt no more

nh_king-arthurI woke up this morning to the very sad news that Nikolaus Harnoncourt had died.  He was one of my favourite conductors of baroque opera and Mozart and, if I didn’t always think his ventures into the 19th century were fully successful, they were always stimulating.  His partnership with the Zürich opera and its brilliant period instruments ensemble La Scintilla was as interesting as in work in Austria with Concentus Musicus Wien.  He’ll be missed.  There’s a very good obituary in the Guardian.

Here are a few of my favourite Harnoncourt recordings:

Haydn – Il mondo della luna
Mozart – La clemenza di Tito
Mozart – Le nozze di Figaro
Purcell – King Arthur
Weber – Der Freischütz

Graf Nikolaus de la Fontaine und d’Harnoncourt-Unverzagt, born 6 December 1929; died 5 March 2016.