Friday, 21 January 2011

Barbican 2011-2012 Opera and vocal

That's Einstein on the beach. Note the natty pose, the shorts and his darling sandals!  The Philip Glass opera Einstein on the Beach  is a joint production between the Barbican, de Nederlandse Opera (big recommendation) and others. High profile, but tickets don't go on sale until April 2011 though the performances aren't til May 2012 - and look at the prices! (which is why you want to get in while cheap seats exist).

Gergiev conducts Wagner Parsifal with the Mariinsky on 3 April 2012, concert staging, which might be OK, and one night only. Nothing like Haitink, I suspect. He's conducting Stravinsky Oedipus Rex on 15/5 which he does wonderfully and The Soldiers Tale and Renard two days before - a good package, I think. Weber, Der Freischütz 19-21 April might be interesting but a real must is Louis Langree Mozart La Clemenza di Tito on 22/2. Excellent cast - Schade, Garanca, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie. The Barbican is well suited to intimate opera, as this year's current baroque opera series demonstrates. They: should play to this strength by doing more.

Lots of wonderful choral works, the best being Szymanowski's Song of the Night, I think, with Boulez on 8th May, but lots of competition.  One of this year's Total Immersion Days features Arvo Pärt, so we can be sure of divine harmonies. Simon Keenlyside sings in Mendelssohn's Elijah on 7/3/12 with the Britten Sinfonia. Gerald Finley in Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and Bostridge in Britten's War Requiem. Other opera, too, such as Opera North's Tchaikovsky Queen of Spades and Jonathan Harvey's Wagner Dream, during the Harvey total Immersion. This was featured at the Holland Festival some years ago, mixed reviews. Lots of other vocal treats - recitals by Hvorostovsky, Borodina and Andreas Scholl.

But there are more things that really shouldn't be missed, not because they're starry, but because they're rare. First, on 4/11, Arthur Honneger's dramatic oratorio from 1935, Joan of Arc at the Stake, (Jeanne d'Arc au bucher), then on 6/11, music to accompany Carl Th Dreyer's 1928 movie The Passion of Joan of Arc. It's an amzing film, thought lost for many years. It pre-dates his spooky Vampyr (1932) but in some ways it's more innovative with its dramatic angles and close-ups. Marin Alsop conducts.

Also a must will be Anton Dvořák Jakobin (The Jacobin), complicated plot, rarely performed. If anyone can carry it off and make it convincing, Jiří Bělohlávek is the man. He chooses his singers well and doesn't compromise. Since the performance isn't til 4th February 2012, there'll be lots of time to prepare beforehand. Just because bookings open so early, there's no compulsion to buy everything at once. There is so much going on in London all year that the detailed Barbican programme is a boon. You can organize your diary around it and prepare by listening and learning in advance. PLEASE SEE my summary of the Barbican 2011-2012 ORCHESTRAL programme.


lescamil said...

Einstein on the Beach is actually by Philip Glass! Either way, it is quite a unique and enjoyable opera that is quite different from the minimalism John Adams got us used to. I would love to see what DNO does with it.

Doundou Tchil said...

Thanks so much ! My senior moments. Glass is doing Kafka The Trial next year with the same people who did In the Penal Colony, so that should be good, too.