La Cenerentola

November 26, 2011 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Jeannette Fischer as Clorinda, Karine Deshayes as Angelina and Anna Wall as Tisbe. Photo: Opéra national de Paris/Agathe Poupeney I must admit to having felt some trepidation in going to see Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) at the Opéra Garnier this … Read More

La Forza del Destino

November 14, 2011 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Zoran Todorovich as Don Alvaro, Violeta Urmana as Donna Leonora and Kwangchul Youn as Padre Guardiano. Photo: Opéra National de Paris/Andrea Messana Verdi’s La Forza del Destino seems tailor-made for the incomparable Joyce Grenfell’s comic monologue, “Opera Interval,” about a spectator … Read More

Lulu

October 18, 2011 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Men in fedoras watch Lulu’s every move from the shadows. © Opéra National de Paris/Ian Patrick Lulu, the figure inspired by two Franz Wedekind plays, seems to have fascinated writers, composers and filmmakers in the early part of the 20th … Read More

Tannhäuser

October 7, 2011 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Blood-covered near-naked men add to the air of orgiastic intensity. Photo: Opéra National de Paris To say that the first Paris performances of Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser, about an artist torn between the lure of sensuality and that of spirituality, … Read More

Salome

September 16, 2011 | By Heidi Ellison | Music

Salome (Angela Denoke) remained fully clothed and veil-free throughout the famous dance of the seven veils. Photo: Opéra National de Paris/Elisa Haberer The poetry of Oscar Wilde and the music of Richard Strauss paired with a story that offers equal … Read More

Götterdämmerung

June 7, 2011 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Siegfried (played by Torsten Kerl) toys with the world. Photo: Opéra national de Paris/Elisa Haberer Detractors of Wagner’s Ring Cycle claim that the four operas promote an Aryan ideal of heroism, which explains why they appealed to the extremism of … Read More

Messiah

March 15, 2011 | By Heidi Ellison | Music

Bass Darren Jeffery surrounded by just a few of the many elements that went into a visually chaotic Paris production of Handel’s Messiah. I couldn’t contain my curiosity when I heard that Oleg Kulik, one of the most outrageously provocative … Read More

Siegfried & Káťa Kabanová

March 14, 2011 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Torsten Kerl as Siegfried and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke as a campy Mime. Photo: Charles Duprat / Opéra National de Paris Two operas currently being performed in Paris, although written only 50 years apart, could hardly be more different from each other. … Read More

Ariadne auf Naxos

December 11, 2010 | By Nick Hammond | Music

Zerbinetta (Jane Archibald) tries to convince Ariadne (Ricarda Merbeth) to lighten up a little. Photo: Julien Benhamou/Opéra national de Paris With Paris enduring its heaviest snowfalls in years last week and many motorists spending hours stuck in their cars, the … Read More

Il Trittico

October 4, 2010 | By Nick Hammond | Music

  Tamar Iveri as Suor Angelica in the Puccini opera of the same name. Photo © Ian Patrick / Opéra National de Paris The operas of Giacomo Puccini, that most unapologetically sentimental of composers, are designed to make you cry. … Read More