Faust - Royal Opera House, 18 September 2011 (first night)
looking for a John Tomlinson impersonator?
Despite some outstanding performances from a top-drawer cast, this second revival of David McVicar's Faustsomehow fails to hit the mark. Part of the blame is of course Gounod's - never afraid to cut a flowing story dead in its tracks with a crowd-pleasing ballet or drinking song.
Viewing the gaudy corpse of a once-magnificent Zeffirelli production on the Met stage can make you wonder why his work was once considered bold and daring. Yet look at some of the frozen-in-youtube performances, the ones he actually, personally, directed – the famous Callas/Gobbi Tosca for example – and you sense the hand of a theatrical master. The difference between then and now of course is that then he was there to shape every detail of the performances. Over the years they’ve become debased and diluted by a series of indifferent in-house directors and all we see now are the vast, vulgar sets and the preposterous costumery.
Is David McVicar’s theatrical legacy headed the same way?
Dmitri Hvorostovsky / Ivari Ilja - Wigmore Hall, 11 June 2010
Tchaikovsky Again, as before, alone, The nightingale, The heroic deed, I opened the window, Don Juan’s serenade Rachmaninov The dream, She is as lovely as the noon, Sing not to me, beautiful maiden, Oh no, I beg you, forsake me not Tchaikovsky Reconciliation, A tear trembles, None but the lonely heart, The fearful moment Rachmaninov When yesterday we met, In the silence of the secret night, He took all from me, Christ is risen Encores:Tchaikovsky Sred’ shumnogo bala (In the Midst of the Ball), Serenade, Rachmaninov Ja byl u nei (I was with her)(I'm not 100% sure of these, so if you know better, please let me know)
It’s now twenty years since Dmitri Hvorostovsky made his Wigmore Hall debut. This recital, dedicated to the recently-deceased mezzo Irina Arkhipova, followed the same programme as that first one (according to his record company at least). But the mood was hardly celebratory. Bottom-of-the-vodka-bottle Russian melancholy underlay every one of his Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov songs.
La Traviata - Royal Opera House, 11 May 2010 (first night)
One big star - step forward Dmitri Hvorostovsky - wasn't quite enough to give make this umpteenth showing of Richard Eyre's gracefully ageing production twinkle quite as brightly as its lasttwo revivals.