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November Issue Of Opera News - The Faust legend And Opera

   The November issue of Opera News magazine  has just arrived , and  the matinee idol  face of charismatic German tenor Jonas Kaufmann ,star of the Met's upcoming production of Gounod's Faust is on the cover .  He will be singing the role of the aged  German philosopher who sells his soul to Mephistopheles for youth , riches , power and  the delights of the flesh .

   The versatile tenor , who is equally at home in Italian,German and French opera , is interviewed by ON managing editor  Oussama Zahr .  Writer David J. Baker has an interesting article on Faustian bargains in not only opera , but such acclaimed films as Wall Street and  Bedazzled ,as well as  TV shows such as The Sopranos etc, even mentioning the episode on the Simpsons where Homer sells his soul to the devil - for a doughnut ! 

   Playwright Michael Slade discusses the upcoming world premiere of an opera by composer Kevin Puts at the Minnesota opera in Minneapolis called Silent Night , based on a tale of trench warfare in WW 1 .  David Patrick Stearns, music critic of the Philadelphia Enquirer , interviews American tenor Gary Lehmann , who was scheduled to sing the fiendishly difficult and exhausting role of Siegfried in the Met's new production of Wagner's Ring this season but has been forced to withdraw since ,  and Matthew Gurwwwitsch ,who regularly contributes articles on opera and
classical music to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and ON, has an interesting article on the  much-maligned character of Siegfried , who is too often dismissed as a  boorish simpleton but is really a much more complex figure , as well as his relationship to his grandfather Wotan , ruler of the Germanic gods .

    The magazine's roving opera critics review among other things, this Summer's opera productions at New Mexico's renowned Santa Fe Festival , including the revival of GianCarlo Menotti's once controversial opera "The Last Savage", which was unfavorably received by most critics at its Met premiere in 1964 and has not been revived since.
The revival appears to have been a decided success with the audience at Santa Fe, however .  The Bard College festival at Annandale-On-The-Hudson of Richard Strauss's rarely performed penultimate opera "The Love Of Danae",based on Greek mythology is reviewed , as well as the bizarre new production of Wagner's Tannhauser at the Bayreuth festival which I recently discussed , and new Salzburg festival productions of Verdi's Macbeth and Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The Woman Without A Shadow) . 

   Reviews of new CDs include  the acclaimed new live recording of Beethoven's Fidelio from the Lucerne
festival in Switzerland conducted by Claudio Abbado with Swedish soprano Nina Stemme in the title role, a live recording of Berjamin Britten's spooky chamber opera The Turn Of The Screw based on the famous short story by Henry James ,from England's Glyndebourne festival , Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor from the unlikely location of the Mariinsky opera in St. Petersburg (the reviewer ,who did not particularly like the recording dismisses it as Lucia di Leningrad !) , and Summer And Smoke by the late Lee Hoiby based on the lurid play by Tennessee Williams performed by the students of the Manhattan School of Music .  The composer passed away earlier this year.

    DVD reviews of recent live opera performances include Aida and Turandot from the Met, Les Troyens by Berlioz from Valencia ,Spain , a co production by  the Mariinsky and Warsaw operas conducted by Valery Gergiev, and Verdi's Macbeth from the Paris opera. There are also reviews of interesting new books on
eroticism in Wagner's music , and Arnold Schoenberg's life in Hollywood after he emigrated to America to escape  Hitler and the *** , as well as a new book by music critic Tim Page on the history of Carnegie hall.
    Even if you're not a  genuine opera fan, Opera News magazine is always an absorbing read . You can learn a lot about the endlessly fascinating world of opera, and it might even make you actually want to become an opera fan !


Posted: Oct 24 2011, 04:27 PM by the horn | with no comments
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