After a breakfast with Eric Dingman, the Toronto-born President of EMI Classics I'm having a short break at Kensington Gardens before my next meeting. Time to catch up on the blog.
In my business coming to London is a bit like going to New York. There are so many people to meet and so many things to do that you always end up with a list of people you need to meet at your next visit because you've run out of time. While I spent a pretty calm Sunday studying Nixon in China (a truly great opera, I'm glad it's on our program for next season) and reading Camus' La Peste yesterday was busy with meeting artist managers, my colleague Elaine Padmore at the Royal Opera (where I ran into "our" Russell Braun who is just performing Manon with Anna Netrebko here) and two hours of auditions with a group of really very fine singers from three of the smaller English artist management companies.
In the evening, I attended a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra starring Plácido Domingo in the title role. At 70 he still is an unbelievable artist and compared to his performance at the Met back in January he brought even more insight to this great role, probably also helped by the much smaller auditorium. He still needs to dispose of almost unlimited vocal resources and his big scenes with the Fiesco of Feruccio Furlanetto (still the best Italian bass in the world) were simply breathtaking. Tenor Joseph Calleja gave a very fine performance as Gabriele Adorno, probably the best I've heard him sing, and music director Antonio Pappano in the pit confirmed his status as one of the most important conductors of opera today. A privilege to be in the house for such a great performance.
Today is another day of meetings before I will see ENO's new Idomeneo tonight.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
Robert Lepage's wonderful production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables had its triumphant European premiere in Aix yesterday evening. As with the performances in Toronto it was fascinating to see how this production with its magical shadow puppets and marionettes enchants an audience. A standing ovation is quite a rare thing in Europe, but when Robert came on stage to take his curtain call the whole audience stood up and cheered. We three co-producers, Bernard Foccroulle (Aix), Serge Dorny (Lyon, where it will be presented in the fall) and I, couldn't have been happier and I felt again what a privilege it has been to be part of this project and that it had its beginnings at the COC. In the meantime, the Netherlands Opera has joined the co-production and will present The Nightingale and Other Short Fables in 2012. And there is a lot of interest from other places, a good chance that the production will go around the world.
In the meantime, I have arrived in London and will take the day off relaxing in the charming garden of my little hotel in South Kensington.
... another venue of the Festival where I am about to see the dress rehearsal of Oscar Strasnoy's Un Retour, this year's world premiere.
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