(Above: Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala at a press conference for Tchaikovsky's Iolanta @ Festspielhaus Baden-Baden)
OC has heard from our dear Swiss correspondent, who gave her the skinny (figuratively, Netrebko being Netrebko) on Anna Netrebko's premiere last night live from Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, where the Russian soprano sang her first Tchaikovsky "Iolanta" for the theatre's Sommerfestspiele (in a double feature with Rachmaninoff's Aleko).
Our Swiss fan-on-the-scene reported a wonderful evening, Anna's comfort with the Russian repertoire making for a touching and captivating performance. Piotr Beczala's Vaudémont also impressed the crowds along with Sergei Aleksashkin as Rene, and Gergiev led the Mariinsky in perfect paces. Anna & Piotr's duets garnered the most applause of the evening, which was all enhanced by video projections featuring snowflakes and twinkling stars. Most everything on stage was given a black and white treatment to set the color palette and referencing Iolanta's blindness.
After the performance, Anna dashed away the post-opera gala dinner, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, in a polka-dot black dress, loads of red lipstick, ad bright green high heels!
Below are two pictures from the event, although none from the production. Our reporter says that the Baden-Baden ushers were on absolute lock-down with a scarily tight ~camera patrol~ throughout the entire evening.
~*~ (Above: The Baden-Baden Cartier store window display features Anna glaring-up from the jewels)
Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin @ Vienna's State Opera (in the cast, Nadia Krasteva, Tamar Iveri, Simon Keenlyside) conducted by Seiji Ozawa and directed by Falk Richter, premieres on March 7 and marks the debut on the operatic stage of Jennifer Aniston (Opera Chic, once upon a time, had come out in favor of Team Aniston basically in a lesser-of-two-evils choice over the appalling Mlle Jolie).
La Jen appears on the cover of an old Russian GQ magazine, for reasons better left unsaid by Herr Doktor Richter.
Reluctantly, Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón has withdrawn from the
2009 summer opera production “Jolanthe”. Three performances in the
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden will be affected - 18th, 21st and 24th of
July. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko will sing the title role in the
Tchaikovsky opera as planned, alongside a tenor yet to be announced,
and Valery Gergiev will take charge of the musical direction.
Villazón does, however, does offer some consolation to
the Baden-Baden audience by agreeing to a third concert performance of
the opera “Werther” by Jules Massenet on the 14th of June 2009 in the
Festspielhaus, alongside Elina Garanca. The first two performances on
the 7th and 10th of June 2009 have already sold out.
The Festspielhaus Baden-Baden is offering a full
refund to patrons who have already purchased tickets to “Jolanthe”
should they decide not to attend. However, Artistic and Managing
Director Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser believes that “many opera lovers will
come to Baden-Baden to see Anna Netrebko, Valery Gergiev and the St.
Petersburg Marrinsky Theatre Ensemble, and will forgive Rolando his
In the video below, Rolando & Anna in the good old times, singing Jolanthe.
Dress rehearsals of Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame proceed at full blast in Vienna: here Nadia Krasteva (center-right, top) and Martina Serafin (center-right) under the watchful, horrified eyes of crazily 'fro'ed Maestro Seiji Ozawa.
Neil Shicoff, envious of all this hairy happenings, instead sports a mysterious, freshly dyed furry mammal over his skull (click for pop-up hi-res image. warning: scawy).
The premiere's on October 28, so let's hope they all find a hair stylist by then. (fotos Reuters/Herwig Prammer)
Opera Chic survived two intermissions and emerged tonight into the humid Milan air a full three hours & fifteen minutes after the eight-o’clock la prima of La bella addormentata nel bosco at Teatro alla Scala. (was that even a sentence?!)
Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova made us for a moment forget that we were crammed in a palco in the middle of a historical theater in a boisterous city in Europe. Zakharova flawlessly pranced through her steps as Princess Aurora, taunting years of practice and devotion into something transcendent. When after pricking her finger on a hidden spindle lurking in a bouquet of flowers, she faded-out like something truly ephemeral. When she was given the kiss to breathe back life, she flourished like a flower in the sunlight. She’s beautiful, tall, and was in perfect control. Prince Desire’s (lamest name ever) Denis Matvienko was solid, elegant, and provided perfect accompaniment.
Sets were indeed reminiscent of Versailles, and each scene was a variation on a receiving court of a royal château. Costumes were of shiny, luxurious, and luminous textiles. Tutus were classical with gorgeous beads and embroidered bodices, all finished with gorgeous tiaras and headpieces.
Tchaikovsky’s score is for OC pretty lame, unfortunately, and didn’t elicit an ounce of resonance throughout the entire work. An aberration of the evening was the over-implementation of dry ice to create the water effect in which prince and princess take a pass in a boat. The excess vapor poured into the orchestra pit, blanketing two very hawt clarinetists, upsetting the harpist, bass clarinet, and oboe section. damn. But at least it called into play the hotness of the clarinet players. Shoot. Bonus: during the first intermission, there was a personality interviewing some of the omnipresent Milanese royalty in the lobby. Picture below:
Maybe more tomorrow? Maybe not. We’ll see. l8r gators.
The twenty-eight-year-old Ukrainian-born dancer's father is a retired member of Red Army, which is pretty freaking, um, hardcore. She is concurrently in Milan with the Bolshoi Theatre's tour, interpreting Pierre Lacotte's (music by Cesare Pugni) La Fille du Pharaon at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi with 119 other Bolshoi ballerini. She describes how impressed she was with a certain Milanese tailor that she sampled while here in the city, how her mother pushed her into dancing, how dancing on stage is completely natural to her, and how she wouldn't demand ballerina offspring when she decides to have a family. She also tells Corriere that she hopes her Bolshoi colleagues do not show up at the theater tonight to see her dance, as today is their last day to go shopping and relax before leaving, and she rather see them take advantage of those things.
Tonight La Scala hosts the premiere of La bella addormentata nel bosco, and Opera Chic, of course, must be there. The Sleeping Beauty (lol of the Wood lol) is based on the fairytale of the same name in Perrault's ubiquitous "Mother Goose Tales" from the seventeenth century. Here we are dealing with good & bad fairies, princes and ogres.
It is a ballet near and dear to the heart of La Scala (and one that Nureyev himself called “the apex of classical ballet”), as it was here in Milan in 1966 that Rudolf Nureyev himself took to the stage in his Western Hemisphere world premier, dancing the title role (having previously danced it at the Kirov in Leningrad during the late 1950s).
This rich ballet premiered in 1890 in Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre. Set to Tchaikovsky's Opus 66, it became his first big success (Swan Lake apparently was sort of a snoozer). The choreography was set by Marius Petipa, which Rudolf Nureyev later took great inspiration in his subsequent version, while giving it a new theatrical and dramatic impulse.
Tonight's production is of La Scala's and Rudolf Nureyev’s choreography, last seen during the La Scala 2001/2 season, which was also the last show at the opera house before the transfer was made to Teatro degli Arcimboldi. The 1993 Franca Squarcipino sets and costumes will be implemented, which sets the tale in a lavish and opulent background, inspired by Versailles.
At a hefty three hours and fifteen minutes, with a prologue and three acts, this may be my undoing. Make sure to check in later tonight for a trip report!