More than a decade ago David Mcvicar's production of Faust at the Royal Opera House was memtomedreviewed on this site (REVIEW). It was a fine performance, but the stupid production was inappropriate. Now this has, for whatever reason, been revived at the Royal Opera and the result is this new version at the Royal Opera. Singing is unexceptional. Michael Fabiano's Faust is adequate, Irina Lungu's Marguerite is wobbly, and Erwin Schrott's Meophistopheles lacks the dark power and range essential for the role Dance episodes are effective, but this is not a Faust most opera lovers would wish to see. The Vienna State Opera production with Francisco Araiza, Ruggero Raimondi, and Gabriela Benackova, also is a modern approach, less offensive than Mcvicar's. Surely the DVD Faust to have is the Met production with Jonas Kaufmann, Marina Poplovskaya and René Pape, with Yaninick Nézet-Séguin on the podium
There are three versions of Beethoven's only opera The first was entiled Leonore, or The Triumph of Marital Love), and it had its premiere in Vienna in 1805. The next year the second version now called Fidelio, premiered also in Vienna, and Beethoven further revised the opera, premiered in 1814, and this is the one famous hroughout the muysical orld. There were great plans in Vienna to celebrate the 250h anniversary of Beethoven's birth. They planned to present all three versions of his only opera, the originl Leonnore that premiered in 1805, the second version that premiered in 1806, and the third, which became the standard version performed everywhere. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there could be no audiences for any of the performances, but it was decided to present and film the performance of the second version, seen here. The basic simpe set was designed by Barkow Leibinger, the modern costumes were designed by Judith Holste, and imaginative lighting by Jemry rajam often is highly dramatic. Manfred Honeck leads a dynamic performance, the casst is uniformly first-rate. At the conclusion there is no applause as there was no audience, but the cast appears on stage anyway. Admirers of Beethoven's only opera surely will wish to invstigate this excellent production of the second verion.
Ever since its premiere in 1856 at the Paris Opera, the ballet Le Corsaire, based loosely on Lord Byron's poem with music by Adolphe Adam (1803 - 1856), has been a tremendous showcase for dancers. Le Corsaire became particularly well-known in the version choreographed by Marius Petipa who added new music composed by Peter II, Duke of Oldenburg, Riccado Drigo, Leo Delibes and Cesare Pugni. This DVD offers a new version by Anna-Marie Holmes, sets and costumes by Luisa Spinatelli, with music reorchestrated by Kevin Galiè.The performance was recorded on an unspecified date in 2018 at Teatro LaScala, Milan. Featured dancers are Nicoletta Manni, Martia Arudino, Timofej Andrijashenko, Maro Agostino, Antonino Sutera, Mattia Semperboni, Antonella Albano and Virna Toppi. The LaScala Ballet is assisted by members of the LaScala Academy Ballet School. The orchestra conducted by Patrick Fournillier provides brilliant accompaniment. The performance is exciting indeed, and those who love ballet should not miss this stunning performance. Video is excellent, and multu-channel sound could not be bettered. Don't miss this one if you enjoy the world of ballet.
R.E.B. April 2021)