Archives for category: Llyr Carvana

Like ‘a brightly coloured puppy chasing its tail’ is how the overture of this effervescent score has been described, bubbling along with youthful joy – and this can equally be applied to much of the rest of the piece. Written for Venice’s Teatro San Moisè in 1812, the overture has never been out of the repertoire and whilst complete performances of the complete opera are not uncommon, this was a welcome performance by the Jette Parker Young Artists in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio, especially in light of it being the very first performance at the Royal Opera in over 200 years.

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Poor Papa Haydn does get a bad press for his operas. Much like Beethoven, it seems that you’re allowed to be a master at symphonies, sonatas and quartets but God help you if you then decide that you’ll turn your hand to that most august of mediums, opera. The pedestrian platitudes that get passed about Haydn usually revolve around him not being Mozart or not delving too deeply into the human psyche. I can think of worse crimes, to be honest. If one criticism/defence does have weight behind it then it is that Haydn wasn’t working with top-notch librettists, but comparison of Haydn’s operas with his non-Mozartian contemporaries reveal him to be a perfectly enjoyable writer of often light but well written work which shows the expert touch of a symphonist in constructing long stretches of continuous music, especially in act finales. Admittedly, there might be a bit of forgettable padding involved along the way, however Haydn wasn’t writing for us but for the family he worked for and he had a job to get on with.

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‘He did it here, he did it here, he did right here!’. Such were Vivaldi’s cries as Goldoni rose to the challenge thrown at him by the composer to rearrange an aria in Zeno’s libretto of Griselda to better suit the talents of Vivaldi’s protégé, Anna Girò. As recorded in Goldoni’s earliest account of meeting the Red Priest, despite receiving a frosty reception from the composer, the young poet impressed Vivaldi enough with this improvised feat to allow him to ‘murder Zeno’s drama’.

Written for the Teatro San Samuele in Venice and first performed in 1735, Zeno’s libretto, adapted by Goldoni, is based on an episode from Boccaccio’s Decameron which tells the story of the sadistic Marquis of Saluzzo who decides to put his wife’s fidelity to the test as his people are unhappy that he’s married a commoner. Somehow I don’t think we’ll get a reality series out of this from our royals. Read the rest of this entry »