Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, The Future of the Met, Lawrence Zazzo, David Lang's Crowd Out
Terry Gilliam's new production of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini opened at English National Opera this week. Tom Service speaks to ENO's music director Edward Gardner and reviews the production with the critics Alexandra Coghlan and Geoffrey Smith. On a flying visit to London, the Metropolitan Opera's General Manager Peter Gelb explains to Tom that although the launch of the Met's live HD cinema relays worldwide have been a tremendous success the opera company faces bankruptcy within in the next two or three years if things aren't rectified now. Gelb sets out his plan to save the Met to Tom.
Tom also took the opportunity to catch up with the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo when he was in town and found out about the influence Frankie Valli and the Bee Gees had on him...as well as James Bowman! Zazzo also expressed his frustration at the idea that countertenors are a continuation of the castrati line and not seen as falsettists in their own right. Tom also visits Birmingham to see how preparations are coming along for the composer David Lang's new work called Crowd Out which features a thousand voices shouting, whispering and chanting!
BENVENUTO CELLINI AT ENO
Benvenuto Cellini, Berlioz’s first opera, tells the story of the famed Italian sculptor, draughtsman and musician. The premiere in Paris in 1838 sparked a riot from its audience and the orchestra claimed the piece was impossible to play! This week English National Opera’s new production of the piece opened in London - the first staging in over thirty years. Tom Service speaks to the opera’s conductor Edward Gardner to find out why Benvenuto Cellini is so rarely staged (and why Gardner thinks it’s the hardest thing he’s ever conducted) and reviews the production with Alexandra Coghlan, music critic for the New Statesman and the broadcaster and critic Geoffrey Smith.
More information: Benvenuto Cellini by ENO at the London Coliseum until 27th June
Photo: © Richard Hubert Smith
PETER GELB: THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY AT THE MET
Peter Gelb is in his eighth season as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In that time he has introduced the highly successful HD cinema relays of the house’s productions worldwide, but even the income and raised profile from these can’t keep the wolf from the Met’s door. In a frank discussion with Tom, Gelb explains that the future of the world famous opera house is at stake and it’s his mission to save it. A few years ago private donations plus the box office takings for the 3,800 seat theatre covered costs but unfortunately that’s no longer the case and if things aren’t rectified Gelb thinks that bankruptcy could be a mere two or three years away.
More information: The Metropolitan Opera, New York
Photo: © Dario Acosta, Metropolitan Opera
The American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is regarded as one of the finest singers of his generation. His roles range from Handel’s Giulio Cesare (the Met and ENO) and Gluck’s Orfeo, to Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and creating the role of Trinculo in Thomas Ades’s The Tempest. Tom met Zazzo when he was in London this week for a concert at Wigmore Hall, he tells Tom about the singers that influenced him including Frankie Valli, the Bee Gees and James Bowan. He also reveals his frustration at the idea that countertenors are continuations of the castrati line and not seen as falsettists in their own right.
More information: Lawrence Zazzo
DAVID LANG'S CROWD OUT FOR A THOUSAND VOICES
Tom visits Birmingham to see how preparations are coming along for the composer David Lang's new work: Crowd Out which features a thousand voices shouting, whispering and chanting. Lang describes how the idea for the piece first came to him during an Arsenal football match. Lang sees Crowd Out as an entirely new kind of piece and a serious musical work that anyone can perform. Tom talks to the musical director Simon Halsey plus Amie Boyd and Scott Pawsey, two members of the choirs taking part. As well as being performed in Birmingham the piece will also be performed in London and Berlin with local performers building their own ‘home-grown’ Crowd Out company to rehearse and perform the piece.
More information: Crowd Out at Millenium Point, Birmingham - Sun 8th June: 2.30pm & 4.30pm
|Interviewed Guest||Edward Gardner|
|Interviewed Guest||Peter Gelb|
|Interviewed Guest||Geoffrey Smith|
|Interviewed Guest||Alexandra Coghlan|
|Interviewed Guest||David Lang|
|Interviewed Guest||Lawrence Zazzo|