Kristine Opolais

Kristine Opolais

by George Jahn

Acknowledged as one of the great Puccini heroines of our time, Kristine Opolais puts her heart and soul into the tragic women that she portrays on stage. It’s an almost daily engagement with raw passion and selfdestruction that inevitably takes a personal toll, as the soprano explains to George Jahn

A weekend in Prague

by Hannah Nepil

Coming in from the cold

by Ken Smith

At the farthest reaches of Russia’s eastern expanse, the port city of Vladivostok has received a significant cultural boost with the inauguration of a new arts festival headed by the Mariinsky supremo Valery Gergiev. Ken Smith reports on an event which brings new perspectives to the intermingling of East and West

Peacekeeping misson

Joyce DiDonato’s latest concert tour and album In War and Peace is a heartfelt rallying cry for harmony in the world, borne out of the terrible and divisive acts of violence in Paris last year. Opera Now asked the mezzo what sort of impact she hopes the project will make

Marching On

The Chinese epic opera The Long March received its world premiere earlier this year, commemorating the 80th anniversary of one of the most important and significant events in the creation of modern China

Lords of the ring

by Ashutosh Khandekar

The Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Ring cycle, recorded by Naxos Records, has just reached its half-way point with the release last month of Die Walküre. Ashutosh Khandekar meets some of the protagonists behind what is turning out to be a game-changing project for one of Asia’s most ambitious and accomplished orchestras

First impressions

by Karyl Charna Lynn

It may be one of the most popular operas of all time today, but at its world premiere, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly received a unanimous thumbs down from the audience at La Scala. Now Riccardo Chailly is hoping to restore the reputation of Puccini’s original by opening La Scala’s new season with this version of the opera. Karyl Charna Lynn reports from Milan

Once upon a time

by Michael White

Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Offenbach

by George Jahn · illustrations: Barbara Pálffy

Telling a good story without losing the attention of the listener is an art, and Jacques Offenbach depicts his eponymous protagonist as a master of spinning yarns. This new production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann, however, struggles to keep the audience riveted – and neither the composer nor his dissolute poethero are to blame

Der fliegende Holländer, Wagner

by Robert Thicknesse · illustrations: Annemie Augustijns

The fashion for opera directors to tell a story parallel to the libretto’s is fine by me – in theory: since words and music in the Dutchman are full of the sea and ships, it’s infantile to demand them on stage as well. Wagner gives you time to develop your alternative narrative, and it can add immeasurably to the experience

Giovanni d’Arco, Verdi

by Karyl Charna Lynn · illustrations: Roberto Ricci

After several years of financial difficulties (fuelled in part by allegations surrounding the involvement of Parma’s former mayor in the affairs of the city’s opera house, the Teatro Regio), the Verdi Festival has finally found its feet again

San Guglielmo, Duca d’Aquitania, Pergolesi

by Rick Jones · illustrations: Pergolesi Spontini Foundation

The first modern performance of Pergolesi’s San Guglielmo was given in concert in Cuenca, Spain, in 2011 by Les Talens Lyriques under Christophe Rousset. The same team brought the saint to costumed life this autumn, in the first modern fully staged performance at the Teatro Pergolesi in Jesi, the composer’s birthplace

Heresy, Doyle

by Stephen J Mudge · illustrations: Ross Kavanaugh

The Temple Bar area in Dublin buzzes with young artistic energy as well a plethora of lively Irish pubs. Here in the heart of Ireland’s vibrant capital, the Project Arts Centre hosted an unusal new opera which blended techno sounds with historic themes

The Nose, Shostakovich

by Owen Mortimer · illustrations: Bill Cooper

This latest instalment in the Royal Opera’s ongoing series of neglected 20th-century masterpieces was an arresting evening of theatre that left the audience wondering exactly what had hit them

First timers

Patricia Dowall recently confronted a life-long aversion to staged opera by attending ENO’s revival of Tosca, directed by Catherine Malfitano. Here are her surprisingly favourable first impressions…