Ritratto, premiere of opera on Luisa Casati


This March 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

World premiere Ritratto (Full) – Dutch National Opera

Due to the measures against the spread of the Coronavirus, Ritratto never got its world premiere. Until now. You can enjoy this extravagant and beautiful opera from the comfort of your home. We hope you enjoy it. In case you want to support our house and the artists through these uncertain times you can make a donation via this ‘Tikkie’-link.

If you have bought a ticket for one of the cancelled performances, we will contact you with more information on this as soon as possible.

The libretto has been published and is availably by mailing info@franksiera.nl

Can’t get enough of this production? Journalist Stef Visjager followed the creation process of this opera and the singers for a year and a half and made a podcast-series about it. You can find the series and more information about this production here.

TEAM
Musical Director: Geoffrey Paterson
Stage Director: Marcel Sijm
Libretto: Frank Siera
Set Designer: Marc Warning
Costume Designer: Jan Taminiau
Lighting Designer: Alex Brok
Dramaturgy: Klaus Bertisch
Choreography: Zino Ainsly Schat

CAST
Luisa C.S. di Soncino: Verity Wingate – De Nationale Opera Studio
Romaine Brooks: Polly Leech – De Nationale Opera Studio
Gabriele D’Annunzio: Paride Cataldo – De Nationale Opera Studio
Garbi: Martin Mkhize – De Nationale Opera Studio
Sergei Diaghilev: Cameron Shahbazi – De Nationale Opera Studio
Man Ray: Lucas van Lierop – De Nationale Opera Studio
Jacob Epstein: Frederik Bergman – De Nationale Opera Studio
Kees van Dongen: Dominic Kraemer
Filippo Marinetti: Sam Carl – De Nationale Opera Studio

Choir
Soprano: Silvia Brizuela Meza, Stephanie Desjardins, Irene Hoogveld
Alto: Cameron Shahbazi, Joël Vuik, Maria Warenberg
Tenor: Lucas van Lierop, Zachery Vandermeulen, Milan de Korte
Bass: Frederik Bergman, Dominic Kraemer, Sam Carl

Orchestra
Amsterdam Sinfonietta

RITRATTO
Ritratto – the Italian word for ‘portrait’ is the title of a new opera by Willem Jeths, first Nederlandse Componist des Vaderlands (2014-2016), who was fascinated by a painting depicting Luisa Casati.

LUISA CASATI
The young orphaned and married, excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She allowed herself to be portrayed or photographed by numerous artists. With her black-rimmed eyes, her flaming red hair and eccentric behaviour she tried to gain a place in the art world.

Against the background of the war, librettist Frank Siera questions the importance of art. At a feast of Casati, Siera brings together all sorts of artists from the time of Casati. At the time, it was the Futurists who paved the way for fascism with their art. Casati does not engage with secular problems and focuses on her passion. In opera she goes even further than in real life; by not seeing, she tries to be seen herself.

This 20 March 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Verity Wingate announces online world premiere Ritratto

Soprano Verity Wingate invites you to the start of our online program: Ritratto!🎉 Tomorrow at 2pm (CET) we will stream the entire opera Ritratto, which was supposed to have its world premiere on the 13th of March, on our Youtube-channel Nationale Opera & Ballet. This way you can still enjoy all the labour, love and attention that has been put into this production by cast and crew. Will you tune in?

Animals perform opera classical music, video


This 11 October 2019 music video says about itself:

Opera performed by animals | Maestro – CG short film by Illogic collective

Deep into a forest, a gathering of wild animals starts a nocturnal opera, conducted by a squirrel.

Music: “Squilla Il Bronzo Del Dio – Guerra, guerra” [from the opera Norma]
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Performed by The Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, Dame Joan Sutherland, Samuel Ramey
Conducted by Richard Bonynge
Additional Voices: Marie-Ève Racine, Marc Antoine D’Aragon

Anti-nazi Till Eulenspiegel opera on stage


This 2018 classical music video says about itself:

Jan van Gilse – Thijl (1940)

Jan Pieter Hendrik van Gilse (Rotterdam, 1881 – Oegstgeest, 1944)

Thijl, dramatic legend in a prologue, three acts and an epilogue on a libretto by Hendrik Lindt (1940)

This summer (2018), a new performance of Thijl is staged in Soest, the Netherlands. For more information, see www.thijl2018.nl.

Parts:

Overture (0:00)
Act I (1:27)
Act II (1:02:43)
Act III (2:00:45)
Epilogue (2:45:49)

Recording of the World Premiere on June 5, 1980 at the Circustheater, Scheveningen (as part of the Holland Festival)

After that first time, the opera would not be on stage again. Until this year. It is said to be the biggest Dutch opera ever written.

Performers:

John Bröcheler – Thijl
Guus Hoekman – Lamme Goedzak
Thea van der Putten – Nele
Peter van der Bilt – De Uil [the owl, symbol of jester/freedom fighter Thijl]/ Balladezanger
Amsterdams Philharmonisch Orkest Nederlands Operakoor
Conductor: Anton Kersjes

Images:

I have included images relating to Van Gilse’s life, and the tropes that underlie this opera (aside from the story of Thijl Uilenspiegel, obviously). The first act contains photographs from the places where Van Gilse lived and worked: Berlin, Utrecht, and Leiden (Oegstgeest). The second act shows scenes from the conquest of Den Briel by the Watergeuzen, a band of marine marauders in the service of the Dutch uprising against the Spanish in the 16th Century, a motive often exploited in the name of Dutch nationalism. The third act and epilogue, finally, illustrates the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, a strong undercurrent in Van Gilse’s final works (Thijl and the “Rotterdam” cantata).

The hero of this opera is Till Eulenspiegel, a ‘fool‘/jester known from 16th century German stories. Under the 16th century Dutch name Thyl Ulenspiegel (modern Dutch: Tijl Uilenspiegel), 19th century Belgian author Charles De Coster made him famous as a freedom fighter against 16th century Spanish absolute monarchical rule in the Low Countries, born in Damme town.

20th century Belgian author Hugo Claus wrote a theatre play based on De Coster’s Ulenspiegel book. Van Gilse’s opera is based on De Coster’s book as well.

Translated from the site about the 2018 performance of Thijl:

Thijl takes place at the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War. Thijl emerges as an enthusiastic but naive idealist. In an exuberant mood, Thijl sings on the Damme market a satirical song in which he ridicules the Spanish ruler Philip II and the pope. A collaborator betrays him, hoping to claim Thijl’s legacy share as a reward. Thijl escapes, but his father is caught instead.

The execution of his father drives Thijl towards resistance ….

The musical creator of Thijl was an idealist in heart and soul. Just like Thijl, he opposed injustice and unfreedom wherever he could. Jan van Gilse (1881-1944) started his musical career in Germany, but in the Netherlands he became conductor of the Utrechts Stedelijk Orkest and director of the Utrecht conservatory. …

Thijl’s theme can not be seen separately from Jan van Gilse’s personal struggle for free speech and against the intolerant society that the Nazis aimed at. Van Gilse left Germany in 1933, following the election victory of Hitler. When the war broke out in the Netherlands and the Germans took over the government, Van Gilse took the lead in resistance. …

Van Gilse, who had not appeared in public since the 1941 general ban on Jews visiting public places, had to go into hiding. From his hiding addresses he remained one of the leaders of the artists’ resistance, and together with his son Janric set up the resistance magazine De Vrije Kunstenaar, which appeared in a monthly edition of 3,000 copies. Both sons of Van Gilse were executed for their resistance, and Van Gilse did not survive the war either. He died in 1944. …

The opera Thijl was Van Gilse’s last work. He completed it in 1941, and dedicated it to “To the fighters for justice and freedom.” He took the handwritten score with him to all his hiding addresses. Shortly before his death, his wife Ada van Gilse added at his request: “.. and to my boys who lost their lives for this justice”.

This 2017 music video shows a performance in Utrecht city of the song from Thijl ‘Slaet op den Trommele’.

Review of Thijl: here.

New York City exhibit examines the creation of Verdi’s last two operas: here.

Dutch opera director not to USA because of Trump


This video says about itself:

21 August 2015

Take a behind the scenes look at the Nederlandse Reisopera (Dutch Touring Opera) production of Orphée et Eurydice.

In just one day, the Source Four® LED Series 2 Lustr® luminaries with asymmetric Source Four LED CYC adapters were rigged and focused, lit the show, and were derigged.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Director Nicolas Mansfield of the Dutch Touring Opera company from Enschede will not travel to the United States for now. He disagrees with the Trump policies and therefore will stay as a matter of principle out of the country.

“As long as Muslims are not welcome there, I do not feel welcome,” Mansfield told RTV Oost broadcasting organisation. The artistic director had plans to visit an operatic convention in Dallas in May, but has canceled the trip. …

“I will not bring one euro of Dutch tax money to the US as long as that man will be in power,” Mansfield says.

New opera on World War I butchery


This video series from Wales is about the new opera In Parenthesis.

By David Nicholson in Britain:

Superb commemoration of Somme slaughter

Thursday 19th May 2016

In Parenthesis
Millennium Centre, Cardiff
4/5

NEW operas are rare events and even rarer are ones that are as good as In Parenthesis.

Eagerly anticipated, it’s being staged both to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Welsh National Opera and mark the centenary of the slaughter at the Battle of the Somme.

Iain Bell’s moving and visceral new opera about the great war, based on Welsh poet David Jones’s epic poem, is an ambitious project, with WNO director David Pountney, Emma Jenkins and David Antrobus’s libretto combining to brilliant effect with Bell’s music.

Through the eyes of tenor Andrew Bidlack’s Private John Ball, we watch a band of Welsh soldiers embark for France, journey to the horror of the trenches and perish in the final bloody battle at Mametz Wood.

Under the assured direction of David Pountney, aided by set designer Robert Innes Hopkins, this is a brilliantly staged production that captures the terror and claustrophobic atmosphere of a troop ship and the trenches of northern France.

But, as ever with the WNO, it is the sublime choral singing that pulls all the strands together. They are a perfect match for the drama of the reckless death of young men, in which Mark Le Brocq as a convincingly gruff sergeant and George Humphreys as a sensitive and caring young lieutenant take the acting honours.

The cafe scene before the men move off to the Somme is a thrilling highlight as the brilliant Welsh song Sosban Fach is sung with all the power at the disposal of the WNO.

The mythic return to the earth of the slaughtered band of Royal Welsh Fusiliers is touchingly realised by the nymphs who haunt Mametz Wood.

It’s a superb rendition by the women’s chorus who, dressed in an abundance of foliage and twigs, return the torn and bloodied bodies of Ball’s fallen comrades to the earth. Their heavenly singing moved many of the opening night audience to tears.

In Parenthesis ticks every box when it comes to music, acting and production values, though whether Bell’s opera will still be performed in years to come is the real acid test.

But this is a production to go and see now. As a sensitive, moving and visceral portrayal of the horror of war, it is a superb evening of pure theatre.

At the Millennium Centre until June 3, then tours until July 1, box office: wno.org.uk.