Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nielsen and Britten opera webcasts

Britten's church parable Curlew River has been a recurring destination on an overgrown path.

Don't miss the acclaimed 2005 Edinburgh Festival production which is being webcast tomorrow (Sunday 18th September) at 18.30h BST on BBC Radio 3 . Follow this link for webcast and 'listen again' services. Convert the time of broadcast to your time zone with this link

And no, the production shot above is not Curlew River (and I know Curlew River is technically not an opera, but the headline is everything). The striking photo is from Covent Garden's new coproduction of David Poutney's new production of Carl Nielsen's Maskarade, which is premiered on Monday (19th September). The opera is based on Holberg's play, and interestingly is being given in a new English translation by Poutney, rather than the original Danish. Listen to this rarely performed (outside Denmark) work in a BBC Radio 3 webcast on Saturday 8th October.

Maskarade is in that interesting group of works known by the overture, and little else. Berlioz was master of the genre, and his best example was Les Francs Juges where we know the overture, but the rest of the opera was abandoned by the composer, and only survives in fragments.

Other nominations for works now know only by their overtures, but which are worth reviving in toto?

As Paul Valéry, France's best known poet of the 20th century, said: "An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it."

Photo credit Royal Opera House website where there is an excellent photo gallery of twelve Maskarade production shots.

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4 comments:

Rodney Lister said...

Two pieces that come to mind are The Bartered Bride (Smetana) and Russlan and Ludmilla (Glinka). Although maybe they're too obvious.
It's not an overture, but the Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Greensleaves is a played a lot more played than Sir John in Love.

Pliable said...

Rodney, thanks for reminding us that the Greensleeves Fantasia comes from Sir John in Love.

Nice one.

Much more welcome than the slew of Rossini that I was bracing myself for!

Pliable said...

..and talking of VW I guess I could have added that his 5th Symphony is performed a lot more that the opera The Pilgrim's Progress from which some of the music in the symphony is taken.

I guess, that writing as Pliable, I'm allowed that one!

john mclaughlin williams said...

Without doubt, Reznicek's Donna Diana. A terrific comic opera by a composer who is easily the equal of Strauss. There are a number of other works of his that I think are must-listens, including Die Sieger.