The Best of 2010
It is a curiosity of our times that I write this review of La Scala’s sixth and last performance of their new production of Die Walküre several weeks after audiences around the world have seen high definition video projections of earlier performances of the same production. A friend of mine residing in the Midwest has already seen it twice, but questions remain: seeing a broadcast through the eyes of video cameras is not the same as sitting in the house, with the interventions of the television director and the videographers standing between the audience and the event at La Scala. I haven’t seen a La Scala broadcast, and I have no idea of their particular style, which is hopefully more straightforward than the extremely mannered — no, gimmicky — Met broadcasts.
Best of 2010: Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Production
This is the third year of BEMF’s wonderful new institution of annual chamber opera performances. These not only help us get through the alternate years, when there is no main festival in June, nor any full opera production, they set a standard for authenticity and for the imaginative recreation of centuries-old practices and aesthetics in such a way that an audience of cultivated non-experts can enjoy the performance and walk away exhilarated. This was certainly the mood in late November last year, when BEMF turned to Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. None of the other chamber operas produced so far is particularly obscure — not John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, nor Charpentier’s Actéon, nor Handel’s Acis and Galatea. On the contrary, they are central to the history of the genre, and they are performed, although not very often. This year’s offering, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, is the most popular pre-Mozart opera of all. It fills the needs of conservatories, young sopranos or mezzos, as well as ageing divas, who wish to apply their wisdom to the tragic Queen of Carthage. We have reviewed a number of modest, but very successful productions in the Review over the past year or so.
I Grandi Veneti da Pisanello a Tiziano da Tintoretto a Tiepolo. Chiostro del Bramante (Rome) until January 30th
The temporary closure of the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo for renovations has made it possible for Rome to host a portion of its prestigious collection in Bramante’s charming urban cloister. The exhibit spans more than two centuries of Venetian painting — from Bellini and Carpaccio to Tiepolo and the vedutisti — elegantly arranged by Giovanni Federico Villa and Giovanni Valagussa, with an ambitious catalogue.
Mélisse is now celebrating its tenth anniversary. At its location only a few hundred yards from the Santa Monica Pier, it has the feeling of a neighborhood institution, but not the honky-tonk neighborhood of Ye Olde King’s Head and similar establishments along Santa Monica Boulevard and the beach — rather Brentwood and Beverly Hills, to which it is directly linked on its corner of Wilshire Boulevard. Since its beginnings, its founder, Chef Josiah Citrin and his staff have earned it two Michelin stars. The dining rooms have also been renovated into their present elegant and extremely soothing state only a few years ago.
More in this category
- Mozart’s Idomeneo with Sir Roger Norrington and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival
- Valery Gergiev, BBC Proms 2010
- Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre
- Beowulf, sung and recited by Benjamin Bagby at Tanglewood