Plus the Choir of Clare College at St John’s Smith Squareby Alexandra Coghlan / November 10, 2019 / Leave a comment
Iris City Halls Glasgow, Scottish opera, 1st December
Pietro Mascagni may be best known today for Cavalleria rusticana but he was a prolific composer whose sumptuous scores anticipate Puccini in more ways than one. Six years before Madama Butterfly, Mascagni was already there with his Japan-set Iris. Rarely performed, perhaps because of its uncompromising vision of human cruelty, the opera’s score is as sensuous as the story is heartbreaking, ending with the startlingly beautiful “Hymn to the Sun.” Stuart Stratford conducts this rare concert performance by Scottish Opera, starring soprano Helena Dix as Iris, with tenor Ric Furman as her lover Osaka.
Otello, Royal Opera House, 9th December to 22nd December
When it debuted in 2017, Keith Warner’s handsome production of Verdi’s Otello was all but obliterated by the buzz surrounding Jonas Kaufmann’s much-awaited debut in the title role. Tickets changed hands for terrifying prices for those lucky few who were able to get hold of them. This production stars Gregory Kunde as the Venetian Moor and Ermonela Jaho as his doomed wife Desdemona.
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, St John’s Smith Square, 21st December
Ignore the obligatory Messiahs and carol concerts and head straight for this attractive programme by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and music director Graham Ross. Renaissance polyphony rubs shoulders with contemporary carols and motets by Poulenc, Joubert and Skempton, as well as two premieres, in a concert inspired by the Virgin Mary. Ross’s singers are some of the finest in the country; this should be an exquisite start to Christmas.