Late in 2019 Sardinian tenor Piero Pretti impressed many with his Met debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. Bachtrack said ‘He has a fine lyric Italianate sound with plenty of squillo and dead centre pitch. He strikes one as a very musical singer; he clearly knew the arc of his phrases and the entire role. Pinkerton is a hard part in which to impress and it will be interesting to hear him as other, more sympathetic leads.’
Ukrainian dramatic soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska had early success as a principal soloist with the Ukraine National Opera, as well as, singing at St. Peterburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre. Important debuts followed in Berlin as Tosca (2010), at Covent Garden she sang Aida (2011) and in this same role she first appeared at the Met in 2012. She sang Abigaille opposite Plácido Domingo in Nabucco at Covent Garden in 2013 (Jim Pritchard described her voice as having ‘a great range of dynamics and colour but also the capability to sing a line softly when required’) and 2016. Liudmyla Monastyrska returns to Covent Garden as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana in a production broadcast to cinemas on 21 April. Before that she makes an eagerly awaited return to La Scala in Milan as Leonora in Il trovatore in Alvis Hermanis’s production and conducted by Nicola Luisotti. In her answers to some questions from Seen and Heard International Liudmyla Monastyrska gives an insight into her background, training and the roles she sings.
Hui He had a great success recently on her return to New York’s Metropolitan Opera as Madama Butterfly (review click here) and answers Seen and Heard International’s questions about her life and her career. Read on for more about her ‘journey in the world of opera’ from China’s Shaanxi province to Verona and the world’s greatest concert halls and opera houses.
Some Seen and Heard-International reviewers pick their Best of 2019
Tom Hammond talks to Robert Beattie
Tom Hammond is a London-based conductor, recording producer, and Festival Director. As well as being Music Director/Principal Conductor of the Finchley, Hertford and St Albans Symphony Orchestras, Tom also directs youth orchestras in Hatfield and Watford, and is a Guest Conductor for the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Palestine, and in this country with the Orchestra of the Swan, which is based in Stratford-upon-Avon. Tom is a founding Artistic Director of the Hertfordshire Festival of Music, an annual summer celebration of classical music held in various venues in Hertfordshire which celebrates its fifth consecutive year in 2020.
Hervé Niquet discusses Grétry’s opera, Richard, Coeur de Lion with Colin Clarke
Opéra Versailles’s production of Grétry’s Richard, Coeur de Lion recently was a great success (review click here). The morning after the first performance of the run, I meet Hervé Niquet in an achingly cool hotel in Versailles. Open and friendly, he is an interviewer’s dream.
Angela Gheorghiu talks to Michael Cookson
Clearly relishing the beautiful summer weather in Dresden, the day I met Angela Gheorghiu for interview at her hotel she was looking cool in her blue and white striped summer dress, straw hat and wearing sandals. Bringing her family with her the Romanian soprano was in rehearsal for a few days preparing for her appearance in her signature role as heroine Tosca in the revival of Johannes Schaaf production at Semperoper. This is my report (click here) from what was one of the finest performances I have encountered in an opera house, a special Tosca with Gheorghiu in imperious form.
To admirers of great singing Petra Lang needs little introduction because of her superb performances on the world’s leading opera stages and concert platforms. In recent years, especially, she has brought the audiences at the annual Bayreuth Festival to their feet to acclaim her wonderful portrayals of Ortrud (review click here) and Isolde (review click here). Seen and Heard was delighted when Petra Lang agreed to answer our questions to look back – amongst much else – at how she began as a singer, who gave her advice along the way, a singer’s life, her thoughts on the roles she has sung and the colleagues she has worked with, as well as, her own advice for young singers.