Eastern Bloc Hits Boston Opera Season With Two Big Works
"Boston has largely ignored one of the great opera composers of the 20th century: Leos Janácek. In 1985, Sarah Caldwell staged for her Opera Company of Boston one of Janácek’s masterpieces, The Makropoulos Case, a sinister yet mesmerizing story of a glamorous 300-year-old woman desperately trying to hang on to her life, starring one of the most glamorous and versatile sopranos of the century, Anja Silja. Couturier Fiandaca designed her costumes. The production was unforgettable and it got rave reviews. But it drew small audiences. In all my years of living in Boston, I’ve only seen one other staged production of a Janácek opera here — his heartbreaking animal fable The Cunning Little Vixen, in an imaginative and wonderfully performed student production at the Boston Conservatory two years ago — sung in the original Czech! Even the Met eventually discovered Janácek and has done several of his greatest operas. At the Boston Lyric Opera, our largest opera company, a plan to do a series of Janácek operas was scotched years ago by the previous administration. But BLO has now finally gotten
around to the Czech master. The third production of its 2014-2015 season will be the provincial romantic tragedy Kátya Kabanová (Shubert Theatre, March 13-22), one of the composer’s most beautiful and powerful scores, staged by Tim Albery and conducted by David Angus, the team responsible for BLO’s single most inspired production, Peter Maxwell Davies’s The Lighthouse, at the JFK Library in 2012."...."Another exciting opera from Eastern Europe, the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s 1926 King Roger, will have its Boston Symphony Orchestra debut at Symphony Hall, March 5-7. It will feature the Polish baritone and Metropolitan Opera star Mariusz Kwiecien, who has made a huge success in the title role from Paris to Santa Fe. Charles Dutoit conducts this luxuriously seductive and moving score, loosely based on Euripedes’s The Bacchae. It will be sung in Polish (as it should be), with English supertitles."