Keri-Lynn Wilson leads Kyiv Camerata, Joyce DiDonato & Dumka Chorus in New York

Kyiv Camerata, Ukraine’s leading chamber ensemble, is to appear with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka New York at a concert in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on April 28, led by Canadian Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson. This performance, part of a series of North American premieres, will also feature violinist Bohdana Pivnenko, pianist Dmytro Tavanets and violist Kateryna Suprun.

The benefit tour – from April 26 to May 4 – featuring works by Ukrainian composers, is presented by USA for Ukraine, a not-for-profit organization that supports humanitarian and animal causes in Ukraine. The program of premieres includes the works of leading Ukrainian composers such as Zoltan Almashi, Oleksandr Kozarenko, Yevhen Stankovych, Volodomyr Zubytsky and Victoria Poleva, with Shchetynsky’s Requiem, Skoryk’s Melody, and Sylvestrov’s Prayer for Ukraine being the only works on the program not receiving their North American premieres.

The National Ensemble of Soloists “Kyiv Camerata”, established in 1977 by conductor Valerie Matiukhin, holds an esteemed position in the cultural environment of Ukraine and has a wide-ranging repertoire which embraces works from the baroque through to contemporary compositions. With a mission to promote Ukrainian music, it comprises musicians who are both virtuosos and soloists, and has performed in countries from Eastern and Western Europe to the USA and Middle East. The company has also enjoyed the privilege of working with musicians of the calibre of Myroslav Skoryk and Ivan Karabyts, both of whom have served as Artistic Director. Since 2023, the Kyiv Camerata has been led by violinist Bohdana Pivnenko, who performs with the ensemble and is also its General and Artistic Director. 

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has a voice that is “nothing less than 24-carat gold” according to The Times, and is regarded as “A transformative presence in the arts” by Jake Heggie, writing in the Gramophone. The multi-Grammy Award winner and 2018 Olivier Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Opera began this current season with her portrayal of Sister Helen in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. Ms DiDonato has also appeared in concert performances and oratorios in Istanbul, Hamburg, Valencia, London, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and her home city of Kansas. She will follow these performances with Kyiv Camerata with appearances at the Met as Virginia Woolf in Kevin Puts’ The Hours.

The New York-based Ukrainian Chorus Dumka, directed since 1991 by Vasyl Hrechynsky, has a repertoire which includes Ukrainian folk, classical and sacred music, and has performed across New York, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and in the capital cities of Europe, including the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Chorus Dumka consists of approximately 50-60 members and performs at various venues throughout the year.

Keri-Lynn Wilson is both founder and Music Director of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, which has received much acclaim for performances in the major cities and festivals of Europe. Formed in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Orchestra released its recording of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony on Deutsche Gramophone, under the baton of Maestro Wilson, to mark the second anniversary of this invasion. It will undertake its Beethoven Ninth Freedom Tour of leading cities this summer.

Wilson has appeared on the stages of many of the world’s leading opera houses, such as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera and the Deutsche Opera Berlin, and led orchestras such as the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Wiener Kammerorchester, the Russian National Orchestra, the RAI Symphony Orchestra, the Salzburg Mozarteum and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal.

Tickets for the benefit concert on April 28 are available at, by calling CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800, or visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue. For more information on USA for Ukraine, and other locations at which this concert will be performed, visit

Information sourced from:

Metropolitan Opera program notes

Artists’ websites

ArtsPreview home page

Two new works in Monte-Carlo Ballet triple bill

From ‘Vers un pays sage’ Photo © Alice Blangero courtesy Monte-Carlo Ballet

Taking a break from its touring schedule, Monte-Carlo Ballet returns home at the end of April to present three works by contemporary choreographers – Within the Golden Hour by Christopher Wheeldon, Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Vers un pays sage (Towards a Land of Wisdom) and Autodance by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar. Of these three ballets, only Vers un pays sage has been performed by the Company before – the other two are new to the repertoire.

Multi-award winning Christopher Wheeldon OBE is regarded as one of the most creative choreographers of his day. Currently Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet – where he trained and for whom he danced – Wheeldon became New York City Ballet’s first Resident Choreographer in 2001, and has also created and staged ballets for major companies such as San Francisco, the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Paris Opéra and Hamburg ballets. Among many other achievements, he has choreographed and directed musicals such as An American in Paris, Brigadoon and MJ The Musical, and staged his own interpretations of ballets such as Cinderella and The Nutcracker.

Within the Golden Hour, set to the music of Italian minimalist composer Ezio Bosso, and Antonio Vivaldi, is described by The Royal Opera House as “a shimmering ballet” which is “intimate and mesmerising”. A plotless ballet celebrating the joy of movement, it features seven couples separating and intermingling, referred to by the Guardian as “… a glowing masterpiece of surprise”.

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Vers un pays sage is a tribute to his father, a painter, who died at an early age. Known as a passionate workaholic, Jean Maillot was responsible for the creation of more than 260 designs and costumes for the opera. Created in 1995, this ballet of rare physicality takes as its theme the energy which M Maillot devoted to his art, and life in general.

Set to what’s described as the “unbridled” music of John Adams, this work is intended to portray the ebullience with which the choreographer’s father approached his life and his work, but it also pays tribute to the joy of togetherness and solidarity. It ends in a spirit of calm, against the backdrop of a painting by Jean Maillot, which serves as a reminder of the elusive shades, blends and complementary hues which characterise his work. Dance Europe describes Vers un pays sage as a classic, “… an exhilarating celebration of life lived to the full …”

Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar are co-founders, co-Artistic Directors and Choreographers of the L-E-V Dance Company. Multi-award winning Eyal has danced with the Bathsheva Dance Company, served as its assistant Artistic Director and also as House Choreographer. As a party producer, Behal was an important name in the Tel Aviv nightlife scene, and also a curator of multidisciplinary art events. He joined Eyal in co-creating Bertolina in 2005 and they have worked together ever since. 

L-E-V has collaborated with companies such as Sadlers Wells and Julidans Amsterdam, has also performed at The Joyce Theater in New York, and at the Jacob’s Pillow and Montpelier dance festivals. Commissions have come from companies such as Nederland Dans Theatre, StaatsBallet Berlin, Paris Opera and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

This production of Autodance represents a new version of the ballet – originally created in 2018 – which takes into account the skills of a Company which has mastered work en pointe with Eyal’s repertoire. The ballet, set to a composition by Ori Lichtik, is Eyal’s second creation for GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, and integrates dance, techno and technique – at times explosive, at others sublime. Eyal says it has been “created from pure movement”.

Monte-Carlo Ballet performs works by Christopher Wheeldon, Jean-Christophe Maillot and Sharon Eyal/Gai Behar with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Garrett Keast, known for his passion to create a cultural bridge between America and Europe. The five performances take place between 24th and 28th April at the Salle des Princes, Monaco Grimaldi Forum. Further information and tickets are available on the Monte-Carlo Ballet website.

Information sourced from:

Monte-Carlo Ballet programme notes

Artists’ websites

This article first appeared in Riviera Buzz

Met Opera presents Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ Live in HD

Angel Blue as Magda and Jonathan Tetelman as Ruggero in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’
Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

An international audience has a chance to see the Metropolitan Opera’s presentation of Giacomo Puccini’s La Rondine (The Swallow) in a live performance streamed from the stage at Lincoln Center, New York.

This performance – a co-production of the Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden – stars soprano Angel Blue in her role debut as the courtesan Magda, and tenor Jonathan Tetelman as the idealistic young man who offers her an alternative to her lifestyle. The poet Prunier is sung by tenor Bekhzod Davronov and soprano Emily Pogorelc takes the role of Magda’s maid, Lisette. Nicolas Joël’s 1920s Art Deco-inspired staging of this production is led by conductor Speranza Scappucci.

Jonathan Tetelman as Ruggero, Angel Blue as Magda, and Alfred Walker as Rambaldo in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

The action of this three-act opera takes place firstly in Magda’s elegant salon in high society Paris, where she is the mistress of Rambaldo, a wealthy man. It then moves to the Bal Bullier – a famous Latin Quarter dance hall – and finally a location near Nice on the French Riviera. Magda dreams of true love, but Prunier, having read her palm, predicts that – like the swallow – she will travel south in her search for happiness.

Angel Blue as Magda and Jonathan Tetelman as Ruggero in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’
Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

Puccini wrote La Rondine in 1916, and set it to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami, later to work on Il Tabarro and Turandot with Puccini. The libretto was based on an outline by Viennese author, journalist and composer Alfred Maria Willner and Heinz Reichert who was the librettist for several operettas for popular composers of the day. The opera premiered at the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo in Monaco, on March 27th, 1917.

Two-time Grammy Award winner, 2020 Beverly Sills Award recipient, and the 2022 Richard Tucker Award winner, Angel Blue is internationally acclaimed. The Financial Times writes that her ”…. luscious soprano is remarkable for its sheer beauty of tone ….”, and Gramophone says: “This is a voice of youthful refulgence and versatility”.

Emily Pogorelc as Lisette, Bekhzod Davronov as Prunier, Jonathan Tetelman as Ruggero, and Angel Blue as Magda in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

One of Ms Blue’s first appearances in the current season was her performance of Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore at San Francisco Opera, followed by the title role in Puccini’s Tosca at the Vienna State Opera, an appearance in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, a soloist in the Celebrating Maria Callas Concert at Carnegie Hall, and she returns to the Met following her highly successful portrayal of Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen earlier this season. Forthcoming performances include the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with the Orchestre de Paris, the title role in Tosca at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and an appearance at the Festival de Lanaudière, Canada, in Aida: The Season’s Final Bow.

Tenor Jonathan Tetelman, making his Met debut as Ruggero, was honored as Opus Klassik Award’s 2023 Break-Out Artist of the Year. The New York Times hails him as a “… total star”and Opera News writes that he has been “confirmed a major talent”.

Sun-Ly Pierce as Suzy, Angel Blue as Magda, Amanda Batista as Bianca, Magdalena Kuźma as Yvette in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

Among his debuts last season are those with San Francisco Opera as Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata, with Houston Grand Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca, and with the Salzburger Festspiele as MacDuff in Verdi’s Macbeth. Mr Tetelman has also sung the role of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème for Semperoper Dresden, Cavaradossi in Tosca and Paolo in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini at Deutsche Oper Berlin. His performance in La Rondine follows his recent appearance as Pinkerton in the Met’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly which he will sing at Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Festival Aix-en-Provence and Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he also makes his debut as Luigi in Puccini’s Il Tabarro.  Further operatic highlights of his season include a return to the title role of Massenet’s Werther for the Festspielhaus in Baden-Badenand an exclusive one-night-only performance of Rodolfo in La bohème at Theater Dortmund.

Amanda Batista as Bianca, Sun-Ly Pierce as Suzy, Magdalena Kuźma as Yvette, Christopher Job as Périchaud, Angel Blue as Magda, Scott Scully as Gobin, Paul Corona as Crébillon, and Alfred Walker as Rambaldo in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ Photo: Karen Almond / Met Opera

Also in the cast, and making their Met debuts, are soprano Emily Pogorelc as Lisette and tenor Bekhzod Davronov as Prunier. Both have been praised by critics, with Pogorelc being described by The New York Times as an “incisive, lively soprano”, and Davronov by The Guardian as “a fantastic voice … wonderfully elegant, and easy in its upper registers”.

Maestro Scappucci made history as the first-ever Italian woman to conduct at La Scala and debuted at the Met last season. She leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this Live in HD production on Saturday 20th April at 12.55 pm ET. Further information is available on the Metropolitan Opera website, and details on how to find your local cinema performance are available on this link.

Information sourced from:

Metropolitan Opera program notes

Artists’ websites

ArtsPreview home page

Greek National Opera stages Weill & Brecht masterpiece

Greek National Opera’s production of Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht’s
‘Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny’

The Greek National Opera – the country’s state lyric opera company – presents Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s 20th century political and satirical opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Directed by Yannis Houvardas, this new production is led by Miltos Logiadis, and stars a cast of celebrated Greek artists.

Based on the writing of prominent German poet and dramatist, Bertolt Brecht – who wrote the libretto – Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny tells of the fictional city of Mahagonny, a boom town, founded by three criminals on the run, where anything goes – drinking, gambling, sex – as long as the inhabitants have money. The town is soon populated by fortune seekers, prostitutes and shady businessmen and women.

At the center of the action is Jimmy Mahoney, an Alaskan logger who stumbles on the city of Mahagonny. Jenny is a prostitute who takes up with Jimmy, and they become lovers, until he discovers that he cannot pay his bills. He is tried in a court where murderers go free, and is sentenced to death. The city is ultimately destroyed by fire and as it burns, the inhabitants march away carrying placards of protest, although they have nowhere to go.

The opera premiered in Leipzig in 1930, but the performance was interrupted by Nazi-instigated protests. It was positively reviewed however, and despite this, and changes which were made to the libretto and staging, there were only four new productions in German theatres. One of these, in Berlin, was a great success, but the Nazis placed a permanent ban on the performance of Kurt Weill’s music shortly afterwards. In the opera, Weill experimented with jazz and ragtime, including some of his best-known pieces, such Alabama Song and Benares Song.

Today, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny has become one of the most popular works of the 20th century, and is now a staple in the repertoire of the world’s leading opera houses and opera festivals.

Mezzo-soprano Marissia Papalexiou, who takes the role of Jenny Smith, was recently seen as Sonyetka in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and as Silvana in Hatzinasios’s El Greco Opera. Jimmy Mahoney is sung by tenor Vassilis Kavayas who was most recently seen as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and will follow these Greek National Opera performances with an appearance in J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Also in the cast are Anna Agathonos as Leokadja Begbick, Christos Kechris as Fatty and Tassos Apostolou as Trinity Moses.

This production of Mahagonny is directed by the renowned Greek theatre director and former artistic director of the National Theatre of Greece, Yannis Houvardas, who returns to Greek National Opera, following the success of his 2018 production of Janáček’s The Makropulos Affair. He describes Mahagonny as the “golden city of our dreams that crumbles to dust and is effaced before our very eyes”, tinged with moments of “exasperation and despair”.

Leading the performances is conductor Miltos Logiadis who is permanent conductor of the Orchestra of Colours. In addition to conducting the Orchestra of the National Opera of Greece, Maestro Logiadis has led a number of concert performances in the country, also orchestras such as the Munich Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Orchestra of the Opera of Hamburg and the Royal Danish Opera Orchestra.

Miltos Logiadis leads the Greek National Opera and Chorus (Chorus Master Agathangelos Georgakatos) in six performances of Kurt Weill and Bertold Becht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny from 12th to 25th April at the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera. Further information and tickets are available from the Greek National Opera website.

All photographs courtesy Greek National Opera

Information sourced from:

Greek National Opera programme notes

Metropolitan Opera

European American Music Distributors Company

ArtsPreview home page