9-21 June 2005. Conducted by Stefan Anton Reck, directed by Paul Curran, with Daniel Lewis Williams, Birgit Remmert, June Anderson.

As the festivals and summer seasons approach, the theatres winter seasons are closing either with old repertory operas in new settings or with seldom-produced works. At the Teatro Comunale in Bologna there is Macbeth by Verdi (7-14 June); its a production that was seen in Ravenna last summer and which was much admired, mainly because of the director Micha van Hoecke, whose interpretation, which was influenced by the film Il trono di sangue by Kurosawa, was set in an elegant but disturbing Japan. The main interpreters are the same as a year ago: Daniele Gatti is certain and precise as conductor, Carlos Alvarez (Macbeth) is robust in both voice and physique and Tatiana Serjan (Lady Macbeth) is incisive although there is a certain discontinuity in her singing.

At the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the last opera of the season is Strauss Daphne (9-21 June). This production is a re-working, on a symbolic level, of the classical myth of Daphne and Apollo. The opera finds its own musical and theatrical apex in the finale, when Daphne is transformed into a laurel tree; it is a physical metamorphosis, which becomes the expression of interior change: Daphne ends up reaping the mystery of loves beauty after having experienced immense suffering. The protagonist will be June Anderson, who first made her name as an agile lyrical soprano, went on to more dramatic roles, only then to arrive at modern opera with good results as she demonstrated in Capriccio by Strauss, sung in Naples a few years ago. Paolo Di Nicola

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Address Teatro La Fenice, tel. 041786511.

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Daphne by Strauss.

Teatro La Fenice, tel. 041786511.