2016-03-23 featured press

Financial Times – Only the Sound Remains, De Nationale Opera, Amsterdam — ‘Sensual and evocative’

2016-03-23, Financial Times, by Shirley Apthorp

Baritone Davone Tines and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky are perfect as the earth/spirit counterparts of the two pieces (ghost and priest for the first opera, fisherman and angel for the second), Tines with his earthy, virile warmth, Jaroussky with his ethereal purity, the music tailored for these two exceptional voices.


Since this production goes on to Helsinki, Paris, Madrid and Toronto, its success was a foregone conclusion and transcends the petty judgment of irritable individuals. It is meticulously crafted and superbly performed; Saariaho is in fine form. Perhaps that is enough.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-24_02 featured press

Place de l’Opera – Only the Sound Remains: hemels én aards

2016-03-23, Place de l’Operam by Kenza Koutchoukali

De voorstelling was in mijn ogen wel degelijk spannend, misschien zelfs een beetje eng. Magisch ook en bovendien waanzinnig goed uitgevoerd. Wat een spel en wat een stemmen! De stem van Philippe Jaroussky (Geest van de jongeman/Engel) was zo helder als je van een engel zou verwachten. En dan de kantele, bespeeld door Eija Kankaanranta: ik zou zweren dat ik de muziek soms bijna zag. Zelden werd ik meer verrast door een onbekend instrument.


In my eyes, the idea was exciting indeed, maybe even a little scary. It was also magic and additionally incredibly well executed. The playing and the voices! The voice of Philippe Jaroussky (Spirit of the young man/Angel) was as clear as you would expect of an angel. And then the kantele, played by Eija Kankaanranta: I could swear I sometimes almost saw the music. Rarely I was more surprised by an unknown instrument.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-24 featured press

The Guardian – Only the Sound Remains review – almost perversely unengaging

2016-03-23, The Guardian, by Andrew Clements

[…] the presence of a dancer (Nora Kimball-Mentzos) does give one more layer to Peter Sellars’ otherwise inert staging, but emotionally and dramatically both halves of the opera remain almost perversely unengaging, despite the excellence of the performances from countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and bass Davone Tines under conductor André de Ridder.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-22 featured press

OperaJournal – Saariaho – Only the Sound Remains (DNO, 2016 – Amsterdam)

2016-03-22, OperaJournal.blogspot.de, by Keris Nine

Here alone the desired sound is fully realised with Davone Tines integrating with the earthier sounds of the physical world and Philippe Jaroussky’s countertenor soaring to reach that otherworldly level. […]

If they leave any trace behind in the world, only the sound that remains and, when expressed like this in music, in poetry and dance, it’s the closest thing we have to heaven on earth.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-19 featured press

8weekly – Alleen het geluid blijft

2016-03-19, 8weekly, by Ewa Maria Wagner

De ster van de avond: Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor, schittert samen met de jonge basbariton Davone Tines in wisselende rollen. Zelfs de geliefde stem van Jaroussky is echter machteloos tegenover de overkill aan mooie klanken zonder dramatiek.


The star of the evening: Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor, glittering along with the young bass-baritone Davone Tines in varying roles. However, even the beloved voice of Jaroussky is powerless against the overkill of beautiful sounds without drama.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-18_02 featured press

Volkskrant – Only the Sound Remains doet een groot beroep op de concentratie – Translation to English

2016-03-18, Volkskrant, by Biëlla Luttmer


This is a fan translation – no infringement of copyright is intended. If you are the copyright holder and have any objections to this being online, drop us a line and we will remove it immediately. 

We believe the publication fulfills the conditions of “fair use,” for discussion and study.

Source/Read original: [x]


[caption:] Fisherman Davone Tines and dancer Nora Kimball-Mentzos in Only the Sound Remains.

Only The Sound Remains makes great demands concerning concentration

Conductor André de Ridder admirably ensures that the orchestra sound, and the singers’ voices take off from the stage. Yet it is immobility that is dominating, sometimes making great demands on the concentration of the Western opera fan.

By Biella Luttmer, March 18, 2016

A fisherman finds a feather mantle, which seems to belong to an angel. “I’ll give you back your cloak, but only if you dance for me,” the fisherman says. The angel agrees, but wants the mantle back first. “How can I trust you?” The fisherman replies. The angel says, “Doubt is for mortals. We have no deceit.”

In Only the Sound Remains, the brand-new opera diptych by composer Kaija Saariaho, big themes such as mortality and desire are sliding past in an unassuming way. Sssss-sounds from a small choir, soft glissandi of a string quartet, and bowed [or brushed? Orig: aangestreken toetsen] bars of a vibraphone can heard. They have been mixed with the earthly jingling of a kantele, an old stringed instrument from Saariaho’s native Finland.

Untheatrical Topic

The pieces are based on two texts from the secular Japanese Nôh-theater. Both deal with the living and the dead, and a mysterious contact between the two worlds. Or, perceived from a more personal view: the ones you lost, who are elusive but which you always carry with you.

It is an introvert, untheatrical topic suitable for a book by Murakami; however, it was lost in the immense opera house at the Waterloo. Saariaho, famous for her magical richness of sound, is devoid of any drama or rhetoric. She gives her audience a spirit and a monk. Or, in the second work, a fisherman with the voice and appearance of a monk, and an angel surprisingly similar to the ghost before.

Director Peter Sellars adds a painting by the Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu, with abstract, dark lines on a white canvas.


The text and the music by Saariaho connect with the painting. Over the lines of the light fabric fall the massive shadows of a monk, a spirit, an angel. The result is an imagery of unreal beauty. Light and dark, distance and proximity, the earthly and the celestial are entering a bond.

Conductor André de Ridder admirably ensures that the orchestra sound, and the singers’ voices take off from the stage. Carefully distorted electronically, they encircle the audience like a wreath.

The first part of the diptych is dark, with a bass flute and the drone of a drum. What is beautiful is the contrast between the dark baritone voice of the American Davone Tines and the ethereal voice of countertenor Philippe Jaroussky.


The second part is lighter. The bass flute is replaced by a piccolo, and the static male figures are accompanied by a transcendent graceful dancer: Nora Kimball-Mentzos, the alter ego of the angel.

Still, what prevails here is the the immobility. Mehretu’s artwork is greatly enlarged and discoloured to an intense golden yellow, yet it never succeeds in creating the feeling of witnessing a theatrical performance. Rather you feel like looking at the sublime installation of a visual artist. At the end of the evening, there is suddenly a second fabric, a clone of Mehretu’s work. Both cloths are lowered and raised again – the weakest part of the evening.

With her latest opera, Saariaho puts high demands on the concentration of the Western opera lover, who will, in addition to profoundly magical sounds, also at times be taken into a compelling theatrical development – if only briefly.

Ten days to enjoy the opera anniversary

The Opera Forward Festival gives space to new music and different performance practices.

The Dutch National Opera celebrates its fiftiest anniversary. They are not only putting themselves into the spotlight, but rather involve others to join the festivities. Only The Sound Remains kicks off the new Opera Forward Festival, where opera connoisseurs and musicians, directors and artists alike examine the future of the genre.

For ten days, they gather at three locations in Amsterdam: the Nationale Opera & Ballet, the Muziekgebouw and the IJ en de Stadsschouwburg.

There are performances that are innovative, as the one described above, Only The Sound Remains and Blank Out, an opera for soprano and 3D-movie by the Dutchman Michel van Aa. However, there is also the “old” opera “Il matrimonio segreto” by Cimarosa that can be approached in a new way, shown in a production by the Opera Zuid and the Nederlandse Reisopera.

Finally, the opera of the future is already taking shape in five mini-operas, created by students.



2016-03-18 featured press

Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook – “Vous êtes Plus de 70000 à me suivre! …”

2016-03-18, Philippe Jaroussky on Facebook

“Vous êtes Plus de 70000 à me suivre! …”

Source/View image/Read more: [x]

2016-03-18_04 featured press

nrc – Zelfverzekerde opening van operafestival

2016-03-18, nrc, by Mischa Spel

Dankzij Pierre Audi heeft Amsterdam een rijke traditie op het gebied van ritueel muziektheater. De luisterrijke tover van Messiaens St. Francois d’Asisse, de speelse originaliteit van Tea van Tan Dun en de imposante schoonheid van Claude Viviers Rêves d’un Marco Polo (om er een paar te noemen) stelden een maat die Only the sound remains niet steeds haalt, voornamelijk doordat de intimiteit van de operaatjes wringt met de grote zaal.

Ook de rol van elektronica is niet overal even effectief. De stem van Jaroussky wordt ‘hemels’ vervormd – maar juist in natuurgedaante weet hij vaak een treffender gevoel van onthechting op te roepen.


Thanks to Pierre Audi Amsterdam has a rich tradition of ritual music theatre. The lustrous magic of Messiaen’s St. Francois d’Asisse, the playful originality of Tea by Tan Dun and the impressive beauty of Claude Vivier’s Rêves d’un Marco Polo (to name a few) set a standard that Only The Sound Remains doesn’t always live up to, mainly because the intimacy of the opera conflicts with the spacious hall.

Also, the role of the electronics is not always effective. Jaroussky’s voice is ‘heavenly’ distorted – however, in its natural form, he often manages to evoke a more effective sense of detachment.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-17_03 featured press

CLEEFT – ‘Only The Sound Remains’ brengt goede zang, maar mist meesleepend verhaal

2016-03-17, CLEEFT, by Maaike Schneiders

Het etherische stemgeluid van countertenor Philippe Jarrousky en de diepe duistere stem van bas-bariton Davone Tines vormen gelukkig wel een prachtig samenspel, maar de traagheid van de zang doet ook af aan de meeslependheid van het verhaal.
[…] ‘Only the sound remains’ is een bijzondere ervaring, maar ook een flinke uitdaging voor de onervaren operabezoeker. De zware muziek en het gebrek aan beeld vergen veel van de kijker. Verwacht geen grootse aria’s en mooie jurken, deze opera zal zich grotendeels in je verbeelding moeten afspelen.


Fortunately, the ethereal voice of countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and the deep dark voice of bass-baritone Davone Tines are a wonderful combination, but the slowness of the singing also detracts from the experience first of the story.
[…] “Only the sound remains” is a special experience, but also a challenge for the inexperienced opera visitor. The heavy music and the lack of imagery require a great deal of the viewer. Do not expect big arias and beautiful dresses – this opera will largely have to take place in your imagination.

Source/Read more: [x]

2016-03-16_03 featured press

Place de l’Opera – Kaija Saariaho: ramen openzetten in de geest

2016-03-16, Place de l’Opera, by Francois van den Anker

Mett Only the Sound Remains van Kaija Saariaho opende gisteravond het Opera Forward Festival. Enkele uren voor de wereldpremière sprak François van den Anker met de componiste over haar motieven en het werk aan haar opera. “Ik hoop dat het mensen aan het denken zet over hoe we omgaan met verlies, met dood.”

Source/Read more: [x]