Cher Public

Superbo guerrier

On this day in 1887 Verdi’s Otello premiered in Milan. 

Born on this day in 1900 soprano Oxana Petrusenko.

Born on this day in 1904 soprano Erna Schlüter.

Born on this day in 1911 tenor Jussi Björling.

Born on this day in 1917 bass-baritone Otto Edelmann.

Born on this day in 1921 conductor John Pritchard.

Happy 73rd birthday tenor Josef Protschka.

  • One of the Super Bowl commercials just had Callas singing “Casta diva”; I think it was a car commercial, but I wasn’t paying much attention.

  • aulus agerius

    Alas, Anne Midgette panned the VA Opera Stephen Lawless production of Der Freischutz in the WaPo this morning. So, I guess I won’t be traveling to Richmond to see it later this month. It was originally announced as Issachah Savage in the title role and then changed to Corey Bix. I was very interested in hearing Mr. Savage and am not much interested in Mr. Bix even without Midgette’s less than complimentary remarks. Too bad as chances of another opportunity in my long life are nil. In June the DC company In Series is offering Oberon, even further off the beaten path. No named singers and they’re calling it “a new English adaptation of this classic opera” so I dunno…..

    • grimoaldo2

      Freischutz is such a wonderful opera but it seems to be almost impossible to bring off in performance. I have only seen it live twice and both times it just didn’t work. Apart from the difficulties of the staging, the role of Max seems to be almost impossible to sing.

    • Bill

      Aulus -- The World Premiere of Oberon in 1826 WAS in English at Covent Garden. It was later performed next in Leipzig that same year in German. The music is glorious. the story a bit convoluted so the text has not infrequently been revised or somewhat altered. As in Zauberfoete, Entfuehrung, Freischuetz or Fidelio there is speaking between the musical numbers. Rezias music is not easy to sing -- a dramatic soprano may well be able to sing “Ozean Du Ungeheuer” with great power but the other arias and music for Rezia require ability in florid music (for example somewhat effortfully sung in Nilsson’s DGG recording).
      I would think it would be worth the journey to DC just to encounter the music. But then I am very fond of Weber’s
      Music though I have only seen Oberon once in Hannover.

      • aulus agerius

        I made an email inquiry and received an encouraging reply from In Series Artistic Associate Brian J Shaw quoted here in part:

        “While the In Series does seek to make opera accessible for new audiences, I’m happy to report that it will be most recognizable as Weber’s work. We’re proud to maintain integrity of the music in all of our work and adaptations. No “family” version for this production.
        The director/adapter, Nick Olcott, has just updated aspects of the sung English, as well as the dialogue in order to highlight much of the comedy, connections between the mythologies/lore and for clarity with the plot. Musically, there are no extreme cuts, and you will find the score very intact, even re-instating a tenor aria that is often left out of other iterations.
        The biggest difference with the In Series is our size. We’re known for “pocket opera”. Small casts and spaces, and often with the chamber ensemble onstage with the singers. This production is only about 13 players-- and while small for opera, it’s actually an enormous ensemble for us.”