Cher Public

  • Will: I was at the MET the night of the infamous Trovatore premiere — the cross-shaped “gangplank&# 8221; came swinging down... 6:07 PM
  • Batty Masetto: My late ex, who was a native, had serious objections to Fermanagh. 5:59 PM
  • m. croche: Yes, Wagner helped with the campaign to “repatriate& #8221; Weber’s remains. He was probably in on it. Wake up,... 5:43 PM
  • armerjacquino: I remember reading something about having to leave the country to avoid being sued. Yikes. Although if that’s not... 5:42 PM
  • kashania: I still remember the broadcast of Schicoff’s La Juive from the Met. I didn’t hear the whole thing but he certainly... 5:37 PM
  • warmke: Fermata. Fucking auto correct. 5:25 PM
  • warmke: http://www.nytimes .com/1997/03/12/ar ts/tenor-is-back-a t-the-met-after-a- rewarding-if-rocky -exile.html It’s difficult to... 5:25 PM
  • Poison Ivy: Niel Shicoff left the United States permanently in the middle of a divorce battle in order to avoid paying child support. 5:23 PM

Out of the past

Karajan amazonImperfect sound is often the price of admission with historical recordings. A unique grouping of artists or particularly compelling performance from the past should make the scratches, distortion and other technical blemishes seem trifling, even Patina-like, like scuffs on an old Gladstone bag.
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The hill is greener

Live recordings of Hans Knappertsbusch conducting Parsifal seem to proliferate like stairways in M.C. Escher prints. The high priest of the podium so owned this music in the 1950s and early 1960s that at least a half dozen transfers are in circulation, augmenting his gold standard 1962 Philips release and the historic 1951 reading that inaugurated the post-war Bayreuth Festival.

All share common characteristics: a spacious approach to Wagner’s musical line, great depth of expression and an unforced wash of sound that tenor Jess Thomas likened to a cloud cushioning the voices on stage.   Read more »

Gold diggers

Das Rheingold is the outlier among the Ring operas, an ensemble work with a fast-shifting plot, animated dialogue, fewer set pieces and less character development. For those reasons, it may be the hardest to pull off convincingly in a concert performance.

A pair of unstaged accounts conducted by Simon Rattle and Jaap van Zweden earlier this year each have a feeling of discovery, featuring orchestras that don’t often perform this music.   Read more »

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A fjord in her future

Anja Silja staked a claim as a leading Senta of her era with a series of searing performances of Der Fliegende Holländer while in her early twenties.

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“Less filling”

“Disciplined and intelligent.”

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Grail mix

Contemporary stagings of Parsifal tend to be spare, abstract affairs scrubbed of religious associations, knights in armor and, sometimes, a grail.

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Between two worlds

If works like Salome and Erwartung defined modernism in the first decades of the 20th century, Die Tote Stadt and Palestrina represented the regressive avant garde.

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Prison riot

Herbert von Karajan once said listening to some of his old recordings made him envy painters who could simply burn the pictures they disliked.

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No such Gluck

When Richard Wagner reached into the past and revised Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, he went beyond the accepted boundaries of tinkering and more or less created a new work that’s fomented aesthetic debates ever since.

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Speer pressure

One of the things that made François Girard’s 2013 production of Parsifal at the Met so compelling was the way he tried to make the tale of suffering and temptation relevant to a contemporary audience.

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