Cher Public

  • danpatter: Goerke’s “Hojotoho 221; is indeed thrilling. There’s even a fairly decent trill. That trill was also on... 2:20 AM
  • Krunoslav: “the Czech soprano Gabriela Benacková” Do not call her than in Bratislava! She made a great career inPrague but she... 1:18 AM
  • Sanford: Roberta Peters was the reason I became an opera singer. When I was 14 or 15, I heard her sing the Vilialied on Dinah... 12:22 AM
  • antikitschychick: LOL @ this and your previous comment. Perhaps you and Verret are right. Also, I’m sure Elina, La Rad and Mariusz... 11:29 PM
  • antikitschychick: Hi Neil, thank you for sharing your thoughts about Rad’s Norma. Having listened to a couple of live broadcasts... 11:20 PM
  • LT: This whole paraNorma activity reminded me of Verrett’s autobiography, in which she says that Norma is one of the most overrated... 10:14 PM
  • antikitschychick: https://cdn.meme.a m/instances/500x/4 4843606.jpg 9:19 PM
  • LT: Polenzani was wonderful in his role. Costello? He would have needed CPR during his aria. 8:39 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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