Cher Public

Baritenor

How jolly was my jenkin

ivanhoe_amazonI own almost every recording of the 13 operettas Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote with W.S. Gilbert ever made. Twelve Mikados, 14 Pirates of Penzance, 10 Iolanthes, right on down the line to the rarely heard Utopia, Ltd. I was a G&S fan long before I got into opera; when I was a teenager, their operettas were my “gateway drug” into the “hard stuff” such as Mozart, Wagner and the occasion hit of Mussorgsky. Read more »

Big love

ercole_amanteMy tolerance for 17th century opera is generally low, but even I can appreciate the value in an underappreciated composer like Francesco Cavalli.

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Happy endings

sonnambula_happyLet me take you back, Parterreians, to the spring of 2009. Shortly before the Met’s new La sonnambula opened, murmurings began to be heard, rumors began to circulate. After the open dress rehearsal, reports were filed as opera fans looked on in horror. At the première, a shell-shocked audience rained down boos on the production team and damning rants were posted anonymously on the Internet. Read more »

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An opening for a princess

I’m sure I do not need to tell the mostly New-York based readers of parterre this, but Turandot is an opera that can really be turned into a pageant. Not that that’s a bad thing. It is, after all a fairy tale, and so when directors attempt to delve deep into the psychology of Puccini’s icy Princess and her unnamed-for-two-and-a-half-acts Prince, they tend to come up short on actual ideas and long on self-indulgent concepts grafted onto the work. (David Pountney’s production from Vienna, also available on DVD, is a clear-cut example of this problem.)

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Canon fodder

Edgar has always been the odd man out in the Puccini canon, lying well outside the standard rep. The recent discovery of forty minutes of additional music is likely to do little to change that, but the find was momentous enough to merit a world premier of the newly restored Four Act version of Puccini’s second opera at the Teatro Regio Torino in 2008, with José Cura in the title role. Unfortunately, not even the draw of new old music — and more Puccini is always a good thing — is enough to make this DVD (Arthaus Musik 101377) a […]

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