Two recent DVD issues of Italian operas by Puccini are both set in Paris, both have second acts in cafes/nightclubs, and both have stellar performances in crucial leading soprano roles. La Bohème, first seen in 1896 in Turin, has been since its premiere one of the world’s most popular operas, with its tale of love, highjinks and tragedy among young artists and working girls. This performance was filmed at the Puccini festival at Torre del Lago, an outdoor venue, in 2014. Ettore Scola, veteran Italian film director, who died earlier this year, had directed only one opera before in his life, but was chosen for this production which also features real life partners and lovers tenor Fabio Armiliato and late, lamented Daniela Dessì, both very famous in their native Italy due not only for their operatic work but for television appearances as well. Read more »
At first glance, when I opened the package that contained this DVD, I thought the cover said David and Jonathan, a work I have enjoyed for years, by the French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier, whose music I am very familiar with.
A closer look showed this to be incorrect, it is the first of two operas by Danish composer Carl Nielsen, whose work I am not familiar with at all, Saul and David, which I never heard of, never mind actually heard, before.
I felt flattered that our doyenne La Cieca felt confident in my ability to assess this recording of a production by David Poutney for the Royal Danish Opera of this piece unfamiliar to me, but please bear in mind that this review is written by a complete newcomer to the work. Read more »
Lincoln Center’s Great Performers presents Diana Damrau on Saturday, December 10th, joined by Xavier de Maistre on harp, performing works by Debussy, Strauss, Fauré, and more. A regular at the Met Opera, Damrau has been called “a soprano of matchless intelligence” (Guardian).
“One of the greatest proponents of the German lied tradition” (New York Times), baritone Christian Gerhaher performs an all-Mahler program on Saturday, December 17th, featuring Gerold Huber on piano. The Telegraph calls him “the most moving singer in the world.”
Both performances are at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
“To play La Pompadour—what a delightful task! To be La Pompadour—what a gruesome fate!” Thus spoke operetta superstar Fritzi Massary after researching her role as Louis XV’s official mistress in the Leo Fall operetta Madame Pompadour, which was written as a star vehicle for “die Massary” and had its first, hugely successful, performance in Berlin in 1922, followed by runs in Vienna and London. Read more »
Perhaps there are not that many people in the world who would look at a CD cover and think “Oh, goody, goody! A libretto by Eugène Scribe I’ve never come across before!”
The surprises, and puzzles, of Dmitri Tcherniakov‘s production of Don Giovanni in this DVD of a performance at the Aix-en-Provence festival begin before a note has been played or the curtain has risen.
I got quite a surprise when I opened the latest packet of goodies from La Cieca – a DVD of Orphée aux Enfers, but in German as Orpheus in der Unterwelt.
The 19th century could not cope with Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers) with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte and music by Mozart, first presented in Vienna in 1790.
the strip on my first and, so far at least, only visit to Las Vegas a few years ago, I noticed what to me was a most unexpected sight and startled my companions by pointing out the window and shouting “Auber!”
Of all of Verdi’s operas. Aida is the one I find least interesting dramatically.
All of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi contain music that is worth hearing and can be rewarding in good performances.