Cher Public

  • WindyCityOperaman: Wow. This makes the Peter Sellars production (with a Jimmy Swaggert-type hero and a megachurch Hall of Wartburg) look... 10:47 AM
  • steveac10: I can only guess it’s because she is probably hosting HD’s. Fleming, Racette and Rachvelishvili are on the roster... 10:33 AM
  • rapt: Must have been the diction. 10:16 AM
  • manou: Kaufmann’s Puccini album: http://tinyurl.com /nwrjpg3 10:15 AM
  • Evenhanded: Well. IMO, Meade has been treated with exceptional generosity, given the unevenness of her performances. Let’s face it,... 10:10 AM
  • manou: Kiri Te Kanawa….. 10:06 AM
  • Porgy Amor: Luisa contest! Where did that come from? Lucia, of course. I make so many errors here, where there is no edit button… 9:59 AM
  • Porgy Amor: I’ll defend her in that I don’t think it’s so bad. Yes, Swenson is another soprano who was active at that... 9:57 AM

Haunted mountain

Beginning with the dark, ominous music of the prelude of Charles Wuorinen and Annie Proulx’s opera Brokeback Mountain, we know we are in for a very different and far less sentimental version of the work than was had with Ang Lee’s iconic 2005 film.  This 2014 Teatro Real Madrid production (dedicated to the late Gerard Mortier), with sensitive and incisive stage direction by Ivo van Hove, has been released on DVD by Bel Air Classiques.

This opera brings about a third major character to go with the expected herders Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar: the mountain itself.  It is a mysterious and forbidding place.  We learn in the first scene that the Boss Aguirre is worried that his expected workers are late or not coming because they’ve “heard something about the mountain.”  He describes the mountain as “a knife blade rising from the earth”, a place of “dark power” and “an evil place that kills men.”   Read more »

Between the dragon and his wrath

Aribert Reimann’s 1978 opera Lear, based of course on Shakespeare’s titanic tragedy King Lear, is a major achievement in modern operatic scoring. In a DVD from a deeply interesting 2014 production from Staatsoper Hamburg, we find a fascinating if flawed direction by Karoline Gruber, propulsive and insightful conducting from Simone Young and a breakthrough performance by Bo Skovhus in the title role.

Shakespeare’s Lear has been an important part of my acting career. I’ve had the great good fortune to perform in eight productions of King Lear (three Lears, two Fools, Gloucester, Albany, and the Duke of Burgundy) and the title role contains such depth and complexity that I’d love to play it again and again. I had real concerns about how this astonishing drama could be adapted into an operatic form.   Read more »

A monster, without being a myth

Before this recording arrived in my mailbox, I: ( a) didn’t know there was an operatic version of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, one of my favorite plays; and (b) was unfamiliar with the works of composer Gerald Berry.  After several hearings, I’m still not convinced that there is an operatic version of Earnest.  Barry has created what I would call a narrative set to a series of sound effects.  Now many of these effects are clever, occasionally amusing, and purposely bizarre, but they rarely seem to fit the brilliant verbal wit of Wilde’s original.  I kept thinking that, if Lulu was a comedy, it would sound a lot like this.   Read more »

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Magic “Flute”

A confession:  I have a real love/ hate relationship with Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

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Coming out

Christian Thielemann’s spirited, precise conducting and the superb, sumptuous playing of the Staatskapelle Dresden are the finest features of this strongly cast performance of Strauss’s Arabella.

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Anna Bolena

Let’s make it regal

Having heard a bit of the opening night broadcast and read some decidedly mixed reviews, I was totally unprepared for the remarkable performance of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena that I attended on December 15 at Chicago Lyric Opera.

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When I have sung my songs

Soprano Renée Fleming is certainly making the role of the Countess in Richard Strauss’s final opera Capriccio the focus of her late-career years.

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Final chapter

None of my previous Elektra experiences prepared me for this stunning, overwhelming performance from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

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Fatal attraction

Benjamin Britten’s final opera Death in Venice, based on Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella, is given a lush and quite beautiful production from stage director Deborah Warner for the English National Opera.

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A tsar is torn

In Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, all the Russian people starve and suffer, but none has suffering like the mental agonies of Tsar Boris.

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