The little opera companies of New York are like chanterelles: Some years they sprout everywhere and you can savor the scent in the woodsy air; other seasons they’re hard to find and unsatisfying when you stumble on a patch. New York’s got lots of untapped vocal talent but you never know which companies will have their ears screwed on straight. Read more »
Two operas both alike in dignity, set in dimly lit Renaissance towns ruled by seething, conspiratorial courts. Parties blaze, alleyway shadows threaten, half the characters are spies or bravos for the other half, plus a few on spec. Love is in short supply, usually twisted. What these folks need is a competent social worker with a dagger-proof vest and a cast-iron stomach. What they get is melody to live upon and die upon, melody as rich and various as the forms of pasta. Read more »
“Who will dare dance with me the ancient Dagger-Dance of the Californians?” cries Castro the half-breed, smashing his knife into the dirt amidst a Fiesta in old Santa Barbara, circa 1829. To everyone’s astonishment, Natoma, last princess of the island Indians, sinks her dagger in the ground beside Castro’s. After all, the pretty American naval officer has sung a love duet with Natoma’s (whiter) school chum. What has Natoma left to live for? And someone’s blood must flow. Read more »
Opera-lovers who attend too much modern opera may find that it feels like duty.
Zofia Posmysz spent two years as a prisoner in Auschwitz—and she’s still alive and standing pretty tall, in New York for the Lincoln Center Festival God bless her.
The operas of Franz Josef Haydn are seldom presented in the great opera houses of the world, but then, they weren’t composed for the great opera houses of his own world.
Andris Nelsons led the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of Salome that provided just the sort of thing one hopes for in a concert performance of an overflowingly rich operatic score.
We were not at Carnegie Hall to hear superb opera singers bestow their vocalism upon Alban Berg’s Wozzeck; we are there to hear the Wiener Staatsoper’s house band work their magic upon an intricate, spooky, devastating score.
On February 29, 1812 (thanks to Pope Gregory’s calendrical reforms), Gioachino Rossini celebrated his fourth birthday.