That’s more like it! On Saturday night, the day after a Wozzeck somewhat short on thrills, the “Vienna: City of Dreams” festival at Carnegie Hall continued, with Andris Nelsons leading 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. Read more »
Concert opera performances usually put the singers in front of the orchestra. The Vienna Philharmonic fills the stage with orchestra and puts the singers on raised platforms at either side. The reasoning, perhaps is: 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. Read more »
On February 29, 1812 (thanks to Pope Gregory’s calendrical reforms), Gioachino Rossini celebrated his fourth birthday. He was twenty years old and not yet famous. It was necessary that he achieve fame, and soon. Read more »
When Winston Churchill was First Sea Lord, the story goes, an indignant admiral accused him of violating British naval tradition, to which Churchill replied that the only traditions of the British Navy were rum, sodomy and the lash.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier came along at the wrong time for a composer of French opera.
Eight hundred years ago, the “youth of Beauvais” in the north of France created a sacred festival “play,” Ludus Danieli (ludus—meaning a sacred event? a performance? a game? a joke?) for the annual Fool’s Night on January 1 at the cathedral.
Each year, Leon Botstein leads the American Symphony Orchestra in a concert opera or two.
Ambiguity. That’s the theme of the operas of Benjamin Britten (ennobled as Baron Britten of Aldeburgh).
The simple fable at the heart of Die Frau ohne Schatten shouldn’t be difficult to parse, but Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s libretto juggles its vaguely Jungian, vaguely Arabian Nights symbolitry as if with intent to mystify and bewilder.