Homer, inspired by many a muse, sang not of sequels to his Iliad, and his own, the Odyssey, is so different in focus that many readers, then and now, have suspected another author of being responsible. But many other poets wrote sequels to Homer, and their addenda filled many a volume, most of them (perhaps happily) lost. As long as copyright laws were in their infancy, the ailment of other authors trying to expand upon unforgettable inspirations was endless. Read more »
Richard Strauss’s many one-act operas make excellent concert programs, both for their length (usually under two hours) and the primary place each gives the orchestration, a specialty where Strauss’s brilliance seldom deserted him. The wordless apotheosis into godly treehood that concludes his Daphne is rightly treasured, a sublime late Straussian idyll, and a concert performance spares us the muddle he and his librettist made of the myth. Read more »
Harry Lawrence Freeman’s Voodoo (“A Negro Grand Opera,” according to the manuscript score), begun sometime before 1914, was completed and first heard on radio in May, 1928, then staged on Broadway later that year—seven years before Porgy and Bess, please note. We do not know if Gershwin saw it, but it’s likely enough. However, influence was slight in either direction: Freeman had other models and was not so fixated on popular music of the day. Read more »
The creation of Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road and its lately remodeled avatar, The Road of Promise, boiled down and premiered at Carnegie Hall Wednesday night by the Collegiate Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, was an intricate process, far more interesting than the work itself.
On Saturday, a new company called Bare Opera gave its first performance, a double bill of Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, at the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea.
It could get loud. It often does, especially when the soprano is mere inches from your ears, pleading with the duke for the life of the poor boy (parentage unknown) who insulted her notorious dynasty.
A performance space called the Sheen Center has opened its doors way down the far end of Bleecker Street, a stoner’s throw from where CBGB’s used to thrive beside the itsy-bitsy Amato Opera House. (You never forget your first Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio.) Sheen Center, sizable and modern and slim on personality, contains two theaters. The smaller one is the Sheen Center Blackbox (18 Bleecker), and it is just the right size (except it lacks a pit) for chamber-scale opera performance.
Mr. Peabody, that Leonardo among canines, claimed she was suffering from toothache.
The Rape of Lucretia, now (through Sunday) enjoying a superb three-performance run at the Juilliard Opera’s Willson Theater (tickets are scarce; hie thee to the waiting list), was Benjamin Britten’s third opera and first “chamber opera,” composed for the tiny original theater at Glyndebourne,
Ellen Douglas finds herself in Act II of Rossini’s La Donna del Lago in the far from unusual operatic position of having her love claimed by two impassioned tenors in the bel canto version of a macho drag race.