The opening night of the Metropolitan Opera of September 1972 was supposed to be the dawn of a new era. Sir Rudolf Bing, General Manager, had two years previously ceded to his successor the head of the Royal Swedish Opera Göran Gentele. Bing had made major inroads in his attempts to have opera presented as musical theatre by hiring nearly every prominent stage director who was willing and even some who weren’t. Gentele already had a reputation as a very forward-thinking man of the theatre and his appointment was a profoundly optimistic choice. Read more »
At the conclusion of LA Opera’s revival of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro I was taking the early opportunity to stand before the curtain calls since I knew we’d all be on our feet presently. As I leaned forward the woman in front of me turned to her seatmate and very quietly, in a voice thick with emotion and not a few tears, said, “it’s so beautiful.” I couldn’t have agreed more. Read more »
James Conlon, Music Director for the LA Opera, often does the pre-game lecture in the huge open space on the second floor lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and it’s almost always a standing room only crowd. Before opening night on Saturday he related how a performance of Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia by a fledgling local company lit the fire in him to be a conductor at the tender age of 11. Read more »
Imagine two tenors releasing French opera aria collections at the same time without duplicating a single track!
My first experience with John Corigliano’s music was in high school with the ear and mind blowing score he wrote for Ken Russell’s film Altered States.
Manon Lescaut was Giacomo Puccini’s first big international success. His publisher, Giulio Ricordi, tried to put him off the project by citing Jules Massenet’s very successful adaptation just nine years previously. Puccini was intent on making the story his own, insisting, “A woman like Manon can have more than one lover… I shall feel it like an Italian, with desperate passion.” Desperation is certainly the feeling this reviewer got from a new recording of Manon Lescaut from our friends at Decca Classics, but I’m also quite certain it’s not the same type that the Maestro had for his subject.
It seems almost comical to think now but the designer-director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, who died in 1988, was at one time considered the height of regie-theatre scandal.
The role debut of a world-class singer is always a time of great anticipation, hopefully to be followed by celebration, if not unbridled jubilation.
Giacomo Puccini’s horse-opera version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” La Fanciulla del West, based on David Belasco’s play, The Girl of the Golden West, enjoyed the status of a curate’s egg for quite a while.