I think we’re all aware by now of the wicked libel that the French dramatist Victor Hugo concocted about the fair Lucrezia Borgia with his depiction of her as a murderous virago. History tells us she was merely a lovely pawn in the Machiavellian machinations of her family’s ambitions and most decidedly not the siren serial killer that Hugo’s play conjures. Still, the story stuck and who could blame Gaetano Donizetti for rushing in and setting the blood-chilling tale for La Scala by the end of the very same year of the play’s premiere abetted by a libretto adapted by Felice Romani? Read more »
Now that many of us are leaping to the altar unfettered by those pesky legalities of yore the problem of what to put on the bridal (or groomal) registry has become an atrocious head scratcher. So many of us have had housekeeping set up for so long now that we really don’t want for anything.
Leave it to Prince Joseph Adam of Schwarzenburg, Duke of Krumlov to choose a most inspired present to give to his son upon his wedding in 1768; an opera. Commissioned for the occasion from Giuseppe Scarlatti, who history posits was nephew to either the more well-known Alessandro or Domenico, and was the music instructor for all the Schwarzenberg children. Read more »
Say what you will about Naxos, but this company has created a sizeable number of recordings of works on the periphery of the standard repertory and have managed to document quite a few interesting singers in the bargain-and at bargain prices. Such is the case with this very enjoyable recording of Semiramide from the Wildbad festival in Germany captured in July of last year and culled from three of the performances. Read more »
Strange as it is to encounter two such disparate works presented with the identical production concept, it’s odder still that the opera you’d think would be the slam dunk is anything but.
I’ve long been a fan of Kenneth Branagh, even though this fandom feels a bit like being a camel in the desert.
The Tutto Verdi series from the Teatro Regio Parma may be said to relate to the great Giuseppe Verdi’s oeuvre as the burning of the library at Alexandria did to classical literature.
Christian Thielemann has proved himself to be the preeminent Strauss interpreter of the current generation of conductors and he’s in striking form here.