Macbeth has always been my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays. One of the many reasons for this is that it is his most succinct (read: shortest) of all his works. The characters get right down to work immediately with their foul deeds. Read more »
Pity poor Georges Bizet. After winning the Prix de Rome at 19 years old he worked on, in part or completed, 10 operas. The last of them, Carmen, he was convinced was a failure. He succumbed to a heart attack three months after its premiere at 37. His widow, having no concept of the musical legacy she had inherited, gave away or lost many of her husband’s autographed manuscripts.
But what of those other efforts of Bizet? Other than La jolie fille de Perth, which is almost akin to spotting a unicorn, only his Les pêcheurs de perles has managed to be fished from the sea of obscurity and plated on the rare occasion. The Met made a big deal about presenting it for the first time in a hundred years recently but failed to mention that 1916 only saw three performances with the renowned Caruso, Giuseppe de Luca and Frieda Hempel. Read more »
The Hollywood Bowl is truly the preeminent musical venue in Los Angeles and it has seen a veritable “March of Time” history of performances since it was established in 1929. Opera, either staged or in concert, has always played a role and the summer festival atmosphere lends itself to grand displays. Read more »
Los Angeles saw the first U.S. performance of Giacomo Puccini’s snow-dusted weeper in 1897 just a year after the young Toscanini led the prima in Turin.
Giuseppe Verdi was so unhappy with the first production of his Giovanna d’Arco at La Scala in 1845 that he swore an oath to himself that he would never entrust that theatre with a prima again.
Los Angeles first saw Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly presented at the Mason Opera House downtown in 1908 by the English Grand Opera Company. Rumors that LA Opera Artistic Director Placido Domingo portrayed Cio-Cio San’s little boy in that production remain unsubstantiated.
There was a general feeling of homecoming in the hall on Friday evening in anticipation of what promised to be a special return visit on many levels.
The revival of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Music Center downtown, last seen at LA Opera in 2013, is reason for jubilation for everyone except perhaps the singers engaged.
Ms. Guy goes into detail about what made Sills a “magic” performer, recounting reactions of people across an extraordinarily broad socio-economic spectrum who discovered their love of opera and singing through her.