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! And wasn’t I relieved that I wasn’t going to have to sit through an ad hoc francophile singing competition: anything you can sing I can sing sweeter or higher or louder.
These two discs actually serve as almost perfect complements to each other since they show their performers in a flattering light, with both tenors offering skillful and distinctive interpretations of the arias included. Read more »
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. It was nominated for an Academy Award that year alongside John Williams’ orchestral battalions for The Empire Strikes Back, the gentle humanity John Morris brought to The Elephant Man and Phillipe Sarde’s high romance for Tess. All were estimable examples in their own genres, and yet the brass ring that year went to Michael Gore’s disco gyrations for Fame. Sometimes, considering the company, the greater honor is to stand next to those passed over. Read more »
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.
With much laying-on of fanfares and gift boxes our friends at Decca Classics have unleashed Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1: The First Decade on a weary and satiated public.
A great man has passed and our consolation is that so much of his art has been preserved for us on recordings.