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. Its popularity dwindled after its initial, and wildly successful, premiere at the Metropolitan in 1910 starring Enrico Caruso, Emmy Destinn, and Pasquale Amato and conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Since it was the first new opera commissioned by the Met it generated a lot of excitement in the media and with the public. Critics mostly fell over themselves for the glories of the music, mise en scène (real horses on stage!), the singing and conducting. Read more »
I have been a lifelong fan of West Side Story in spite, or because, of the fact that my first real introduction to its wonders was the bloated and bourgeois recording made by Leonard Bernstein and produced by Deutsche Grammophon in 1985. I can’t really be blamed since I was very young and impressionable and it was the first time I’d ever heard the musical numbers in full, like the balcony scene with the dialogue lead-in and the underscoring, as well as the dance music complete. It was, my friends, magic—even if Lenny, in a titanic display of nepotism, hired his own children to speak said love scenes to each other. (Ick.) Read more »
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. This is the inaugural offering of a planned troika of box sets commemorating the business dealings of the Modenese tenor to that British label. There was no holier alliance in all of classical recording (save Karajan and whatever label he deemed worthy) since, unlike the vast majority of classical artists, Luciano Pavarotti sold enough records to not only underwrite the projects he participated in but to keep Decca flush from the ensuing tsunami of coin his fans generated. Which is why, dear friends, they’re celebrating, not his birth or memorial but… the date of his contract signing. Read more »
A great man has passed and our consolation is that so much of his art has been preserved for us on recordings.
“Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they were by Mendelssohn: Fairy music.” Seriously, how often has that happened?
With the help of our friends at ArtHaus Musik, the Deutsche Oper Berlin have really been emptying out their archives and that’s certainly all for the good.
I am certain that we Parterrians are a very literate, even literary, group.
Once again, beloveds, we approach the Milanese shrine that simultaneously attempted to cultivate and destroy the career of Maria Meneghini Callas.
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is his masterwork and its themes of social convention and unrequited longing surely struck a deep chord in a composer who, in late 19th century Russia, was gay and had to conduct himself carefully.