Cher Public

  • coloraturafan: I don’t really understand why the title of this article implies that Maria Stuarda as a second rate opera? There... 9:28 PM
  • Krunoslav: .. but looks good enough to win this gig for HD. 9:27 PM
  • marshiemarkII: Yes Batty Acts III and IV are together but there is a hugely long pause with the lights down. Why is a mystery as Act IV... 9:26 PM
  • mrsjohnclaggart: It’s not that I’m a prude about sex acts though faking them in opera can be tricky (but then there was Chris... 9:25 PM
  • grimoaldo: I tried to watch the Met vids mrsjc but they wouldn’t play on my computer,at least at that moment. 9:21 PM
  • Krunoslav: In fact, I *do* have issues with crass insensitivity and daily-proferred ignorance. Glad to learn you judge singer thanks to... 9:20 PM
  • Batty Masetto: They did an intermission between I and II and there will be another between II and III but then it looks like they’re... 9:19 PM
  • aulus agerius: Lescaut is dreadful 9:18 PM

The rules of attraction

Is Manon Lescaut a cold, clinical tale of the splendors and pitfalls of transactional sex, or is it a romantic Italian opera at its most lush and melodic? Actually, it’s both.  There’s always been a disconnect between Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica’s adaptation of the Prévost novel and Puccini’s music. The libretto is episodic, with the title character portrayed as a calculating courtesan who abandons her lover des Grieux “without even a kiss goodbye.” This is however Puccini’s most romantic score. It swells with romantic ardor at every moment.

The director of a new DVD of this opera, Jonathan Kent, favors the transnational, exploitative aspects of the opera. His production is updated to modern times, and the opera begins at a seedy red light hotel. Manon Lescaut moves from a quick initiation into the sex trafficking world to being a spoiled porn star.  Read more »

La farsa del destino

There might be nothing in the world as joyous as a Rossini overture. Il Signor Bruschino is considered one of Rossini’s minor works but about 30 seconds into the overture you are officially in “Rossiniland” (the theme of this new video staged by the Pesaro Rossini Opera Festival in 2012). The violins tap the orchestra stands in a persistent knocking sound and the piece just bubbles along until its inevitable accelerating crescendo.
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Barton glances

I’m giving my age away here by saying that I am unfortunate enough to remember how Rudy Giuliani would sometimes drop by the Met airwaves and claim he was a “huge” opera fan. The most mild inquiries revealed that his knowledge of opera started at La traviata and ended at La bohème. But there is a sizable portion of opera audiences who only like the bread and butter Italian operas, and the annual Richard Tucker Gala is probably the event of the year to indulge your love of verismo staples and can belto screaming.   Read more »

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Slash by night

Enthusiasts of Janácek’s opera will want to pick up this video immediately.

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Tanks a lot, but no tanks

The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess.

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Shave and a haircut

It’s fun to wonder what might have happened if Rossini had never composed Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Would Giovanni Paisiello’s earlier adaptation of the work be a repertory favorite? Or would it have faded into obscurity with an occasional revival here and there? 

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Paris original

Another month, another La Traviata release on video.

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Met Auditions

All futures great and small

The Metropolitan Opera yesterday afternoon was an uncommonly cozy place, as the auditorium was packed to the rafters with friends and family members of the nine National Council Audition Finalists.

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The devil is in the details

Certain operas are better in theory than practice.

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Star, crossed

The key to enjoying Bellini’s I Capuleti e Montechi is to do a hard factory reset and reformat your brain to forget all other works based on Romeo and Juliet.

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