A cynical member of Generation X, Louisville native Todd Koenig rejected a society that told its youth the answers could be found in the MTV video games. His exploration of 20th-century popular music led to a study of piano and a love of jazz. In his twenties, he began to listen to classical music – first symphonic works, chamber music, and keyboard literature, then song cycles, masses and oratorios. Five years into that period, he ventured into one of the few remaining uncharted territories: opera. He has familiarized himself with the standard repertory and much outside of it, and has advocated the art form to friends his age or younger who love music and theater. Since September 2015, as “Porgy Amor,” he has written reviews, history and think pieces (sometimes all at the same time) for parterre box. The opera he loves above all others is Verdi’s Falstaff, which he has described as the work of a very old man, with which a listener can grow old.
Most of the video releases I receive for review are new performances to me, and any notions I have about them are received ones, which I try to put out of mind. Occasionally I have the opportunity to take a fresh look at something I did see when it premiered, and Nonesuch’s DVD/Blu-ray combo pack of William Kentridge‘s Metropolitan Opera Lulu provides such an opportunity. This Met’s second production of Berg’s 1935 opera was the hot topic of November 2015. It came in for both acclaim and criticism, and received its share of each here on parterre box. Read more »
Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) is opera on the grand scale with mellifluous arias and breathtaking duets that tell a tale of ancient Roman political machinations, adultery, and murder in which there is no true protagonist. This stunningly expressive music is performed by an all-star cast. Soprano Miah Persson, praised by The New York Times for her “sumptuous sound and elegant lyricism,” is joined by singers who have all won worldwide critical acclaim for their mastery of this beautiful repertoire. The Guardian wrote that “there are few performers better-versed in the music of Claudio Monteverdi than Rinaldo Alessandrini and the ensemble he founded 30 years ago, Concerto Italiano.” Alessandrini and company anchor a performance that promises to be one of the season’s most thrilling nights of opera.
When Kristine Opolais turns her gaze moonward in Mary Zimmerman‘s new Rusalka on Thursday, Dvorák’s 1901 opera will be receiving just its second Met production. Ms. Opolais joins an exclusive club. The Met’s only prior Rusalkas have been Renée Fleming (18 performances), Gabriela Benacková (8) and Gwynne Geyer (one, and immortality as an opera trivia stumper). Read more »
The beautiful singing here is less in the sound than in the way the voice moves.
Andrea Andermann is the veteran film producer who had the notion to assemble top-flight talent from the worlds of music and cinema for a generously funded film of Tosca.
The DVD of Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen‘s 2013 opera The Picture of Dorian Gray.
With Christmas Eve 2016 falling on a Saturday, the Met offers contrasting orchestral splendors at noon and 6 p.m.
When Sonja Frisell‘s Met production of Aïda was new and starred Oklahoma native Leona Mitchell, the similarly-intialled Latonia Moore was nine years old, singing in the choir of her pastor grandfather’s church.
>What does a great opera production do, and what does a bad production fail to do?
“Take a good deal of trouble with it, because it is a fine subject, delicate and full of pathos.”