Cher Public

Porgy Amor

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.



Safe passage

“All right, I’m ready for my closeup.”

A Met HD cinema broadcast of Puccini’s Tosca on Saturday, 27 January, concluded the first run of a production marked by upheaval in the ten months between its announcement and its New Year’s Eve premiere. For readers who have been in a cave meditating—and have made an unfortunate choice of reading material upon their reemergence—none of the three originally scheduled star singers was still attached by opening night. Conducting duties had been twice reassigned, with the second conductor’s removal connected to lurid headlines.  Read more »

The party of Lincoln

Gala concerts are much like life in general. You do not want the wonderful parts to end, you know the unpleasant parts will pass quickly enough, and there are always bad outfits to make fun of. The Metropolitan Opera has returned regularly to the format through the years, with star-studded concerts in 1966, 1972, 1983, 1991, 1996, 2006, 2009 and 2017 to mark a change of address, a general manager’s retirement or a significant anniversary.  Read more »

Digging in the dirt

Even those of us who consider Guillaume Tell Rossini’s greatest opera understand why it has not been his most frequently staged. Of late this valedictory epic of oppression and patriotic uprising, challenging to cast and expensive to mount, has experienced a renaissance. Opus Arte’s new DVD/Blu-ray records one of several new productions of the present decade.  Read more »

What women want

Psychology is encoded in the composer’s vocal lines more than his librettist’s words.

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It’s a new dawn, it’s a new Dane

C-major has made available the first DVD/Blu-ray of Franco Faccio’s Amleto.

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Double Doge dare

The second DVD/Blu-ray with Plácido Domingo as Verdi’s other beleaguered Doge, Francesco in I due Foscari.

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C’est une chanson qui nous ressemble

In September, Finnish National Opera gave the world premiere of Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata), based on Mr. Bergman’s 1978 study of a troubled mother/daughter relationship.

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Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

The tendency to rank—to create subjective lists of best or greatest, or to organize things in ascending or descending order—is a human compulsion.

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Star and garters

No amount of scholarly diligence has kept Les contes d’Hoffmann from being the messiest of all standard-repertory messes.

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The frailty of everything earthly

If everything you see is great, you are either new to opera or chronically easy to please.

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