Cher Public

  • JohninSeattle: My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist. 5:49 PM
  • Big Finn: Most likely he has a royalty deal with Decca, and any repackaging and release of older recorded material would bring him... 5:19 PM
  • steveac10: Except Hong reads younger on stage than most sopranos in their 40′s. To say she is aging well is an understatement. 5:03 PM
  • Satisfied: 2016 at Aix-en-Provance looks very interesting: http://www.festiva l-aix.com/blog/pre ts-pour-2016/ But then again, so did this... 4:19 PM
  • aulus agerius: means nothing with photoshop these days :-) 4:01 PM
  • Hippolyte: And Hong will be nearly 57 when she undertakes her first Butterfly next year–surely a not irrelevant detail in the... 4:01 PM
  • parpignol: did you hear Racette’s top notes in Pagliacci? 3:50 PM
  • Salome Where She Danced: Tempus fugit. Hard as it is to believe, SK is 57 this year, and I used to think singers of that age should... 3:36 PM

A dude? Am I a dude? Madame Flora, a dude?

It’s just not true that Gian Carlo Menotti composed The Medium as an opera only because he couldn’t get Joan Crawford to do it when his libretto was originally a screenplay. But you can see how these rumors get started. I know what I’m talking about here, because I started that one myself.   Read more »

L’infelice Aragonese

Camille Saint-Saëns was such a brilliant, facile musician that pals like Wagner and Liszt felt a distinct schadenfreude when he suffered composer’s block. Still, in a career of some eighty years’ length, he completed a dozen operas (not to mention symphonies and concertos and, as Leon Botstein explained and demonstrated at Bard, the world’s first full-length film score)—but you are unlikely to have heard more than one of the operas.  Read more »

Thirds and music

Richard Wagner told Cosima he first got the idea of composing an opera about Tristan and Isolde while he was conducting Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi starring his muse, Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, in the trouser role of Romeo.

Wagner said lots of stuff. Whether this bit was true or not, it was Wagner’s high opinion of Bellini (especially Norma, of course) that kept the man in the repertory outside of Italy through the dark years of verismo and Gesamtkünstwerk. Happily, the two men never met; Wagner would have tried to borrow money and you know how that would have turned out.  Read more »