Cher Public

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In have a special admiration for singers who can perform well in French. The reasons include both a personal bugaboo (I can remember almost choking over the word gloire the first time I ran across it in a choral piece), and the technical difficulties that the language imposes on any singer. Executing the complex range of dark vowel sounds and schwas requires near perfect control over vowel shape and inflection, even as the high dramatic content of so much of the French repertoire gives a singer plenty of other things to think about.  Read more »

Warhorse

Three blocks from the opera house is a terrible time to realize there was homework. And yet, there I was at Larkin Street or so when I remembered that Two Women was based not only on a movie (or rather, on the same novel as that movie) but on one that is apparently beloved of Italians, featuring the most glamorous star of the Italian cinema. Indeed, in her interview with David J. Baker, Anna Caterina Antonacci goes so far as to say that every Italian of her generation has seen La Ciociara “at least three times.” Ah well, I thought. I’ll wing it.   Read more »

Fou fighter

It is easy to become overly identified with opera—as a cleverer friend of mine once noted: being a sports fan is an interest, but if you like opera, everyone thinks of it as a crippling obsession. Les Troyens doesn’t help matters; “I’m going to a four hour opera,” you tell someone, trying to convey the magnitude of Troyens, but somehow it seems not to hint at the right degree of lunacy, so the next time, you include intermissions and say “I’m going to a five hour opera” and up and up it goes until you admit, between puffs on your gauloise, that everyone was right and you must be tres fou.   Read more »

Females on the beach

Karita Mattila is a gift to this planet.

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The Met: What is to be done?

Coming as Peter Gelb did from the music industry, opera lovers hoped that he would display a more distinctive knack for casting and an improved talent pipeline than Joe Volpe offered during the waning years of his tenure.

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Mamma mia

Goddess Anna Caterina Antonacci takes the “Sophia Loren” starring role in La Ciociara, a new work premiering at San Francisco Opera in June, 2015.

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Appearing nightly

I suspect most New York City opera-lovers had long since given up hope that the fascinating soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci would ever return to their city.

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