Cher Public

Catch a falling tsar

You’d think by now I’d know better than to make snap judgments about an opera or a singer—but apparently not. By the first intermission of Bard Summerscape’s production of Dvorak’s grand Dimitrij on Sunday I’d decided the piece was static and uninvolving, surely the reasons it’s so rarely done. And after the second act I was scratching my head wondering why one of the sopranos had been hired. But I had to ruefully acknowledge the error of my ways on both accounts by the time the sold-out audience erupted in cheers at the end.  Read more »

Unbridled enthusiasm

“You see, Elaine, Dimitrij was a simple country boy, you might say a cockeyed optimist, who got himself mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue.”

When the sun comes out

Iris 1Every summer since 2003 Bard SummerScape has mounted one or more rarely done operas in the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center, and this year as part of its “Puccini and His World” festival audiences may witness the resurrection of Mascagni’s distinctly odd Iris, conducted as always by Bard president Leon BotsteinRead more »

Tomb raider

Despite the continued popularity of Der Freischütz in German-speaking countries, are the magical mature operas of Carl Maria von Weber otherwise really so problematic, their libretti so unwieldy to explain their continued absence from the world’s stages?

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It’s not easy being Greek

Sergey Taneyev, pupil of Tchaikovsky and teacher of Scriabin and Rachmaninov, composed just one opera, Oresteia, premiered in 1895 when he was 39.

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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.

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