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Shopping season

After a long summer drought, suddenly new Blu-ray and DVD releases are falling, as it were, from the sky. La Cieca invites the cher public to peruse a gaggle of operatic offerings after the jump. Read more »

No business like snow business

Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is his masterwork and its themes of social convention and unrequited longing surely struck a deep chord in a composer who, in late 19th century Russia, was gay and had to conduct himself carefully.

I’d like to say a brief requiem for the Metropolitan Opera’s last production, brilliantly designed by Michael Levine and directed by Robert Carsen. Its strong use of color and abstraction brought an easy focus to the unabashed romanticism and melancholy of this work.  Read more »

The cup runneth over

Even after more than 30 years as a die-hard opera fan there are still parts of the repertoire I haven’t embraced. Benjamin Britten and myself are really only acquaintances and I’ve met Alban Berg but fear we shall never be friends. I really became an opera fan chronologically backwards starting with Puccini and ending, essentially, with Mozart and Handel. Only then came Wagner.

After distilling all those different musical styles and traditions, Wagner wasn’t really that difficult to wrap my head around, with the exception of Parsifal. I would check the score out from the library and follow along dutifully to the broadcasts waiting for the penny to drop. It was years before I finally understood the lengths of its constructive elements and how broad the expanses of melody and leitmotif were within that structure.   Read more »

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Shadows on the silver screen

Strange as it is to encounter two such disparate works presented with the identical production concept, it’s odder still that the opera you’d think would be the slam dunk is anything but.

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When in Rome

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s only opera for Rome was written to an existing libretto by the great Pietro Metastasio, L’Olimpiade, which had already  been set by Vivaldi the year previously.

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Bear in mind

Before there was a Stefan Herheim Boheme (which I reviewed a couple of weeks back for this site), there was a Herheim Eugene Onegin, recorded in June 2011 at De Nederlanse Opera.

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Somewhere there’s a blu-ray of happiness

The 2012 Bayreuth production of Parsifal directed by Stefan Herheim will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by Opus Arte in April 2013.

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I enjoy being a valkyrie

So, take a look after the jump and tell La Cieca the two things that are wrong (they’re related) about the cover of the Met’s new Ring DVD/Blu-ray.

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The Wurm turns

The Met’s controversial Ring cycle, directed by Robert Lepage (not pictured) and conducted by TBA (possibly pictured) makes its home video debut on September 11.

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Rodent show

This Hans Neuenfels staging for the Bayreuth Festival caused quite a stir at its 2010 premiere, but now, with time and distance, how radical is the production?

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