Mit leichtem Herz und leichten Händen

Robert Carsen has given Peter Gelb two of the greatest successes of his tenure. Yet despite being one of the most in-demand opera directors in the world (does any other director have as many productions on the world’s opera stages?), his route to the Met has been as a runner-up.  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

Bride gone wild.

The Italian operas of Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini, those of the primo ottocènto or “bel canto” period, have many enthusiasts, but it would be fair to say their appeal is musical more than literary. The libretti are of greater or lesser quality, but the psychology is encoded in the composer’s vocal lines more than his librettist’s words.  Read more »

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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Tragedy tonight

In May of last year tenor Piotr Beczala and soprano Anna Netrebko sang in Lohengrin for the first time under the baton of Christian Thielemann in his home house at the Staatskapelle Dresden.

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Mitigated Gaul

Kevin Newbury‘s familiar production of Bellini’s Norma with its most frequent leading lady, the American Sondra Radvanovsky.

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No contest

Richard Wagner viewed dance as an essential element of art, though he used it sparingly in his operas.

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Paris original

Another month, another La Traviata release on video.

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Rock-a-bye your baby with a pentatonic melody

It seems almost comical to think now but the designer-director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, who died in 1988, was at one time considered the height of regie-theatre scandal.

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