Cher Public

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

Alas, poor Faccio. You may not have known him at all.  Read more »

Double Doge dare

Plácido Domingo‘s lengthy career began in the 1960s, when recorded opera was at its apex. Never exclusive to a particular label as some colleagues were, the Spanish superstar tenor made two or more complete recordings of many calling cards: Manrico, Riccardo/Gustavo, Don Carlos (with and without the “s”), Radamès, Samson, Hoffmann, Otello, Des Grieux, Cavaradossi. Over 50 years, the formats for complete operas recordings changed more than once. There were the decline of the LP and the rise and fall of the CD. Videocassettes and laser discs gave way to DVDs and Blu-rays.  Read more »

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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Shopping season

After a long summer drought, suddenly new Blu-ray and DVD releases are falling, as it were, from the sky.

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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.

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