The enigmatic half-smile that gives its name to Leonardo’s “La Gioconda” or Mona Lisa, his most famous painting, has been fancifully credited to many emotions. Is the lady daydreaming or flirting or pondering one of the painter’s anatomical diagrams? It has recently been suggested that she is Leonardo himself in drag, savoring a joke at our expense. Mr. Peabody, that Leonardo among canines, claimed she was suffering from toothache, and (as usual) he and his Wayback machine saved the day—it is true that until the advent of scientific dentistry, portraits were never painted with parted lips. Read more »
Whenever opera-lovers are canvassed about what neglected operas they hunger to see revived, the resulting lists inevitably feature a goodly number of grand operas, those once wildly popular monstrosities–particularly by Meyerbeer–written primarily for Paris in the mid-19th century. Yet despite the enthusiasm of their advocates, these works have had a hard time regaining a place in the repertoire in the 21st century. Although a recent revival of Auber’s La Muette de Portici was well received at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, Covent Garden’s splashy new Robert le Diable by Meyerbeer flopped and the Met has never revived its 2003 production of Halévy’s La Juive. Read more »
Countless episodes of Oprah and other programs of that ilk have dwelled on stories of women living in denial about their relationships. Unsurprisingly, many operas also deal with this phenomenon, one I was repeatedly reminded of during Sunday afternoon’s intermittently involving concert performance of Handel’s Alcina at Carnegie Hall starring an unusually intense Joyce DiDonato as a powerful sorceress blinded by her romantic delusions. Read more »
We were not at Carnegie Hall to hear superb opera singers bestow their vocalism upon Alban Berg’s Wozzeck; we are there to hear the Wiener Staatsoper’s house band work their magic upon an intricate, spooky, devastating score.
Joined by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, The English Concert concluded the US leg of its current tour at Carnegie Hall Sunday with a complete performance of the darkly moving Theodora, Handel’s penultimate oratorio.
Each year, Leon Botstein leads the American Symphony Orchestra in a concert opera or two.
André Previn‘s A Streetcar Named Desire, with the “People’s Diva” herself in the iconic role of the unstable Blanche DuBois.
La Cieca has put her little grey cells to work and deduced that Opera Orchestra of New York will present two performances next season…
All La Cieca can say is that so very many of you here shine in diamond splendor, and she only hopes she can stream even a single ray of light into the night of your heart. The results of the “Ian Bostridge” competition are after the jump.
Which tenor twink was cruising everything in pants in the men’s room at Carnegie Hall tonight? And do you think he will behave thus when he returns to the Met later this season?