I have been a lifelong fan of West Side Story in spite, or because, of the fact that my first real introduction to its wonders was the bloated and bourgeois recording made by Leonard Bernstein and produced by Deutsche Grammophon in 1985. I can’t really be blamed since I was very young and impressionable and it was the first time I’d ever heard the musical numbers in full, like the balcony scene with the dialogue lead-in and the underscoring, as well as the dance music complete. It was, my friends, magic—even if Lenny, in a titanic display of nepotism, hired his own children to speak said love scenes to each other. (Ick.) Read more »
I don’t remember when I fell out of love with Joyce DiDonato. My initial, immediate infatuation soon evolved into a grand devotion, but recently my ears have been more and more seeking out the company of other mezzos. However, after listening to “Stella di Napoli,” her mightily impressive new CD of rare bel canto arias just released by Erato, I felt many of the old sparks reigniting: maybe there is still hope for us? Read more »
With much laying-on of fanfares and gift boxes our friends at Decca Classics have unleashed Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1: The First Decade on a weary and satiated public. This is the inaugural offering of a planned troika of box sets commemorating the business dealings of the Modenese tenor to that British label. There was no holier alliance in all of classical recording (save Karajan and whatever label he deemed worthy) since, unlike the vast majority of classical artists, Luciano Pavarotti sold enough records to not only underwrite the projects he participated in but to keep Decca flush from the ensuing tsunami of coin his fans generated. Which is why, dear friends, they’re celebrating, not his birth or memorial but… the date of his contract signing. Read more »
“Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they were by Mendelssohn: Fairy music.” Seriously, how often has that happened?
Vienna never really forgave Erich Wolfgang Korngold for going to work in the movies.
Once upon a time, a man and a woman met. He could sing, she could sing. They fell in love, got married, and became a power couple to rival Billary.
To some, Anne Schwanewilms will always be the soprano in the slinky black dress who replaced Deborah Voigt at Covent Garden a decade ago.
His 75-minute setting of Oedipus in Kolonos, heard in a live 2009 performance on MDR Klassik, illustrates how Mendelssohn tried to link ancient forms with Romantic-era sensibilities by fashioning harmonically adventurous chorales and believable characters instead of abstract musical representations of mythical figures.
Once again, beloveds, we approach the Milanese shrine that simultaneously attempted to cultivate and destroy the career of Maria Meneghini Callas.
“To play La Pompadour—what a delightful task! To be La Pompadour—what a gruesome fate!”