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  • thenoctambulist: I was replying to these comments in the article but somehow they could not be quoted:... 5:04 AM
  • thenoctambulist: I beg to differ. Pretty much the in the entire nineteenth century, Rigoletto was not... 5:02 AM
  • thenoctambulist: How did the Borgia go? 4:50 AM
  • manou: Yes, but are American woman you’d see at a state fair in a fair state? 4:14 AM
  • steveac10: From what I can see Friend has a huge blind spot when it comes to American singers who lack... 3:59 AM
  • MontyNostry: Indeed. I was thinking about singers of the role at Covent Garden, but ENO have at least latched... 3:06 AM
  • Rackon: I’m SO happy to hear all the praise for Stephen Powell! I heard him in ’06 or ’07... 12:53 AM
  • coloraturafan: First time I heard Powell live, I was very impressed. It was a May Festival performance of... 12:08 AM
  • la vociaccia: And I’d like to add that in spite of her flaws, Meade is still a seriously major talent,... 11:00 PM
  • la vociaccia: I hear what you are saying, but it really isn’t her fault that those who sing better... 10:37 PM

Bomb squad

Vienna never really forgave Erich Wolfgang Korngold for going to work in the movies. When the exiled composer returned from Hollywood after World War 2 to mount a comeback, he was dismissed as a has-been who all too eagerly cast off high art for the commercialism of the silver screen.

Korngold, it must be said, led with his chin by bringing for the occasion Die stumme Serenade (The Silent Serenade), an hybrid opera-Cabaret that mixes elements of golden age film music with high fructose arias, skittering orchestral accompaniments and other démodé effects as comforting as a serving of Mohr im Hemd. A city by then eager to turn the page and dabble in modernism sneered at the confection, sending Korngold sulking back to California, where he spent his final years miserable and in poor health. Read more »

New faces of 2014

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. I’m talking, of course, of Giulia Grisi and Mario, opera’s original Love Couple. Since Giulia Grisi, many singers have met, fell in love, and married, and marketed themselves as the New Love Couple.   Read more »

Hothouse flower

To some, Anne Schwanewilms will always be the soprano in the slinky black dress who replaced Deborah Voigt at Covent Garden a decade ago and confirmed the creeping influence of film and television values on the opera world. Read more »

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Blinded item

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.

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Stairway to heaven

Once again, beloveds, we approach the Milanese shrine that simultaneously attempted to  cultivate and destroy the career of Maria Meneghini Callas.

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Call me Madame

“To play La Pompadour—what a delightful task! To be La Pompadour—what a gruesome fate!”

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State of grace

Lawrence Brownlee’s new album Virtuoso Rossini Arias demonstrate both how far the tenore di grazia has  come in the operatic world.

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Low-fat Schoenberg

With orchestral and choral forces that could outnumber a small European village, Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder is a composition designed to overwhelm.

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Kraus purposes

Perhaps there are not that many people in the world who would look at a CD cover and think “Oh, goody, goody! A libretto by Eugène Scribe I’ve never come across before!”

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Ladies in their sensitivities

As someone who thinks Verdi is the greatest composer who ever lived and who feels pretty meh about Mozart, I expected to love the Verdi and be bored by the Mozart. I wasn’t far wrong.

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