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  • Krunoslav: Even the diehard Body Nazis among us, one would think, might not care whether a *Rigoletto*R... 11:48 PM
  • Porgy Amor: As for Mr. Green (or – seriously – is he called Mr. Green or Mr. Speedo Green?) He would be... 11:03 PM
  • Poison Ivy: Thanks! Happy for Borras, him and Angela will be an interesting combo. 10:43 PM
  • Camille: Funny you should mention Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda as I was just listening to it... 10:33 PM
  • Bill: Ivy – Secco replaced Vargas for the run of Don Carlo (with very good reviews actually) –... 10:20 PM
  • Camille: Yes, it does make sense but the fact is I really did not listen to him other than an occasional... 10:07 PM
  • zinka: httpv://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=O8CF 8xI55pw Lucine Amara turns 90 on Sunday….That boring (no... 9:44 PM
  • luvtennis: Camille: For me, it’s like this with Schubert: when I am into listening to him, I... 9:40 PM
  • zinka: Kanye West,the bum, was so GELOSO of these French albums, he made one called “Foque youse... 9:35 PM
  • Poison Ivy: Wow! Thanks JML for the updates. But I don’t get it … Vargas is out for Werther but... 9:27 PM

Fresh princes

Imagine two tenors releasing French opera aria collections at the same time without duplicating a single track! And wasn’t I relieved that I wasn’t going to have to sit through an ad hoc francophile singing competition:  anything you can sing I can sing sweeter or higher or louder.

These two discs actually serve as almost perfect complements to each other since they show their performers in a flattering light, with both tenors offering skillful and distinctive interpretations of the arias included. Read more »

Queen sized

The last day of December a parcel arrived in the mail containing an absolute delight: “Semiramide—La Signora Regale.” One of best vocal recordings of 2014, this sumptuous 2-CD set on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi features the marvelous Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus and includes 90 minutes of rarely-heard music written for the legendary Babylonian queen. Read more »

Pazzo son, guardate!

Manon Lescaut was Giacomo Puccini’s first big international success. His publisher, Giulio Ricordi, tried to put him off the project by citing Jules Massenet’s very successful adaptation just nine years previously. Puccini was intent on making the story his own, insisting, “A woman like Manon can have more than one lover… I shall feel it like an Italian, with desperate passion.” Desperation is certainly the feeling this reviewer got from a new recording of Manon Lescaut from our friends at Decca Classics, but I’m also quite certain it’s not the same type that the Maestro had for his subject. Read more »

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Saxon violence

His shaved head in striking contrast to his dark beard and glinting eyes, the implacable Tartar conqueror glowers at us from the CD cover, while the uncropped photo of countertenor Xavier Sabata (above) is even more disturbing, featuring his raised fist and forearm tightly wrapped in a leather belt.

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No such Gluck

When Richard Wagner reached into the past and revised Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, he went beyond the accepted boundaries of tinkering and more or less created a new work that’s fomented aesthetic debates ever since.

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Panning for gold

Giacomo Puccini’s horse-opera version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,”  La Fanciulla del West, based on David Belasco’s play, The Girl of the Golden West, enjoyed the status of a curate’s egg for quite a while.

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West coast story

I fall on my knees before this new live recording issued by the San Francisco Symphony.

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Dancing with the star

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.

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Past perfect

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.

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Fairy tale

“Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they were by Mendelssohn: Fairy music.” Seriously, how often has that happened?

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