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 »
“Here we again see the Berlin tendency towards hybrids; the great plans but tiny realization; great demands but tiny results; perfect reviewers but miserable musicians,” Felix Mendelssohn groused to a friend in the summer of 1841 after King Friedrich Wilhelm IV invited him to become general music director in the Prussian capital and focus on writing on grand oratorios and church music. Read more »
Once again, beloveds, we approach the Milanese shrine that simultaneously attempted to cultivate and destroy the career of Maria Meneghini Callas. This great—nay, some say greatest—oracle of opera practiced the dark arts and conjured on the stage of La Scala so that we may all live on with the memories for ever and ever. Someone light a black candle so we can begin! Read more »
“To play La Pompadour—what a delightful task! To be La Pompadour—what a gruesome fate!”
Lawrence Brownlee’s new album Virtuoso Rossini Arias demonstrate both how far the tenore di grazia has come in the operatic world.
With orchestral and choral forces that could outnumber a small European village, Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder is a composition designed to overwhelm.
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!”
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.
When Norman Lebrecht is declaring on an almost daily basis that classical music is dead, it’s perhaps heartening that four of today’s prominent tenors have recently released what might be called fluff/vanity albums.
The finer performances of Tristan und Isolde have a way of sounding like a four-hour improvisation, the fruit of a single moment of inspiration that makes one forget how emotionally manipulative and painstakingly crafted the music really is.