Cher Public

Significant mother

Fans of divas who sing 19th and 20th century opera may find themselves searching in vain for CDs to buy with this season’s gift cards, since their idols so rarely put out solo recitals these days. Yes, Olga Peretyatko delivered Rossini to mixed responses, and Anna Netrebko’s verismo collection will burst forth sometime next year. But for those who also enjoy pre-bel canto arias a whole slew of recent releases has already arrived ranging from Dorothea Röschmann’s unnecessary Mozart recital to one of the finest CDs of this young century by Ann Hallenberg.   Read more »

Gold diggers

Das Rheingold is the outlier among the Ring operas, an ensemble work with a fast-shifting plot, animated dialogue, fewer set pieces and less character development. For those reasons, it may be the hardest to pull off convincingly in a concert performance.

A pair of unstaged accounts conducted by Simon Rattle and Jaap van Zweden earlier this year each have a feeling of discovery, featuring orchestras that don’t often perform this music.   Read more »

La figlia dell’aria

For her third solo recording Olga Peretyatko summons the two men who launched her career less than a decade ago: the first one is conductor Alberto Zedda, who discovered the then-unknown Russian soprano in an audition in Germany; and the second one is Gioacchino Rossini himself.  Indeed, Zedda, artistic director of the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, immediately cast her as Desdemona in a production of Otello featuring big names such as Juan Diego Flórez and Gregory Kunde, and a star was born, who very soon graced the stages of the most prominent opera companies firmly ensconcing herself among the A-listers.  Her beauty, her fashion sense as well her high-profile marriage with another fast rising talent, former enfant prodige conductor Michele Mariotti, certainly did not hinder her career; neither did an exclusive recording contract with Sony.  Read more »

Awakenings

There is a simple elegance to the single-composer recital album format. For the listener in the mood for, say, Puccini, it’s a chance to delve into his music without any pesky interruptions by those other guys like Verdi or Massenet. And if one is also in the mood for a particular singer’s art, then the choice is even more straightforward. For the singer, it is an opportunity to showcase and explore the variety and nuance that a single composer offers to his/her voice type, while also displaying his/her own skill at presenting a varied recital experience within narrow confines.  

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A desert breeze whispering a lullaby

The studio opera recording is a rare beast these days and its arrival always a cause for celebration.

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A fjord in her future

Anja Silja staked a claim as a leading Senta of her era with a series of searing performances of Der Fliegende Holländer while in her early twenties.

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Tony, “Danza”

Exclusively for you, the loyal parterriani, here’s a sneak preview video from Joyce and Tony: Live at Wigmore Hall.

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A ‘Ring’ for the rest of us

I was once accused—by my own mother, mind you!—of having too many recordings of Verdi’s Aida.  The blistering audacity of that recrimination did get me to thinking: How many recordings of Aida is too many? I mean, you’ve got the old classic you cut your teeth on. Then there’s he one where the tenor and the mezzo are really the only good thing going. And, of course, the one with your favorite soprano in the title role, the remake when she switched labels, and then the four pirates. Don’t forget the one with another favorite soprano, but this time she’s […]

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d’Arc victory

Tonight’s program at the New York Philharmonic, Arthur Honegger’s massive oratorio dramatique Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, has been an occasional visitor to the orchestra’s repertoire starting with the performance conducted by Charles Munch in January of 1948.

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“Less filling”

“Disciplined and intelligent.”

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