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. Read more »
Mozart tinkered with the Messiah. Mendelssohn adapted choral works by both Handel and Bach. But 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. Read more »
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. Its popularity dwindled after its initial, and wildly successful, premiere at the Metropolitan in 1910 starring Enrico Caruso, Emmy Destinn, and Pasquale Amato and conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Since it was the first new opera commissioned by the Met it generated a lot of excitement in the media and with the public. Critics mostly fell over themselves for the glories of the music, mise en scène (real horses on stage!), the singing and conducting. 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.
“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.