Cher Public

  • La Valkyrietta: Well, Fred and Rita too, and Cyd, and Leslie, etc. :) 10:00 PM
  • La Valkyrietta: Ages ago I took a little friend to the Met to see Walküre (not abridged, and with no crocodiles, helicopters, motels,... 9:51 PM
  • SilvestriWoman: Astute as ever, Ivy! I’ve never heard her live but, judging from the clips posted here, I’d think she was at... 9:21 PM
  • DonCarloFanatic: A young friend just was telling me the same thing: Shorten operas, get rid of the dull stuff, and maybe some younger... 9:17 PM
  • nachEule: Noted, Lohengrin! Thanks. (Surely not in Tracht for Last Night, though?) 9:09 PM
  • CwbyLA: This was recently done with Magic Flute in Barrie Kosky’s production that played in Berlin and LA Opera. The tedious... 7:26 PM
  • aulus agerius: If ‘inapposite& #8217; refers to my post, you misread me, as does AJ. I don’t care a stuff about white wigs and... 7:07 PM
  • La Cieca: Particularly inapposite to get all pearl-clutchy about Manon Lescaut, an opera that sort of malingered on the fringes of the... 5:47 PM

Rolling along

When the Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera announce they’re going to grubstake a production, you wouldn’t be at all  surprised that they have chosen a classic American work. You might be surprised, though, when that title turns out to be Show Boat.

Although HGO does have a history with a touring production back in the 80’s, the other companies involved had only dipped that particular toe in the water up to Porgy and Bess. But Show Boat, while not an opera by any means, could definitely qualify as an operetta based on the quality of its music and the size of the forces it requires to do it justice. This new release from Euroarts is the whistle stop of the show boat Cotton Blossom at the San Francisco Opera filmed in June of last year. The production is directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by John DeMain and is available on both on DVD and Blu-ray disc.   Read more »

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.  Despite its slight 70 minute running time, it’s a vast polyphonic work that attracts that certain species of conductor who enjoys showing off the adroit command of large forces both orchestral and choral. As well one can hardly imagine the near electro-magnetic tug actresses must feel at the opportunity of playing one of the most mythic women of the middle ages and not get scorched by the process.   Read more »

Haunted mountain

Beginning with the dark, ominous music of the prelude of Charles Wuorinen and Annie Proulx’s opera Brokeback Mountain, we know we are in for a very different and far less sentimental version of the work than was had with Ang Lee’s iconic 2005 film.  This 2014 Teatro Real Madrid production (dedicated to the late Gerard Mortier), with sensitive and incisive stage direction by Ivo van Hove, has been released on DVD by Bel Air Classiques.

This opera brings about a third major character to go with the expected herders Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar: the mountain itself.  It is a mysterious and forbidding place.  We learn in the first scene that the Boss Aguirre is worried that his expected workers are late or not coming because they’ve “heard something about the mountain.”  He describes the mountain as “a knife blade rising from the earth”, a place of “dark power” and “an evil place that kills men.”   Read more »

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Grail mix

Contemporary stagings of Parsifal tend to be spare, abstract affairs scrubbed of religious associations, knights in armor and, sometimes, a grail.

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Magic “Flute”

A confession:  I have a real love/ hate relationship with Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

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The devil is in the details

Certain operas are better in theory than practice.

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Coming out

Christian Thielemann’s spirited, precise conducting and the superb, sumptuous playing of the Staatskapelle Dresden are the finest features of this strongly cast performance of Strauss’s Arabella.

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Star, crossed

The key to enjoying Bellini’s I Capuleti e Montechi is to do a hard factory reset and reformat your brain to forget all other works based on Romeo and Juliet.

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Table bodied

Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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Flame war

The role debut of a world-class singer is always a time of great anticipation, hopefully to be followed by celebration, if not unbridled jubilation.

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