Cher Public

  • Camille: Thanks for the advance notice. I pray for his wellbeing and safe recovery. He is a treasure. 2:28 PM
  • Camille: MingoSenzaDo. 2:27 PM
  • messa di voce: Agree! 2:16 PM
  • antikitschychick: Also, just wanted to reiterate my continued well wishes for Dima! Hope everything works out well for him, and his family... 1:54 PM
  • antikitschychick: Glad to see he’s still on the roster for September 25th, which is the performance I plan to attend (if I can get... 1:48 PM
  • Ilka Saro: This puts things back in perspective. I didn’t want to come down hard on Jo Yo, who writes so wonderfully and is also an... 1:47 PM
  • m. croche: David Gockley’s Bourgeois Dinner avec Dinner Music Wine coolers – made by the piano-cocktail from Denisov’s... 1:20 PM
  • chicagoing: I am considering treating myself to a first time visit to the San Francisco Opera next June for Don Carlo, an opera I have not... 1:16 PM

Tanks a lot, but no tanks

Bayreuth’s most recent production of Tannhäuser was set to be retired. So of course they captured the 2014 performances for posterity and released it on video. The DVD has the typical Bayreuth package—it’s well-filmed, with a fairly steady camera that often pans out to full-stage shots instead of the using the new HD technique of constant close-ups. Good job, Bayreuth film crew.

The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is however the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess. The first clue that the director might have been a little too high on his own ideas is the fact that the pre-curtain time AND intermissions are staged. Yes, that’s right, Baumgarten apparently thought his ideas were such treasures that he expected the audiences to not pee during a five-hour opera. I have no idea how this actually played in the house and whether everyone really stayed put during intermissions but this is how it’s presented in the video. Read more »

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 »

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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.

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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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