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  • arepo: Oropesa! Now THAT makes more sense. There was a thread here several months ago hinting at who the... 7:49 AM
  • fidelio101: Tell the wig master that Norma needs her roots done! 7:35 AM
  • Krunoslav: Soem favorite Rethberg cuts: httpv://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=qVv7 0q6gGZo This one’s going... 2:31 AM
  • Buster: I never listened much to Rethberg’s live Met recordings. Past her prime, not at her best, is... 2:12 AM
  • ML: Let’s hear it for low E-flat! mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm 12:45 AM
  • dr.malatempra: I believe the initial rumor was regarding Lisette Oropesa. Have no opinion about the validity... 12:41 AM
  • antikitschychick: Yay thank you for confirming that PokeyGascon! :-). Also, just a humble suggestion from... 12:33 AM
  • ML: Chicago Tribune (John von Rhein) has it all wrong: * CSO is one of three (3) jobs Muti holds, so it does... 12:24 AM
  • Clita del Toro: Thanks, chick. Nice to hear from you. 12:22 AM
  • PokeyGascon: Game of Thrones look was intentional or at least acknowledged by the director in the program... 12:09 AM

Juan and two

I always think of Don Giovanni as half of the greatest opera ever written. Or, actually, about 2/3 of the greatest opera ever written. The first act is a masterpiece of the operatic canon. There’s sex, there’s danger, there’s suspense, there’s humor, and there’s absolutely great music. And there’s also a wonderful sense of ambiguity—for instance, what exactly is Don Giovanni doing in Donna Anna’s bedroom? is it a rape, or something else? Is Zerlina really just a naive young thing? “Batti batti bel Masetto” has such an artificial, coy feel to it that you have your doubts. All of these events converge in the suspenseful Act One finale.   Read more »

The dark side of the moon

One of my favorite terms to use to describe productions nowadays is “regie lite.” Regie lite productions dominate Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and increasingly, the Metropolitan Opera. Traditional stage directions are tweaked, periods are reset, but not in a way that radically deconstructs the work. If hardcore “regie” directors do a Michael Jackson total-deconstruction makeover on the opera, regie lite productions do a, well, Nancy Pelosi botox session. After viewing a new DVD of Stefan Herheim’s production of Rusalka, I’ve got a new category: “regie slick.” Read more »

Speer pressure

One of the things that made François Girard’s 2013 production of Parsifal at the Met so compelling was the way he tried to make the tale of suffering and temptation relevant to a contemporary audience. The French-Canadian director set the looming devastation of Montsalvat in a bleak, desiccated landscape populated by characters in modern dress who emerged from behind a mirrored curtain that reflected the auditorium. Stylized gestures and dramatic lighting evoked an abstract reality that heightened one’s awareness of the way nature and society work.   Read more »

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Bomb scare

The appeal of Ariadne auf Naxos (for me anyway) is the acknowledgment that underneath it all, opera (and all other forms of “high art”) is really show business.

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Final chapter

None of my previous Elektra experiences prepared me for this stunning, overwhelming performance from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

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Rich man’s frug

A good performance of a Rossini opera buffa usually bubbles along merrily.

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Shopping season

After a long summer drought, suddenly new Blu-ray and DVD releases are falling, as it were, from the sky.

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Lost in space

It’s rare to encounter a video of an opera that has zero redeeming qualities, but I think I might have found it: the latest Arena di Verona La Traviata.

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We have always slept in the castle

For those of you still queasy after Mary Zimmerman’s sophomoric snarknado attack on Bellini’s La Sonnambula, the new DVD of the Stuttgart Opera production should provide a bracing restorative.

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Auto-da-fair

The Salzburg Festival has long had the image of this place where for a little over a month, the very best singers are brought together with the very best conductors and the very best directors to create the very best productions the opera world has to offer.

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