Cher Public

  • Krunoslav: Yes, that’s why I began my post “True, but…” Lenskis are sensitive… 11:03 PM
  • gustave of montreal: Next season, Mascagni’s PARISINA ? 9:44 PM
  • The Poet Lenski: Groves for Graves was an autocorrect fail. And I never said that she didn’t sing other roles. But it’s not... 8:31 PM
  • PCally: Here’s another Dido which I’m sure won’t appeal to everyone. I find it exceptionally regal and intense and her... 8:08 PM
  • PCally: Camille she sang the Plaint and the complete Dido. She was finer in the latter IMO, quite restrained and small scaled in a good.... 8:06 PM
  • Krunoslav: True, but Denyce *Graves* also sang Dorabella, Périchole (both in Philly), Federica, Baba the Turk, Maddalena and Margaret... 8:05 PM
  • Krunoslav: I first heard Lindstrom as Menotti’s Madga (CONSUL) at Opera Arizona with a strong cast– Phyllis Pancella, Eugenie... 8:01 PM
  • Camille: About last night— The question that haunts me the most is this: was that FUCHSIA or MAGENTA the diva du soir was sporting?... 6:59 PM

Battle of the network tsars

For all their orchestral and vocal attractions, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 15 operas are rarities in the West. If The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh is staged in an upcoming Met season as rumored, it will be the theater’s first representation of the composer’s music since 1945 (The Golden Cockerel), and it took The Tsar’s Bride 112 years to make it to Covent Garden.

Bel Air Classiques’ DVD documents Dmitri Tcherniakov’s 2013 production of the latter opera, with Daniel Barenboim leading the Berlin premiere cast. Read more »

Money on the dresser

“Hailed ‘the Meryl Streep of opera’…” begins one sentence of a promotional piece for a Diana Damrau recording of another opera, reproduced on the soprano’s website. This is a lofty claim, but I considered it as I watched Erato’s DVD memorializing the last of five 2013-14 Traviata productions (New York, Zurich, Munich, London, and Paris) in which Damrau sang her first Violettas.

There is, of course, a superficial similarity. Both women are attractive, refined blondes with German roots, and both can appear elegant or plain as a role requires. Both impress offstage as merry women and good storytellers, engaging in conversation and interview (I remember years ago hearing Damrau talk about the role of Strauss’s Sophie, and although she joked and laughed a lot, there was nothing frivolous about her insights). Both are admired technicians and hard workers. Read more »

Slash by night

There aren’t many opera video releases that can be recommended without reservation. There’s always an “on the other hand.” Beautiful, intelligent productions are often hampered by a weak or so-so cast. Or wonderful singers are hampered by a nonsensical, boring, incoherent and/or turgid production. The Deutsche Oper Berlin’s new release of Janácek’s Jenufa is that rare combination of a video release that combines excellent musical values, detailed acting, and a thoughtful production. Enthusiasts of Janácek’s opera will want to pick up this video immediately.

Christof Loy’s production takes a fairly non-interventionist approach to the opera. He begins by having Kostelnicka led onstage into what looks like a jail cell, with stark white walls. The opera is her flashback. The same white room is the unit set for the entire opera, but there is a back panel that opens up to reveal cornfields.   Read more »

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Poor wan Rusalka

The winter 2014 final run of the Met’s first/only Rusalka production (a new one is scheduled in a few seasons) seemed both a nod to the theater’s past and a hint of its future.

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Tanks a lot, but no tanks

The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess.

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Rolling along

You might be surprised, though, when that title turns out to be Show Boat.

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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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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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