Cher Public

Shooting in low light

FreischeutzEvery so often, the topic of the stale and predictable standard repertoire is broached, usually when some theater announces another season of warhorses: Don Giovanni, Traviata, Carmen, Bohème. Opera buffs plead for reconsideration of the once popular and the never truly popular. Bring back Meyerbeer, Flowtow, Glinka, Ponchielli, Rubinstein, Thomas. Peer into neglected corners of Donizetti and Rossini. Give us obscure Massenet, galley-years Verdi, Wagner’s first three operas. What we really need, some seem to believe, is fuller representation of the 19th century.  Read more »

Site unseen

giovanna amazonGiuseppe Verdi was so unhappy with the first production of his Giovanna d’Arco at La Scala in 1845 that he swore an oath to himself that he would never entrust that theatre with a prima again. His other vow was to never speak with the impresario Bartolomeo Merelli after he oversaw what Verdi considered a substandard mounting and then had the audacity to sell the rights of the score out from under him to Ricordi. La Scala waited twenty-four years, until the Italian revision of his La Forza del Destino, before he finally relented.
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Sybil, shepherd

SaulAt first glance, when I opened the package that contained this DVD, I thought the cover said David and Jonathan, a work I have enjoyed for years, by the French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier, whose music I am very familiar with.

A closer look showed this to be incorrect, it is the first of two operas by Danish composer Carl Nielsen, whose work I am not familiar with at all, Saul and David, which I never heard of, never mind actually heard, before.

I felt flattered that our doyenne La Cieca felt confident in my ability to assess this recording of a production by David Poutney for the Royal Danish Opera of this piece unfamiliar to me, but please bear in mind that this review is written by a complete newcomer to the work.   Read more »

Jonas in Fanciulla

Hello from the other side

A woman reads from the Bible. There is a dance scene in a tavern. The discovery of blood gives away the protagonist.

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Don Giovanni amazon

After dark

The Canadian Robert Carsen would appear to love the theater to the point of fixation.

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Manon Lescaut Amazon

The rules of attraction

Is Manon Lescaut a cold, clinical tale of the splendors and pitfalls of transactional sex, or is it a romantic Italian opera at its most lush and melodic?

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And never brought to mind

It would be generous to say that history comes alive on the operatic stage.

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Roger amazon

A Pole in the head

Enthusiasm is contagious–you have to cover up carefully lest it make you sick.

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Aida amazon

Ardori inospiti

The most recent Egyptian voluptuary of 2006 by our friend Franco has now been replaced by the most singularly spartan production of Verdi’s masterpiece I think I’ve ever seen.

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Gli enigmi sono due

Giacomo Puccini’s final opus interruptus is and shall always remain my favorite opera. The reasons for this preference are so varied and numerous that if they were printed and bound the volume would most assuredly require its own stand.  

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