Cher Public

  • erricco: That was an outstanding production…& #8230;…and Ottawa had many others in those years 12:34 AM
  • Quanto Painy Fakor: On the other side of town an old man is screaming for Stella by starlight httpv://www.youtub 12:23 AM
  • Quanto Painy Fakor: Looks like Roberto is feeling chipper for the second Vasco da Gama (lots more out there) httpv:// 12:15 AM
  • Bill: Bronzino – yes when I was young and my great aunt had 4 subscription tickets for every Met matinee in the first row of the... 11:43 PM
  • Quanto Painy Fakor: Here it is! httpv://www.youtub i7_aW3I httpv://www.youtub ZSTjYUs 11:32 PM
  • willym: Yes back in the days when we had an summer opera festival that was worthy of the name “festival 221;. Golden days. 11:27 PM
  • SilvestriWoman: No offense taken here in Chicago! When he led the CSO, as soon as a concert ended, he couldn’t get out of town fast... 10:51 PM
  • Dabrowski: The questions that US media ask classical musicians and singers — when they appear in US media at all — are on a... 10:20 PM

The devil is in the details

Certain operas are better in theory than practice. Boito’s Mefistofele has some undoubtedly fine tunes, and is perhaps neck-and-neck with Boris Godunov as a top bass star vehicle. But as an opera, it only works in fits and starts. For one, the fidelity to Goethe’s Faust gives the libretto a rather episodic, detached feel.

Gounod’s Faust might be a lot cheesier but it’s also more tightly focused and thus better theater. Boito’s opera has some some stunning choral work in the Prologue and Epilogue, a famous tune in Margherita’s lament “La altra notte” and an extremely enjoyable “Walpurgis Nacht” act but also a lot of filler. It’s not a long opera but it feels endless.   Read more »

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, given a new staging for the 2014 Salzburg Easter Festival and released here on DVD by Unitel Classica.  The production also celebrated Strauss’s 150th anniversary.

Arabella, the sixth and final collaboration of Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, is frequently considered the stepchild of Strauss’ wildly popular Der Rosenkavalier, and indeed it contains many similar elements—Viennese setting, instantaneous passion, a specific courtship ritual.  Read more »

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. Forget Tchaikovsky’s fantasy overture. Forget Prokofiev’s ballet score. Most importantly, forget Shakespeare’s play. If you can do all those things, you can enjoy Bellini’s opera for what it is—a primo ottocento relic with some very beautiful music.

Romani’s libretto makes the “star-crossed” lovers story less a tale of missed chances and senseless violence than a very conventional love triangle. There’s Romeo who is in love with Giulietta, daughter of Capellio. Giulietta is of course bethrothed to another (Tebaldo). And Romeo and his Montechi family are responsible for killing Capellio’s son. Much singing and sadness results. Romeo does indeed die of poison in the tomb but Giulietta expires from the same Unexplained Operatic Death that afflicts her Wagnerian sisters Elisabeth, Elsa, and Isolde. As I said, forget the Bard and it will all make sense.   Read more »


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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When I have sung my songs

Soprano Renée Fleming is certainly making the role of the Countess in Richard Strauss’s final opera Capriccio the focus of her late-career years.

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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.

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The dark side of the moon

After viewing Stefan Herheim’s production of Rusalka, I’ve got a new category: “regie slick.”

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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.

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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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