“The NY Phil Biennial, a new music festival that is dedicated to new music, kicked off its first season at a drowsy time on the performing arts calendar, the week after Memorial Day. But a pair of brief musical dramas, each about a fantastical beast, jolted audiences from their early summer doldrums.” [New York Observer]
“Broadly speaking, there are two types of New Yorkers: the ones who say ‘I’m going to the Met’ meaning ‘I’m going to see an opera’ and the ones to whom the phrase means ‘I’m finally going to see those Piero della Francescas everyone has been talking about.’ Recently, though, opera showed up at both Mets, the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” [New York Observer]
Marc-Antoine Charpentier came along at the wrong time for a composer of French opera. Lully had persuaded Louis XIV (his dancing partner) to give him a monopoly on composing stage music in France. One of the grandest dames about court, Mademoiselle de Guise, provided Charpentier a regular gig at her palace and an apartment over her stables for seventeen years. When he left, he worked for the Grand Dauphin, the king’s son, and for the Jesuits, for whom he produced oratorios like the currently much-revived David et Jonathas. But he didn’t produce much in the way of secular tragédie-lyrique—only two or three survive, notably a Médée and the abbreviated La descente de l’Orphée aux Enfers. Gotham Chamber Opera is presenting the New York stage premiere of the latter at St. Paul’s Chapel through Sunday, as part of Trinity Church’s annual Twelfth Night Festival. Read more »
“Two Boys demonstrates that Mr. Muhly is capable of very great things indeed, offering extended glimpses of the kind of masterpiece he just missed writing here, and, more happily, of the kind of masterpiece I feel confident he will write in the future.”
Baden-Baden 1927 is the title Gotham Chamber Opera has given to its evening of four brief operas that premiered together at a festival in, yes, Baden-Baden on July 17, 1927.
For our weekly meander through mendacity, we turn to no less than Gotham Chamber Opera’s own Neal Goren, who writes, “People repeat as fact that women ruin their voices, or at least sacrifice their high notes, by singing in chest voice. So untrue!”
Nathaniel Hawthorne, the repentant Puritan—that is, he repented that his family had once been Puritans—describes the voice of Rappaccini’s Daughter, Beatrice, as “rich as a tropical sunset, … which made Giovanni, though he knew not why, think of deep hues of purple or crimson and of perfumes heavily delectable.”
Those of you who so readily groan, “Oh, dear god, no, not another Carmen! Give it a bleeding rest!” (and you know who you are) may lose that long face, temporarily at least, when you hear the exotic repertoire promised by Gotham Chamber Opera next season.
Short as Roman emperor Eliogabalo’s reign was, the world sighed in relief when it was over.
Gotham Chamber Opera stumbled so badly Friday night with Francesco Cavalli’s 1668 Eliogabalo at The Box, it was hard to know whether to feel sad or angry—or both.