“Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a problematic opera—or, rather, it is an opera that has, in the last century or so, become problematic. Its composer, Richard Wagner, was a profound artist who insisted in treating on profound themes: Life, Death, Love, Redemption and so forth. In this opera, though, his focus shifted to different universalities: Art and (here comes the troubling part) what you might call ‘German-ness’.” [New York Observer] (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)
Xavier Montsalvatge is best known in these parts for the songs of his “Antilles” period in the 1940s, the exquisite “Cinco Canciones Negras” and so on, making use of rhythms and melodies with a Caribbean flavor. In a ninety-year life, nearly all of it passed quietly in his turbulent native Catalonia, honored by every changing governments, he wrote in a dozen forms and as many styles, ignoring the trends, remaining true to himself. Read more »
Gotham Chamber Opera, which began to operate twelve years ago with a double bill of Bohuslav Martinu’s quirky little pieces, opened its 2014-15 season with two more, Alexandre bis (Alexander, twice) and Comedy on the Bridge. Both were composed in the 1930s, when Martinu, like any East European with artistic aspirations, was living in Paris. There, he became acquainted with the neo-classicism of Stravinsky, the modernism of Les Six, with surrealism and le jazz hot. His music is difficult to pigeonhole: quirky, light, individual. When war broke out, he absconded to America, which he enjoyed, but he returned to Europe before his death in 1959. Read more »
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.
Recently, opera showed up at both Mets, the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier came along at the wrong time for a composer of French opera.
“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!”