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. But a pair of brief musical dramas, each about a fantastical beast, jolted audiences from their early summer doldrums.” [New York Observer]
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!”
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.