Cher Public

Teen queen

Handel’s first surviving musical composition is Almira, the opera he wrote in a hurry when shake-ups at the Hamburg opera house, where the 19-year-old had been playing in the violin section, left a planned production unfinished. Mixing German and Italian text, stuffed with French dances and pageantry, and with a comic servant character right out of Venetian opera, Almira is as up-to-date as the cosmopolitan city got in 1705.  Read more »

Racing with the moon

For better or worse, Decca’s new Norma recording will ultimately be embraced—or dismissed—by those reacting directly to Cecilia Bartoli’s controversial portrayal. After all, few operatic roles prove as irresistible yet as fraught with obstacles to the modern diva as Bellini’s Norma.

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