By the time Roberto Devereux saw its premiere at Napoli’s Teatro San Carlo on 29 October, 1837, Gaetano Donizetti had lost, in an 18-month time frame, both his parents, two still-born children, and his beloved wife Virginia. (Ten years later, the unfortunate composer, after a gradual descent into madness, met a grisly end, from complications of syphilis.) The opera was completed a month after his wife’s death. We can scarcely imagine how the composer, in his grief, summoned up the means to create an opera—and one that so often teems with his richest levels of inspiration. Read more »
Which operatic character could be best described as a spider? Assume this question were asked at the next Met Opera Quiz: what would be your answer? Read more »
What makes Norma such a high-profile role in the soprano repertory? Like the druids in the opera, we the audience anxiously await her entrance, wonder how she will sing, ponder her ability, and condemn her if she does not deliver what we expected. As for the character, there is no forgiveness for a soprano who tackles this role; we all seem to have a picture in our heads of how the role should sound, should be sung, and should be acted. The ghosts of the great Normas of the past confirm and solidify our beliefs. Read more »
“At Carnegie Hall last Thursday, a capacity crowd witnessed what might be the final official act of a monarch who has reigned for more than four decades.”
Even before Italian diva Mariella Devia had completed the stunning high D natural that capped her miraculous portrayal of Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux Thursday evening at Carnegie Hall, tens, then hundreds of those in attendance leapt to their feet to shout their acclaim.
Mariella Devia will augment her already vast bel canto repertoire next year with the role of roles: Bellini’s Norma.
Miraculous Mariella Devia sings “Casta diva” at a New Year’s Day concert at La Fenice. [kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/1rEx2M5zRX0″ width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] Mariella Devia at amazon.com