Some may conjecture that Anna Bolena is a stronger opera than Maria Stuarda and its title role a better fit for Sondra Radvanovsky, but Friday’s season premiere at the Met of Donizetti’s opera about the doomed Scottish queen proved surprisingly satisfying and a genuine success for the American soprano. Read more »
Enthusiasm is contagious–you have to cover up carefully lest it make you sick. It seems that any time a rarely performed piece of music more than a quarter century old is hauled out for inspection, it is burdened with the label of “neglected masterpiece.” This makes good copy and stirs up interest, but it also sets up unreasonable expectations that the work itself is blameless in failing to meet. Even some familiar operas we happily attend every several years are less than masterpieces, after all. If they engage us and are worthy of hearing, seeing, and perhaps returning to, this is more than enough.
Read more »
I always think of Don Giovanni as half of the greatest opera ever written. Or, actually, about 2/3 of the greatest opera ever written. The first act is a masterpiece of the operatic canon. There’s sex, there’s danger, there’s suspense, there’s humor, and there’s absolutely great music. And there’s also a wonderful sense of ambiguity—for instance, what exactly is Don Giovanni doing in Donna Anna’s bedroom? is it a rape, or something else? Is Zerlina really just a naive young thing? “Batti batti bel Masetto” has such an artificial, coy feel to it that you have your doubts. All of these events converge in the suspenseful Act One finale. Read more »
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is his masterwork and its themes of social convention and unrequited longing surely struck a deep chord in a composer who, in late 19th century Russia, was gay and had to conduct himself carefully.
Last night, the Met opened the 2013-14 season with a handsome, fairly conservative new production of Eugene Onegin by Deborah Warner that replaces the handsome, fairly conservative one by Robert Carsen. (The trend is clear.)
La Cieca predicts you won’t be seeing any puritans at the Met next season, except of course for the ones who slouch around during intermission hissing, “You call that a trill?”
La Cieca has been sniffing around her generally reliable (and fragrant) sources, and she thinks she has pieced together a list of the dozen operas to be featured in the 2013-2014 season of “The Met: Live in HD.”
Karol Szymanowski’s 1926 King Roger was the sleeper hit of SFO’s season, not so much for its weird, mystical theme and feeble libretto but because the music is powerfully effective.
“Juan Diego Flórez made an untraditional Nemorino, his small but diamond-bright tenor unlike the luscious lyric voice usually heard in this part.”