Cher Public

Next to Norma

cerquettiJanuary 2, 1958 marked one of the darkest days in the career of Maria Callas.   After announcing to the management that she was ill, she was told there was no cover available for the title role of Norma for the opening night of Teatro dell’Opera, Roma in the presence of the president of Italy.  The now-legendary performance was cancelled after Act I.  Two days later, the season resumed with 26-year-old Anita Cerquetti who began commuting from Napoli where she was singing the druid priestess at Teatro di San Carlo.  In Roma she joined up with Franco Corelli and Miriam Pirazzini.  Read more »

Solid gold

danaeThis week’s opera is Die Liebe der Danae, which adds another notch to our complete traversal of the works of Richard Strauss, and completes the series of broadcasts from the 2016 Salzburger Festspiele.  Krassimira Stoyanova, Tomasz Konieczny, and Norbert Ernst star; Franz Welser-Möst is on the podium.  Read more »

Leonie on the Nile

Leonie RysanekLeonie Rysanek, who as you know was the diva who awakened your alte Jugfer to opera with her 1954 recording as Sieglinde under Wilhelm Furtwängler, would have turned 90 today had she not succumbed to bone cancer in 1998 at the age of 71. While the Wiener Staatsoper, which last week opened a special exhibition devoted to her in the Gustav-Mahler-Saal, remained her artistic home with the Met a close second, she also had a very special relationship with San Francisco Opera, the site of her 1956 American debut, from whence originates this week’s tribute: a 1960 Aida with Jon Vickers and Irene Dalis.  Read more »

Trouble in Thebes

What to do with all those glorious short operas: play them alone or find companion pieces?

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The lady is a camp

Verdi’s Macbeth gets true blood-and-guts treatment from Guillermo Sarabia and the legendary Marisa Galvany.

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Hell and back

A simply gorgeous performance of Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice starring Juan Diego Flórez. 

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Bard of Avon calling

Works inspired by William Shakespeare are everywhere in 2016.

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Strike up the banned

Jonny spielt auf, the second opera by 26-year-old composer Ernest K?enek, was such a huge success after its 1927 Leipzig premiere that in the following season it was performed 491 times in Germany alone. 

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One night of love

Your alte Jungfer’s requisite Kuschelkatze (pictured) arrived on my doorstep in Mariahilf with the name of Tristan.

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Devil’s advocate

Just 85 years ago, four of Italy’s greatest opera stars gathered at Teatro all Scala for an historic event: the first-ever recording of Arrigo Boito’s sole complete opera, Mefistofele.

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