What’s at stake for a soul on fire?

Remember NBC Opera Theater? For 15 years, back in the dawn of television, that visionary company brought opera into the living rooms of America, always in English (imagine Boris Godunov and The Love of Three Kings in English!), often contemporary (Poulenc’s brand new Dialogues of the Carmelites; too, Menotti composed Amahl for NBC and Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti), often using not-yet-world-famous performers—Leontyne Price sang their Tosca, Pamina and Madame Lidoine, Giorgio Tozzi their Boris. The project died, of course. Read more »

Triumphal Arc

Gil Rose, who leads the lively Odyssey Opera in Boston, makes a specialty of works like Rienzi and Dmitri that boast a considerable choral presence. He was bound, sooner or later, to get to Tchaikovsky’s Orleánskaia Djeva (The Maid of Orleans), and did so last Saturday, kicking off Odyssey’s fifth season—a remarkably short time in which to have become a major regional presence. The season is entitled “Trial By Fire,” dedicated to five works about Joan of Arc, some staged, others in concert, plus Donizetti’s Siege of Calais.   Read more »

Ezio said than done

EzioGluck composed Ezio for the Carnival in Prague in 1750, a dozen years before he entered his so-called “reform” era. The piece was a hit for a year or two, then (as was usual) forgotten, its music available for judicious recycling. But its success was no freak: This is an exciting score, waiting for the properly schooled forces to restore it to the stage. There have been several happy European revivals lately but none in America.  Read more »

In Bruges

They say that Boston, despite many cultural distinctions, ain’t no opera town, and for some decades—generations?—this has been true. But tides of change will break, even on the shores of the Hub.

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