Despite the continued popularity of Der Freischütz in German-speaking countries, are the magical mature operas of Carl Maria von Weber otherwise really so problematic, their libretti so unwieldy to explain their continued absence from the world’s stages? The enthusiastic ovations Sunday afternoon that greeted the conclusion of the second performance of the first US staging of Euryanthe in nearly a century at Bard Summerscape suggested that perhaps a reconsideration of Weber may be underway. Read more »
In his memoirs Richard Strauss had the foresight to put down what he called his “10 Golden Rules for Young Conductors.” It’s a fairly comprehensive list in spite of being so short with pithy comments like, “Never look encouragingly at the brass.” Number three has always been the one that’s fascinated me most: “Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they were by Mendelssohn: Fairy music.” Seriously, how often has that happened? The average performance of Strauss’ Elektra reaches a decibel level akin to the landing deck of a fully functional aircraft carrier. I’ve even heard rumors that the John Culshaw produced ‘sonic-stage’ spectacular Decca recording with Georg Solti conducting and Birgit Nilsson’s all-out assault on the title role can be heard from space. Read more »
“Who will dare dance with me the ancient Dagger-Dance of the Californians?” cries Castro the half-breed, smashing his knife into the dirt amidst a Fiesta in old Santa Barbara, circa 1829. To everyone’s astonishment, Natoma, last princess of the island Indians, sinks her dagger in the ground beside Castro’s. After all, the pretty American naval officer has sung a love duet with Natoma’s (whiter) school chum. What has Natoma left to live for? And someone’s blood must flow. Read more »
For those of you still queasy after Mary Zimmerman’s sophomoric snarknado attack on Bellini’s La Sonnambula, the new DVD of the Stuttgart Opera production should provide a bracing restorative.
The Salzburg Festival has long had the image of this place where for a little over a month, the very best singers are brought together with the very best conductors and the very best directors to create the very best productions the opera world has to offer.
Vienna never really forgave Erich Wolfgang Korngold for going to work in the movies.
The NY Phil Biennial, a new music festival that is dedicated to new music, kicked off its first season at a drowsy time on the performing arts calendar, the week after Memorial Day.
Some ideas are so absurd that the only way to describe them is to simply use the liner notes.
Once upon a time, a man and a woman met. He could sing, she could sing. They fell in love, got married, and became a power couple to rival Billary.