Cher Public

  • JohninSeattle: My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist. 5:49 PM
  • Big Finn: Most likely he has a royalty deal with Decca, and any repackaging and release of older recorded material would bring him... 5:19 PM
  • steveac10: Except Hong reads younger on stage than most sopranos in their 40′s. To say she is aging well is an understatement. 5:03 PM
  • Satisfied: 2016 at Aix-en-Provance looks very interesting: http://www.festiva l-aix.com/blog/pre ts-pour-2016/ But then again, so did this... 4:19 PM
  • aulus agerius: means nothing with photoshop these days :-) 4:01 PM
  • Hippolyte: And Hong will be nearly 57 when she undertakes her first Butterfly next year–surely a not irrelevant detail in the... 4:01 PM
  • parpignol: did you hear Racette’s top notes in Pagliacci? 3:50 PM
  • Salome Where She Danced: Tempus fugit. Hard as it is to believe, SK is 57 this year, and I used to think singers of that age should... 3:36 PM

Rolling along

When the Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera announce they’re going to grubstake a production, you wouldn’t be at all  surprised that they have chosen a classic American work. You might be surprised, though, when that title turns out to be Show Boat.

Although HGO does have a history with a touring production back in the 80’s, the other companies involved had only dipped that particular toe in the water up to Porgy and Bess. But Show Boat, while not an opera by any means, could definitely qualify as an operetta based on the quality of its music and the size of the forces it requires to do it justice. This new release from Euroarts is the whistle stop of the show boat Cotton Blossom at the San Francisco Opera filmed in June of last year. The production is directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by John DeMain and is available on both on DVD and Blu-ray disc.   Read more »

Paris original

Another month, another La Traviata release on video. This performance was culled from the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival and is in many ways the performance of La Traviata that you would get if you took all the major Traviata productions from around the globe and averaged them. The performance doesn’t feature spectacular performances but since none of them are outright bad they round off to “extremely professional and competent.”

Director Tom Cairns’ production and Hildegard Bechtler’s designs follow recent Traviata trends without adding any original touches: vaguely modern-dress, “timeless” non-descript sets, and rather cold person-regie between the opera’s three protagonists. The curtain rises on a modern salon that nonetheless has a chandelier and some other trappings of elegance that would be more true to the demi-mondaine life than the modern high-class escort.   Read more »

Blow a kiss, take a bough

Richard Strauss’s many one-act operas make excellent concert programs, both for their length (usually under two hours) and the primary place each gives the orchestration, a specialty where Strauss’s brilliance seldom deserted him. The wordless apotheosis into godly treehood that concludes his Daphne is rightly treasured, a sublime late Straussian idyll, and a concert performance spares us the muddle he and his librettist made of the myth.   Read more »

solti amazon

A ‘Ring’ for the rest of us

I was once accused—by my own mother, mind you!—of having too many recordings of Verdi’s Aida.  The blistering audacity of that recrimination did get me to thinking: How many recordings of Aida is too many? I mean, you’ve got the old classic you cut your teeth on. Then there’s he one where the tenor and the mezzo are really the only good thing going. And, of course, the one with your favorite soprano in the title role, the remake when she switched labels, and then the four pirates. Don’t forget the one with another favorite soprano, but this time she’s [...]

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Two Women

Warhorse

Three blocks from the opera house is a terrible time to realize there was homework.

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Figaro 1

Married to the mobcap

I have an idea (soon to be angrily debunked in the comments section) that Le nozze di Figaro is rarely a source of unalloyed bliss to the chronic operagoer.

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Zerbinetta

Mixed messages

For instance, the mule is more intelligent and more patient than its parents the horse and the donkey.

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Barbiere_1

Al fresco

Poor Paisiello. Out of the nearly 100 operas written by this industrious composer just one was generally regarded as a masterpiece.

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honegger_amazon

d’Arc victory

Tonight’s program at the New York Philharmonic, Arthur Honegger’s massive oratorio dramatique Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, has been an occasional visitor to the orchestra’s repertoire starting with the performance conducted by Charles Munch in January of 1948.

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luisi_amazon

“Less filling”

“Disciplined and intelligent.”

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