It’s rare to encounter a video of an opera that has zero redeeming qualities, but I think I might have found it: the latest Arena di Verona La Traviata. It’s truly awful from every perspective: singing, acting, production, musical values. There’s really just no reason it’s on the market. The liner notes say that the performance took place in 2011. It should have stayed in the vaults. Read more »
With much laying-on of fanfares and gift boxes our friends at Decca Classics have unleashed Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1: The First Decade on a weary and satiated public. This is the inaugural offering of a planned troika of box sets commemorating the business dealings of the Modenese tenor to that British label. There was no holier alliance in all of classical recording (save Karajan and whatever label he deemed worthy) since, unlike the vast majority of classical artists, Luciano Pavarotti sold enough records to not only underwrite the projects he participated in but to keep Decca flush from the ensuing tsunami of coin his fans generated. Which is why, dear friends, they’re celebrating, not his birth or memorial but… the date of his contract signing. Read more »
The little opera companies of New York are like chanterelles: Some years they sprout everywhere and you can savor the scent in the woodsy air; other seasons they’re hard to find and unsatisfying when you stumble on a patch. New York’s got lots of untapped vocal talent but you never know which companies will have their ears screwed on straight. Read more »
Notable purveyor of mayhem and infanticide Medea has lately been missing from the local operatic scene, but Sunday afternoon sections of the recently renovated Alice Tully Hall were singed by Canadian soprano Dominique Labelle’s blazing incarnation of the Greek sorceress.
Mark Morris’ staging of Acis and Galatea at Lincoln Center is everything good about summer condensed into two hours.
In recent years the enterprising Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble has brightened the usually arid weeks of August in New York City with some worthy operatic showcases for young singers.
A great man has passed and our consolation is that so much of his art has been preserved for us on recordings.
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?
“Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they were by Mendelssohn: Fairy music.” Seriously, how often has that happened?
“Who will dare dance with me the ancient Dagger-Dance of the Californians?”