“To play La Pompadour—what a delightful task! To be La Pompadour—what a gruesome fate!” Thus spoke operetta superstar Fritzi Massary after researching her role as Louis XV’s official mistress in the Leo Fall operetta Madame Pompadour, which was written as a star vehicle for “die Massary” and had its first, hugely successful, performance in Berlin in 1922, followed by runs in Vienna and London. Read more »
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Olga Peretyatko was asked about how the secrets to her success. She answered, “Our world is really hard, and the winner is the one whose nerves are stronger…. Opening night at the Salzburg Festival? I was calm. In the Arena di Verona? I was calm.” And that’s the exact word I’d use to describe Peretyatko’s debut in I Puritani last night at the Metropolitan Opera: “calm.” Read more »
Ward Marston recently released a four-CD deluxe package of John McCormack’s lesser known Odeon recordings. These are not to be confused with his later, more well-known, and vocally revered discs he made on the Victor label. Recorded more than a century later, Lawrence Brownlee’s new album Virtuoso Rossini Arias demonstrate just how far the tenore di grazia has come in the operatic world. The two albums are really useful bookends for each other. Read more »
The scene: a vocal audition, sometime in the past. A young, blond soprano approaches the podium. Her aria: “Un bel di.” She sings. Before she gets to the second “Chi sara” she’s rudely interrupted.
With orchestral and choral forces that could outnumber a small European village, Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder is a composition designed to overwhelm.
The sea, the sky, the wind, the storms that are so frequently depicted in the music of Benjamin Britten are brilliantly illuminated in the new DVD of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach, a collaboration between Aldeburgh Music, film director Margaret Williams, and stage director Tim Albery.
Who is the most happy fella, he who perfectly fits societal definitions of fitness and attractiveness, or he who attains self-acceptance in spite of whatever personal idiosyncrasies he may confront?
After her marvelous Pat Nixon at the Théâtre du Châtelet two years ago, June Anderson returned there last Wednesday with pianist Jeff Cohen for a recital of French melodies and Broadway songs.
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is his masterwork and its themes of social convention and unrequited longing surely struck a deep chord in a composer who, in late 19th century Russia, was gay and had to conduct himself carefully.
About this evening: the opera we saw was Arabella, written by a gentleman named Mr. Richard Strauss.