To some, Anne Schwanewilms will always be the soprano in the slinky black dress who replaced Deborah Voigt at Covent Garden a decade ago and confirmed the creeping influence of film and television values on the opera world. Read more »
Benjamin Britten’s final opera Death in Venice, based on Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella, is given a lush and quite beautiful production from stage director Deborah Warner for the English National Opera in this Opus Arte DVD filmed in 2013. Featuring almost magical settings by Tom Pye, luminous, wind-blown fabrics and water projections lit by the heat and sun effects of the lighting by Jean Kalman, the production gives an almost perfect frame for Britten’s tale. But for all the beauty and appropriateness of the frame, the picture itself is, for this reviewer, a deeply flawed masterpiece. Read more »
There is a truism that there are no small parts, only small singers. Last night’s Così fan tutte has made me consider another possible truism: there are no bad productions, only miscast productions. Read more »
In Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, all the Russian people starve and suffer, but none has suffering like the mental agonies of Tsar Boris.
Before there was Verdi’s Otello, Rossini’s Otello was considered the master operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
The operas of Franz Josef Haydn are seldom presented in the great opera houses of the world, but then, they weren’t composed for the great opera houses of his own world.
His 75-minute setting of Oedipus in Kolonos, heard in a live 2009 performance on MDR Klassik, illustrates how Mendelssohn tried to link ancient forms with Romantic-era sensibilities by fashioning harmonically adventurous chorales and believable characters instead of abstract musical representations of mythical figures.
A new DVD of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess features an enjoyable live performance from the San Francisco Opera from June of 2009.
Once again, beloveds, we approach the Milanese shrine that simultaneously attempted to cultivate and destroy the career of Maria Meneghini Callas.