Giacomo Puccini’s horse-opera version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” La Fanciulla del West, based on David Belasco’s play, The Girl of the Golden West, enjoyed the status of a curate’s egg for quite a while. Its popularity dwindled after its initial, and wildly successful, premiere at the Metropolitan in 1910 starring Enrico Caruso, Emmy Destinn, and Pasquale Amato and conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Since it was the first new opera commissioned by the Met it generated a lot of excitement in the media and with the public. Critics mostly fell over themselves for the glories of the music, mise en scène (real horses on stage!), the singing and conducting. Read more »
The Metropolitan Opera desperately needed a new production of Le nozze di Figaro. The old Jonathan Miller production in its last revival had degenerated into a freakshow. My most vivid memory is the fingernails-on-chalkboard Susanna Mojca Erdmann simpering on the apron of the stage as the libretto called for her to be frantically shuttling Cherubino out of the Countess’s window. It was pure filth. Read more »
It’s a place where the one thing you can expect is the unexpected. The place is… Philadelphia?
Soprano Renée Fleming is certainly making the role of the Countess in Richard Strauss’s final opera Capriccio the focus of her late-career years.
For those who like their Handel loud, with no forfeit of baroque finesse, one promising solution is to make the hall smaller.
Far be it from me to join the Schadenfreudian chorus of “Bye, Bye, Berti!” you may have been hearing in certain quarters, but the first thing I am duty-bound to report about San Francisco Opera’s Norma (of which three performances remain) is that they’ve hit the jackpot, coverwise.
“Oh to be young and going to Paris for the first time,” exclaimed an elderly gentleman who donned his best sweatervest for a concert at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival this past August.
I always think of Don Giovanni as half of the greatest opera ever written. Or, actually, about 2/3 of the greatest opera ever written.