Perhaps there are not that many people in the world who would look at a CD cover and think “Oh, goody, goody! A libretto by Eugène Scribe I’ve never come across before!” Scribe, a prolific creator of many forms of popular theatre in Paris, wrote the libretti for the most famous French grand operas but also produced works in many other genres. I knew I could expect a lot of variety, incident and entertainment from Ali Baba ou Les Quarante voleurs (“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”) and I was not disappointed. Read more »
This week, I was pleasantly surprised to find an envelope from La Cieca in my mailbox. Inside I found two contrasting CDs of soprano arias, one of Verdi and the other of Mozart. As someone who thinks Verdi is the greatest composer who ever lived and who feels pretty meh about Mozart, I expected to love the Verdi and be bored by the Mozart. I wasn’t far wrong.
When Norman Lebrecht is declaring on an almost daily basis that classical music is dead, it’s perhaps heartening that four of today’s prominent tenors have recently recorded what might be called fluff/vanity albums.
Joseph Calleja released an album of eclectic love songs, named (what else?) Amore. Hot on its heels is Vittorio Grigolo’s foray into an equally eclectic mix of religious songs, Ave Maria. On a slightly less fluffy level are Rolando Villazón’s album of Mozart concert arias, intriguingly entitled Mozart, and Juan Diego Flórez’s foray into the French spinto/heroic repertoire, named, naturellement, L’amour. Read more »
The hostile reaction to the Mary Zimmerman production of La sonnambula was well documented after the premiere in 2009.
The finer performances of Tristan und Isolde have a way of sounding like a four-hour improvisation, the fruit of a single moment of inspiration that makes one forget how emotionally manipulative and painstakingly crafted the music really is.
This afternoon at the Met, Grigolo sold his performance like the rent was due tomorrow and he was down to his last penny.
It’s been a bitterly cold winter in NY. When it’s bitterly cold, the air is dry.
Andris Nelsons led the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of Salome that provided just the sort of thing one hopes for in a concert performance of an overflowingly rich operatic score.