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Cher Public

  • MontyNostry: “Till is, like, a really wacky guy. I can’t see him being a hit on the lawns at... 4:15 AM
  • MontyNostry: She probably won’t be doing much with the words anyway, Feldmarschallin. 4:12 AM
  • Archaeopteryx: “She is a good singer” - understatement of the year. She is phenomenal, and has... 3:53 AM
  • Feldmarschallin: The next Eva will be Krassimira Stoyanova who was born in 1962. She is 52 now and will be 55... 3:39 AM
  • Feldmarschallin: Yes she recovered even if she needed a bit of help yesterday when she came on stage at the... 3:27 AM
  • Feldmarschallin: Well lets hope she learns German first right? Wasn’t Fleming also suppossed to sing... 3:22 AM
  • steveac10: I can see why it was blocked from your memory. I only remembered it was not originally assigned to... 2:30 AM
  • Buster: Miriam Portmann is much better than all the previous Carlotta’s, she really sings “mit... 2:22 AM
  • La Cieca: Yes, you are right – I was working from memory. Volpe replaced the tired, traditional Carmen... 2:01 AM
  • steveac10: Well, that and he quit borrowing shows for his star tenors’ vanity projects. The thing this... 1:50 AM

Hothouse flower

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 »

Sex please: we’re British

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.

A 2009 revival from Glyndebourne on the festival’s label does quite nicely in this regard, balancing secure and expressive singing by Torsten Kerl, Anja Kampe and Sarah Connolly with a transparent accompaniment by Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic that captures the opera’s shifting moods and the beguiling musical lines. Like Marek Janowski, the Russian maestro is less concerned with overwhelming the audience with epic sound or tragic intensity than with letting Wagner’s melodic ideas and forceful climaxes tell the story.   Read more »

The cup runneth over

Even after more than 30 years as a die-hard opera fan there are still parts of the repertoire I haven’t embraced. Benjamin Britten and myself are really only acquaintances and I’ve met Alban Berg but fear we shall never be friends. I really became an opera fan chronologically backwards starting with Puccini and ending, essentially, with Mozart and Handel. Only then came Wagner.

After distilling all those different musical styles and traditions, Wagner wasn’t really that difficult to wrap my head around, with the exception of Parsifal. I would check the score out from the library and follow along dutifully to the broadcasts waiting for the penny to drop. It was years before I finally understood the lengths of its constructive elements and how broad the expanses of melody and leitmotif were within that structure.   Read more »

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Brass ring

Marek Janowski’s survey of Wagner operas on PentaTone so convincingly captures the pulse and dramatic flow of many of the works that the music-making at times sounds almost effortless.

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Critical care

The experience of watching Wagner’s final opera Parsifal is frequently elevated to a spiritual occurrence, and productions have historically emphasized the religious dimension of the opera’s core themes of redemption and the dangers of temptation.

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Coupe de grâce

Our good friends at Opera Depot are currently offering a free download of Parsifal conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch at the 1963 Bayreuth Festival.

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The opposite of canard is truth

“Is Parsifal, then, a religious artwork, or is it a work ‘about’ religion?”

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The music lovers

The curious things about accepted wisdom is that sometimes it’s correct.

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Springtime for Wagner

Could Marek Janowski do for Wagner what the early music movement did for the Baroque and Classical repertory?

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Dark side of the moon

Finally some video of Stefan Herheim‘s Salome production shows up on YouTube.

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