Headshot of La Cieca

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Eschorcher

Jennifer LarmoreGiuseppe and I have always had a complicated relationship. I could live without ever hearing Aïda again, and although I love Il Trovatore I can’t get too excited about either Rigoletto or La Traviata. Much as I admire Otello and Falstaff, instead Macbeth is the Shakespeare opera I couldn’t live without. A great Ernani thrills me in a way that no Un Ballo in Maschera ever has and while every encore of “Va, pensiero” makes me want to run to the nearest exit, the final act of Luisa Miller reigns as one of the greatest in all opera. But, for me, Verdi has always meant above all Don Carlos, his greatest, most complex, most moving work. Read more »

Les vêpres de Westchester

The big news from Bel Canto at Caramoor’s presentation of Les Vêpres Siciliennes last Saturday is far from unexpected: This wonderful score, a five-act grand opera composed to a French libretto, sounds much better—and, incidentally, makes a lot more sense—when sung in the original French words to which Verdi composed it. Even sung in American French. (The most exciting performance I’ve ever attended of it, however, was Die Sizilianische Vesper, auf Deutsch, in East Berlin, a riveting Walter Felsenstein production that omitted about forty minutes of the best music.) Read more »

All boulevards lead to Westchester

Toward the end of Gregory LaCava’s divine 1937 film Stage Door, which chronicles the lives of a crew of down-and-out actresses living together in a theatrical boarding house during the Depression, the not-so-bright Southern ingénue Mary Lou floats in ecstatic to have finally won a part. Her cronies, who include Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Eve Arden, tease her mercilessly when they learn that the part consists of a single line: “Let’s go up to Westchester!” I suspect more than a few New York City residents have borrowed that line when searching for opera each summer and since the mid-90s that Westchester destination has been “Bel Canto at Caramoor.” Read more »

ah_paris

New York has neon, Berlin has bars, but ah! Caramoor!

This summer at Caramoor, Will Crutchfield (not pictured) will conduct two Verdi operas written for the Académie Royale de Musique.

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capuleti_caramoor

Thirds and music

Richard Wagner told Cosima he first got the idea of composing an opera about Tristan and Isolde while he was conducting Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi starring his muse, Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, in the trouser role of Romeo.

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Ciro in Babilonia by Rossini, a Bel Canto at Caramoor performance

Conquering Ciro

By the time Rossini was 20, he had produced six operas, most of them brief, comic and slight. He admitted to admiring Mozart (not then well known south of the Alps), but the melodies of his early works show more of the influence of Paisiello.

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Don’t ask, do “Tell”

Repertory for “Bel Canto at Caramoor” 2011: H.M.S. Pinafore and Guillaume Tell. 

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Royal rascals

The Post decided to pass on a review of the Caramoor Maria di Rohan (July 24), but the presentation is definitely worth a mention and some discussion, so let’s take it to parterre.

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babylon when it drizzles

What impressed La Cieca at the Caramoor concert of Semiramide on Friday was not so much the quality of the performance (though that was on a solidly high level) but the magnificence of the work itself.  This magnificence stands out now in even greater relief after the comparison with Les Huguenots later in the weekend. 

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