Adriel Bettelheim is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who has covered government, politics and business for more than 20 years for the Economist Group, Bloomberg, PolitiFact and The Denver Post. His European parents began dragging him to the Met at age 7.Childhood allowances were spent at the bins of Korvettes, The Record Hunter and Tower. While studying chemistry in college, he edited the school newspaper and began dabbling in classical program notes. He has played double bass in amateur pit and community orchestras and tries to squeeze in live opera, symphonic and chamber performances whenever possible.

Rex appeal Rex appeal

Say this about Oedipus: The character’s got staying power.

on February 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM
Ring à la russe Ring à la russe

Wagner is becoming an important calling card for Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre.

on February 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Gould standard Gould standard

Midway through his traversal of Wagner’s 10 mature operas for PentaTone, we’ve learned this about Marek Janowski:

on November 12, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Crack of doom Crack of doom

It took about 30 minutes for me to grow restless watching the world premiere video of Gyorgi Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre from Gran Teatre del Liceu.

on October 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Silver, plated Silver, plated

For all its rich evocations of 18th century Vienna and skillful balancing of slapstick and the sublime, Der Rosenkavalier’s popularity has always been rooted in its vivid principal characters.

on September 17, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Rung number Rung number

Unlike Mozart, the young Gioacchino Rossini seldom let his ambitions strain relations with employers.

on August 08, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Summer knights Summer knights

Richard Wagner believed the key to any legend was contrasting the supernatural with human nature, and showing how the combination had no chance of enduring. In Lohengrin, the title’s character’s insistence on unconditional love and trust collide with the conditional expectations of the real world. The challenge is capturing the tale’s somber majesty without losing…

on July 10, 2012 at 1:25 PM
Past imperfect Past imperfect

One of my adolescent pastimes was trolling the classical cut-out bins in record stores searching for overlooked gems or unfamiliar singers.

on June 07, 2012 at 1:43 PM
Wholly Grail Wholly Grail

Certain opera productions become the stuff of legend as much for the circumstances surrounding the performance as for the musical results.

on May 07, 2012 at 5:19 PM
Sunday in the park with Tannhäuser Sunday in the park with Tannhäuser

Certain contemporary opera directors have taken to portraying Wagner protagonists as visual artists to better illuminate the characters’ moral and aesthetic struggles.

on April 02, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Casual Friday Casual Friday

The symbolism and themes of suffering and redemption in Parsifal have provided catnip for more than a few oddball stagings filled with Regie excesses.

on March 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM

“This is the end of Western culture,” Richard Strauss proclaimed after a rehearsal of his penultimate opera Die Liebe der Danae, in Salzburg in 1944. The octogenarian composer, increasingly on the outs with the Nazis and switched off from contemporary music currents, could well have identified with his protagonist Jupiter, a once-mighty God caught up in an off-kilter…

on December 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Giovanni Simone Mayr was one of the most important musical figures of his day, a man Rossini referred to as the “father of Italian opera” whom Napoleon personally lobbied to come work in Paris. Though he wrote nearly 70 operas and taught Donizetti and Bellini, the Bavarian-born composer had the misfortune of hitting his peak…

on November 22, 2011 at 6:48 PM

In the liner notes to his new Wagner CD, Rene Pape opines that performing the master’s work isn’t terribly different than performing Mozart. Both composers require singers to sustain a melodic line, manipulate vowels at the right moments and deploy dynamic gradations for dramatic effect. Call it German bel canto or natural speech, just don’t…

on October 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Robert Schumann said he devoted more love and energy to Manfred than any of his other compositions. It took him only about a month in 1848 to adapt a translation of Byron’s semi-autobiographical poem about a guilt-ridden noble into a program consisting of an overture and 15 pieces for chorus, orchestra and spoken voice. Schumann was…

on September 02, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades straddles two genres. With a macabre plot that explores the boundaries of human obsession, it’s an early psychological thriller that makes the audience engage in a kind of voyeurism Alfred Hitchcock loved. Yet the plot drawn from Pushkin and the striking Romantic score with its references to Mozart, Bizet and Grétry firmly…

on August 01, 2011 at 9:50 AM

The centennial observances of Gustav Mahler’s death have not turned up a surfeit of newly discovered performances, probably because his symphonies and song cycles have long been a calling card for serious artists and record labels. Though the industry archives may be picked clean, the estates of dead musicians are at least starting to kick…

on June 27, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Five decades before the Met turned to computer-assisted planks to help tell the story of Wagner’s Ring cycle,  the company stirred controversy and comment with another staging of the tetralogy. General Manager Rudolf Bing imported a stark, abstract production from the Salzburg Festival in order to secure the services of Herbert von Karajan, who not…

on June 01, 2011 at 10:36 AM

A documentary about the heldentenor Max Lorenz would seem to be an ideal prism through which to examine the moral ambiguities and trade-offs of artistic life in the Third Reich. The preeminent Siegfried, Tristan and Tannhauser of the Nazi era was considered so essential to the success of Bayreuth that Winifred Wagner told Hitler that…

on April 30, 2011 at 8:17 PM