Christopher Corwin began writing for parterre box in 2011 under the pen name “DeCaffarrelli.” His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Musical America, San Francisco Classical Voice and BAMNotes. Like many, he came to opera via the Saturday Met Opera broadcasts which he began listening to at age 11. His particular enthusiasm is 17th and 18th century opera. Since 2015 he has curated the weekly podcast Trove Thursday on parterre box presenting live recordings.
With La Scala’s plan to open on December 7 with a new Lucia di Lammermoor thwarted, Trove Thursday sets its Wayback Machine to nearly 50 years ago to present two of the 20th century’s greatest madwomen—Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills—denounced by Plàcido Domingo and Alfredo Kraus respectively, with the former pair consoled by Kurt Moll‘s luxurious Raimundo.
Tonight at the Met should have welcomed Barrie Kosky’s production of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel; in its absence Trove Thursday steps in with a recent broadcast featuring this summer’s breakout star Ausrine Stundyte as the enigmatic Renata.
For this, the 250th edition of Trove Thursday, [hold for applause] a broadcast of a memorable evening at Carnegie Hall—and I was there: Smetana’s stirring Libuse, the Czech national opera, with a transcendent Gabriela Benackova as its titular prophetess.
Trove Thursday celebrates the centenary of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella not with the frequently heard orchestral suite but with the complete score in a broadcast featuring appropriately Italian forces including Anna Caterina Antonacci, Francesco Meli and Alex Esposito conducted by Daniele Gatti.
The worldwide “Beethoven 250” celebration hasn’t exactly come off as planned, so Trove Thursday steps up to offer the composer’s rarely-heard oratorio Christus am Ölberge with Jonas Kaufmann typecast in the title role, revered by Luba Orgonásova and Hanno Müller-Brachmann, plus a fleet HIP broadcast of the Choral Fantasy from earlier this year.
Next month in Bergamo Plácido Domingo takes on his zillionth—and possibly final—new role, so Trove Thursday previews it by returning to the same venue 50 years earlier for Donizetti’s Belisario with Leyla Gencer and Renato Bruson, a real baritone as its titular hero.
On the 21st of this month Romanian soprano Virginia Zeani will celebrate her 95th birthday and Trove Thursday salutes her versatility with two markedly different 20th century works: Menotti’s The Consul and Mascagni’s Il Piccolo Marat, one of many collaborations with her husband Nicola Rossi-Lemeni.
Trove Thursday began on September 10, 2015, so today we celebrate the podcast’s fifth birthday with a diva-starry Aïda double-bill: Galina Vishnevskaya vies for her soldier-hero with Irina Arkhipova, then Jessye Norman wins the guy (but loses her life) in spite of Mignon Dunn.
As Phaedra’s tragic, all-consuming passion for her stepson Hippolytus has fascinated artists for centuries, Trove Thursday offers two of its lesser-known musical settings: Pizzetti’s opera Fedra with Régine Crespin and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson performing the cantata Phaedra, Britten’s final vocal work.
Dame Janet Baker turns 87 tomorrow and Trove Thursday celebrates with Handel’s rare Admeto conducted by the great Sir Anthony Lewis in which Baker’s bold Alceste vies with Sheila Armstrong’s sparkling Antigona for her deluded husband Admeto’s affections.
Trove Thursday uncovered two broadcasts of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia that share a fascinating nexus: in each an enduring superstar tenor—José Carreras/Alfredo Kraus—is poisoned by a soon-to-vanish rising-star soprano—Vasso Papantoniou/Margarita Castro-Alberty.
Ordinarily we’d be listening to Bayreuth Festival broadcasts this week but instead Trove Thursday steps up with a true Wagner rarity: Die Feen from the Wiener Staatsoper starring as Ada, the fairy in love with a mortal, Gundula Janowitz, who turns 83 on Sunday.
Sonya Yoncheva’s first-ever Princess Romazov was one of this summer’s casualties but Trove Thursday steps up with a rare 1960 in-house pirate of Giordano’s Fedora starring Renata Tebaldi, Giuseppe di Stefano and Tito Gobbi along with a pair of Tebaldi-di Stefano Puccini highlights from the early 1950s.
Trove Thursday relishes neglected works, operas in translation and irreplaceable divas, and this week it presents a pair that embody all three affections: Cherubini’s Les Abencérages and Weber’s Oberon in Italian with the glorious Anita Cerquetti, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini and Vittorio Gui respectively.
With the Fourth of July approaching, Trove Thursday turns to a quintessentially American opera with the broadcast of the world premiere—some 60 years after its composition—of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha with Alpha Floyd, Seth McCoy and Simon Estes conducted by Robert Shaw.