Crowning glory Crowning glory

To imagine that I have anything new to say about Maria Callas’ 1957 performance of Anna Bolena at La Scala is sheer pomposity.

on August 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Tales of an evil queen Tales of an evil queen

Beethoven expressed it best when he reportedly threw Rossini shade: “Any other other style than opera buffa would do violence to your nature.”

on August 14, 2012 at 4:08 PM
See the pretty diva in that mirror there See the pretty diva in that mirror there

The diva must be a Diva in Adriana Lecouvreur. Fact.

on July 25, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Mist opportunity Mist opportunity

The story is enough of a cipher to make any regie-bent director salivate.

on June 26, 2012 at 4:15 PM
Captive audience Captive audience

Die Entführung aus dem Serail has been a bit of an unruly child recently, with productions by Neuenfels and Bieito dividing audiences and inspiring critics like Heather MacDonald to lengthy manifestos.

on June 09, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Mountain high Mountain high

Yes, the plot of Luisa Miller is a novella, and a pleasantly juicy one at that. 

on February 12, 2012 at 6:18 PM
Old-fashioned wedding Old-fashioned wedding

If the Arthaus Musik release of Le nozze di Figaro from La Scala feels like a slouchy revival pulled haphazardly from the video vault, the singers are certainly not at fault. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo and Diana Damrau, starring as Figaro and Susanna, are bankable stars who live up to the hype. At the podium, Gérard Korsten…

on January 03, 2012 at 5:45 PM

A 1989 production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera should have been another jewel in Herbert von Karajan’s already quite impressive crown.  A stellar cast, an impeccable orchestra, an enormous period set –the grand opera of Salzburg under his regime.  He had recently finished a studio recording with the cast, and was preparing them for…

on September 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM

If a new release of Verdi songs from Telos masquerades as a vanity project by Diana Damrau, the packaging takes the blame.  Despite a starring place on the slip cover and top billing, Damrau sings less than a third of the tracks.  It’s a pity, because she clearly found something of interest in the works…

on June 19, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Die Zauberflöte is a perennial favorite with audiences, and modern productions have attracted top singers and production teams.  Yet every production struggles with the performance text, particularly with the issues of race and sex. The dreams of the Enlightenment may be lovely, but the social mores of their dreamers have not aged gracefully. Despite a…

on April 18, 2011 at 1:20 PM

We see the excited crowd at the Arena di Verona, the ancient structure lit by enormous stadium lights, the passing of candlelight through the audience, and tourists snapping pictures. The flash bulbs keep popping, right through the performance. And as the opera unfolds, there is that feeling of watching a tired Broadway cast walk through…

on April 04, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I’ve found myself procrastinating endlessly over this review. I’m always excited by the chance to hear recently composed operas, and have a weak spot for the American repertoire. So I had overly high hopes for Paul Salerni‘s Tony Caruso’s Final Broadcast. At first listen, I found myself underwhelmed, slightly off put by the blending of…

on February 14, 2011 at 11:01 AM

In the process of unearthing forgotten musical works, sometimes we stumble across a gem.  World War II saw an entire generation of European composers forced into internment or diaspora, and their works are only slowly being rescued from obscurity. In a recent DVD release from the LA Opera, a part their Recovered Voices series, we…

on January 10, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Which cord does one snip to make a castrato? So goes a running joke in The Last Castrato by Guy Fredrick Glass, a play about Alessandro Moreschi, the last living castrato and the only one ever recorded. Much of his career was spent as the first soprano of the Sistine Chapel Choir, both because of…

on November 17, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Simpler can be better, as Pocket Opera of New York demonstrated in the back of the Bechstein Showroom on Wednesday evening for their double bill of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and Debussy’s La chute de la maison Usher.  When I heard these operas would be presented in English with piano accompaniment, I was initially…

on October 15, 2010 at 2:52 PM