Violetta D. Pensataci

Born on the windswept tundras of Russia (or Scotland or Chicago, she can't quite recall as she was very young at the time,) Violetta learned two things at her mother's knee: what a bony knee looks like, and how to appreciate opera. She studied singing with the magnificent Nancy Kulp and made her professional debut and subsequent farewell performance in one evening as the Madame in "Butterfly." She now works as a waitress in a disreputable restaurant and devotes her free time to charitable work such as thinking of the children and giving up one cup of coffee a day.


Just in time for the holidays, Juan Diego Flórez releases the de rigueur Christmas album every internationally renowned opera star seems to make.  Entitled Santo, this CD, like most others of its ilk, is pleasantly entertaining.  However, Flórez eschews a straight Christmas album for one composed of a mix of religious standards, carols and eclectic…

on November 01, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Idomeneo is one of those operas I always meant to get around to, but never did. Composed in 1780, it’s considered Mozart’s first “mature” opera. If you collect live recordings of significant debuts, this 1964 Glyndebourne Festival live recording might be of interest. So far as I can tell, this may be the first full…

on June 16, 2010 at 8:55 PM

I have to confess to a certain bias: I adore Rossini’s music. Barber was the first album I ever bought, and fittingly, the first opera I ever sang. Rossini was an astonishingly prolific composer, writing more than thirty-five operas, as well as numerous secular and sacred choral works, songs, and chamber music.  

on June 03, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Boy, this review practically writes itself. I’ve heard Jonas Kaufmann’s Alfredo live and was duly impressed, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this recording. All I can say about Jonas Kaufmann: Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven & Wagner (Decca 4781463), to be released April 6, 2010, is that it went straight to both…

on March 28, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I really haven’t paid much attention to “opera regie,” so I can’t give you a firm definition of it. A while ago, a pithy and biting piece called “How to Opera Germanly” made the internet rounds, and it serves as a handy guide for we who are un- or under-initiated. This production of Haydn’s Orlando…

on February 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

In the past ten years there has been a renaissance of the countertenor, perhaps from a renewed fascination with period pieces performed in authentic period style. While no one is thinking of lopping off body parts just yet (although with some of these Regie productions, who knows?), many major opera houses now engage David Daniels,…

on November 05, 2009 at 10:45 AM