Cher Public

Roberto Devereux: Tragedy Mirrored

Devereux Leyla GencerBy the time Roberto Devereux saw its premiere at Napoli’s Teatro San Carlo on 29 October, 1837, Gaetano Donizetti had lost, in an 18-month time frame, both his parents, two still-born children, and his beloved wife Virginia. (Ten years later, the unfortunate composer, after a gradual descent into madness, met a grisly end, from complications of syphilis.) The opera was completed a month after his wife’s death. We can scarcely imagine how the composer, in his grief, summoned up the means to create an opera—and one that so often teems with his richest levels of inspiration.  Read more »

Queen for a D

Some may conjecture that Anna Bolena is a stronger opera than Maria Stuarda and its title role a better fit for Sondra Radvanovsky, but Friday’s season premiere at the Met of Donizetti’s opera about the doomed Scottish queen proved surprisingly satisfying and a genuine success for the American soprano.   Read more »

Keeper of the flame

If Gaspare Spontini is known to opera-lovers at all, it’s thanks to a single performance of his most famous work—La Scala’s 1954 opening night featuring Maria Callas in La Vestale. Its widely circulated broadcast brought Spontini’s 1807 tragédie lyrique to many, yet several other prima donnas since have also sought to resurrect this recalcitrant opera including Renata Scotto, whose priestess highlights this week’s “Trove Thursday.”   Read more »

Arpa d’or

Born on this day in 1813 composer Giuseppe Verdi.

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Don’t axe me why

The Metropolitan Opera’s much vaunted so-called “Tudor Ring” of three royal operas by Donizetti got off to a bumpy start Saturday afternoon with a revival of Anna Bolena that stubbornly refused to cohere either musically or dramatically.

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Amme let you finish

On this day in 1919, Die Frau ohne Schatten premiered in Vienna.

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Dancing with the star

After listening to “Stella di Napoli,” her mightily impressive new CD of rare bel canto arias just released by Erato, I felt many of the old sparks reigniting.

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“I felt the hand of Death”

Oddly enough, Eva Marton‘s interpretation of the Kostelnicka (pictured) goes unmentioned in Issue #38.

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