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Jennifer LarmoreGiuseppe and I have always had a complicated relationship. I could live without ever hearing Aïda again, and although I love Il Trovatore I can’t get too excited about either Rigoletto or La Traviata. Much as I admire Otello and Falstaff, instead Macbeth is the Shakespeare opera I couldn’t live without. A great Ernani thrills me in a way that no Un Ballo in Maschera ever has and while every encore of “Va, pensiero” makes me want to run to the nearest exit, the final act of Luisa Miller reigns as one of the greatest in all opera. But, for me, Verdi has always meant above all Don Carlos, his greatest, most complex, most moving work. Read more »

Les vêpres de Westchester

The big news from Bel Canto at Caramoor’s presentation of Les Vêpres Siciliennes last Saturday is far from unexpected: This wonderful score, a five-act grand opera composed to a French libretto, sounds much better—and, incidentally, makes a lot more sense—when sung in the original French words to which Verdi composed it. Even sung in American French. (The most exciting performance I’ve ever attended of it, however, was Die Sizilianische Vesper, auf Deutsch, in East Berlin, a riveting Walter Felsenstein production that omitted about forty minutes of the best music.) Read more »

While you waste these precious hours

It has come to La Cieca’s attention that the New York Opera Calendar is sadly devoid of content until Saturday of this week (which is of course the date of the much-anticipated Vêpres Siciliennes at Caramoor). In order to, as one might say, stop up this lacuna, La Cieca proposes a mini-season of video opera so the parterriani may not have to go overlong, you know, without. Read more »

All boulevards lead to Westchester

“Let’s go up to Westchester!”

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New York has neon, Berlin has bars, but ah! Caramoor!

This summer at Caramoor, Will Crutchfield (not pictured) will conduct two Verdi operas written for the Académie Royale de Musique.

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Thirds and music

Richard Wagner told Cosima he first got the idea of composing an opera about Tristan and Isolde while he was conducting Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi starring his muse, Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, in the trouser role of Romeo.

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JJ au naturel

Our Own JJ has been spending a lot of time outdoors lately, which is such a novelty for him that he felt he really must write about it.

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Conquering Ciro

By the time Rossini was 20, he had produced six operas, most of them brief, comic and slight. He admitted to admiring Mozart (not then well known south of the Alps), but the melodies of his early works show more of the influence of Paisiello.

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