Sweet bird Sweet bird

Anna Moffo made some of the most entrancing records ever. Their appeal is to “voice fanciers.” (I understand. We’re a despised group.) But Moffo’s best work renders us helpless. 

on January 25, 2016 at 11:58 AM
Significant mother Significant mother

Fans of divas who sing 19th and 20th century opera may find themselves searching in vain for CDs to buy with this season’s gift cards, since their idols so rarely put out solo recitals these days.

on December 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Gold diggers Gold diggers

Das Rheingold is the outlier among the Ring operas, an ensemble work with a fast-shifting plot, animated dialogue, fewer set pieces and less character development.

on December 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM
La figlia dell’aria La figlia dell’aria

For her third solo recording, Olga Peretyatko summons the two men who launched her career less than a decade ago

on November 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Awakenings Awakenings

There is a simple elegance to the single-composer recital album format. For the listener in the mood for, say, Puccini, it’s a chance to delve into his music without any pesky interruptions by those other guys like Verdi or Massenet. And if one is also in the mood for a particular singer’s art, then the…

on September 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM
A desert breeze whispering a lullaby A desert breeze whispering a lullaby

The studio opera recording is a rare beast these days and its arrival always a cause for celebration.

on September 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM
A fjord in her future A fjord in her future

Anja Silja staked a claim as a leading Senta of her era with a series of searing performances of Der Fliegende Holländer while in her early twenties.

on August 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Tony, “Danza” Tony, “Danza”

Exclusively for you, the loyal parterriani, here’s a sneak preview video from Joyce and Tony: Live at Wigmore Hall.

on August 03, 2015 at 9:38 AM
A ‘Ring’ for the rest of us A ‘Ring’ for the rest of us

I was once accused—by my own mother, mind you!—of having too many recordings of Verdi’s Aida.  The blistering audacity of that recrimination did get me to thinking: How many recordings of Aida is too many? I mean, you’ve got the old classic you cut your teeth on. Then there’s he one where the tenor and…

on July 09, 2015 at 2:14 PM
d’Arc victory d’Arc victory

Tonight’s program at the New York Philharmonic, Arthur Honegger’s massive oratorio dramatique Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, has been an occasional visitor to the orchestra’s repertoire starting with the performance conducted by Charles Munch in January of 1948.

on June 10, 2015 at 10:40 AM
“Less filling” “Less filling”

“Disciplined and intelligent.”

on June 10, 2015 at 10:16 AM
Crown jewel Crown jewel

I’m a long-time fan of the Opera in English series funded by The Peter Moores Foundation that started, fittingly enough, with conductor Reginald Goodall’s performances of Wagner’s Ring cycle recorded live from the London Coliseum and released by EMI

on June 05, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Between the dragon and his wrath Between the dragon and his wrath

Aribert Reimann’s 1978 opera Lear, based of course on Shakespeare’s titanic tragedy King Lear, is a major achievement in modern operatic scoring.

on May 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM
A monster, without being a myth A monster, without being a myth

Before this recording arrived in my mailbox, I: ( a) didn’t know there was an operatic version of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, one of my favorite plays; and (b) was unfamiliar with the works of composer Gerald Berry.  After several hearings, I’m still not convinced that there is an operatic version of Earnest.…

on April 01, 2015 at 7:30 AM
Between two worlds Between two worlds

If works like Salome and Erwartung defined modernism in the first decades of the 20th century, Die Tote Stadt and Palestrina represented the regressive avant garde.

on March 23, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Mais nous voyons à nouveau La Carmencita Mais nous voyons à nouveau La Carmencita

The opening night of the Metropolitan Opera of September 1972 was supposed to be the dawn of a new era.

on March 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Fresh princes Fresh princes

Imagine two tenors releasing French opera aria collections at the same time without duplicating a single track!

on February 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Queen sized Queen sized

The last day of December a parcel arrived in the mail containing an absolute delight: “Semiramide—La Signora Regale.” One of best vocal recordings of 2014, this sumptuous 2-CD set on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi features the marvelous Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus and includes 90 minutes of rarely-heard music written for the legendary Babylonian queen.

on February 15, 2015 at 11:16 AM
Pazzo son, guardate! Pazzo son, guardate!

Manon Lescaut was Giacomo Puccini’s first big international success. His publisher, Giulio Ricordi, tried to put him off the project by citing Jules Massenet’s very successful adaptation just nine years previously. Puccini was intent on making the story his own, insisting, “A woman like Manon can have more than one lover… I shall feel it…

on January 25, 2015 at 4:42 PM
Saxon violence Saxon violence

His shaved head in striking contrast to his dark beard and glinting eyes, the implacable Tartar conqueror glowers at us from the CD cover, while the uncropped photo of countertenor Xavier Sabata (above) is even more disturbing, featuring his raised fist and forearm tightly wrapped in a leather belt.

on December 22, 2014 at 1:54 PM
No such Gluck No such Gluck

When Richard Wagner reached into the past and revised Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, he went beyond the accepted boundaries of tinkering and more or less created a new work that’s fomented aesthetic debates ever since.

on October 06, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Panning for gold Panning for gold

Giacomo Puccini’s horse-opera version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,”  La Fanciulla del West, based on David Belasco’s play, The Girl of the Golden West, enjoyed the status of a curate’s egg for quite a while.

on October 04, 2014 at 8:00 AM
West coast story West coast story

I fall on my knees before this new live recording issued by the San Francisco Symphony.

on September 09, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Dancing with the star 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.

on September 03, 2014 at 6:25 PM