Cher Public

German, te togli al campy…

poppies1817 was a fertile and diverse time for 26 year old Gioachino Rossini. It opened with his last true opera buffa, La Cenerentola, continued with his most important semiseria, La gazza ladra, and ended with two operas, which, although both nominally belonging to the seria genre, could not be more different from each other. Read more »

Golden girl

dessi_armiliatoAlthough she has made headlines on this side of the Atlantic largely because of her recent dismissal by Franco Zeffirelli from a Roman production of La traviata on the grounds of “physical inadequacy,”  Daniela Dessì is a topflight star in Europe. In her native Italy she is arguably the most popular soprano currently active. Over the years she has become a household name, one of those singers known even by people who do not normally attend opera.

Read more »

The girls downstairs

altre_dueRome, June 16, 1800. Emilia sits in the lodge of Palazzo Farnese, of which she is the doorkeeper. She is a resilient, strong-willed and somewhat hardened woman. After all, she has long been in the employ of the Palazzo’s formidable occupant, Baron Scarpia, and witness to so much of his wickedness. Read more »

The Barber of Bleecker Street

One week after my visit to Amore Opera, it was time to turn my attention to Bleecker Street Opera — another heir presumptive to the throne of the defunct Amato Opera. 

Read more »

These three

A recent production of Il Trittico, recorded in Modena, was originally published on DVD by TDK two years ago. However, its new release on Blu-ray — along with the attention this Puccini masterpiece has received thanks to a handful of recent high-profile productions — has prompted me to take another look. Although this video was filmed live in a single evening at the Teatro Comunale of Modena, the production toured several towns in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna over many months, with occasional changes of cast and conductors. The opera houses that hosted Trittico may be part of the Italian regional operatic […]

Read more »

“Amor, ch’a nullo amato amar perdona”

My latest assignment from our doyenne has been to explore two of the many small opera companies pullulating around New York City. Some of these ensembles last l’espace d’un matin, while others have been enjoying a longer, healthier life.

Read more »

Fire and Music

With Händel’s canon largely rediscovered and audiences hungry for more music from the Baroque period, opera houses and recording companies have increasingly turned their attention towards the stage works of Antonio Vivaldi. In only the past decade around 25 of Vivaldi’s operas and pasticcios have been revived, and more and more artists are performing and recording recitals completely or partially devoted to his music. Both mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux and violinist/conductor Fabio Biondi have been in the forefront of this Vivaldi renaissance, joining forces for a complete Bajazet as well as Alessandro Scarlatti’s La santissima Trinità.

Read more »

Cherry picking

“Voglio essere giudicato per la musica e nient’altro che per la musica.” “I want to be judged for my music and nothing but my music.” This phrase, which Mascagni himself wrote to his publisher Sonzogno, is the key to understanding the very essence and existence of L’amico Fritz (1891). Cavalleria rusticana, Mascagni’s first performed opera, had premiered the previous year to astonishing success, and had instantly catapulted him to the top sphere of the musical world. Virtually overnight he had become a true international celebrity. Women swooned over his youth and good looks. Hordes of young men rushed to the […]

Read more »