Monthly Archives: January 2009

How to Kill a Football Player

Tweet The above is the title of a paper publisher by Jim Knochel in 1975 – (Knochel J.P. Dog days and siriasis. How to kill a football player. JAMA 1975 23:513-515). It immediately became a classic. The reason I bring it up in the depths of winter is because of the criminal indictment of a…


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Orfeo Ed Euridice in HD

Tweet Gluck’s opera received its 91st performance at the Met on Saturday January 24, 2009, it’s first was in 1885. Ninety one performances over 124 years puts Gluck’s opera in a special category. Is it a masterpiece that somehow frequently gets forgotten or is it a castor oil opera? Orfeo ed Euridice is not hard…


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The Recordings of Enrico Caruso 1905 – 1907

Tweet Caruso’s only recording session in 1905 took place in New York on February 27th. He recorded just five numbers. He was again accompanied only by a piano. Though still singing French arias in Italian, the two French selections are the most successful. Caruso’s vocal control was getting more secure. Still he fell back on…


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Fitzcaraldo and Opera

Tweet Somehow I didn’t get around to seeing Werner Herzog’s movie Fitzcaraldo, released in 1982, until now. I thought it was about a mad attempt to haul a steamboat over a small mountain. While moving the boat over the obstacle that separates one river from another is a central part of the story, the film…


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The Recordings of Enrico Caruso 1902 – 1904

Tweet In the mid 1950’s RCA records issued a deluxe compilation of many of Enrico Caruso’s recordings. The multi-disc set was enclosed in a faux leather case and contained a well illustrated booklet written (though not with strict accuracy) by the Met’s then assistant general manager Francis Robinson. Since purchasing that collection, I’ve been buying…


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Nephritic Edema

Tweet Yesterday I mentioned Ludwig Eichna. One of his great contributions to medical pathophysiology was the delineation between congestive heart failure and a congestive state. He built on the ideas of John Peters an Yale. Peters observed that while all measurable fluid compartments in patients with CHF were expanded their kidneys acted as if volume…


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Racing Odysseus – Nothing New Under the Sun

Tweet Racing Odysseus is a book by Roger H Martin. Four years ago Martin took a sabbatical from his job as president of Randolph-Macon College to enroll as a freshman at St John’s College in Annapolis, MD. He was not really a student – he didn’t participate in seminar discussions and he only stayed for…


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La Rondine – What You May have Missed

Tweet Apparently the technical problem with the Met’s HD telecast of Puccini’s La Rondine that I described yesterday was not confined to west Texas. To try to compensate for the loss of the opera’s most beautiful music here is the finale of its second act. The music starts just before the great quartet with chorus…


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Met's La Rondine Marred by Technical Glitch

Tweet La Rondine (broadcast today in HD) has been absent from the Met for more than 70 years. The house brought it back solely as a vehicle for Angela Gheorghiu and her spouse Roberto Alagna. Why the Met let’s anything by Puccini languish while it finds the resources for Satyagraha or Dr Atomic can only…


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Ettore Bastianini

Tweet Ettore Bastianini was born and died in Sienna (1922 – 1967). From 1945 to 1951 he sang as a bass. He was good enough to sing at La Scala. But by ’51 he was convinced that he was a baritone. He reworked his technique and debuted as a baritone in 1952 without a lot…


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