Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Note on Pumpkins

Tweet The Department of Energy has just issued a pumpkin alert. Before digesting it ask yourself a few questions: Where did the carbon in the pumpkin come from? How will it get into the atmosphere if the discarded pumpkin is buried in a landfill? Doesn’t the Dept of Energy have anything better to do than worry…


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Finale 2 – Tancredi Act 1

Tweet Now for another first act finale by Rossini written at about the same time as the one from L’Italiana. Tancredi was Rossini’s first big success. It was premiered in Venice at La Fenice a few months before L’Italiana. It’s an opera seria, though the finale we’re about to hear could just as well come…


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Finale 1 – L’Italiana in Algeri Act 1

Tweet I decided to post, from time to time, a finale from an Italian opera (all the really good ones are Italian). It can be from either a comic or serious opera. My only criterion is that it be really good. I’ll start with the finale to Act 1 of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. Rossini…


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Flaviano Labò

Tweet Flaviano Labò (1927-91) made an unheralded debut at The Met on Friday evening November 29, 1957 as Alvaro in Verdi’s La Forza Del Destino. I attended his debut mainly because Zinka Milanov and Leonard Warren were in the cast. Nobody among the standees had any idea who Labò was or how he had found…


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Substandard Medical Care, Etc

Tweet An article in The Guardian says that two-thirds of hospitals in the UK give substandard medical care. Furthermore 75% of hospitals have levels of safety that “are not good enough.” These hospitals are said to be understaffed and underfunded. These problems are expected to worsen as the government phases in cuts to the National Health…


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A New Medical Curriculum

Tweet The medical school curriculum is undergoing another revision. These changes to the course of instruction occur more frequently than those of an infant’s diaper. They typically are accompanied by statements like “A curriculum change can have a large impact on a student body.” Such a statement presumably assumes the impact will be positive. It…


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Il Trovatore in HD – 2015

Tweet Enrico Caruso’s famous quip that you needed to do Verdi’s Il Trovatore were the four greatest singers in the world was proven correct this afternoon by the Met’s HD telecast of the opera. When you have performers as good as the Met brought together for this show you realize what an extraordinary masterpiece Il Trovatore is and…


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The Verdi Requiem

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl59Gn602hg

Tweet The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra will present Verdi’s Messa di Requiem on October 16 and 17 at the Civic Center Theater. The program notes that I wrote for the occasion are below. Giuseppe Verdi thought that 19th century Italy had produced two cultural giants – Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) and Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873). The former literally invented…


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Otello and Racism

Tweet Otello is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito based on Shakespeare’s play Othello. Both the play and the opera’s libretto explicitly say that Otello (Othello) is a black man. The title character requires a dramatic tenor of extraordinary vocal power and stamina. Since the opera’s premiere in 1887 the only tenors able…


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