Monthly Archives: January 2018

Jonas Kaufmann – L’Opera

Tweet L’Opera is the title of Jonas Kaufmann’s latest recital disc devoted to French opera arias and a few duets. Kaufmann has achieved considerable success singing 19th century French opera, especially Massenet’s Werther. This recital demonstrates the reasons for this success which does not completely carry over to a sound recording. In the theater you…


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Tosca in HD 2018

Tweet Tosca has given the Met a lot of trouble recently, or perhaps it’s the other way around. First, this new staging replaced Luc Bondy’s 2009 production which lasted for only 59 performances. Everybody seemed to hate it. I thought, by the standards of today’s stagings of the standard repertory, that it was pretty tame….


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Britain’s National Health Service Continues to Struggle

Tweet The UK’s NHS is experiencing another major problem. Patients ‘dying in hospital corridors’ is the headline of a BBC article describing “intolerable conditions” in the country’s government run hospitals. The system’s current problem is blamed on the flu and, of course, government underfunding. That the taxpayers’ funding of the NHS is at an all…


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Maestros and Their Music – Book review

Tweet Subtitled The Art and Alchemy of Conducting, John Mauceri has written an illuminating book which is more about the art and craft of leading an orchestra than it is about alchemy. Maestro Mauceri has had a distinguished career which has taken him to many of the world’s top orchestras and opera houses. Among the…


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Shostakovich – The Gadfly

Tweet Dmitri Shostakovich’s music seems to be in the process of eclipsing that of all other 20th century composers, again proving Verdi’s dictum that the only critic that counted, in the long run, was the audience. The Russian composer was a prolific composer of film music. His most famous piece from that ouvre is the…


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Lucia Di Lammermoor – Final Scene

Tweet Donizetti’s great opera is often seen as a vehicle for the soprano who sings the title role. But the opera’s last scene, Act 3 scene 3, which follows the Mad Scene, is as challenging for the tenor as the previous one is for the soprano. (The scene is sometimes numbered 2 as the first…


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Siegfried Wagner – The Impossible Dream

Tweet Suppose you were the son of Richard Wagner and the grandson of Franz Liszt – would the chromosomal burden be too much to bear? We can prove the question by examining the career of Siegfried Wagner (1869-1930).  He was born to Richard and Cosima Wagner (1837-1930). Cosima was the illegitimate daughter of Franz Liszt….


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The 10 Best Basses of the 20th Century

Tweet The basses discussed below are those who I think were among the best of the past century. If I made a similar list on another day it would likely be different from this one.  Thus, this compilation reflects nothing more than personal taste and preference. If you have a different one post it in…


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