Category Archives: Opera

Antonio Cortis

Tweet Antonio Cortis 1891-1952 was a Spanish tenor with a beautiful spinto voice capable of singing both the light and heavy roles in the Italian and French repertory. Born on a ship in the Mediterranean, he gave Valencia, where he was raised, as his native city. He initially studied voice at the Madrid Conservatory. After…


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Benjamin Bernheim

Tweet Benjamin Bernheim is a young French tenor who was raised in Geneva and trained at the Lausanne Conservatory. He joined the Young Artists Program at the Zurich Opera and recently has made Debuts in London, Milan, and Chicago. He has a beautiful lyric tenor that seems ideal for the great French tenor roles –…


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Il Templario By Otto Nicolai

Tweet Otto Nicolai (1810-49) is remembered because of his last opera, The Merry Wives of Windsor, the only one (of five) written in German rather than Italian and as a co-founder of the Vienna Philharmonic. His second opera, Il Templario was set to a libretto by Girolamo Maria Marini based on Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe….


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Di Quella Pira

Tweet ‘Di quella pira’ is the cabaletta to the aria ‘Ah sì, ben mio’ which together make up almost the entirety of Act 3 scene 2 of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. The number’s famous high C (or sometimes Cs) were an addition to the score that Verdi allowed provided, he added, that the high note was…


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Tutto Verdi – Otello

Tweet Verdi’s penultimate opera is both a supreme masterpiece and the greatest killer of tenors in the Italian repertory. I’ve written enough about the merits of this opera on these pages to allow me to concentrate solely on the video disc that is part of Parma’s survey of all Verdi’s operas and on Latvian tenor…


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Finale 18 – Otello Act 3

Tweet The finale of Act 3 of Verdi’s Otello consists of the most elaborate concertato that Verdi ever wrote. The following comments borrow from Julian Budden’s analysis of this piece in the third volume of his definitive The Operas of Verdi. Verdi wrote great concertatos throughout his career. They are among the great achievements in opera….


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The Met’s House Tenors

Tweet The definition I’m using here is this: A Met house tenor is one who has sung at least 500 performances in leading tenor roles with the company. Thus, comprimario singers are not included. Using this rule there are only six tenors who qualify. They are listed below in the order of their birth followed…


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Cendrillon in HD

Tweet The Met’s current run of Massenet’s opera is the first time the company has performed the French composer’s version of the Cinderella story. Laurent Pelly’s production originated in 2006 at the Santa Fe Opera as a vehicle for Joyce DiDonato who also starred in the current mounting of the opera. In the ensuing 12…


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Court Rules Wagner’s Music Dangerous to Health

Tweet I written about the medical danger to health associated with Parsifal, now a British court has added Die Walküre to the list of hazardous Wagner operas. Violist Christopher Goldscheider convinced the court that playing in a cramped orchestra pit during a 2012 rehearsal of the opera subjected him to a noise level which resulted in…


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Quando le sere al placido

Tweet One of opera’s most moving and beautiful tenor arias occurs near the end of the second act of Verdi’s Luisa Miller. The aria is a test for any tenor as it requires a powerful spinto for its explosive introduction followed by an aria which is sensitive, lyrical, and has a classical beauty. The words…


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