Category Archives: Opera

Finale 8 – Act 1 Barber of Seville

Tweet Nobody exceeded Rossini in the mirth, invention, and sheer zaniness of the finales to his comic operas. The end of act 1 of The Barber of Seville is matched only by the Master from Pesaro himself. The action (really the inaction) is the response of Bartolo and Basilio to the release of the Count (who…


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Roberto Devereux in HD

Tweet Donizetti’s opera Roberto Devereux received it first production at the Met last month. Today’s performance featured the same cast as in the prima. Its librettist, Salvadore Cammarano, also wrote the book for Lucia Di Lammermoor and started that of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, but died before he could complete it. Devereux like Trovatore is an…


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Mosè in Egitto – Dal tuo stellato soglio

Tweet Mosè in Egitto was written in 1818 for the San Carlo in Naples. Rossini added the prayer that is this subject of this piece the following year. In 1827 he extensively revised the work into what became Moïse et Pharaon (a four act work) for the Paris Opera. Below is a synopsis of Act…


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Madama Butterfly in HD 2016

Tweet Kristine Opolais triumphed in today’s telecast of Madama Butterfly from the stage of the Met. Her reading of the role is matched in my experience only by those of Antonietta Stella and Diana Soviero. This opera, more so than any other standard repertory work, depends on the soprano who plays the title role. When…


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Recording of the Week: Lauritz Melchior Collection

Tweet Lauritz Melchior (1890-1973) was the great heldentenor of the first half of the 20th century. Toscanini called him Tristanissimo, which is also the name of his authorized biography. He sang over 500 performances at the Met where his career was mainly made, though he did sing extensively elsewhere. Born in Denmark, he became an…


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Michael Spyres Sings Bellini’s A tanto duol From Bianca e Fernando

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs5yvm3n__A

Tweet Michael Spyres is probably the best tenor now active never to have sung at the Met. This aria is in dog whistle country. In case the video disappears a link to it is below.   Spyres Bellini: Bianca e Fernando – A tanto duol


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Un Ballo in Maschera in Munich

Tweet The Bavarian State Opera is streaming its new production of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Mashera from its website until March 27. By European standards this is a pretty tame staging. The time was moved to around 1930. The place was neither colonial Massachusetts nor Sweden, but some indeterminate place in Operaland. In general, the staging…


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The 10 Best Tenors of the 20th Century

Tweet I’ve listed the 10 tenors that I think were the best of those active in the 20th century. Obviously, this list is entirely subjective and reflects nothing more than my tastes and opinions. Readers are invited to submit their own lists in the comments section. I have tried to pick a selection for each…


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Max Lorenz

www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQKmK9EUAjc

Tweet Max Lorenz (1901-75) was the great Wagner tenor of the first part of the 20th century. I’m leaving out Lauritz Melchior who inhabited a universe of his own. He made his debut in Dresden in 1927 and quickly became a great star in Europe. While the bulk of his career was in Germany and…


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Robert Merrill Rareties

Tweet Robert Merrill (1917-2004) was one of the 20th centuries greatest baritones. His career at the Metropolitan Opera  overlapped those of all the other great American baritones. When he debuted at the Met in 1945 Lawrence Tibbett was still singing at the New York house while Leonard Warren was beginning his tenure as the world’s…


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