Category Archives: Opera

Finale 20 – Vengeance

Tweet The second act of Rigoletto ends with perhaps the most furious music in all opera. The hunchback jester’s daughter, Gilda, has just been raped by the Duke whom she had fallen in love with thinking he was a poor student until reality intruded with awful suddenness. And worse, she still loves him. The Duke…


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Anita Rachvelishvili

www.youtube.com/watch?v=inJd1x8UHdA

Tweet Exceptional talent by definition arises infrequently. The young (34) Georgian mezzo-soprano, the subject of this piece, fits into this tight niche. Though she has sung 53 performances at the Met since her debut there in 2011, her recognition as an operatic super nova has come this season the result of appearances as Amneris and…


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Adriana Lecouvreur in HD

Tweet OK, I’m  guilty. I confess. I really like Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur provided it’s performed by great singers as it was today. No qualifiers like some critics who try to disguise their taste for Adriana as if it were a sugary drink. So what if Cilea repeats a lot of his tunes. They’re all very…


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Esultate – Otello’s Entrance

Tweet There are many great entrances in opera. But none seems as compelling, informative, and brief as that of the title character in Verdi’s Otello. Only 12 bars long, it lasts barely more than half a minute yet defines Otello’s persona with a force and directness that is without peer. Julian Budden in his exegesis…


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Renata Tebaldi

Tweet In my post on the 10 Best Soprano of the 20th Century I failed to include Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004). Inadvertance is the only reason I can offer for her omission. She came to prominence in the years following the second World War. Toscanini hired her to perform in the reopening of La Scala and…


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There’s No Explaining (Bad) Taste

Tweet A review of the Met’s new production of La Traviata by Daniel Gelernter contained this statement: “As an artwork, it [La Traviata] is less valuable than the Alexandre Dumas novel on which it is based: Camille is a first-rate romance. La Traviata is more histrionic than subtle, but it manages a number of superb…


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The Grand Inquisitor

www.youtube.com/watch?v=om6HcUUa8DI

Tweet The scene in the king’s apartment of Verdi’s Don Carlo(s) is my choice for the greatest in all opera. [It is Act 4  scene 1 in the 5 act version.] Its moral grandeur, psychological insight, and musical characterization place it on an artistic level reached by only a handful of art’s supreme masters. The most…


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Michael Spyres in Philadelphia

Tweet New York’s Metropolitan Opera is suffering from a plague of inadequate tenors. Major productions have chugged along with tenors not up to the standard one would expect from the world’s most important opera house. The recent stagings of Samson et Dalila and Aida clearly demonstrate the Met’s tenorial difficulties. Yet the company does not…


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Why is Beethoven Greater Than Reicha?

Tweet I recently attended a performance of one of Antonin Reicha’s wind quintets – there are 24 of them. The number of the one I heard was not given. It was a competent work devoid of genius. Reicha (1770-1836) was born the same year as Beethoven and went to the same high school. They became…


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Metropolitan Opera Premieres

Tweet My last post commented on the latest work to be premiered by the Metropolitan Opera. I mentioned that only the two by Giacomo Puccini had achieved lasting success. Below is a list of both the world and American premieres mounted by the company since its beginning in 1883. You can thus form your own…


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