Category Archives: Opera

Recording of the Week: Mathilde di Shabran

Tweet Written in in 1820 for Rome and then revised in 1821 for Naples, Mathilde di Shabran is Rossini’s last semiseria opera. A semiseria opera combines opera buffa with melodrama. Basically, it can be both silly and serious as long as everyone ends up alive at the final curtain. If you wish to see and…


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The Merry Widow in HD

Tweet Franz Lehár’s bon-bon  was telecast in HD today by The Metropolitan Opera. Five time Tony Award winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman along with a mostly outstanding cast gave Lehár’s 1905 operetta a spirited reading. The sets and costumes which were period appropriate were bright and appealing. Even the curtain calls were brilliantly staged. The…


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Rosa Raisa

Tweet Rosa Raisa (1893-1963) was born in Białystok, Poland as Raitza Burchstein. Because of the pogroms endemic in Russian controlled Poland during her childhood, her family fled to Italy when she was 14. Her vocal talent was soon recognized and she made her professional debut when she was 20. She sang at most of the…


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A Few Patter Songs

Tweet In the spirit of the holiday season, here are a few patter songs. This form is one of Western Civilizations greatest achievements. While the patter song precedes him, Rossini is the undisputed champion. Below are three of the master’s best examples of rapid fire comic singing. The first from the Barber of Seville is sung by…


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The Pearl Fishers – Milan 1960

Tweet Here’s a recording of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (in Italian) from a live performance in Milan on November 3, 1960. It features Alfredo Kraus and Giuseppe Taddei. Pina Margarini and Carlo Cava are the other featured singers. The RAI Chorus and Orchestra, Milan ar conducted by LaRoda Parodi.   The Pearl Fishers Milan 1960


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Les Martyrs in London

Tweet Donizetti’s rarely performed Les Martyrs received a concert performance on November 4, 2014 at the Royal Festival Hall. It was streamed by the BBC on November 15. Based on a play by Pierre Corneille Polyeucte (1642) about Christian martyrdom, the opera started out as Poliuto set to a libretto by Salvatore Cammarano. Intended for…


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Carmen in HD – 2014

Tweet Bizet’s opera was telecast today in HD. This was the 993rd performance of the work by the Met. This is the same production that was offered in HD by the Met in January 2010 with Elina Garanča in the title role, so I’ll just focus on the new performers. That run was led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin who…


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Le Nozze di Figaro in HD

Tweet Mozart and Da Ponte’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro was telecast in HD today. The opera is utterly unlike any that proceeded it. Its depth of characterization, complexity of ensemble writing, and dramatic propulsion moved opera to a new and higher level of artistic expression. Figaro’s dearth of recitatives allowing one number to flow…


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Macbeth in HD

Tweet Verdi’s masterful transposition of Shakespeare’s play to the lyric stage received its second HD transmission by the Met. Zeljko Lucic again played the title as in 2008. But today’s focus was Macbeth’s frightening spouse impersonated by Anna Netrebko. The Russian diva has undergone an astounding transformation since her Met debut more than 12 years ago…


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Tutto Verdi – Il Trovatore

Tweet Another Il Trovatore. This one from Parma’s Teatro Regio’s series of all the composer’s operas. It’s just chance that this post on the opera follows a previous one on the same work. I confess that I didn’t expect much from this performance as Verdi’s lyrical lunatics were portrayed by singers, excepting Marcelo Álvarez in the title role,…


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