Category Archives: Opera

The 10 Best Mezzo-Sopranos of the 20th Century

www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SkyFJMC4g

Tweet It was really hard to pick 10 mezzos. There were so many great singers of this range in the 20th century that I’m sure that if I picked just 10 a week from now, the list would be different. So this ranking not only reflects personal taste and opinion, but it also is conditional….


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Antonina Nezhdanova

Tweet Antonina Nezhdanova (1873-1950) was a Ukrainian soprano who made her career in the last years of Imperial Russia and then continued after the 1917 revolution as a singer and teacher in the Soviet Union. She was the greatest Russian soprano of her era. She had a high lyric voice which negotiated all the obstacles…


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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Orchestral Excerpts

Tweet Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is the greatest Russian opera of the 20th century and among all Russian operas is matched only by Boris Godunov.  Set to a libretto by the composer and Alexander Preys, it depicts the brutality of mid 19th century Russian life and the plight of women enmeshed in…


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French Opera Arias

Tweet The title is accurate, but incomplete. The arias that follow are all from operas that are rarely, if ever, heard today. Most of them are equally infrequent guests at recitals. But they all have some interest and are worth an occasional hearing. They are predominantly by French composers. I have not included Italians masquerading as…


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Depuis le Jour

Tweet Gustave Charpentier (1860-1956) is remembered, to the extent that he is remembered at all, as the composer of Louise – 1900.  The opera enjoyed some success in the first half of the 20th century; it received 52 performances at the Met between 1921 and 1949. I saw a single performance of it a long time…


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Der Rosenkavalier in HD

Tweet Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier was the final HD telecast of the Met’s 2016-17 season. It also marked the last appearance of Renée Fleming as the Marschallin and Elina Garanca as Octavian. The production by director Robert Carsen was introduced to the Met last month. He sets the action just prior to World War I. Unlike most time shifting…


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Rarely Heard Overtures

Tweet There are a number of operas that have fallen out of the main operatic repertory that have overtures that merit attention, but which are rarely performed, even in the concert hall. Here are few that deserve an occasional hearing. Daniel François Esprit Auber (1782-1881) was the composer of many successful French operas that gradually…


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La Bohème – Lubbock Symphony Orchestra

Tweet The following link will take to photos of the dress rehearsal of the LSO’s performance of La Bohème – La Bohème Pictures. The cast is below. The next link is to a PowerPoint presentation I gave before each performance. In order to  hear the musical illustrations you will need the complete folder that has…


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Vittoria Tenors Identified

Tweet On January 2 of this year I posted 22 examples of 22 different tenors singing Vittoria! Vitoria!!  from the second act of Tosca. Their identities are below. Giuseppe Di Stefano Jonas Kaufmann Franco Corelli Luciano Pavarotti Amadeo Zambon Mario Del Monaco Beniamino Gigli Jussi Björling Renato Cioni Jose Carreras Placido Domingo Giacomo Aragall Giorgio…


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Jussi Björling – Two Early Recordings

Tweet Below are two very early recordings by the great tenor. The first was made in 1929 when Björling was 18. The second was recorded three years later. The sound is unmistakably that of Björling. There is also the ineffable sweetness of youth. That Jussi was so good so early is amazing enough, even if…


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