Category Archives: Opera

The Met’s House Baritones

Tweet I’m using the same criterion to define a Met house baritone as I did for the company’s tenors; ie, more than 500 performances in leading roles. This rule yields 11 baritones over the life of the Met – almost twice as many as for the tenors. They’re presented below by the number of shows…


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Dialogues Des Carmélites in HD

Tweet Francis Poulenc’s moving depiction of religious faith was telecast today throughout the world straight from the center of Sodom. Poulenc was a major composer who struggled with being thought superficial by deep thinkers like Pierre Boulez. He also was a deeply religious Catholic and a homosexual. He also found time to father a daughter….


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Mozart and Schubert at the MIM

Tweet The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra presented the third of three concerts devoted to Mozart and Schubert last night. The venue was the Theater of the Musical Instrument Museum. Its a sleek and comfortable auditorium ideal for smaller scale compositions. The program began with the Overture to La Clemenza di Tito, Mozart’s penultimate opera. The scaled…


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Javier Camarena – Contrabandista

Tweet Contrabandista is the title of Mexican tenor Javier Camarena’s new CD. It’s built around the career of the Spanish singer, composer, teacher, and general all around handyman Manuel Garcia (1775-1832). Of the 10 selections on this disc, five are by Garcia. He is better known as the first Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of…


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Sentence of the Century

Tweet I realize that we’re still in the early part of the 21st century, but this line from the April issue of Opera News will be hard to top. “Henry Stewart reconciles the dissonances in the career of opera’s greatest atonal composer.” The reference is to Alban Berg. This statement is akin to writing that…


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Solenne In Quest’ora

Tweet Duets with a tenor and a baritone are not common in opera. There’s the famous one in The Pearl Fishers, the Wolf’s Crag scene in Lucia di Lammermoor is written entirely for a tenor and baritone, but it’s usually omitted. There’s a great duet between a father and son in Verdi’s The Sicilian Vespers….


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Die Walküre in HD 2019

Tweet Die Walküre is the best of Wagner’s four Ring operas. How do I know? Well, I can hear and the numbers also tell me so. Giuseppe Verdi was not only opera’s greatest composer, but also came up with the best system of evaluating the worth of an opera. “Look to the box office,” he…


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Recording of the Week: You Mean the World to Me

Tweet Jonas Kaufmann’s recital disc was released in 2014. It’s devoted to music that dominated pre-Nazi Berlin and then for a while after Vienna. The advent of the Nazi’s killed the music and some of its creators as well. These are the songs and arias that Joseph Schmidt and Richard Tauber are strongly associated with….


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Apollo Granforte

Tweet If you need more proof that good luck is the greatest gift a person can possess look no further than at the life and career of Apollo Granforte (1886-1975). Start at the beginning. When he was two days old he was left in a basket at the Ospedale Civile in Legnano – how it…


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La Fille du Régiment in HD 2019

Tweet Donizetti’s spaghetti stuffed eclair smeared with schmaltz reappeared on today’s Met in HD telecast. This production was previously telecast in 2008 with Natalie Dessay in the title role. I wrote this about her performance: Natalie Dessay was as bouncy as a spaldeen. She looked like a combination of Fanny Brice and Edith Piaf on steroids and…


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