Category Archives: Opera

Stories Used By More Than One Composer – Romeo and Juliet

Tweet The Romeo and Juliet story, whether derived from Shakespeare or not, has been irresistible to composers. He are excerpts from four 19th century works and one 20th based on the doomed lovers. First up is Bellini’s take on the two teenagers. His I Capuleti e i Montecchi is based on a play by Luigi…


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Stories Used By More Than One Composer – Faust

Tweet You’d think there were enough good stories available so that composers didn’t need to recycle them. But there are a number of operas that are based on tales that have been around the operatic block more than once. This article is the first of a series examining operas and related musical works based on…


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Sid Caesar’s Spoof of Pagliacci

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgPGGTd4MXM

Tweet I realize many of you may not have a clue as to who Sid Caesar (1922-2014) was. He was a major comic during the early day of TV. This video is 64 years old and shows the kind of stuff he performed. Amazingly Carl Reiner is still with us. At age 97 he’s still…


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Korngold Documentary

Tweet Between Two Worlds is a documentary about the life and career of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). It’s very well done and worth the roughly one hour it takes to view. It seems strange that the film never mentions why Korngold was forced to move to Hollywood. The piece is in English, but has computer…


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Opera As A Village During the Vietnam War and Other Atrocities

Tweet A recent article in the Washington Post says, “But to really save opera — and classical music in general — we have to let it die.” In a semi-coherent way it’s on to something. Without new works that the public wants to hear, the opera house will become a museum. Many people like museums….


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Operas in Which Everyone Dies

Tweet Death in opera is a frequent event. But there aren’t that many operas in which everyone goes to the final reward. I’m defining everyone as all of the principal roles. Here are five. I’m sure if I dug a little deeper or thought a little more effectively that I could find more. Addition to…


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Jenůfa in Santa Fe

Tweet Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was music and opera’s greatest late bloomer. Jenůfa, his first masterpiece for the stage, was premiered when he was 50. Virtually all of the music for which he is remembered was written in the last third of his life. Last night the SFO performed Jenůfa in a new production directed by David Alden….


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Hilde Zadek

Tweet Hilde Zadek (1917-2019) had one of the most interesting lives of the past century. Interesting has its downside. For example, in medicine about the worst that can happen to you is to be an interesting case. Born in Bromberg when it was in Prussia (today it’s in Poland), she grew up in Stettin which…


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Drinking Songs

Tweet Opera and alcohol are frequently paired. Accordingly, here are some drinking songs. I’m using the term loosely. Most would fit under this appellation, but some do not and not all the selections are from operas. They are presented in no particular order. If randomness works for quantum mechanics, it’s OK here. First is likely…


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Viva Rossini!

Tweet During his active phase as an opera composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1968) was the most popular composer of operas throughout the Western World. After his premature retirement from the stage at age 37, he was eclipsed in popularity first by Verdi and then by Puccini. For a while the only opera of his to be…


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