Category Archives: Opera

The Future of Opera

Tweet The title of this article implies optimism. It could just as reasonably end with a question mark. Until about a century ago opera companies depended on the regular inflow of new works. Older works were still performed, but it was the new operas that the public demanded. These new works were performed for a…


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Kaufmann as Otello

Tweet The Royal Opera House in London presented its new production of Verdi’s Otello last June. The show’s big attraction was the first performance of the opera’s title role by Jonas Kaufmann. The BBC broadcasted the opening night performance yesterday. The recording will available on its website for a month. Kaufmann’s dark voice prompted many…


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Cielo e Mar

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ7IGnQPZPQ

Tweet Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-86) is best known for his opera La Gioconda. This work is one of opera’s guilty pleasures. It’s libretto is so embarrassingly florid that Arrigo Boito who wrote it after a play by Victor 1Hugo couldn’t bring himself to put his name to it, so he rearranged the 10 letters of his…


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Don Giovanni’s Timeline

Tweet The time setting of the two acts of Mozart’s Don Giovanni has always puzzled me. Everyone, including I suppose Mozart and Da Ponte, seems to think that the action in Act 2 starts immediately after that of the first act. In other words, the action from start to finish is continuous and depicts the…


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Norma in HD

Tweet David McVicar’s new production of Bellini’s masterpiece opened the Met’s current season last month. It was telecast last Saturday, Oct 7. I was in one of American Airline’s iron maidens for most of that day and part of the next and missed the live show. So I took in the rebroadcast today. McVicar’s staging…


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Disciogliea

Tweet Puccini’s Tosca contains one of the most beautiful and famous tenor arias in opera – ‘E lucevan le stelle’ which takes place shortly after the start of the third and final act. The line given below (with a literal English translation) requires, for its full realization, an effect which is beyond the abilities of…


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Michael Spyres – Espoir

Tweet Michael Spyres’ just released CD is entitled Espoir  (Hope). A better title would be Michael Spyres Sings Gilbert Duprez. Duprez (1806-96) was the tenor who pioneered the high C from the chest. He is the forerunner of the modern tenore di forza. This recording features arias, and one duet, that were associated with the French…


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The 10 Best Tenors of the 20th century – Part 2

Tweet When I published my choices for the 10 best tenors of the 20th century I admitted that my picks were entirely subjective. Many readers had different thoughts as to who should be on such a list. I fully realized that if made up the list on another day that it would be different. So,…


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Alida Ferrarini

Tweet Alida Ferrarini (1946-2013) was a soprano who specialized in the lighter roles of the operatic repertory. Gilda, Adina, and Michaela were perfect fits for her voice. She also sang baroque and 18th century roles. She sang in San Francisco, but otherwise limited her performances to Europe. She may be best known for her singing…


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Bernardo De Muro

Tweet Last month’s Opera News contains a review of Rome’s new production of Giordano’s Andrea Chenier. Here’s its first sentence: “In the first half of the twentieth century, Andrea Chenier was one of the most frequently staged works at Rome Opera, with tenors of the caliber of De Muro, Gigli, Lauri-Volpi, and Pertile alternating in…


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