Category Archives: Opera

Ebben? Ne andrò lontana

Tweet Alfredo Catalani (1854-93) is best known for his opera La Wally. And the opera would barely survive were it not for the soprano aria which is the subject of this piece. It occurs near the end of the 1st act. Wally has been ordered by her father to marry a baritone or leave home. Naturally,…


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Andrea Chenier in San Francisco

Tweet Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chenier is one of opera’s guiltiest pleasures. Critics fall all over their computers deploring its second rate status, but audiences love it when it’s properly cast and led. To bring off the work you must have a big voiced Verdi tenor, soprano, and baritone. My first experience with Giordano’s potboiler was…


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Recording of the Week – Birgit Nilsson 10 CD Set

Tweet Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005) was one of the vocal marvels of the 20th century. No recording, and she made many, can come close to the impact she made in performance. A voice of limitless power and reserve, she could be heard over the loudest orchestral din. Yet she could modulate her tone to whatever the…


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Boris Christoff

Tweet Boris Christoff (1914-93) was one of the greatest dramatic basses since the start of the recording age. His unique sound and searing intensity brooks only one comparison – to Feodor Chaliapin. Christoff sang at all of the world’s great opera houses, save one. The Bulgarian bass was engaged by Rudolf Bing to sing King Philip II…


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Keon Woo Kim Wins Top Prize at Operalia 2016

Tweet Korean tenor Keon Woo Kim shared the first place award at Operalia’s 2016 competition. Founded by Placido Domingo in 1993 to launch the careers of outstanding young singer, the event is still under the guidance of Domingo. The other first place award went to French soprano Elsa Dreisig. Born in 1985, Kim is a graduate of…


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Santa Fe Opera’s First Roméo et Juliette

Tweet The Santa Fe Opera presented its first ever performance of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette last night in a new production directed by Stephen Lawless. And it was a knockout, a home run, a hole in one. This opera depends almost entirely on its two title characters and they delivered. A sensitive conductor is also…


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La Fanciulla Del West in Santa Fe

Tweet Puccini never wrote anything like the first act of La  Fanciulla Del West. Its melodic weave which moves from orchestra to voice and back again owes a lot to Debussy, though its author is clearly Puccini. To an audience familiar with his previous four operas, this type of operatic writing was off putting and confusing…


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Antonio Paoli

Tweet Antonio Paoli (1871-1946) was a Puerto Rican tenor; he was the first opera singer from the island to achieve international renown. The son of a Venezuelan  mother and Corsican father, orphaned at 12, he moved to Spain with his sister where he began vocal studies. He continued these studies in Italy and made his…


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Recording of the Week: Leonard Warren 10 CD Set

Tweet Leonard Warren (1911-60) was the greatest baritone I ever heard. In the major Verdi parts no one else was close. He had everything. A voice of immense size, incomparable high notes, and a velvet control over his great instrument. He made his career at the Met, appearing at that great house 657 times between 1938…


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Sergei Lemeshev

Tweet Sergei Lemeshev (1902-77) and Ivan Kozlovsky were the two great Russian tenors of the first half of the 20th century. I’ve already covered the latter and promised to get around to Lemeshev later. Well, later is today. Lemeshev was born to a peasant family in the Kalininsky District of Tver Oblast in the Russian Empire. He…


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