Category Archives: Opera

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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Finale 21 – Lucrezia Borgia Prologue

Tweet Renaissance Italy’s infamous poisoner, at least in her operatic incarnation, was the subject of Gaetano Donizetti’s 24th opera (give or take a few, even the composer himself wasn’t sure how many operas he wrote). It’s a fine work that has received just one performance at the Met. That was in 1904 with Caruso in…


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Opera Ensembles

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi810zB3L04

Tweet For the purposes of this article an ensemble is music set for more than two singers; they must be soloists. Thus, choruses are not included here. An alternate to the videos below is provided below each video. These links will allow the viewer to see the video even if it goes dark on YouTube….


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Mad Scenes Not By Donizetti

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph56l7fFpw8

Tweet Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor is the poster girl for operatic lunacy. She’s been going mad for close to two centuries with no letup in sight. She should be an honorary member of the American Psychiatric Association; she’d fit right in. She’s probably got her own ICD 10 code. But opera has many other examples…


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MICHAEL SPYRES – Cessa di più resistere

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N6ZtBqAQZc

Tweet Cessa di più resistere is an aria for the tenor (Almaviva) in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. It occurs near the end of of the opera. For a very long time it was omitted – for two reasons. First it place the focus on the tenor at the expense of both the title character…


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Lisette Oropesa

Tweet Lisette Oropesa (b 1983) is an American soprano who recently has been making news on the world’s opera stages. This year she was awarded both the Beverly Sills and Richard Tucker prizes. She’s on the cover of this month’s Opera News. Inside there is a six page spread devoted to her career. She’s been…


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Ewa Podleś – The Great Contralto

Tweet Ewa Podleś (b 1952 in Warsaw) is one of the greatest singers of the end of the old century and the first years of the new. Though appreciated by devotees of opera, she  has not received as much recognition as her great ability warrants. Part of the reason is the failure of the Met…


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Ben Heppner

Tweet Ben Heppner (b 1956) is a now retired Canadian tenor. At his peak, the 1990s, he was as fine a tenor as can be imagined. His career at the Met lasted from 1991 to 2009. He is now a regular host of two Canadian radio programs both devoted to vocal music, especially opera . Heppner…


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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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