Category Archives: Opera

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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Si Pel Ciel – Otello Act 2

Tweet Verdi’s penultimate opera is a masterpiece of dramatic cohesion and inspiration. Set to one of opera’s greatest librettos, it reflects all that its composer had learned from a life spent in the the theater. The duet, ‘Si pel ciel’, that ends the second act is as rousing as anything Verdi had written 40 years…


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Finale 16 – Don Giovanni Act 2

Tweet Mozart’s seminal opera connects to audiences on many levels. To some, like GB Shaw, it is the acme of western art. The finale of the opera is one of the lyric stage’s most compelling creations. The opera’s last number is an epilogue. It was omitted in the opera’s Vienna premiere and from all of…


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The 10 Best Mezzo-Sopranos of the 20th Century

www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SkyFJMC4g

Tweet It was really hard to pick 10 mezzos. There were so many great singers of this range in the 20th century that I’m sure that if I picked just 10 a week from now, the list would be different. So this ranking not only reflects personal taste and opinion, but it also is conditional….


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Antonina Nezhdanova

Tweet Antonina Nezhdanova (1873-1950) was a Ukrainian soprano who made her career in the last years of Imperial Russia and then continued after the 1917 revolution as a singer and teacher in the Soviet Union. She was the greatest Russian soprano of her era. She had a high lyric voice which negotiated all the obstacles…


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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Orchestral Excerpts

Tweet Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is the greatest Russian opera of the 20th century and among all Russian operas is matched only by Boris Godunov.  Set to a libretto by the composer and Alexander Preys, it depicts the brutality of mid 19th century Russian life and the plight of women enmeshed in…


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