Category Archives: Opera

Di Quella Pira

Tweet ‘Di quella pira’ is the cabaletta to the aria ‘Ah sì, ben mio’ which together make up almost the entirety of Act 3 scene 2 of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. The number’s famous high C (or sometimes Cs) were an addition to the score that Verdi allowed provided, he added, that the high note was…


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Tutto Verdi – Otello

Tweet Verdi’s penultimate opera is both a supreme masterpiece and the greatest killer of tenors in the Italian repertory. I’ve written enough about the merits of this opera on these pages to allow me to concentrate solely on the video disc that is part of Parma’s survey of all Verdi’s operas and on Latvian tenor…


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Finale 18 – Otello Act 3

Tweet The finale of Act 3 of Verdi’s Otello consists of the most elaborate concertato that Verdi ever wrote. The following comments borrow from Julian Budden’s analysis of this piece in the third volume of his definitive The Operas of Verdi. Verdi wrote great concertatos throughout his career. They are among the great achievements in opera….


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The Met’s House Tenors

Tweet The definition I’m using here is this: A Met house tenor is one who has sung at least 500 performances in leading tenor roles with the company. Thus, comprimario singers are not included. Using this rule there are only six tenors who qualify. They are listed below in the order of their birth followed…


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Cendrillon in HD

Tweet The Met’s current run of Massenet’s opera is the first time the company has performed the French composer’s version of the Cinderella story. Laurent Pelly’s production originated in 2006 at the Santa Fe Opera as a vehicle for Joyce DiDonato who also starred in the current mounting of the opera. In the ensuing 12…


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Court Rules Wagner’s Music Dangerous to Health

Tweet I written about the medical danger to health associated with Parsifal, now a British court has added Die Walküre to the list of hazardous Wagner operas. Violist Christopher Goldscheider convinced the court that playing in a cramped orchestra pit during a 2012 rehearsal of the opera subjected him to a noise level which resulted in…


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Quando le sere al placido

Tweet One of opera’s most moving and beautiful tenor arias occurs near the end of the second act of Verdi’s Luisa Miller. The aria is a test for any tenor as it requires a powerful spinto for its explosive introduction followed by an aria which is sensitive, lyrical, and has a classical beauty. The words…


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Luisa Miller in HD

Tweet Verdi’s 14th opera was brought back to the Met after an absence of 12 years. Elijah Moshinsky’s production with sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto is set in 19th century England rather than 17th century Tyrol. This change made little difference to opera’s effect, though the time and place specified by Verdi makes a…


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Tutto Verdi: Aida

Tweet When Verdi composed Aida he was well past the point where he had discovered, as Benjamin Britten remarked, the secret of perfection. If this opera does not plumb the emotional and psychological depths of its immediate predecessor, Don Carlo, it is a work of both grandeur and intimacy that comes from an operatic world…


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Così Fan Tutte in HD 2018

Tweet When I heard that the Met was going to do a new production of Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte set in Coney Island during the 1950s I was relieved that they were not going to place the last of the Da Ponte operas in a Turkish brothel. Then I wondered why the Met needed a new…


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