Category Archives: Opera

Die Walküre in HD 2019

Tweet Die Walküre is the best of Wagner’s four Ring operas. How do I know? Well, I can hear and the numbers also tell me so. Giuseppe Verdi was not only opera’s greatest composer, but also came up with the best system of evaluating the worth of an opera. “Look to the box office,” he…


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Recording of the Week: You Mean the World to Me

Tweet Jonas Kaufmann’s recital disc was released in 2014. It’s devoted to music that dominated pre-Nazi Berlin and then for a while after Vienna. The advent of the Nazi’s killed the music and some of its creators as well. These are the songs and arias that Joseph Schmidt and Richard Tauber are strongly associated with….


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Apollo Granforte

Tweet If you need more proof that good luck is the greatest gift a person can possess look no further than at the life and career of Apollo Granforte (1886-1975). Start at the beginning. When he was two days old he was left in a basket at the Ospedale Civile in Legnano – how it…


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La Fille du Régiment in HD 2019

Tweet Donizetti’s spaghetti stuffed eclair smeared with schmaltz reappeared on today’s Met in HD telecast. This production was previously telecast in 2008 with Natalie Dessay in the title role. I wrote this about her performance: Natalie Dessay was as bouncy as a spaldeen. She looked like a combination of Fanny Brice and Edith Piaf on steroids and…


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Depuis le Jour – Redux

Tweet I’ve done this before, but decided to have another go at it – NK Opera has a number of one hit wonders. French Composer Gustave Charpentier (1860-1956) is one of the few half hit wonders. He was a French proto-hippy whose worldview is perfectly expressed in his first opera Louise. The title character is…


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The Queen of the Night’s Aria

Tweet Mozart’s musical comedy/opera, The Magic Flute, has a story that’s confused even by the loose standard of opera. No matter, it has a lot of good tunes and offers the opportunity for creative stagings. One of its characters, The Queen of the Night, seems to be an OK person at the opera’s start, but…


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Maria Carbone

Tweet Maria Carbone (1908-2002) was mentioned in my last post about Nicola Fusati. It turns out that she’s another singer with a medical connection. She studied medicine for 4 years before switching to vocal studies. I don’t know what university she attended when a medical student. Her training in singing was at the Conservatorio di…


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Nicola Fusati

Tweet Nicola Fusacchia (1876-1956) really deserves a spot on this site. After earning a medical degree from the University of Rome in 1901, he trained as a surgeon and became chief of surgery in Norcia Hospital in Perugia in 1904. Somehow he found time to study singing. He made his stage debut as Radames in…


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Michael Spyres High Notes and as a Bass

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zbnSdux7so

Tweet First a YouTube compilation of tenor Michael Spyres singing high notes – some of which can only be heard by dogs. Spyres has mastered mixing, without a noticeable break, all the registers that a tenor can use. His highest notes from operas written before tenors sang high Cs and above from the chest employ…


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Reiner Conducts Falstaff – Met 1949

Tweet Verdi’s final opera is both a departure from all he had done previously and yet the culmination of a half century career. Building on the musical language the had developed to perfection he wrote an opera that was unlike any that preceded it. Musicians loved it from the start. Richard Strauss thought it one…


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