Category Archives: Opera

Renata Tebaldi

Tweet In my post on the 10 Best Soprano of the 20th Century I failed to include Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004). Inadvertance is the only reason I can offer for her omission. She came to prominence in the years following the second World War. Toscanini hired her to perform in the reopening of La Scala and…


Read the full entry

There’s No Explaining (Bad) Taste

Tweet A review of the Met’s new production of La Traviata by Daniel Gelernter contained this statement: “As an artwork, it [La Traviata] is less valuable than the Alexandre Dumas novel on which it is based: Camille is a first-rate romance. La Traviata is more histrionic than subtle, but it manages a number of superb…


Read the full entry

The Grand Inquisitor

www.youtube.com/watch?v=om6HcUUa8DI

Tweet The scene in the king’s apartment of Verdi’s Don Carlo(s) is my choice for the greatest in all opera. [It is Act 4  scene 1 in the 5 act version.] Its moral grandeur, psychological insight, and musical characterization place it on an artistic level reached by only a handful of art’s supreme masters. The most…


Read the full entry

Michael Spyres in Philadelphia

Tweet New York’s Metropolitan Opera is suffering from a plague of inadequate tenors. Major productions have chugged along with tenors not up to the standard one would expect from the world’s most important opera house. The recent stagings of Samson et Dalila and Aida clearly demonstrate the Met’s tenorial difficulties. Yet the company does not…


Read the full entry

Why is Beethoven Greater Than Reicha?

Tweet I recently attended a performance of one of Antonin Reicha’s wind quintets – there are 24 of them. The number of the one I heard was not given. It was a competent work devoid of genius. Reicha (1770-1836) was born the same year as Beethoven and went to the same high school. They became…


Read the full entry

Metropolitan Opera Premieres

Tweet My last post commented on the latest work to be premiered by the Metropolitan Opera. I mentioned that only the two by Giacomo Puccini had achieved lasting success. Below is a list of both the world and American premieres mounted by the company since its beginning in 1883. You can thus form your own…


Read the full entry

Marnie in HD

Tweet The Metropolitan Opera has been premiering new operas since 1907. This practice is an admirable attempt to vivify the art form.  Yet only two operas premiered at the Met have found a place in the standard repertory – both by Puccini. The first Met commissioned opera was La Fanciulla Del West in 1907. It’s…


Read the full entry

La Fanciulla Del West in HD 2018 – Great

Tweet Wagner ‘s goal was to write opera that consisted of endless melody. I don’t think he reached that goal, but Puccini did in La Fanciulla Del West. Saturday’s performance, the last of seven of this season’s run at the Met, was a spectacular success. Puccini’s luminous score received a dazzling reading by the Met’s…


Read the full entry

Samson et Dalila in HD

Tweet The Met’s second HD telecast of this season was a repeat of the opera that opened the company’s current season, Saint-Saens’ biblical bodice ripper Samson et Dalila. The cast was the same as on opening night. Before getting to today’s performance, a few general thoughts about these broadcasts. Whoever narrates these presentations always remarks that…


Read the full entry

Montserrat Caballé 1933-2018

Tweet The great Catalan soprano died Oct 6. She came to international fame when she substituted for Marilyn Horne in a performance Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall. Though her voice was basically lyric in character, she was able by virtue of a secure vocal technique to sing  bel canto roles, the big Verdi parts,…


Read the full entry

Categories