Category Archives: Opera

The 10 Best Sopranos of the 20th Century

Tweet This was a tough piece to write. With all the great sopranos of different vocal types active in the 20th century, picking just 10 is a daunting task. But I’m giving it a try regardless. I have excluded the high sopranos like Tetrazzini and Galli-Curci, but I still have a surplus of riches that…


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La Traviata in HD 2017

Tweet The Met brought back Willy Decker’s staging of Verdi’s masterpiece which was televised in the HD series in May of 2012. My gripes about this production are unchanged and can be read here. The opera’s entire premise is based on a 19th century view of the world, which is why moving it to the…


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Nicolai Gedda 1925-2017

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDQOjaiaX1g

Tweet Nicolai Gedda died this month at age 91. The Swedish singer was one of the great tenors of the middle part of the last century. His best years overlapped the careers of an extraordinarily large number of great tenors. When he started singing professionally Jussi Björling, Richard Tucker, Mario Del Monaco, and Giuseppe Di Stefano…


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Finale 12 & 12A: Aida Acts 2 & 4

Tweet This article will cover two finales, those to the second and fourth acts of Verdi’s Aida. Verdi’s Egyptian opera dates to the time when Benjamin Britten said Verdi had discovered the secret of perfection. The finale to the second scene of act 2, the triumphal scene, is a god-like demonstration of how to handle large forces….


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O Soave Fanciulla

Tweet Puccini’s La Boheme is popular beyond comment. It has been performed 1295 times by the Met since the company’s first performance of the opera on tour in Los Angeles in 1900. Incidentally, Los Angeles was also the site of the work’s American premiere three years earlier.  Aida is far behind in the Met’s second…


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I Puritani at the Met/ Nicolai Gedda Dies

Tweet Last night the Met presented its first performance of its revival of Bellini’s I Puritani. This show was much anticipated mainly because of Javier Camarena’s first appearance in New York as Arturo, one of opera’s most challenging roles. I listened to the Sirius broadcast of the opera and thus can only comment on the…


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Finale 11 – Don Giovanni Act 1

Tweet Don Giovanni is one of opera’s greatest works, but it’s on the long side. So when the finale to act 1 finally arrives it’s always welcome, especially as it’s so good. Giovanni is supposedly a great seducer, but he fails at every amatory attempt, resorting to attempted rape at the conclusion of act 1….


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Claudia Muzio

Tweet Claudia Muzio (1889-1036) was one of opera’s greatest stars during the first part of the 20th century. Born in Pavia, she was the daughter of an operatic stage manager. He moved the family to London when Claudia was 2 years old to practice his craft at Covent Garden.. Accordingly, she became fluent in English…


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Roméo et Juliette in HD

Tweet The Met was taking no chances with the role of Juliette in this telecast of Gounod’s opera as its host was Ailyn Perez who probably is the best Juliette in the world. If needed she could have stepped into the title female role in no more time than it takes to get into a…


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Il Mio Tesoro

Tweet Don Ottavio,the tenor in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, is opera’s biggest nebish. After being alone in a bedroom with Giovanni, a life with Ottavio seem worse to Donna Anna than 100 flights on American Eagle. I think after more than two centuries Ottavio’s still waiting for her to agree to marry him. But he has…


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