Category Archives: Puccini

La Bohème Program Notes

Tweet The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra will present two concert performances of Puccini’s opera on May 5-6. The program notes I’ve written for the occasion are below. Puccini’s La Bohème is one of the very few operas that have transcended its genre. Virtually everyone loves it, even those who are indifferent to opera. First performed in…


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Vittoria Tenors Identified

Tweet On January 2 of this year I posted 22 examples of 22 different tenors singing Vittoria! Vitoria!!  from the second act of Tosca. Their identities are below. Giuseppe Di Stefano Jonas Kaufmann Franco Corelli Luciano Pavarotti Amadeo Zambon Mario Del Monaco Beniamino Gigli Jussi Björling Renato Cioni Jose Carreras Placido Domingo Giacomo Aragall Giorgio…


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Finale 14 – Suor Angelica

Tweet Puccini’s three one act operas (Il Trittico) received their world premiere performances at the Met in 1918.When given together their order of performance is Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. The middle opera has always been the least performed of the three. Puccini’s sister was a nun and he used a lot of…


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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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Vittoria! Vittoria!!

Tweet The tenor’s big moment in the second act of Puccini’s Tosca when is he gets to sing “Victory” twice. He’s just discovered that his favorite military dictator (Napoleon) has won the Battle of Marengo instead of the reverse which was the initial news of the affair to reach Rome.  He’s been brought onstage after a…


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Recording of the Week – Birgit Nilsson 10 CD Set

Tweet Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005) was one of the vocal marvels of the 20th century. No recording, and she made many, can come close to the impact she made in performance. A voice of limitless power and reserve, she could be heard over the loudest orchestral din. Yet she could modulate her tone to whatever the…


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La Fanciulla Del West in Santa Fe

Tweet Puccini never wrote anything like the first act of La  Fanciulla Del West. Its melodic weave which moves from orchestra to voice and back again owes a lot to Debussy, though its author is clearly Puccini. To an audience familiar with his previous four operas, this type of operatic writing was off putting and confusing…


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Madama Butterfly in HD 2016

Tweet Kristine Opolais triumphed in today’s telecast of Madama Butterfly from the stage of the Met. Her reading of the role is matched in my experience only by those of Antonietta Stella and Diana Soviero. This opera, more so than any other standard repertory work, depends on the soprano who plays the title role. When…


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The Girl of the Golden West in Omaha

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IEvPJk3TCs

Tweet Next February 12 and 14 Opera Omaha will stage Puccini’s real spaghetti western The Girl of the Golden West – aka La Fanciulla del West. The cast is below. Asterisk indicates company debut. Lee Bisset, Minnie* Michael Mayes, Jack Rance* Matthew Treviño, Ashby Elise Quagliata, Wowkle Branch Fields, Jim Larkens / Billy Jack Rabbit*…


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Recording of the Week: Verismo – Diana Soviero

www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9DJd2vyRuw

Tweet The best singing actress I ever saw was Diana Soviero (b 1946) and my list includes Maria Callas and Teresa Stratas. Born in Jersey City she received the second Richard Tucker Award in 1979. She had a distinguished career at the Met appearing 102 times with the company between 1980 and 1997. She also…


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