Category Archives: Verdi

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…


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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…


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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…


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Aida in HD 2018

Tweet Aida was performed today by the Met for the 1166th time. This broadcast was HD telecast number three for Verdi’s Egyptian extravaganza. The hook for this run of the perennial was Anna Netrebko in the title role. There’s nothing new anyone can say about this opera so let’s get right to the show. Netrebko…


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Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani- Quando al Mio

Tweet “Here is the great tenor-baritone duet (Quando al mio) from Act 3 [of I Vespri Siciliani]. Verdi never wrote a better duet. In this piece Monforte [baritone] reveals to Arrigo [tenor] that he is his son. Arrigo is torn three ways. First he fears he will lose Elena [his fiance] because he promised her he…


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Tutto Verdi – Falstaff

Tweet The curtain descends, everything ends, too soon, too soon Ogden Nash Verdi’s valedictory opera was performed by Parma’s opera company as part of their complete survey of the Master’s operas. The show was presented at the Teatro Farnese di Parma instead of the Teatro Regio for reasons unknown to me. I’ve written a lot about…


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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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Tutto Verdi – The Requiem

Tweet Verdi’s towering Requiem Mass was written to mark the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) who was one of Verdi’s two cultural heroes of 19th century Italian art; the other was Rossini. First performed in the church of San Marco, it was repeated a few days later at La Scala. Verdi…


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