Category Archives: Verdi

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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Celeste Aida

Tweet Verdi’s first act aria from his Egyptian opera, ‘Celeste Aida’, is the last Italian tenor aria in the style so often used by the master and his predecessors – recitative followed by a formal aria. Verdi himself abandoned the format in his last two operas, Otello and Falstaff, which followed Aida. Puccini’s tenor arias…


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Quando le sere al placido

Tweet One of opera’s most moving and beautiful tenor arias occurs near the end of the second act of Verdi’s Luisa Miller. The aria is a test for any tenor as it requires a powerful spinto for its explosive introduction followed by an aria which is sensitive, lyrical, and has a classical beauty. The words…


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Luisa Miller in HD

Tweet Verdi’s 14th opera was brought back to the Met after an absence of 12 years. Elijah Moshinsky’s production with sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto is set in 19th century England rather than 17th century Tyrol. This change made little difference to opera’s effect, though the time and place specified by Verdi makes a…


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Tutto Verdi: Aida

Tweet When Verdi composed Aida he was well past the point where he had discovered, as Benjamin Britten remarked, the secret of perfection. If this opera does not plumb the emotional and psychological depths of its immediate predecessor, Don Carlo, it is a work of both grandeur and intimacy that comes from an operatic world…


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Recording of the Week – Hvorostovsky as Rigoletto

Tweet Dmitri Hvorostovsky did not record the Verdi baritone’s summa, Rigoletto, until 2016 – a year after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. This recording was released by Delos near the end of last year shortly before the singer’s death. Rigoletto was not at the core of the great baritone’s repertoire. Of his 182 performances…


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Don Carlo – The King’s Apartment

Tweet I’m going to do a few posts devoted to great operatic scenes. The first is devoted to the that in the king’s apartment from Verdi’s Don Carlo. This is the first scene of Act 3 or 4 depending on which version of the opera is performed. Don Carlo, one of greatest masterpieces, exists in…


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10th Anniversary

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEjnUbRE0Hg

Tweet Ten years ago today, I published the first post here. Almost 900 articles have followed. To mark the date, here are three videos presented for no other reason than that they are beautiful and on topic. It’s no accident that liberty is at the core of all three.      


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Toscanini: Musician of Conscience – Book Review

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsMGLst43dg

Tweet Harvey Sachs has made a career, well part of one, writing books about the eminent conductor. Sachs wrote his first Toscanini biography in 1978. Why a second one almost 40 years later? Sachs cites the additional material now available that was denied him during his first go around with the conductor. The book’s subtitle,…


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