Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ah Non Credea Mirarti – Bellini and Thalberg

Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35) was born in Catania,Sicily and died before his 34th birthday outside of Paris. He was beautiful, delicate (Heine described him as a sigh in pumps), and could write melodies of unsurpassed beauty. Everyone loved his melodies – Wagner, Verdi (he said the melodies are long, long, long), and Chopin who was influenced…


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The Nose in HD

The nose know what the nose knows Jimmy Durante Dmitri Shostakovich’s first opera, The Nose, was telecast today. Written when the composer was 21 years old. It is an extraordinary work that can only make its point when seen.  It’s a tour de force heavily influenced by Berg’s Wozzeck.  It is a combination of Arnold…


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Tutto Verdi – Il Corsaro

Verdi’s 12th opera (I’m not counting Jérusalem, his reworking of I Lombardi) was originally intended for London. After about three years of dithering Piave’s libretto was set to music and premiered at the Teatro Grande in Trieste on October 25, 1848. Verdi whose dramatic and lyric inspiration had failed almost entirely in his previous opera, I…


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The Dismal Science Triumphs Again

The Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to three Americans for showing that while it is difficult to predict asset prices in the short term, prices can be predicted in broad terms over longer periods, such as three to five years, according to the Nobel committee. Wow! Short term who knows? But in long term we…


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Falstaff in San Francisco

October 2, 2013 marked the first performance of the San Francisco Opera’s new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s final opera Falstaff. Bryn Terfel in the title role was the show’s big attraction. Over the past 50 years I’ve seen more performances of Falstaff than I can remember. Terfel’s impersonation was by far the best. He’s been…


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Mefistofele – Photos by Robert Cahen

Boito’s Mefistofele which just finished its run at the San Francisco Opera is one of the oddest works in the standard operatic repertory even though its on its fringe. Its creator Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) was one of art’s great examples of the capacities and limitations of a man of talent, erudition, and skill who lacks…


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Jonas Kaufmann – Ch’ella mi creda

The second tenor aria from Jonas Kaufmann’s first try at Puccini’s La Fanciulla Del West is now also available. Ch’ella mi creda is the better known of the two. Again Kaufmann show the intense feeling he has for the words he sings. Another bravura performance. The venue was the Staatsoper in Vienna – Oct 5,…


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Jonas Kaufmann – Or son sei mesi

If you need more evidence that Jonas Kaufmann is decibel for decibel the best tenor currently active this video from yesterday’s performance of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West provides it. “Or son sei mesi” is in the second act and is the first of the tenor’s two aria. Kaufmann’s brilliant phrasing and his blaze of…


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Mefistofele in San Francisco

I took the screaming children special flight to San Francisco and then took a room in the Mystic Hotel. This room was next to a staircase that took one from Bush Street (high) to Stockton Street (low). It seemed to serve as San Francisco’s murder alley during the night. There were fist fights and furious…


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