Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Tales of Hoffmann in HD – 2015

Offenbach’s masterpiece was telecast for the second time by the Met in its HD series. The first broadcast was December 19, 2009 with Joseph Calleja in the title role. This afternoon Vittorio Grigolo had the lead part. Bart Sher’s production was modified from its earlier incarnation, mostly for the better. The lights were turned on this…

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Recording of the Week: Matilde di Shabran

Written in in 1820 for Rome and then revised in 1821 for Naples, Matilde di Shabran is Rossini’s last semiseria opera. A semiseria opera combines opera buffa with melodrama. Basically, it can be both silly and serious as long as everyone ends up alive at the final curtain. If you wish to see and hear…

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The Merry Widow in HD

Franz Lehár’s bon-bon  was telecast in HD today by The Metropolitan Opera. Five time Tony Award winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman along with a mostly outstanding cast gave Lehár’s 1905 operetta a spirited reading. The sets and costumes which were period appropriate were bright and appealing. Even the curtain calls were brilliantly staged. The result…

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Di Stefano Sings Neapolitan Songs

The Neapolitan songs that everyone knows are the longest running popular songs in Western music. Tenors appear to sing them more often then other vocal ranges. To bring them off requires a combination of characteristics that are almost never found in one singer. These are: fluency in the beautiful Neapolitan language, perfect diction, beauty of…

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Rosa Raisa

Rosa Raisa (1893-1963) was born in Białystok, Poland as Raitza Burchstein. Because of the pogroms endemic in Russian controlled Poland during her childhood, her family fled to Italy when she was 14. Her vocal talent was soon recognized and she made her professional debut when she was 20. She sang at most of the world’s…

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