Monthly Archives: November 2015

Finale 5 – William Tell Act 1

William Tell is an Italian opera; no matter that Rossini wrote it to a French script. It’s as Italian as mozzarella. The finale to act 1 sets a model for many of the Italian operas which followed Rossini’s final work. This version of this finale is taken from the performance of Tell in 2013 at the…


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Lensky’s Aria

The only reason that impresarios can convince leading tenors to take the part of Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is the second act aria ‘Kuda, Kuda’, hereafter referred to as Lensky’s aria. Even then tenors dislike  playing a character who dies in the second act. This was why Richard Tucker dropped the role after 1957-58 . “My…


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Lulu in HD

Attending a performance of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu is like going through Marine Corp boot camp. While you’re doing it you wonder why on earth you ever attempted such a stress filled enterprise. When it’s over you feel proud of yourself and are glad you don’t have to do it again. Lulu is an opera that…


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Quotation of the Week – Predictions

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Also true of forecasting in general.


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Finale 4 – Macbeth Act 2

The finale to Act 1 of Verdi’s Macbeth is not the only great one in the opera. Like the previous one this finale is untouched by the 1865 revision. Macbeth has become unhinged by Banquo’s ghost whom only he can see. The ghost is a party crasher. Obviously his presence ruins the evening. Of course,…


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O Don Fatale

A supremely gifted mezzo-soprano can make a career out of singing the the great Verdi mezzo roles – Azucena in Il Trovatore, Eboli in Don Carlo, and Amneris in Aida. Eboli presents a an especially challenging role for the singer who portrays the spurned princess – the second of these three great mezzo parts. Eboli has…


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A Clinical Vignette About Medical Journals

A medical journal is supposed to be an unbiased and objective source of the latest and best medical information. Of course, since all journals (for now) are run by human beings the reality and the ideal are widely separated. Even so, you shouldn’t be able to tell the politics of the journal’s editor from its content….


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Another Example of Unanticipated Consequences – New Medical Issues in Germany

The desire to do good is an innate human characteristic. Equally inborn, is the desire not to weigh the consequences of attempts to better the human condition. Common sense is obviously not very common. Germany: Migration Crisis Becomes Public Health Crisis is a detailed description of the medical problems resulting from Germany’s decision to admit…


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Robert Cahen 1928-2015

Robert Cahen the renowned opera photographer passed away on September 30, 2015. His obituary that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle is below. His photographs survive him, many of them can be seen on this site, Just put his name into the search box. The photo above the title is of Cahen and one of…


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Finale 3 – Macbeth Act 1

No composer wrote as many great operatic finales as did Giuseppe Verdi. His Macbeth is a creature of both his early and middle periods. Originally written in 1847 and first presented at Florence’s Teatro della Pergola in March of that year it was was extensively revised in 1865. This revised version was first performed at…


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