Monthly Archives: March 2017

Michael Spyres – The Great American Tenor

I first wrote about Michael Spyres six years ago. I have since wondered why he has not been engaged by the Met. The perpetually becalmed company keeps recycling tenors who are well past their expiration dates. Spyres who has continued to improve since I became aware of him has achieved a vocal technique unique in…

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William Tell: Act 4 Scene 1

After an hiatus of 85 years, last fall the Met brought back Rossini’s William Tell in its original French version. Previous performances of the opera by the company were done in German! and Italian. One of the main reasons for Tell’s infrequent stagings is its demanding tenor role, Arnold. This part was first sung by…

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Finale 14 – Suor Angelica

Puccini’s three one act operas (Il Trittico) received their world premiere performances at the Met in 1918.When given together their order of performance is Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. The middle opera has always been the least performed of the three. Puccini’s sister was a nun and he used a lot of detail…

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The 10 Best Sopranos of the 20th Century

This was a tough piece to write. With all the great sopranos of different vocal types active in the 20th century, picking just 10 is a daunting task. But I’m giving it a try regardless. I have excluded the high sopranos like Tetrazzini and Galli-Curci, but I still have a surplus of riches that my…

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La Traviata in HD 2017

The Met brought back Willy Decker’s staging of Verdi’s masterpiece which was televised in the HD series in May of 2012. My gripes about this production are unchanged and can be read here. The opera’s entire premise is based on a 19th century view of the world, which is why moving it to the modern…

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Gene Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Cell Disease is a disorder of hemoglobin production secondary to an alteration in the hemoglobin gene on chromosome 11.  Specifically, there is a single amino acid substitution in “adult” β A -globin (Glu6Val) stemming from a single base substitution (A→T) in the first exon of the human β A -globin gene. The abnormal nucleotide…

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