Author Archives: Neil Kurtzman

Richard Tauber

A reader recently asked why I had not written anything about Richard Tauber. I didn’t have a good answer and said I would; this is it. Tauber (1891-1948) was born in Linz, Austria to an unmarried actress. His father was an actor Richard Anton Tauber who eventually acknowledged him and took over his upbringing. Young…


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Witchcraft

They’re back. Truth is, they never left. It’s just their cover that’s been discarded. In the age of gender fluidity they belong to whatever personal pronoun is in vogue. Plagues are NH4NO3 to them – ie, both fertilizer and explosive. Oedipus sought to end a plague which was caused by a curse which was cast…


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Where is Edmund Burke?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer). Most have heard Burke’s famous observation about how easy it is to allow evil to prosper. His elaboration on the subject is less well known. His 18th century prose style is all…


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The Verdi Soprano – Pace, Pace, Mio Dio!

Verdi wrote soprano parts for a variety of vocal types. The roles of Abigaille (Nabucco), Violetta (Traviata), and Leonora (Trovatore and Forza) have quite different requirements. The first asks for a spinto capable of both forceful declamation and great agility, but floated high notes and a velvet tone are not needed. Traviata seems as though…


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On Equality

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal… This self evident truth is obviously not self evident. Thomas Jefferson undoubtedly knew such to be the case. He meant that we all should be equal before the law and that the laws should be designed without bias or special benefit not thought…


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Finale 24 – La Forza Del Destino

Verdi started to threaten to retire before he was 50. After composing Un Ballo in Maschera he said he was done and that the life of a gentleman farmer was to be his for the remainder of his life. In 1861 he was approached by the great tenor Enrico Tamberlick, acting as an agent for…


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Einstein, Insanity, and Models

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This quotation attributed to Einstein, was said by him (if he really said it) in the context of quantum mechanics, where doing the same experiment repeatedly does give different results. But in the macro world the same experiment properly performed does give…


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The Met Must Cancel Wagner

The Metropolitan Opera has recently sent two of its biggest stars down the wormhole – James Levine and Placido Domingo. Before we get to the big enchilada, the subject of this piece, there are lesser players whose memory must be erased. Enrico Caruso, he was a fanny picher and was arrested and fined for the…


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Verdi Otello Kaufmann

Jonas Kaufmann sang the title role Otello for the first time in 2017. The venue was London’s Royal Opera House. Antonio Pappano conducted then as he does on the CD of Verdi’s masterpiece issued earlier this year by Sony . Both tenor and conductor seemed to have a slightly tenuous grasp of Verdi’s penultimate opera…


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No Lives Matter

Unless Netflix and Amazon Prime has drowned out any exterior information, you are aware that much of life has been canceled. My thesis is that this activity which used to be confined the the Post Office (it was canceled decades ago) has not gone far enough. From my jaundiced vantage point it seems clear that…


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