Category Archives: Opera

Le Rêve

Massenet’s Manon was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1884. It rapidly became a staple of the operatic repertory and has remained so to this day. I’m ignoring the shuttered state of everything public at present. The opera has two big roles. The title character and her hormone addled lover the Chevalier Des…


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Hipólito Lázaro

Hipólito Lázaro (1887-1974 ) was a Catalan tenor. He was born and died in Barcelona. His career began in 1910 and continued until 1950. Though he was a lirico-spinto, he made his debut in Donizetti’s La Favorita and scored a great success as Arturo in Bellini’s final opera I Puritani. Despite his success with bel…


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Finale 26 – Il Templario Act 1

I wrote about Otto Nicolai’s second opera a couple of years ago. There’s only one complete recording of the work. It’s from the Chemnitz Opera which performed it in 2008 . The opera, based on Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, was thought lost as its score was obliterated by bombings in World War II. It was successfully reconstructed…


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George London

Bass-baritone George London (born George Burnstein; 1920 – 1985) was born to naturalized American citizens who had emigrated to the US from Russia. His parentage likely explains the fluency he exhibited in Russian roles, most prominently Boris Godunov. Born in Montreal and raised in Los Angeles, his vocal talent was soon recognized. He toured the US…


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Raina Kabaivanska

A regular reader asked why I had never written about Raina Kabaivanska. I had no reason apart from inadvertence and said I would put something together about her. This is it. Ms Kabaivanska (born 1934) is a Bulgarian soprano now retired. She currently devotes her time to teaching. She was a lirico-spinto (with more emphasis…


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Why Contemporary Music Fails

Look to the boxoffice; the theater was meant to be full. Giuseppe Verdi to a young composer upset about the critics’ reaction to his compositions. The music discussed here is that of Western Europe which is typically called classical music. I’ll include opera and related vocal music under the same rubric. While largely the child…


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Cessa di più Resistere

‘Cessa di più resistere’ is the tenor aria that closes Rossini’s Barber of Seville. There’s a few minutes of music that follows it, but the bravura piece is effectively the opera’s end. That is when it’s performed. It’s so difficult that that it was dropped from the opera shortly after it’s premiere in 1816. So…


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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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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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Richard Tucker Foundation Removes Late Tenor’s Son From Its Board

The Richard Tucker Music Foundation, the largest of its kind in the U.S. and the venue for young American singers to compete for the funding and publicity to pursue an operatic career, has come under media scrutiny for a lack of diversity among the winners of its top award.  As an apparent first response to…


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