Category Archives: Opera

Finale 40 – Götterdämmerung

The concluding scene of Wagner’s four-opera slog through Norse mythology ends with the Immolation Scene. Its action is described below taken from the Wikipedia article on the opera. Depending on your taste the cycle is one of art’s greatest achievements or it is a vast Sahara dotted with lush oases. I am of the latter…


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Nabucco in HD 2024

Today’s telecast of Verdi’s first masterpiece featured two of the singers who appeared the previous time Nabucco was broadcast in HD. Elijah Moshinsky’s 2001 production first appeared in the series seven years ago. Liudmyla Monastyrska was Abigaille then and now as was Dmitry Belosselskiy as Zaccaria. The title role today was performed by the Georgian…


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Unfinished Operas

The usual reason an opera by a distinguished composer remains incomplete is death. Sometimes, however, the composer loses interest, or as in one of the examples below suffers from gargantuan writer’s block. A few examples of unfinished operas are presented here. A few are very well known, others barely a footnote. They are presented in…


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Beverly Sills

Born Belle Miriam Silverman in 1929 in Brooklyn to immigrant parents she acquired the nickname “Bubbles” as a child. Its shadow stayed with her as a friendly reminder of her early days. She started singing when she was three and began vocal lessons at seven. She adopted her professional name Beverly Sills at nine. She…


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Florencia en el Amazonas in HD

Mexican composer Daniel Catán’s opera was the Metropolitan Opera’s third HD telecast of this season. The work was first performed by the Houston Grand Opera in 1996. This run is Florencia’s first appearance at the Met. Much has been made over two features of the opera neither of which has any bearing on its artistic…


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Finale 39 – Benvenuto Cellini

Hector Berlioz was among the most innovative and original of all the great composers. His first opera loosely based on an episode from the Renaissance artist’s memoirs was written in 1838. It sounds like nothing that preceded it. The music moves like the molten metal that is used to cast Cellini’s famous statue of Perseus…


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Finale 38 – Dialogues des Carmélites

Dialogues des Carmélites (Dialogues of the Carmelites) is an opera in three acts with music and libretto by Francis Poulenc. It is the story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, Carmelite nuns who, in 1794 during the closing days of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, were guillotined in Paris for refusing to renounce…


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Malcolm X in HD

X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X was telecast today. As a piece of sophisticated parochialism it will grip the hearts of Upper West Side New Yorkers who regularly attend the Met. If you seek a work for the lyric theater that touches a spark common to all men you will not find it…


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Florencia en el Amazonas – Initial Impresssion

Last night the Met presented its first performance of the late Daniel Catán’s opera Florencia en el Amazonas. It takes place on a boat traveling down the Amazon to Manaus. Florencia is a legendary opera singer who’s lost her lover. I will have to wait for the telecast to comment on its staging so my…


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Dead Man Walking in HD – Another Technical Screwup

The Met’s first HD telecast of this season ended with a whimper – a dead screen and no sound. The transmission stopped when the murderer De Rocher was strapped to a gurney and was being executed. After that nothing. No reprise of the hymn-like song sung by Sister Helen, no applause, no curtain calls, no…


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