Category Archives: Opera

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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Salvatore Fisichella

Salvatore Fisichella was born in 1943 in Catania Sicily to a noble family distinguished in diplomacy, jurisprudence, philosophy, and theology since the 17th century. He was opera’s leading bel canto tenor for the last 30 years of the last century and into the first few years of the 21st century. Known for the elegance of his singing as well…


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Simon Boccanegra – The Council Chamber Scene

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra was first performed in 1857. It achieved a very modest success. Verdi thought about revising it for many years. With Arrigo Boito as his librettist, he finished a major overhaul of the work in 1881. Boito’s work on the revised libretto was a test drive for his suitability as Verdi’s collaborator on…


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Giuseppe Verdi – 210th Birthday

Giuseppe Verdi was born October 9th (or 10th) 1813. Starting with the appearance of his third opera Nabucco in 1842 he has been the most popular of operatic composers. At first musical scholars were divided as to his artistic worth. Some thought him a popularizer who was not close to the artistic merit of Richard…


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Dead Man Walking Opens Met 2023-24 Season

Jake Hegee’s first (of 10) operas opened the Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season tonight. It was the first time the company presented the opera which has had numerous stagings worldwide. The performance was broadcast over the Met’s Sirius channel. It will open the season’s HD series on Oct 21. Dead Man Walking started as a memoir…


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La Battaglia Di Legnano – La Scala 1961

Verdi’s 14th opera is rarely done. Ten years ago, I reviewed Parma’s DVD of the work published as part of its cycle of all the composer’s operas. The Met has never done Battaglia while La Scala has only mounted it twice – in 1916 and in 1961. The latter show had an all-star cast with…


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Wagner’s Operas and Medical Education

Are Richard Wagner’s operas a potential tool to teach medical students and young doctors humanities? is the title of a paper published by Gunter Wolf a member of the Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Jena. He is also an expert on the operas of Wagner. The abstract of the paper is below. At…


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