Category Archives: Puccini

Scarpia Sings Again

Baritones are rarely heroes in opera. But they usually have at least one redeeming characteristic. Rigoletto loves his daughter, Macbeth accepts his fate with manly resignation, etc. Iago in Verdi’s Otello is 100% villain. There’s nothing remotely good about him. He’s the devil’s spawn.  Puccini isn’t as generous to baritones as was Verdi. But he…


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Angel Blue

Angel Blue is a young (b 1984) American soprano who opened this season at the Met as Bess in Gershwin’s opera. Thus far she has sung 31 performances at the New York house all in La Bohème or Porgy and Bess. Oddly for such a gifted singer who is headed for the pinnacle of opera’s…


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O Mio Babbino Caro

Puccini’s only comic opera, Gianni Schicchi, moves like a torrent. In its skill and vitality it’s up to the best of Rossini and is evocative of Verdi’s Falstaff. But no matter the pace, the master from Lucca could, and seemingly was compelled, to write a great tune for his leading lady. And unlike Tosca’s Vissi…


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Turandot in HD 2019

The Met seems to have only a couple of dozen operas in its standard repertory, so when it not staging something that will likely never return (eg, Philip Glass’ Akhnaten) it must repeat itself. Such repetition is especially noticeable on its HD telecasts. Today Franco Zeffirelli’s literal recreation of ancient Peking was the first of…


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La Fanciulla Del West in HD 2018 – Great

Wagner ‘s goal was to write opera that consisted of endless melody. I don’t think he reached that goal, but Puccini did in La Fanciulla Del West. Saturday’s performance, the last of seven of this season’s run at the Met, was a spectacular success. Puccini’s luminous score received a dazzling reading by the Met’s orchestra,…


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In Questa Reggia

I recently posted an article about Puccini’s final opera, Turandot, that had nothing to say about its title character. The work achieved the renown it currently enjoys (#17 on operabase’s list of most frequently performed operas) largely due to the work of Birgit Nilsson. Before Nilsson first performed the role at the Met in 1961…


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Finale 19 – Turandot Act 1

Italian opera as is currently practiced began with Rossini and ended with Puccini. All the Italian operas in the standard repertory were written between 1813 and 1924 – a little more than a century, a blink in the history of art. The last of these operas is Turandot. A magnificent achievement left incomplete at Puccini’s…


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La Bohème Returns in HD Redux Again Back By Popular Demand Anon

Puccini’s La Bohème was performed by the Met today for the 465,196,276,982,653rd time in a performance telecast to beyond the Andromeda galaxy. The opera is so popular that even where I live, at the end of the line, it’s been done multiple times. A cursory search of the internet shows that the work has been…


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Finale 17 – Semiramide Act 1

Last night was the first performance of the Met’s revival of Rossini’s final italian opera, Semiramide. I’ll have more to say about this opera and its current Met run after the telecast on March 10. The colossal finale of its first act is one of the glories of Italian opera. Here is this finale from…


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Tosca in HD 2018

Tosca has given the Met a lot of trouble recently, or perhaps it’s the other way around. First, this new staging replaced Luc Bondy’s 2009 production which lasted for only 59 performances. Everybody seemed to hate it. I thought, by the standards of today’s stagings of the standard repertory, that it was pretty tame. But…


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