Category Archives: Puccini

Turandot in HD 2022

Puccini’s farewell to opera returned for the third time as part of the Met’s HD series. Franco Zeffirelli’s brick for brick reconstruction of Imperial Peking will likely survive the heat death of the universe. The assembly of the Act 2 set takes longer than many of the operas in the Mets repertory. This go around…


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Madama Butterfly – Met 2022

Last night the Met broadcast one of its current run of Puccini’s masterpiece – it was the 898th time the company has presented the opera. The current Butterfly is Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto. She was good in a part that demands great. Tepid applause after ‘Un bel di’ and none after Butterfly’s moment of triumph…


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Vissi d’Arte

Giacomo Puccini knew as much about the workings of the theater as anyone whoever entered one. Accordingly, his mature works are models of dramatic cohesion. He lashed his librettists like galley slaves until they gave him scripts that satisficed his very high standards. These standards are why he produced only 12 operas in 40 years…


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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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