Category Archives: Verdi

Finale 23 – Otello Act 3

I’ve previously written about this finale, but it’s so good that I thought I’d post another version of it to compliment the three posted in June 2018. The great concertatos that fill Verdi’s operas return in a spectacular conclusion to Act 3 of Verdi’s Otello. Though Verdi’s great ensembles are glorious and unsurpassed, they had…


Read the full entry

On Retirement

Embalming fluid – the only cure for presidential fever* Forced retirement is now imposed on much of the world, I thought it of interest to comment on the retirement of four great figures, three of whom are not usually thought of as ever being retired. The fourth is a strange case of premature retirement. The…


Read the full entry

Church Scenes

I recently wrote about the last few minutes of the first act of Tosca, which is set in a church – Sant’Andrea della Valle. There are other operas which have scenes in a church or houses of worship, five are presented below. Giacomo Meyerbeer was a German composer who tried to follow the style of…


Read the full entry

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…


Read the full entry

Ildar Abdrazakov – Verdi Arias

Ildar Abdrazakov (b 1976) has been one of the world’s leading basses since making his Met debut in 2004 as Masetto in Don Giovanni. These days he sings the title role with the company. The Russian singer has a varied repertoire which includes many Verdi’s roles. Deutsche Grammophon recently released a recital disc by Abdrazakov simply…


Read the full entry

Solenne In Quest’ora

Duets with a tenor and a baritone are not common in opera. There’s the famous one in The Pearl Fishers, the Wolf’s Crag scene in Lucia di Lammermoor is written entirely for a tenor and baritone, but it’s usually omitted. There’s a great duet between a father and son in Verdi’s The Sicilian Vespers. Don…


Read the full entry

Reiner Conducts Falstaff – Met 1949

Verdi’s final opera is both a departure from all he had done previously and yet the culmination of a half century career. Building on the musical language the had developed to perfection he wrote an opera that was unlike any that preceded it. Musicians loved it from the start. Richard Strauss thought it one of…


Read the full entry

Finale 20 – Vengeance

The second act of Rigoletto ends with perhaps the most furious music in all opera. The hunchback jester’s daughter, Gilda, has just been raped by the Duke whom she had fallen in love with thinking he was a poor student until reality intruded with awful suddenness. And worse, she still loves him. The Duke having…


Read the full entry

Esultate – Otello’s Entrance

There are many great entrances in opera. But none seems as compelling, informative, and brief as that of the title character in Verdi’s Otello. Only 12 bars long, it lasts barely more than half a minute yet defines Otello’s persona with a force and directness that is without peer. Julian Budden in his exegesis of…


Read the full entry

There’s No Explaining (Bad) Taste

A review of the Met’s new production of La Traviata by Daniel Gelernter contained this statement: “As an artwork, it [La Traviata] is less valuable than the Alexandre Dumas novel on which it is based: Camille is a first-rate romance. La Traviata is more histrionic than subtle, but it manages a number of superb moments,…


Read the full entry

Categories