Category Archives: Verdi

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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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…


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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…


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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…


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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…


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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…


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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,…


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The Grand Inquisitor

The scene in the king’s apartment of Verdi’s Don Carlo(s) is my choice for the greatest in all opera. [It is Act 4  scene 1 in the 5 act version.] Its moral grandeur, psychological insight, and musical characterization place it on an artistic level reached by only a handful of art’s supreme masters. The most interesting…


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Why is Beethoven Greater Than Reicha?

I recently attended a performance of one of Antonin Reicha’s wind quintets – there are 24 of them. The number of the one I heard was not given. It was a competent work devoid of genius. Reicha (1770-1836) was born the same year as Beethoven and went to the same high school. They became friends….


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Aida in HD 2018

Aida was performed today by the Met for the 1166th time. This broadcast was HD telecast number three for Verdi’s Egyptian extravaganza. The hook for this run of the perennial was Anna Netrebko in the title role. There’s nothing new anyone can say about this opera so let’s get right to the show. Netrebko is…


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