Monday, May 23, 2011
In my post about operatic Genoa, I made passing reference to the grattacielo (skyscraper) there that contained a 1000-seat cinema where opera was presented from after World War II until 1992. Among the many artists who sang there were Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas. This building is usually called the first skyscraper in Italy, a nation that still has very few buildings that merit this designation. This one, and the Pirelli Tower in Milan, are my favorites.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
All of this talk of rapture and apocalypse has reminded blogger Fred Plotkin of what is known in German opera as the Schlussszene: a great dramatic closing scene that only a word with three consecutive S's could convey. Do you have a favorite closing scene in opera?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
On WQX-Aria, Olivia Giovetti recalls her introduction to opera following Tuesday night's celebration of Joan Sutherland at the Town Hall.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Gustav Mahler, who died a century ago today, was a New Yorker for the last three years of his life, and during this time he led several productions at the Met. On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin reflects on the composer's life, and why it may be perfect operatic fodder.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
With the first-ever Gilbert and Sullivan sing-along taking place at Symphony Space and Caramoor kicking off its summer season with H.M.S. Pinafore, Naomi Lewin and Midge Woolsey talk about the timeless charm of the dynamic operetta duo.
Monday, May 16, 2011
After a weekend of new works at the VOX festival and a reaffirmation of their edgy artistic vision, could New York City Opera solve its problems with a move to a new venue and a commitment to the new and experimental? Blogger Olivia Giovetti considers this on WQX-Aria.
Monday, May 16, 2011
There has not been a new Mozart opera at the Met since 1984. But as WQX-Aria blogger Fred Plotkin explains, the composer's nearly forgotten gem, Mitridate, Re di Ponto, is finally getting some renewed consideration.
Friday, May 13, 2011
As the familiar chestnut goes, music is the universal language. Perhaps this is why composers are drawn to Italo Calvino’s 1972 masterwork, Invisible Cities—a novel that centers on a conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Since the explorer and emperor do not speak the same language and are forced to communicate through gestures and faith in one another’s interpretation.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
"While I don’t find booing acceptable in a theater under any circumstances, to do it following something so extremely challenging is what Italians call maleducato," writes blogger Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. What do you think about booing? Does it have a place in opera?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
As Sung Jin Hong's One World Symphony closes its tenth anniversary season with an abridged version of Tristan und Isolde, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti ponders the successes of smaller opera companies against the financial and operational woes of larger organizations.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Two of the Met's current conductors, Marco Armiliato and Fabio Luisi, hail from Genoa, Italy. On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin considers the cultural riches of that city and its contributions to the history of opera -- from Scotto to Verdi.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Ever since moving to New York City for graduate school, I have tried to attend as many concerts as possible at Carnegie Hall. I can say without a New Yorker's bias that every event I have seen there has been inspiring -- from Brahms symphonies performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, to Ravel's Gaspard played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, to new songs written and performed by Brad Mehldau and Renée Fleming, to my own father playing with the China Philharmonic on tour. But nothing was comparable to a recital I heard last week. This time, I sat on stage, merely fifteen feet away, in a recital by violist Yuri Bashmet and pianist Evgeny Kissin.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Editor's Note: On Tuesday Riccardo Muti won Spain's Asturias Arts Award.
Earlier this month, I heard two of the Chicago Symphony programs that Riccardo Muti conducted in Carnegie Hall – the concert performance of Verdi’s opera Otello, and the concert that included Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Both were extraordinary examples of music-making, which left me wondering: Why is this conductor different from all other conductors? I put that question to a former cellist from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, who happened to be sitting next to me at the first concert. His answer was, “Only one thousand and two hundred different ways, but it’s impossible to put into words.”