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.
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.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
With the Philadelphia Orchestra docking at Carnegie Hall this week to perform Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti considers some discrepancies in Sophocles's tragedy—and the orchestra's financial situation.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Anita Välkki (October 25, 1926-April 27, 2011) has just died and I realize that most people have no idea who she was. This is strange, because she was a major artist, certainly behind Birgit, Leonie and perhaps Astrid Varnay (1918-2006), but nonetheless one of a very small group.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Honey-voiced soprano Angela Meade, 33, is the recipient of this year's Richard Tucker Music Award, which comes with a $30,000 bonus and a priceless amount of prestige.
Monday, April 25, 2011
On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin decries the use of microphones in opera. "I don’t care how good the 'sound design' is, the mediation of electronics between voice and audience inevitably flattens and cheapens the performance," he writes.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Ultimately the power of the Ring is that the myriad immortal characters we encounter over the four operas are driven by very human emotions rather than deific rationality. This may be where Lepage fails hardest, which explains the outcry against this work. To content ourselves with saying that it’s at least not the worst work produced under the Gelb era does a disservice to the audience, the artists and the art. But it’s hard to judge a new Ring halfway through. And while this is surely not a hit, it at least has a considerable kick.