Planet Opera: In Valencia, Spain, the Arts Still Matter

Friday, October 19, 2012

Despite the enormous economic crisis that's crippling Spain, Valencia, its third-largest city, remains a destination for opera. Blogger Fred Plotkin was just there and shares his impressions.

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The Top Three Operas with Nerd Appeal

Thursday, October 18, 2012

From astronomy and math to physics and comparative literature, operas with nerd appeal are becoming increasingly popular.

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The Song of the Ancient Soprano

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"There are a still some very old singers who walk among us, heads only slightly bowed, and seem like messengers from that lost world of opera in the 1920s and 1930s," writes Fred Plotkin. "They actually did know Puccini."

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Thoroughly Postmodern Cecilia

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cecilia Bartoli is bald, vaguely sinister, and in ecclesiastical drag on the cover of her latest recording, "Mission." Tracing the evolution of her persona from the late 1980s to this can be revealing.

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Mirella Freni: La Prudentissima

Friday, October 12, 2012

For almost her entire life, when Mirella Freni sang, all people could do was stop and listen. Fred Plotkin considers why.

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James Levine Plans Met Opera Return in May

Thursday, October 11, 2012

James Levine plans to return to the podium at the Metropolitan Opera in May following a two-year absence, conducting from a wheelchair following a fall last year that left him partially paralyzed.

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Top Three Show-Stopping Moments in Verdi's Il Trovatore

Thursday, October 11, 2012

So what if the plot is a little bit far fetched? In this edition of Opera in Brief, we explore three show-stopping moments from Verdi’s masterpiece.

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Giuseppe Verdi, Lost and Found

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

At the time that Verdi's daughter was born, the composer was deep into the composition of Il Trovatore, his strange and compelling story about babies who are switched, abandoned, even burned in a fire.

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Shock and Awe

Friday, October 05, 2012

The question that seems to be pervading the world of art and creative thought, as we approach the centenary of The Rite of Spring, is one that could be responded to in over 10,000 words and still not fully answered: Does art still shock?

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When Singers Seem to Matter Less

Thursday, October 04, 2012

"While there are some singers who still are engaged by opera companies and presented as stars whom audiences flock to see, there are fewer of these all the time," writes Fred Plotkin.

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Autumn in Opera

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Are there operas you associate with autumn? For blogger Olivia Giovetti, they include Lucia di Lammermoor, Tannhäuser, Rigoletto and Russian operas.

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Planet Opera: Cincinnati Balances Tradition with Innovation

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

This hilly, leafy city above the Ohio River grew in the 19th century with waves of German immigrants who brought values of hard work, love of music and of hearty food, writes Fred Plotkin.

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'Dog Days' Brings a Post-Apocalyptic Era to New Jersey

Friday, September 28, 2012

Some of the greatest works in opera deal with the end of some form of civilization or another, writs Olivia Giovetti. The latest example is the new opera Dog Days, which gets its premiere on Sunday.

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Blend of Bikinis and Chinese Opera Stirs Debate

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A stage performance by bikini-clad women wearing headpieces styled after traditional Peking Opera has sparked debate in China after photos were made public this week.

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Smoking at the Opera

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Smoking used to be commonplace among opera singers, as it was the general public. These days, there remain a few hold-outs, despite its obvious dangers. Fred Plotkin considers the practice.

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The Top 10 Opera Fans from Film and Television

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From Nicolas Cage’s character in Moonstruck to Frasier Crane in "Cheers" and "Fraiser," we look at film and television’s greatest opera lovers. Check out Olivia Giovetti's list and share your own favorites.

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Review: 'Elixir of Love' a Frothy Season Opener at Metropolitan Opera

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Metropolitan Opera opened its season Monday with the comedy 'L'Elisir d'Amore' in a new production by Bartlett Sher. The opera was "played straight and literal," writes David Patrick Stearns.

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Why it's Time to Reclaim the Overture

Monday, September 24, 2012

"More than a few stage directors seem to think that the overture is theirs to play with, creating stage business that happens while the overture is being performed," complains Fred Plotkin.

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The Making of a Cult Opera

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cult classics in inspire rabid fandom that familiar works never achieve. Blogger Olivia Giovetti examines why, and considers cult operas such as Wozzeck, From the House of the Dead, La Périchole, Vanessa and Prince Igor.

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What Audiences Can Bring to an Opera Performance

Friday, September 21, 2012

In tough financial times, "we, as audiences, need to express faith and solidarity with our opera companies, encouraging them to be daring and creative and supporting them in their efforts," writes Fred Plotkin.

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