Tuesday, April 12, 2011
"We sleep at the opera for at least a couple of reasons," writes Fred Plotkin. "One is that we are overtired. The other is the sublime twilight we enter while listening to exquisite music played in a congenial space without electronic transmission."
Monday, April 11, 2011
Chances are the following has happened to you at least once. You bring a friend to the opera and, just as the house lights dim, they turn to you and ask: “So what’s this about?” Enter Twitter's popular #operaplot contest, with guest judge Eric Owens.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin considers Tito Gobbi, Maria Callas, William Shimell and the notion of opera singers who act in films.
Friday, April 08, 2011
For many, it seems a maddeningly disconcerting that New York City Opera should now postpone its announcement of the 2011-12 season in order to reconcile its financial woes, chief among them a $5 million deficit. But maybe that’s not the worst thing.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
If you tuned into this week’s show on The New Canon, you probably heard me talking about 21c Liederabend. Producer Beth Morrison (dubbed by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Observer as “the opera lady who likes it crazy”) along with Opera on Tap and VisionIntoArt have created a series devoted to contemporary opera and art song that is continually satisfying—and continually ambitious. It started as a one-night program in 2009 but has since exploded into a three-day festival featuring the works of 20 composers. With so many composers converging April 7th through 9th, we’re here offering a bit of a primer for each one—and what you can expect to hear this weekend. Click on the composer’s name to sample their works off-site.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Despite the bird-like hum of audience hearing aids, tenor Matthew Polenzani portrayed an innocent soul caught up in the throes of passion as part of a Schubert recital on Sunday. Meanwhile, down Broadway, David Daniels played a "Baroque Elvis."
Friday, April 01, 2011
Earlier this morning it was announced that composers John Adams and John Luther Adams will be collaborating on an opera—the former’s seventh and the latter’s first. Their proposed subject matter? An opera based on the life of Sarah Palin.
Friday, April 01, 2011
With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first trip to New York with its new, busy (and injury-plagued) music director, the one cancellation New York audiences have been collectively dreading is that of Maestro Muti. Which is why, when Carnegie Hall sent out an e-mail with the subject “Artist Update: Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” we momentarily held our breaths.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
When I give lectures about opera or meet people at performances, I am asked many interesting questions. I hope that readers of my blog posts will write in with questions and I will try to answer them in future entries. The three questions I am asked most come so frequently that I might as well answer them here so we can move on to others.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
On WQX-Aria, Olivia Giovetti catches up with conductor David Robertson to talk about Mozart’s unfinished opera, Zaïde. Containing no overture and no third act, it is at once opera seria and opera buffa, melodramatic and comic.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
As the San Francisco Opera readies its new September 11-themed work, Heart of a Soldier, for a world premiere this fall, Carnegie Hall is unveiling its own premiere commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The luminous soprano Jessica Rivera, alongside pianist Molly Morkoski and Ensemble Meme (under conductor Donato Cabrera) gives a first listen of the Carnegie co-commission, Ātash Sorushān (Fire Angels) in her Zankel Hall recital this evening.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
One of the tasks I have set for myself in writing this blog is to help readers understand the many components of opera and provide correctives when necessary. You are, of course, welcome to disagree with me and, because opera lovers are an opinionated lot, I know some of you will. All I ask is that we get the terminology and history right so that our opinions and feelings can come forth in the proper context.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Upon assuming the post at New York City Opera two years ago, general manager and artistic director George Steel made it his mission to nudge the troubled company forward. How profoundly that mission resonated Friday night, writes Olivia Giovetti.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Theatricality abounds in Rossini’s operas. The composer trades in devices such as mistaken identity and hyperbole nearly as often as he does with coloratura riffs and grand ensemble numbers. So when Peter Gelb assumed directorship of the Metropolitan Opera in 2006, he couldn’t have made a better choice with pegging Broadway director Bartlett Sher to helm a new production of Rossini’s most famous work, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Sher, a relative neophyte to the genre, made magic out of the classic score and story. The production has since served as a vindication for some of the company’s recent artistic missteps.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
While the Met has a well-earned reputation for presenting some of the brightest stars in the operatic firmament, it has also recently garnered some harsh criticism for the number of promised artists backing out. Clearly something’s gotta give, but what that something is remains a gray area.
Monday, March 21, 2011
When I was asked to contribute to a blog about opera for WQXR.org I accepted without hesitation. Many people who know me say that I live on a metaphorical Planet Opera, which I take as a compliment even though opera is only part -- a wonderful part -- of the fabric of my life. I know that anyone who embraces opera, which is to say loves opera rather than merely “appreciates” it, lives more richly and is usually more in touch with the human experience. This is because opera addresses, on many levels, the core issues and questions of who we are.