Wednesday, April 20, 2011
While many devoted members of the audience at Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon seemed to laud the production last night, Olivia Giovetti found herself among the skeptics, deeming the drama "lifeless and dull." More on WQX-Aria.
Monday, April 18, 2011
With the recent award consolidations at the Grammys, and the NEA Opera Honors ceasing operations after this year, the Opera News Awards may be our last hope for awarding classical mettle.
Friday, April 15, 2011
In polite society, we have been told, it is not nice to talk about religion, politics or sex. This would mean that opera lovers are not polite company, which is wrong. We just happen to be more open to topics that are central to the human experience than people who are confined to talking about the weather.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Among the 25 Mostly Mozart debuts this season, the one we’re most anticipating is that of the Budapest Festival Orchestra's fully-staged performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Fischer himself.
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.