Could New York City Opera Benefit from a Change of Scene?

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.

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Other Stages: The Little Opera Theatre of New York Presents a Mozart Premiere

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.

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Christopher Cerrone's Invisible Cities Gains Visibility This Weekend

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.

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Boo Whom?

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?

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When Bigger is Not Always Better

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.

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An Opera Lover's Guide to Genoa, Italy

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.

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Between 'How Sweet it Is' and 'Il Dolce Suono'

Monday, May 09, 2011

As James Taylor's Perspectives Series concludes at Carnegie Hall, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti considers the ever-closing gap between classical and pop music.

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James Levine Withdraws from Japan, Tanglewood

Friday, May 06, 2011

In the midst of a celebratory year, added cancellations to James Levine's schedule end his BSO tenure with a wheeze. WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti reflects on the conductor's latest troubles.

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Finding Meaning in Dvorak's Sorrowful Song

Thursday, May 05, 2011

One does not have to be Christian, or even religious, to be affected by the universal sentiments of Dvorak's words about parental grief, writes blogger Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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Love, Loss and What Orfeo Wore

Thursday, May 05, 2011

In the wake of several losses to the musical world, Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, now running in a revival at the Metropolitan Opera, rings all the more poignant, writes blogger Olivia Giovetti at WQX-Aria.

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The Ghosts of May Day

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin asks: "What happens when an evil character in opera dies, one for whom we have not developed positive feelings -- Hagen in Götterdämmerung or Scarpia in Tosca? Do we feel bad? Do we rejoice?"

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Is the Philadelphia Orchestra Suffering from Hysterical Blindness?

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.

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Five Operatic Wedding Disasters

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Royal Wedding may have gone off without a hitch, but thank goodness there's opera to satisfy our collective sweet tooth when it comes to drama. Here are our picks for operatic (in every sense) wedding disasters.

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Pursuing Anvil Leads

Friday, April 29, 2011

As the Metropolitan Opera presents Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Verdi’s Il Trovatore this month, Fred Plotkin investigates one of the more striking ingredients shared between the two productions: the use of the lead anvil.

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Thomas Hampson Matches Mahler with George Crumb

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mahler centenary is big but Hampson's George Crumb concert in D.C. tonight and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center tomorrow may be his most important recital this year.

 

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In Memoriam: Anita Välkki

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.

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Angela Meade Takes Home the 2011 Richard Tucker Award

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.

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The Perils (and Art) of Singing with Microphones

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.

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Die Walküre Rides Again at the Met

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.

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Spotlight: Berlioz Fanatics Unite

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A few years ago, June LeBell, an announcer beloved to generations of WQXR listeners, organized a lecture series about composers called “The Busy B’s” in which I was invited to participate. Each speaker would be assigned one composer whose name begins with that letter. June was concerned that most of us would ask for Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, and was hopeful that someone might request Borodin, Bartók, Britten or Barber.

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