David Robertson, on Taking a Snapshot of Mozart’s Brain

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 ser...
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Jessica Rivera unveils Mark Grey’s Fire Angels at Zankel Hall

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.

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Remembering Lee Hoiby, Distinguished Composer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lee Hoiby, a master of 20th-century art song and opera, died in New York City earlier Monday following a brief illness at the age of 85. The news was confirmed by Hoiby's publisher.

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The Diva (Part One)

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.

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At New York City Opera, Three Far-From-Monotonous Monodramas

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 profou...
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A Rossini Debut and Some Welcome Returns at the Met’s Le Comte Ory

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.

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Reducing Exhaust Fumes, the Operatic Way

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 p...
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Must the Show Go On?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I have been asked, often, about how the cancellations by important artists affect casts, productions and audiences. I will address this at some point with you, but something else has been on my mind.

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Opera in Every Sense

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.

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City Opera's Spring Season Kicks Off with a Potent 'Elixir'

Monday, March 21, 2011

It’s hard not to imagine Jonathan Miller as a living incarnation of L’Elisir d’Amore’s Doctor Dulcamara. Like Donizetti’s itinerant shyster, Miller breezes into an opera house with a flourish, bringing with him his knighthood, medicinal background and reputation for being—in Dulcamara’s own words—a Dr. Encyclopedia. And for some audiences, Miller’s operas (the most famous of which perhaps being the Mafioso Rigoletto set in 1950s Little Italy) are on par with the questionable wares peddled by Dulcamara.

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