Fred Plotkin appears in the following:
Monday, May 23, 2011
In my post about operatic Genoa, I made passing reference to the grattacielo (skyscraper) there that contained a 1000-seat cinema where opera was presented from after World War II until 1992. Among the many artists who sang there were Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas. This building is usually called the first skyscraper in Italy, a nation that still has very few buildings that merit this designation. This one, and the Pirelli Tower in Milan, are my favorites.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
All of this talk of rapture and apocalypse has reminded blogger Fred Plotkin of what is known in German opera as the Schlussszene: a great dramatic closing scene that only a word with three consecutive S's could convey. Do you have a favorite closing scene in opera?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Gustav Mahler, who died a century ago today, was a New Yorker for the last three years of his life, and during this time he led several productions at the Met. On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin reflects on the composer's life, and why it may be perfect operatic fodder.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Nowadays, it seems, you have not died until you have died on Facebook. On April 15 at 6:01 pm, Samuel Ramey posted, "I just received a message from an Italian FB friend that the tenor Vincenzo la Scola died. He died in Turkey but I have no other details. So sad. What a nice man and a wonderful singer he was.
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.
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."
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.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
When scaling back his conducting duties this season, why did James Levine choose to conduct Alban Berg over masterpieces by Verdi and Wagner? Fred Plotkin has some theories on WQX-Aria.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
"If the new operatic Valhalla is in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) or its Nordic cousin, Finland, I would have even more motivation to go," writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.
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.
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.