Fred Plotkin

Fred Plotkin appears in the following:

Is That All There Is?

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?

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A Mahler Opera? Not Such a Stretch, Actually

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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In Memoriam: Vincenzo La Scola

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.

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Operatic Gods, and God

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.

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The Art of Sleeping at The Opera

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."

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Master Class: When Opera Singers Act (But Don’t Sing)

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.

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Spotlight: Why Berg's Wozzeck Matters

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.

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Planet Opera: Nordic Opera Houses

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.

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Planet Opera: Barcelona

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.

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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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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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