Fred Plotkin

Fred Plotkin appears in the following:

Listening Room: Jussi Björling

Monday, August 22, 2011

Many consider tenor Jussi Björling to be one of the greats of the "old Met". Find out why Fred Plotkin considers him to be one of his great childhood influences in this Listening Room profile.

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Comments [18]

A Bumper Crop of Italian Maestros: Part II

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why do we have so many fine Italian conductors today? Considering names like Chailly, Luisi, Armiliato and Noseda, blogger Fred Plotkin notes, "I believe that Italy continues to produce outstanding musicians in families that are keepers of the musical flame."

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Comments [5]

A Bumper Crop of Italian Maestros: Part I

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Italian conductors have been very important in the pit at the Metropolitan Opera, writes blogger Fred Plotkin. "In the coming season, of the 22 conductors on the roster, there are six Italians and two more with Italian roots."

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Comments [5]

Ham and Eggs Take a Holiday at the Opera

Monday, August 15, 2011

A holiday can present a composer with the opportunity to write festive music for chorus, orchestra, dancers and solo singers. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci are two of the more colorful examples, writes blogger Fred Plotkin.

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Comments [7]

Whether Wagner or Smetana, Don't Feed The Bears

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, Wagner's Siegfried and Sir William Walton's The Bear are just a few examples of operas involving grizzly adventures.

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Comments [9]

In Memoriam: Michael Gray

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Anyone who attends opera performances regularly at a local opera company develops a relationship with a whole group of people whom he or she may not know personally: The chorus.

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Comments [38]

Unsung Singers: Lucy Crowe

Sunday, August 07, 2011

On Tuesday and Wednesday, British soprano Lucy Crowe will make her Lincoln Center debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival. Previous entries in my series of “Unsung Singers” were artists further along in their careers who I feel deserve more recognition. Perhaps in the case of Ms. Crowe “unsung” should suggest that she has not yet performed in places where I could attend. Most of her career thus far has been in the United Kingdom.

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Comments [3]

Shakespeare and Opera: Bringing Chilling Music to 'The Winter's Tale'

Thursday, August 04, 2011

On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin considers the operatic potential of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, including whether the character of the bear should have a singing part.

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Comments [3]

The Anatomy of An Opera Rehearsal: Shaping The Music

Monday, August 01, 2011

The rehearsal process for an opera production is long and complex. Yet many younger of conductors don't dedicate themselves to working with singers properly, writes Fred Plotkin, which will be bad for the future of opera.

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Comments [5]

Shakespeare and Opera: The Sound and Fury of Macbeth

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Giuseppe Verdi understood the operatic potential of the tragedy Macbeth and made it his first work based on Shakespeare. It may be a rare case of an opera improving upon the original play, notes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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Comments [6]

A Little Light Music: How Lighting Design Impacts Opera

Monday, July 25, 2011

There is a generation of people who work in the performing arts, mostly in their 50s and 60s, who are known as “Gilbert’s Children.” All of us had the same master instructor and draw on his wisdom as if it were genetically part of who we are. Gilbert Hemsley (1936-1983) was the kind of inspiring teacher one is lucky to have. He drew the best out of each student and knew how to shine a light on every person’s strengths.

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Comments [4]

Magnificent Maestros: Leif Segerstam

Friday, July 22, 2011

The term maestro has two meanings. It is a conductor, of course, but it also means teacher. To some degree, every conductor is also a teacher, but some few of them so fully embrace pedagogy that it seems to dwarf their other achievements. A few maestros are also composers. Mahler and Leonard Bernstein both belong in this category, as did Mendelssohn in his short life.

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Comments [3]

Should Opera Companies Feature More Ballet?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Many of the world's great opera companies double as ballet companies, including those in London, Paris and Russia. But has anyone lately mentioned the Metropolitan Opera Ballet? On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin has a proposal for the Met.

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Comments [11]

Shakespeare and Opera: The Strange But True Story of Verdi's King Lear

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Opera fans know that Verdi wrote three brilliant operas based on Shakespeare: Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff. And then there is the great Shakespeare opera that Verdi struggled to create, but did not: Il Re Lear. Here's why.

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Comments [8]

Casting Your Fantasy Opera Production

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On WQX-Aria Fred Plotkin reports on the Caramoor revival of Rossini's William Tell and asks: "What opera has been forgotten, ignored or badly served that you would present in five years?"

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Comments [11]

A 'Master Class' Worth Auditing: Tyne Daly Excels as Maria Callas

Friday, July 08, 2011

On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin reports on the revival of the Terrence McNally play "Master Class." "Daly fully stakes her claim as heir to a role that has prismatically brought forth distinct traits of Callas with each actress who plays her."

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Comments [3]

Do 'Tell'

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

You may know the famous William Tell Overture but what about the opera it introduces? WQX-Aria blogger Fred Plotkin considers why it is often referred to as Rossini’s masterpiece.

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Comments [4]

Arts Funding and Apple Pie

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Kansas recently became the nation's first state without an arts agency. On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin considers the implications of that dubious distinction, and why "the arts will be our legacy as a civilization long after we forget who our politicians were."

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Comments [7]

In Memoriam: Alice Playten

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alice Plotkin (August 28, 1947-June 25, 2011), my beloved cousin, died this past weekend in New York, the city of her birth and the place where she most thrived.

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Comments [20]

Life, Death and Leos Janacek

Thursday, June 23, 2011

For the finale to his second season as music director, Alan Gilbert chose to stage Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. Fred Plotkin offers an assessment of its significance in the operatic canon.

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Comments [7]