Fred Plotkin

Fred Plotkin appears in the following:

Magnificent Maestros: The Right and Left Hand of God

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

To be a great maestro, less is more, writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. "The best conductors sort out almost all of the stylistic and musical issues in rehearsal, leaving themselves and musicians free to just play and breathe spontaneously."

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Listening Room: Historic Live Performances from the Met

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Experiencing the Met's radio broadcasts is no longer an ephemeral experience, writes blogger Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. The Met, along with Sony, has begun to take some jewels out of the vault, including recordings of Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner operas.

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Two Unsung Singers: Anna Caterina Antonacci and Daniela Barcellona

Thursday, June 02, 2011

At the moment, there are few top Italian female singers known to international audiences, writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. But two getting fresh attention and are well worth hearing: Anna Caterina Antonacci and Daniela Barcellona.

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In Memoriam: Giorgio Tozzi

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As the news of death of the great bass Giorgio Tozzi (January 8, 1923-May 30, 2011) has begun to spread, a few people have asked, “Where in Italy was he from?” The answer was Chicago, writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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Fifteen Essential European Opera Festivals

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There are the famous, evergreen festivals including Bayreuth, Edinburgh, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and Verona. All are great and deserve to be attended at least once. But there is so much more, in big cities and small towns.

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To Be a Good Singer, It Helps to Be a 'Lissner'

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"There are still great voices today, but they might reside in bodies that look more like those of the average person rather than an operatic Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt," writes blogger Fred Plotkin. "I have seen many pretty or handsome singers who bore me silly."

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Keeping it Real: Teatro Grattacielo Rescues Forgotten Verismo Operas

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.

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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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