My second complete Il Trittico reinforced two of my opinions. One, that Puccini’s three one-acts are even better taken as a whole, and two, that an ROH production with Conductor Antonio Pappano and Stage Director Richard Jones will be first rate.
I wish the author would extend “Baroque” to include early Mozart, and remind Neptune about his subject Calabanetta, a sweet-voiced young woman with a deformed body but a beautiful spirit who lives in the far reaches of his kingdom
I had some free time last week and figured to get a head start on my review by writing part of it before seeing the opera; then after seeing it, I would revise as appropriate -- things didn’t work out that way
Marina Poplavskaya's acting and singing is superb; In Act II her Marguerite is young, pretty, vibrant, popular; less than 9 months later, she is an old woman about to give birth - friendless, exhausted, utterly miserable
Philip Glass, his librettist Constance DeJong, and the entire creative staff of the MetHD production have presented the essence of Gandhi’s 21 years in South Africa in a most unusual fashion – the complete opposite of verismo.
The same voice box produced the powerful German singing by Siegfried on stage and the delightful Texas drawl of Jay Hunter Morris in the interviews - I could easily believe him to be a reincarnation of Wagner’s famous 17 year old hero.
The divine words of the choir and Scarpia’s profane words are each sung to entirely appropriate music. When the two are perfectly balanced, the resulting dissonance creates an almost unbearable musical tension.
What a pair of characters - Carmen: flamboyant, sexy, strong-willed, domineering – yet potentially vulnerable; what an opportunity for a mezzo; tenor Don José: naïve country bumpkin at the start – insane murderer at the end.
The conductor raises his arms - our pulses quicken in anticipation - an opera is about to start - but wait! - the conductor’s arms do not descend; they remain upraised, poised, ready for action. The curtain rises in utter silence
Handel wrote the parts of Xerxes and his brother to be played by castrati who were a respected musical class in 18th century Europe but are now essentially extinct due to changing mores and natural selection
Cilia’s Adriana Lecouvreur sounded vaguely familiar to me, so I assumed it would be classical opera, but I knew absolutely nothing about the composer or the plot. I was looking forward to being surprised - and what a wonderful surprise it was
For a moment Anna Netrebko did not reply. She had been sitting relaxed with a smiling face. Her body straightened and stiffened. Her smile was replaced by a firm straight mouth. She said, simply, “I remind myself that I am a Queen.”
There is little correlation between the historical Lucrezia Borgia and the title character of the opera Lucrezia Borgia - and even less between the real Lucrezia's bastard son Giovanni and opera Lucrezia’s long-lost son Gennaro
Heart of a Soldier is different from most operas. The Story is a biography of a current person, and it is by far the driving force of the opera; music, acting, scenery, lighting, etc. are important only in-so-far-as they enhance the story telling
H.M.S. Pinafore hove into Mountain View this past weekend and it was immediately obvious that the “sober men and true” who sailed her were not exaggerating a bit when they sang, “Our saucy ship’s a beauty.”
Macbeth is a total villain with no redeeming qualities - not even consistency. Immediately after killing King Duncan he wishes the deed undone. But then he commits more murders to cover up the first one
In the course of 6 days I spent 17 hours watching and listening to San Francisco Opera's complete cycle of Wagner’s 4 operas known as the Ring. Here is Part I of a four-part review of the cycle as a whole.