Anything but Wagner

Anything but Wagner

No great composer induces passion the way Richard Wagner does. Knowledgeable opera goers seem to be divided into warring camps, vigorously campaigning for and against the art of the egomaniac of Bayreuth. In 50 years of opera going I have endured harangues beyond number intended to convince ...

Read More

Ella giammai m’amò

Ella giammai m’amò

‘Ella giammai m’amò’ (from Don Carlo) is the most moving and poignant aria that Verdi, or for that matter anyone except perhaps Mussorgsky, ever wrote for a bass. King Philip controls half the world, but his family and his church defy him. He’s made one of life’s greater mistakes – ...

Read More

Lucrezia Borgia: unjustly neglected

Lucrezia Borgia: unjustly neglected

Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia was written in 1833. Today it hangs around the outskirts of the standard operatic repertory. According to operabase.com it was performed 22 times worldwide during the season of 2013-14. ...

Read More

Mother’s Opera Star: Tito Schipa

Mother’s Opera Star: Tito Schipa

The gentleman told her that he was an Italian tenor and was singing at Ravinia. He said he was going on to the Met in New York and then on to California. He was worried about his dog and said the trip would be to hard on his beautiful collie and would Mother take the dog and give... ...

Read More

Song of the Indian Guest

Song of the Indian Guest

Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) Born into an aristocratic family, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was educated at a naval college in St. Petersburg and sailed the world as a naval officer. While still a naval officer, he was composing music and was part of a group ...

Read More

Lauri-Volpi’s debut as Manrico

Lauri-Volpi’s debut as Manrico

The troubadour is the most aristocratic, lyrical and romantic figure of the Middle Ages. It captivated the young Lauri-Volpi in his salad days at La Sapienza university, while reading modern literature and the influence the troubadours’ western art had on romantic opera of 1800. ...

Read More

Opera & Poison

Opera & Poison

Veleno (poison) in opera is a sure mechanism to vary the plot and resolve the drama, which succumbs frequently to the knife, firearm and blood (i.e. Tosca act II and La Forza del destino act I). A good portion of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia is based on such mechanism. Donizetti’s ...

Read More

Heroic tenors in Verdi

Heroic tenors in Verdi

Verdi is personified melodrama and heroic tenors in Verdi’s operas are vehicles driven by the genius of Busseto to portray human life, better still human drama. The plots border on exaggeration and absurdity, at times. The acts are as brief as necessary to maximize... ...

Read More

Decker’s Traviata

Decker’s Traviata

Rarely has an operatic production caused as much furor as the 2005 Salzburg Festival production of La Traviata. Desperate opera aficionados wrote blank checks in hopes of securing black-market tickets to the opening performance. Applied to a piece with a history of lavish costumes and sets, the ...

Read More

Articles


  • Richard Wagner

    Anything but Wagner

    No great composer induces passion the way Richard Wagner does. Knowledgeable opera goers seem to be divided into warring camps, vigorously campaigning for and against the art of the egomaniac of Bayreuth. In 50 years of opera going I have endured harangues beyond number intended to convince reluctant audiences that Wagner’s music is great and that they should surrender to its greatness.

    Read More

  • Doing Nothing

    Doing Nothing

    The music in Grollman’s life was music. He came to it gradually towards the end of high school via the one dollar recordings of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky issued under orchestral aliases; a final effort to milk a last profit from out of date pressings. The sound was ghastly, the performances problematical, but the music was there nonetheless. He didn’t listen to opera, more by accident than design.

    Read More

Features


Ella giammai m’amò

Ella giammai m’amò

‘Ella giammai m’amò’ (from Don Carlo) is the most moving and poignant aria that Verdi, or for that matter anyone except perhaps Mussorgsky, ever wrote for a bass. King Philip controls half the world, but his family and his church defy him. He’s made one of life’s greater mistakes – he’s married a much younger woman.

Read More

Song of the Indian Guest

Ilya Repin - Sadko

Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) Born into an aristocratic family, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was educated at a naval college in St. Petersburg and sailed the world as a naval officer. While still a naval officer, he was composing music and was part of a group

Read More

dwe