• Rt Young Headshot

    Richard Tucker remembered

    That was my seven year old son’s critique of Richard Tucker’s performance in Carmen; it was his first exposure to the great American tenor. Tucker had sung Don Jose in his customary style. Wonderful singing combined with ham (what my son meant by “noble”) acting. He had mastered every operatic cliché – fist on the breast, fist shaking, galumphing around the stage like Frankenstein’s monster. He could have run Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. When Tucker performed with Zinka Milanov, which was often, they could have cornered the world’s prosciutto market. But what voices! The rest didn’t matter.

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  • Deckertraviata

    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 minimalist aesthetic and conceptual staging added new intellectual and emotional depth to the opera. The production’s major symbols are concerned with Violetta’s illness and death. Violetta’s interactions with symbolic set pieces and characters reflect existentialist attitudes towards dying. Specifically, Violetta’s struggle with death can be interpreted through Heidegger’s concept of authenticity and inauthenticity in being-toward-death.

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  • 240px Josefschmidt

    The two that got away

    Consider two other singers not well-known to any but aficionados – Joseph Schmidt and Fritz Wunderlich. Both confirm Tennyson’s dictum “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”. Schmidt was born in 1904, in Davidende, a small town in the Bocovina region of Romania. …

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  • Victor Hugo

    Victor Hugo’s Plays & Opera

    Victor Hugo (1802–1885) is most famous as the author of novels like Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Both of which led to popular pieces of contemporary musical theater. Less known in the English-speaking world are his fifteen plays. Even as Hugo’s most popular novels …

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  • T2779 Jussi Bjorling As Manrico

    Manrico: heroic or lyric?

    Without doubt one of the great moments in any good opera performance is when a singer unleashes a thrilling, full-blooded high note that rips across the combined sound of the orchestra and ensemble leaving the audience a gasp and astounded. Tenors (and their followers) have …

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