Talking with singers: Sondra Radvanovsky
Schmopera on tour: The Bremen Town Musicians
Hvorostovsky to take a "pause in my operatic career".
After the discovery of a brain tumor in 2015, and taking a break to deal with his health last summer, he returned to the opera and recital stage to great reviews. Anthony Tommasini from the Times noted from Hvorostovsky's appearance in Il Trovotore at the Metropolitan Opera that his "resplendent voice, with its distinctive mellow character and dusky veneer, sounded not at all compromised."Read More
Oh look, it's the "elitist" argument again...
But here's the kicker in my eyes: no one bats an eye when someone says, "Oh, she's a Susanna, not an Ariadne," but thinking that this Susanna would also sound great as Lucy in The Secret Garden garners a completely different response.Read More
Don't miss: The Demon at AVA
The famed Russian pianist was also a prolific composer, who wrote twelve operas during his lifetime (did you know Tchaikovsky studied composition with Rubinstein?). The Demon is based on the poem of the same name by Mikhail Lermonontov: a demon falls in love with Tamara and has her fiancé killed, Tamara starts to become attracted to the demon and lets him kiss her, but his kiss is fatal, and she falls dead.Read More
Falstaff in Cambridge
"There is something very exciting about staging grand opera in an intimate venue," says Redmond, "that brings a power and intensity to the performances that one can sometimes miss in a large opera house. With an orchestra of 80, a chorus of nearly 100, and an international cast of soloists, it's an exciting sound!"Read More
Aria guides: Dido's Lament
For our latest Aria Guide, we've picked an aria that has it all: it's beautiful, it's in English, and mezzos get to play Dido, an actual woman. In Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, "Dido's Lament" happens at the end of a simple and sad story: Aeneas, whom Dido loves and has agreed to marry, believes he has to leave her and go to Italy. As he goes, Dido dies from her grief.Read More
In review: Scenes from the End
"Over the past few years, I have experienced grief. It's impossible to rationally 'describe' your experience of grief because death is absurd," writes Werner in her performer's notes. "When you lose someone, you find yourself surrounded by people who never talk to you about it - not in person anyway - because they simply can't. Or, if they think they can, it quickly becomes unhelpful and patronising, in a weird sort of way."Read More
Aria guides: "O wie ängstlich, o wie feurig!"
Amid captured loved ones and Turkish harems, there's a tenor in love. Belmonte is off to resuce his abducted fiancée, Konstanze, but not without telling us how she makes his heart beat faster. For any tenor, this aria is a mountain of work; there's tricky coloratura, lines which hover through the passaggio, and making it to the end takes planning and stamina.Read More
Opera and sci-fi: the puritan intersection
The great, classic sci-fi isn't about aliens or lasers or teleportation; it's about people and the things we go through in any environment. Similarly, the great, classic operas aren't about singing for its own sake; they're about those same people and those same environments.Read More
Schmopera is three!
It's been three years ago since we started Schmopera from a cozy chalet, on a ski trip near Montréal. At the beginning, there was a distinct feeling of opening a large can of worms inside the small world of opera; now, we're insanely proud of what Schmopera has become, and we're humbled by our readers.Read More
In review: Il trovatore at ROH
First performed in 1853, just after Rigoletto and just before La traviata, Il trovatore gives unfortunate talking points to those who may say that opera plots are silly. There's the "I burned the wrong baby" bit, the "it's too dark to tell who I'm hugging" bit, and there are all the opera-esque moments of oddly-timed shock and rage.Read More