I guess that's my 2018 year-in-review: finding my way back to opera. It certainly helped to have, always bubbling in the background like happy reminders, the insatiable enthusiasm for opera of our writers and readers. So, thanks.
There was literally something for everyone who enjoys culture. Though many elements tied together, in the end it had the same effect as a large, complex mosaic - no surprise since it was the result of a collaboration between many: Mr. Costanzo conceived the project in conjunction with the artistic directors of Visionaire and National Sawdust, which is known for its interdisciplinary productions.
Menotti holds an unusual niche in musical history – he's one of the rare post-Puccini composers who continued in the romantic or verismo style while the opera world became mostly atonal and minimalist. He is also one of only a handful of composers – like Wagner – who wrote his own libretti.
For the moment, Stagg is enjoying Chicago. Recent highlights include bundling up for a walk through Millennium Park, an outing to hear Verdi's Requiem with Riccardo Muti at the Chicago Symphony, and a trip to the city's famed Art Institute, where she especially enjoyed the collection of French impressionist paintings.
Amahl's widowed mother, played by soprano Megan Miceli, was another bright star of this production. Like Pfeifer, Miceli's portrayal was honest and nuanced, her round, vibrant tone filling the performance space with ease.
MyNewOpera is searchable by composer, theme, artist, and synopsis, making it a valuable resource for those curious what's happening among opera's small companies and even works-in-progress.
Launched in 2018 by baritones Michael Nyby and Aaron Durand, TICP is about unpacking and re-thinking the "often stiff nature" of classical music. With Verbotenlieder, they're upending two of opera's most ubiquitous traditions: gender and voice type.
We discussed all things opera: the career, the "life," the work, the music. Naturally, as compatriots, we touched on Polish music and reminisced on our experiences at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw where we both studied, albeit ten years apart. We conversed in Polish. Below I provide an English translation of our conversation, edited solely to account for grammatical and syntactic necessities.
The main story is about the lost son of a murdered king, fighting against the weak offspring of the usurper for love and his right to the throne, successfully winning both. That's it, literally. And this perfectly illustrates why a lot of similar operas are gathering dust on the shelves of libraries. A pity, since sometimes the musical material is real gold.
Richard A. Raub must be commended for his work with both the cast and the orchestra. While intonation was, at times a noticeable issue, the ensemble gracefully navigated from swelling passage to swelling passage. Raub also maintained an energetic momentum through the work. Raub kept the high level of romanticism without ever losing any precision.