• A Tale of Two Bohémes

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    The recent crisis at the Met has raised so many questions, as has the demise of the NYCO, the near-demise of the San Diego Opera and the Rome Opera’s uncertain future. Are grand, starry opera productions in the style of those high-profile companies still viable in today’s economy and culture? Are they nothing but soulless, overblown spectacle that isn’t worth trying to save? Or are they the very heart and soul of the art form of opera? Read the rest of this entry »

  • Carlo Bergonzi (1924-2014)

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    I was 14 when I heard him for the first time. I was newly in love with opera and checked out a highlights CD of Madama Butterfly from a library – I had seen two videos of Butterfly at that point but had yet to hear a sound recording of it. The CD’s original case was lost, so I didn’t know the names of the singers, but I didn’t mind. The first track was Pinkerton’s aria “Dovunque al mondo,” and the moment he started to sing, this, more or less, was my reaction: “Oh wow! Oh my God! What a gorgeous voice!”

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  • Character Study Corner: Lt. B.F. Pinkerton

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    In honor of the 4th of July, I’d like to discuss the most famous American character in opera, Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton from Madama Butterfly.

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  • Character Study Corner: Don José

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    caruso27Jonas Don Joseimagescarmen-don-jose260jose1cropCarmenKnifeThroatA







    Hello! Just in case anyone was wondering, I’m still alive!


    The reason I haven’t posted here in a while is that I’ve been sucked into the gloriously addictive world of Tumblr. And while I was there I found a new love – amateur literary analysis. I’ve explored various different Tumblr blogs managed by English majors and other literature-lovers, who write long essays defending their favorite fictional characters Read the rest of this entry »

  • Opera Imaginaire: An Animated Opera of the Imagination

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    Most of the opera I watch nowadays on DVD or video tends to be complete performances. But when I first discovered opera, I lapped up any opera-related video I could get my hands on: complete performances, concerts, compilations, and more. Not least intriguing were cartoons inspired by opera, and I don’t just mean the old standbys like What’s Opera, Doc? and Rabbit of Seville. A video that I watched again and again in my early days of opera fandom was Opera Imaginaire, a 1994 compilation of cartoons by various European animators. Read the rest of this entry »

  • A Few Random Things About Certain Opera Librettos That I Don’t Understand

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    This is just for the sake of posting something. I promise I’ll have another music review written in a few days – and a review of Opera Santa Barbara’s Falstaff in less than two weeks!


    1. I don’t quite get the ending of Falstaff. The “double wedding” isn’t a wedding at all – there’s no clergyman, no vows are exchanged, we don’t even get the old opera buffa standby of Read the rest of this entry »

  • “Requiem for a Yellow Brick Brewery: A History of the Metropolitan Opera”

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    As much as I love the current Met Opera House, I sometimes wish I could have visited the old one. So much history was attached to it! So many glorious and notorious things happened in it! So naturally I was intrigued when I discovered the 1969 book Requiem for a Yellow Brick Brewery: A History of the Metropolitan Opera by John Briggs – a comprehensive Read the rest of this entry »