• CD Review: Orphée et Eurydice (1989, Gardiner)

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    Orphée et Eurydice

    1989, EMI

    (Anne Sofie von Otter, Barbara Hendricks, Brigitte Fournier; Monteverdi Choir; Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, cond. John Eliot Gardiner)


    If you want an introduction to the Berlioz edition of Gluck’s Orphée, there’s probably no better one than this recording. John Eliot Gardiner conducts with a lithe, energetic yet elegant hand, creating a beautifully French sound world of sweet refinement without losing any of the story’s passion, and capturing the late Baroque/early Classical essence of Gluck while staying true to Berlioz’s

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  • “Carmen” at the LA Opera (October 6, 2013)

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    Carmen: Patricia Bardon

    Don José: Brandon Jovanovich

    Micaela: Pretty Yende Read the rest of this entry »

  • CD Review: Don Giovanni (1988, Harnoncourt)

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    Don Giovanni

    1988, Teldec

    (Thomas Hampson, László Polgár, Edita Gruberova, Hans Peter Blochwitz, Roberta Alexander, Barbara Bonney, Anton Scharinger, Robert Holl; The Netherlands Opera Chorus; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, cond. Nikolaus Harnoncourt)


    This starry yet somewhat under-the-radar Giovanni hasn’t appealed to all critics, but I like it. While he doesn’t offer a radical reinterpretation of Mozart’s music, Nikolaus Harnoncourt still makes the score very much his own, with controversial yet, in my opinion, effective results. Some of his tempos are speedy and urgent, others surprisingly slow and deliberate, yet all are clearly Read the rest of this entry »

  • DVD Review: Turandot (1994, San Francisco)

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    1994, San Francisco Opera

    (Eva Marton, Michael Sylester, Lucia Mazzaria, Kevin Langan; San Francisco Opera Chorus; San Francisco Opera Orchestra, cond. Donald Runnicles)

    (dir. Peter McClintock; video dir. Brian Large)


    This Turandot is less lavish and more intimate than Franco Zeffirelli’s legendary Met production, but just as visually striking in its own right thanks to the memorable set designs of David Hockney. His flat, storybook-like aesthetic, with its sharp, exaggerated lines and bold solid colors (predominantly red, blue and green), combines with Ian Falconer’s colorful costumes and Read the rest of this entry »

  • Opera at the Library: My Tribute

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    This blog owes its existence to a lot of people and things. Obviously it wouldn’t be here without the friends and family members who helped me discover opera in the first place. Nor would it be here without the LA Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, or without Read the rest of this entry »

  • CD Review: Carmen (1972, Bernstein)

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    1972, Deutsche Grammophon

    (Marilyn Horne, James McCracken, Tom Krause, Adriana Maliponte; Manhattan Opera Chorus; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, cond. Leonard Bernstein)



    Here we have yet another uneven Carmen that I can’t help but enjoy despite its flaws. Genius though Leonard Bernstein was, not everyone will approve of his eternally slow tempos and punchy dramatic climaxes here, or his use of the controversial Oeser edition with its array of departures from the traditional score. Nor will every listener appreciate the singers’ performances. This is a very American Carmen, both in accent and Read the rest of this entry »

  • CD Review: La Cenerentola (1992, Chailly)

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    La Cenerentola

    1992 Decca

    (Cecilia Bartoli, William Matteuzzi, Enzo Dara, Alessandro Corbelli, Michele Pertusi, Fernanda Costa, Gloria Banditelli; Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna; Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, cond. Riccardo Chailly)


    This is possibly the most famous Cenerentola recording of all time and definitely one of the best. Riccardo Chailly conducts a nearly note-complete rendition of the score (only the three numbers by Agolini are missing) with all the light, scintillating charm and buffa energy that a Rossini lover could hope for. His reading is brisker Read the rest of this entry »