Recently in Performances
Small country, small opera house — big ensemble spirit. Internationally acclaimed soprano Natalia Ushakova steps in for indisposed local Violetta with mixed results.
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O Maria Deo grata — ‘O Mary, pleasing to God’: so begins Robert Fayrfax’s antiphon, one of several supplications to the Virgin Mary presented in this thought-provoking concert by The Cardinall’s Musick at the Wigmore Hall.
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Should looks matter when casting the role of the iconic temptress for HD simulcast?
Maurice Greene (1696-1755) had a highly successful musical career. Organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a position to which he was elected when he was just 22 years-old, he later became organist of the Chapel Royal, Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge and, from 1735, Master of the King’s Music.
Yet another Tosca is hardly exciting news, if news at all. The current five performances have come just two years after SFO alternated divas Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette in the title role.
What an enjoyable opportunity to encounter Dvořák’s sixth opera, Šelma Sedlák¸or The Cunning Peasant!
25 Oct 2004
FT Reviews Mercadante's La vestale
La vestale, Wexford Festival By Andrew Clark Published: October 25 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 25 2004 03:00 The compacting of operatic history into a performable repertoire leads us to make all kinds of false assumptions. One is that...
La vestale, Wexford Festival
By Andrew Clark
Published: October 25 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 25 2004 03:00
The compacting of operatic history into a performable repertoire leads us to make all kinds of false assumptions. One is that Italian opera somehow made an effortless jump from Rossini's last opera in 1829 to Verdi's first success in 1842.
Saverio Mercadante's La vestale (1840), this year's runaway winner at Wexford, shows it wasn't that easy. Sensing that the florid early 19th-century style had outlived its usefulness, Mercadante tried to redefine the rules: simpler singing lines, no cabalettas, a narrower tessitura.
Much of this anticipates what Verdi did three decades later in Aida. But where Mercadante tried gently to untie the thong of bel canto convention, Verdi ripped it off. Mercadante also made the mistake of not giving his vestal virgin enough solos.
That's why his version of La vestale never enjoyed the success of Spontini's version, written 30 years earlier. But without Mercadante's reforming ideas, Verdi would not have been Verdi.
[Remainder of article here (subscription to Financial Times Online required)]