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29 Mar 2005
Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans in Washington
WASHINGTON, March 27 – “The Maid of Orleans” was to have been Tchaikovsky’s international coming-out party. The Russian landscapes of his previous operas were left behind. His subject would be Joan of Arc. Tragic romance and history would circle each other in the grand French tradition of Meyerbeer.
Joan of Arc Rendered in Russian
By BERNARD HOLLAND [NY Times, 28 Mar 05]
WASHINGTON, March 27 - "The Maid of Orleans" was to have been Tchaikovsky's international coming-out party. The Russian landscapes of his previous operas were left behind. His subject would be Joan of Arc. Tragic romance and history would circle each other in the grand French tradition of Meyerbeer.
"The Maid of Orleans" enjoyed a brief but telling success in 1881, but then fell victim to the assassination of Czar Alexander II and the cultural freeze that followed. It has not had good luck since. Saturday night it returned to the Washington National Opera for the first of six performances at the Kennedy Center.
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'Maid of Orleans' opera is rewarding - yet curious
BY CLARKE BUSTARD [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 28 Mar 05]
WASHINGTON Mirella Freni, the esteemed Italian opera singer, turned 70 last month. That's an advanced age for a soprano to be taking on a major theatrical role.
She chose wisely in portraying Joan of Arc in Tchaikovsky's "The Maid of Orleans." The role lies low in the soprano register (in fact, it was introduced by a mezzo-soprano), is generally dark in tone color and calls for more reverence and wonder than passionate histrionics.
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