03 Oct 2005
An Old Favorite Falls Short of the Mark
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By Fred Kirshnit [NY Sun, 3 October 2005]
In 1897, the Vienna Opera needed to decide which version of "La Boheme" to mount, as two composers had published it relatively contemporaneously. Accordingly, they sent their music director-designate, Gustav Mahler, to Venice to hear each on consecutive nights. Mahler wrote back that "one bar of Puccini is worth more than the whole of Leoncavallo." The latter, however, had a stronger relationship with the administration of the time, and it was his "Boheme" that was presented the following season.