By Michael Shae [The New York Review of Books, 24 January 2015]
Maria Callas converted me to opera. I am sure I am not unique in this, except in the particulars. In my early college years I immersed myself in recordings of the nineteenth-century symphonic repertory—Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, the Russians—but for a long time I refused to listen to opera, would listen to an overture and then rush to change the record before the singing started. Then one day my roommate put Callas’s 1953 Tosca on the turntable and dropped the needle onto “Vissi d’arte.” I had no idea what she was singing, but near the conclusion of that imploring aria, as she comes to the end of the arching wordless phrase that soars from an A down slightly to a G, there is an audible intake of breath. She gasps—or is it a sob?
By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 25 January 2015]
Operamission, a scrappy little company that performs music from all sorts of eras and styles in venues all over town, is in fact its Kapellmeisterin, Jennifer Peterson. Her latest brainstorm was to give A Countertenor Cabaret, starring no fewer than 14 of these once-rare songbirds, in the cabaret space of the Duplex on Sheridan Square, and to live-stream the entire event, with translations of the remarkably varied musical fare.
By David Abrams [CNY Café Momus, 17 January 2015]
Beyond the austere set and surreal visuals, Willy Decker’s controversial 2010 Met production probes deeply into the heroine’s psyche.
By Francis Carlin [FT, 19 January 2015]
Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936) was Italy’s answer to Ravel as far as orchestration is concerned and best known for a trio of tone poems on Rome. He also completed nine operas, none of them on today’s performance radar.
With news that The Metropolitan Opera is having financial problems -- again -- now a dispute is brewing over the assets of the defunct New York City Opera with a view to reviving the company. Why bother?
By Martin Bernheimer [FT, 14 January 2015]
Bartlett Sher’s interpretation of Les Contes d’Hoffmann was a mess at its Met premiere back in 2009. The sets, designed by Michael Yeargan, looked gaudy, the narrative seemed confused, and the stage remained chronically overpopulated.
By Neil Shah [WSJ, 11 December 2014]
Nearly eight million old-fashioned vinyl records have been sold this year, up 49% from the same period last year, industry data show. Younger people, especially indie-rock fans, are buying records in greater numbers, attracted to the perceived superior sound quality of vinyl and the ritual of putting needle to groove.
From Open Yale Courses
Lecture 17 — Mozart and His Operas
Mozart and the nature of his life and work make up the topic of this lecture. Professor Wright begins by discussing the basic ways in which classical music differs from Baroque music. He then launches an exploration of Mozart's life and compositional process, making use of Mozart's letters and compositional sketches to illustrate his points. The lecture culminates with a performance of select scenes from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, featuring guest singer Professor Richard Lalli.
By Matthew Gurewitsch [WSJ, 12 December 2014]
While he lived, the schoolmaster’s son Franz Schubert made no great splash in the world. Intimates called him Schwammerl, or Mushroom, supposedly because he was small and round. His occasional travels never took him more than 200 miles from his native Vienna. Before his death, much of his music was played only at private gatherings or not at all. Yet the catalog of symphonies, piano sonatas, chamber music and sacred works he brought forth in his brief 31 years—four years fewer than Mozart’s, 26 fewer than Beethoven’s—places him well and truly in the company of the immortals. Arguably most impressive of all is his legacy of song, inexhaustible in its Shakespearean variety, upward of 700 items, each, to the mind of Graham Johnson, “a law unto itself.”
By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 12 December 2014]
A Birnam Wood of Macbeths and Ladys has come traipsing through New York this year. Dell’ Arte Opera staged Verdi’s early masterpiece last Summer, and the Met revived its grandiose production of the work back in the Fall. The Met followed that up with a splendid revival of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. And now the Manhattan School of Music’s Opera Theater program (through Sunday) is giving performances of Ernest Bloch’s opera of the same (only to be whispered) name.
By Eric Felten [WSJ, 28 November 2014]
In our age of easy playback, it’s hard to imagine how ephemeral music once was.
By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 22 October 2014]
It was a night a-tingle with excitement at the Metropolitan Opera House. At least part of this lay in never knowing when vocal protests might explode (verbally) somewhere in the auditorium.
By Ari Shapiro [NPR, 12 October 2014]
For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.
There are many places on our Site where you can share your personal information with us, and where you can communicate with others.
Registration: You will have the opportunity to register with us, and sometimes registration is required before certain Site features can be used. Our registration forms may request your contact information (such as your name, email address, mailing address, etc.), demographic information (such as your country, gender, etc.), and profile data (such as your music preferences, entertainment practices, etc). You may be assigned a site username and/or password. For our internal purposes, we use this information to communicate with you and provide the services you have requested, and to provide a more personalized experience on our sites. For example, your registration may allow you to use and post to
Site message boards, create site profiles, etc. We use aggregate demographic and profile information about our audience in order to improve our service, for marketing purposes and/or for industry reporting purposes.
Newsletters and Other Communications from Us: You may elect to receive newsletters or other email communications from us, and we may also offer other users the opportunity to sign up to receive such information. When there is a separate sign-up for newsletters, we ask for contact information such as name and email address, and, occasionally, demographic and profile information. We use this information in the same manner as we use the contact information in the Registration process described above. Recipients of our mailings can unsubscribe by following instructions that may appear at the end of the email newsletter.
Note that in order to keep our registered users informed about the operation of our services, we may send emails and announcements that are needed for the proper functioning and administration of the Site.
Communications with Us: We have features where you can submit information to us (such as when contacting us with a question or feedback). We will may retain your emails and other information you submit to us for our internal purposes, and to help us to serve you better. Communications with Friends: We may offer features where you can send information to others, such as e-cards or "Tell A Friend" features. We will use the contact information you enter for your friends to send the email or e-card.
Interactive and Community Features: The Site may offer interactive and community features, such as message boards, chat, email accounts, instant messaging, profiles, personal homepages, etc. All information posted or sent through these features may be publicly available, and you should be aware that when you voluntarily disclose personal information (e.g., user name, email address, phone number) through these features, that information can be collected and used by others and may result in unsolicited communications from other people. Users' posts may be publicly and/or internally associated with their profiles/screen-names. Users are solely responsible for the content of messages they post or send on public forums.
Contests, Sweepstakes and Surveys: We may also have contests, sweepstakes and surveys at our sites. When you enter or participate in them, we request contact information from you (such as your full name, email address, mailing address, and telephone number) and may also request demographic or profile information. We will use the information you provide for the purpose of conducting the promotion (for example, to contact you if you have won). We may also use the information to send you newsletters and other information we think may be of interest. Recipients of our mailings can unsubscribe by following instructions that may appear at the end of the email newsletter. Any personal information collected will be used by us and may be associated with registration information. We may share aggregate information with others. We may sometimes partner with sponsors in offering contests, sweepstakes or surveys, and may share (provide and receive) information with them.
E-Commerce: The Site makes available certain items for purchase. In order to complete purchases made on the Site, we collect billing address and credit card information (such as account name, number and expiration date). This information is used for billing purposes only and is not otherwise shared. In the future, the Site may also feature special purchases or product offerings which link to a number of other third-party store sites and those stores may collect and use your personal information and credit information to process your order subject to their own privacy policies. We are not responsible for those other sites and advise you to check their policies and terms and conditions as they may vary.
The Site has features that automatically collect information from users to assist us in creating sites that honor our users' preferences and serve their needs.
We may share your information with others if you choose to let us do so, such as where we offer opt-out or opt-in choices. Other than as set forth in this policy, we do not share your personally identifiable information with other companies, apart from those acting as our agents in providing our service to you, and which agree to use it only for that purpose and to keep the information secure and confidential. We will also disclose information we maintain when required to do so by law, for example, in response to a court order or a subpoena or other legal obligation, in response to a law enforcement agency's request, or in special cases when we have reason to believe that disclosing this information is necessary to identify, contact or bring legal action against someone who may be causing injury to or interference with (either intentionally or unintentionally) our rights or property. You should also be aware that courts of equity, such as U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, may have the authority under certain circumstances to permit your information to be shared or transferred to third parties without your permission.
We may share (provide and receive) aggregate information, which is not personally identifiable, with others. This information may include demographic data such as the gender and/or geographic location of groups of users, but it will not include personal information (such as your name or email address). We use aggregate demographic information about our audience in order to improve our service, for marketing purposes and/or industry reporting purposes.
Our sites may provide you the opportunity to choose to receive communications from us or from third parties at the point where we request information about you. You may also have the option of removing your name from any email list. In order to ensure the quickest removal from any list, it is best to follow the specific instructions outlined within the communications you receive from us.
If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as zip code), we endeavor to provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding making changes to your data.
We strive to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We do not knowingly collect personal information from U.S. children under 13 without appropriate parental notice and consent. We are committed to protecting children’s privacy.
Security for all personally identifiable information is extremely important to us. We store your personal information securely, and use special procedures designed to protect the information we collect from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration or destruction.
We may provide links to third-party sites or content. We are not responsible for those other sites, their privacy policies or how they treat information about their users, and we advise you to check their privacy policies.
If you have any questions about our privacy practices, please feel free to contact us by e-mail or by regular mail at Opera Today, Inc., PO Box 541245, Omaha, NE 68154, Attn: Privacy Questions
Last updated 15 December 2005.