When it seemed that Wagner’s music-dramas were un-toppable, his one-time assistant Engelbert Humperdinck showed that the way forward lay in going back to folk-tunes and fairytales, a world delightfully captured in Richard Sparks’ new English translation of Adelheid Wette’s libretto. But for World War I, he might have ended up in Australia. These were among […]
I love explicit drama but I also love the perceptible processes of musical minimalism. These two emotions weighed on my mind as I reviewed LA Opera’s recent production of Philip Glass’s “Satyagraha” for OperaWire.
Dark and unremitting and politically astute, I think “Don Carlo” may be Verdi’s greatest opera. My review of LA Opera’s recent “Don Carlo” in OperaWire.
Musicologist critics of Puccini’s “Tosca” may be discounting its theatrical viability, as I argued in my article for San Francisco Opera’s August production.
Loretta: That was so awful. Ronny: Awful? Loretta: Beautiful… sad. She died! John Patrick Shanley Moonstruck (dir. Norman Jewison, 1987) In the 1987 film, Moonstruck, Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage) woos Loretta Castorini (Cher) by taking her to La bohème at ‘the Met’. In the Third Act, as the two principals on stage touch hands through […]
In Act III of Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, the Prince has found his true-love, the last of three fantastic oranges, Princess Ninetta, and saved her with a refreshing drink. ‘At last, a real fairytale with tunes that we can hum’ sing the commentators, the ‘Lyrics’, in Tom Stoppard’s translation of Prokofiev’s libretto. Except that […]
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Parsifal, Act II: Prelude… ‘Parsifal! – Weile!’… (Parsifal, stay!) Parsifal, first performed in 1882, was Wagner’s last opera, or music drama, as he called his stage works. There is evidence to suggest he knew it would be his last statement on themes that had obsessed him throughout his life – the conflicts […]
Simon Boccanegra contains some of Verdi’s finest music from any period of his career. It’s undoubtedly a masterpiece. But it has problems – ‘…profound score but convoluted plot’, said Anthony Tommasini in an April 2016 New York Times review of a production at the Met. We can’t ignore those problems really; a theatre audience is […]
Should it be an opera? (or should a biography be a film?) – transcript of a talk given to the Strehlow conference ‘Where do we go from here’?’ Sep 24, 2014 Should it be an opera? – dramatising the Strehlow story The details of T.G.H. Strehlow’s life provide immense opportunities for dramatically illuminating Aboriginal/European relations […]
Classical music looks increasingly to Asia for inspiration these days. What might an Asian classic suggest for opera? The Dream of the Red Chamber is a Chinese classic from 18th century, with Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese versions. I decided to cull a synopsis, which I called… The Path of the Jade, based on Cao Xue-qin’s […]