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Showing posts from 2015

Opera On Two Continents

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Over the past two weeks I had the wonderful opportunity to return to Vienna, where I studied in 2011 and posted many of the reviews on this blog. While I was there, I attended three more operas at the Wiener Staatsoper, bringing my standing room total there to 29 operas (and one Volksoper opera - for 30 standing room operas in Vienna): Puccini's La boheme, Massenet's Werther, and Strauss' Elektra. All three were excellent, particularly the latter two. Upon my return to the United States last week, I immediately was at a performance of the revised version of Philip Glass' Appomattox. This performance was also quite interesting for me, as it is the second Glass opera I have seen and very different from his Satyagraha in London. As a bonus: a quick review of a concert by The Tenors (formerly The Canadian Tenors) performing one man down. Reviews will be shorter than a standard review, but the performances raised a few interesting points I want to record.

ViennaLa bohemeGiac…

Classical Holidays in Washington, D.C.: A Beginner's Guide

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I composed this article, in its original format below, to introduce a different audience to the basics of classical music in D.C. this holiday season. In reality, the recommendations below are probably applicable anywhere, just with different specific groups and performances involved. For the experienced reader, this article may not add much, but it's a good revue of what's out there and will bring joy to anyone, classical music lover or not.
The D.C. area offers many options across genres for classical music around the holiday season. Perhaps it bears an important note that the classical music tradition, coming as it did out of Europe, is tied largely to Christian traditions. Nevertheless, the music borne from this background offers both moving and delighting evenings built around stories of universal human value.


Perhaps the most iconic classical piece of the season is Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, replete with charming music that has extended far beyond the worlds of…

Everything Else: The Rest of the Washington National Opera Season

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Last month we took a look at Washington National Opera’s first-ever production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. While such a momentous undertaking does take up a large amount of the company’s time and money, it is not the only thing on the docket for the season. Here’s a look at the other shows upcoming over the next several months.

A Behemoth Undertaking: Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Washington National Opera

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It's been a long time since I've posted here. That's certainly not the intention. I do enjoy blogging about opera, be it in D.C., elsewhere in the U.S., or abroad. That said, work has been quite consuming lately. For other purposes, I did just recently write a sort of "introductory guide" to the Ring Cycle, and thought it would make sense to post it here.
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Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen or, as it’s usually put in English, Ring Cycle, constitutes the most substantial undertaking in the operatic world. It is a “cycle” of four operas, Der Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung, with every opera except the first clocking in at over five hours in length. Usually, the same cast of stalwart singers performs across all four performances, singing over an orchestra of approximately 100 instruments. It’s been called one of the greatest triumphs of music and mocke…

Constant Comedy: Rossini's La Cenerentola at the Washington National Opera

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It's been a while since my last post. Life and getting into work somewhat overtook me. That said, I had occasion to write a piece on Washington National Opera's performance of Rossini's La Cenerentola for a work publication and wanted to adapt that here as a review of that performance. This was my favorite performance of the season and a great note to end on. I am looking forward to the momentous season next year with the standard of Carmen, some unusual selections, and the first full Ring in the city in a single season. I will be out for most of the opera in the area this summer, but hope to make and review a few performances. 

General information & synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Cenerentola

La Cenerentola | Gioachino Rossini

Angelina (Cenerentola): Isabel Leonard* (May 9, 13, 16, 19, 21) / Tara Erraught* (May 11, 15, 17m)          
Don Ramiro: Maxim Mironov* (May 9, 13, 16, 19, 21) / David Portillo* (May 11, 15, 17m)
Dandini: Simone Alberghini
Don Magnifico: Pao…