Metropolitan Opera

KPAC Blog: Metropolitan Opera
9:25 am
Thu March 7, 2013

The Met Presents Verdi's Epic Masterpiece 'Don Carlo'

A scene from Act III of Verdi's "Don Carlo"
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Giuseppi Verdi's "Don Carlo" was a Behemoth, a lumbering monster. It featured variant openings, duets and trios and choruses to burn, ballet music that now only exists as a separate concert work, and most importantly, a great psychological/musical narrative frame -- the reason for all the elaboration and development.

What most of us know begins in a tomb in Spain and builds out an old and new subtext of European history, the battle of reactionary politics and the spirit of the Reformation. This background weaves this ideological struggle into a love story of great power.

Read more
KPAC Blog: Metropolitan Opera
10:17 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Richard Wagner’s Apotheosis, 'Parsifal'

Jonas Kaufman stars in the title role of Wagner's 'Parsifal'
Metropolitan Opera

Richard Wagner’s "Parsifal," his final opera, was created in parallel with his greatest creations including "The Ring" and "Tristan." It took him just over 30 years and several revisions before it was finally presented in 1882.

It is viewed as his most refined and elaborate work and it at times leaves people feeling that it is too profound to even applaud. In a comic twist, this bothered the composer; when Wagner would applaud a certain scene he would be hushed by members of the audience.

Read more
KPAC Blog: Metropolitan Opera
11:54 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Freedom-Loving Women And Madmen In Bizet’s 'Carmen'

Anita Rachvelishvili features as Carmen in Bizet's classic.
Metropolitan Opera

I couldn’t have timed better the decision to replay my all time favorite Masterpiece Theatre Classic, "The Forsyte Saga," than the week the Metropolitan would broadcast its "Carmen." I had never really considered the fact that the two works and their heroine’s were so close; more sisters than cousins.

The similarities are striking

Read more
KPAC Blog: Metropolitan Opera
12:31 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Verdi's 'Rigoletto' Set In Las Vegas Showtime

This production of Verdi's "Rigoletto" is staged in 1960's Las Vegas
Metropolitan Opera

Lasting works that are so much a part of our lives and the general culture have often had the most improbable origins; it is one of music's greatest ironies.

The arduous birth of Wagner’s "The Ring" is the stuff of legends, and decades of work, sacrifice and immense debt. Berlioz' "Les Troyens" was a desperate, singular throw of the dice urged on by his correspondence with Liszt's mistress and his lifelong love of Virgil. But what about Verdi’s overwhelmingly popular "Rigoletto"? What happened there?

Ever evolving...

Read more
KPAC blog: Metropolitan Opera
11:56 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Comedy Magic With Rossini’s 'Le Comte Ory'

Juan Diego Florez as Ory in Rossini's 'Le Comte Ory'
Metropolitan Opera

There are essentially two approaches to the supreme expression of opera, both of them dealing with what would seem to be the impossible.

Read more
KPAC blog: Metropolitan Opera
12:27 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Puccini Gets Real In 'La Rondine' [With Video]

Kristine Opolais in 'La Rondine'
Metropolitan Opera

There are essentially two views of Puccini. To his admirers he is one of the most beloved, most lyrical and at times moving composers of the modern period -- and successful beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings.

Detractors, however, have a different view. For all the dramatic (or melodramatic) force of his music and his undeniable lyric gift, finally he is enthralled by the mob. His lucrative populism is almost an embarrassment, and the joke he once told about his talent: "God touched me, but with his little finger," is perhaps, a truer saying than his fans care to admit.

Read more
KPAC blog: Metropolitan Opera
12:32 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

'Maria Stuarda,'One Queen Too Many At Metropolitan Opera

Mary in happier days
Wikipedia

Whether you believe that Mary Stuart was the most amoral, conniving and ruthless female of Elizabethan England or the most tragic victim of overwhelming and relentless circumstances and doomed to tragic grandeur, her life is one of the great historical dramas.

Read more
KPAC blog: Metropolitan Opera
10:10 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Giuseppi Verdi’s 'Il Trovatore' - The Vindication Of Opera

Scene from the Met's performance of "Il Trovatore," the Anvil Chorus.
Ken Howard

One of opera's most comical and telling facts was that Giuseppe Verdi was poised at the height of his middle period -- between "Rigoletto" and "La Traviata"  -- to first tackle nothing less than "King Lear," until finally deciding on "Il Trovatore" (The Troubadour).

Could any two themes be less alike?

Read more
KPAC blog: Metropolitan Opera
12:24 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Hector Berlioz' Inspired Masterpiece, 'Les Troyens'

The Greeks and their surprise in Troy
Wikipedia

With a mixture of trepidation and excitement, Hector Berlioz, the composer, critic and conductor, stood poised to lay aside many of the usual tasks and distractions of his life and give himself up to the dream of a lifetime: The composition of an epic on antique themes inspired by Virgil's "Aeneid," Les Troyens.

Read more
KPAC blog: Metropolitan Opera
2:16 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

The Barber Of Seville: You Can Understand Rossini!

Rodion Pogossov as Figaro
Metropolitan Opera

It was habit in the nineteenth and early twentieth century to present operas, whatever their original language, in the language of the host country. Playbills of the past are filled with references toWagner's Il Sigfrido, or Mozart’s Il Fluto Magico, or Figaro's Hochzeit. The idea was, of course, to fill the seats. This is especially important in comedy, because what was the point if nobody got the jokes!

Read more

Pages