Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:16 am
At the opening of Anna Netrebko's new album, Verdi, we find her in the role of Lady Macbeth, reading a letter confirming the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Shakespeare's (and Verdi's) infamous witches.
I recently came across a steal. A friend on a social network posted that a recording was $6. That may seem normal for an mp3 release, or mildly cheap if you purchase an iTunes release for $9.99. But this particular recording was live from Bayreuth - the complete Ring der Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. Yes, all four operas.
The whole world has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth this year (his birthday is May 22). Summer festivals have been playing his music, and several cycles of the Ring are programmed for companies this fall and winter.
You may not know the name Marie Duplessis, but odds are you know some stories about her. She inspired a French novel, which was turned into a successful play, several movies (including one starring Greta Garbo), a ballet and, most famously, a great Italian opera — La Traviata.
Seven years ago (2006), and with a 27 million budget, Kenneth Branagh made a film version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute (read the film synopsis here.) The Peter Moores Foundation, who do amazing work translating opera into English, commissioned Stephen Fry to make this adaptation, and it remains witty, sexy, funny, passionate, and silly as the original libretto!
Composer Mark Adamo has made beautiful music out of classic books. His Little Women is among the most produced American operas today. He also wrote the words and music for his operatic adaptation of Aristophanes' Greek drama Lysistrata.
His latest work, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, has proved more controversial. The opera, which premieres June 19 at the San Francisco Opera, tells the story of Mary, Jesus and his disciples.