What is it about the music of Richard Wagner--a composer admittedly stained by insularity, prejudice, bitterness and resentment—that continues to tug at every fiber of the human heart?
History tells us the 1853 premiere of Verdi's "La Traviata" was something of a disaster, capped by the fatal miscasting (opposed unsuccessfully by the composer) of a soprano whose girth, in the view of the audience, made her attempts to portray a consumptive beauty laughable rather than tragic.
The main thing you need to know about “The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess” is that it's not the Gershwins' “Porgy and Bess.” Let me me to explain.
On July 17th, 1794, the sixteen women of the monastery of the Carmel of Compiègne in France were guillotined by the revolutionary government for refusing to abandon their vows and their community. The execution, which is widely believed to have been instrumental in bringing about the end of the Reign of Terror ten days later, inspired a novella, a play, and finally, Francis Poulenc's opera "Dialogues of the Carmelites" in 1953.
Trivia question: what do Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, and Ernest Hemingway all have in common? Answer: they all frequented the Saturday evening salons at 27 Rue de Fleurus in Paris presided over by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. And they're all characters in the world premiere production of "27," at Opera Theatre.
I can sum up the Opera Theatre production of Donizetti's 1832 romantic comedy "The Elixir of Love" in one word: bravi. Or maybe that should be "bravissimi," since every aspect of this funny, endearing, and beautifully sung show deserves heaps of praise.
There's never a dull moment in the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis production of "The Magic Flute." That's because director Isaac Mizrahi keeps his performers (including a cast of seven dancers) in constant motion. The resulting stage pictures are impressive, but they often threaten to eclipse the music and text.
Winter Opera is closing its seventh season with a very strong production of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor."
Long regarded by many as one of the highlights of the French grand opera tradition, Gounod's "Faust"—a beautifully sung production of which opened Winter Opera’s season—actually started life in 1859 as an opéra comique with spoken dialog instead of recitatives and without large ballet sequences. It was only the addition of the former in 1860 and the latter in 1875 that elevated Faust to the position of eminence it held in opera houses for over a century.