Category Archives: Opera

THE MET OPERA’S ADRIANA LECOUVREUR: NETREBKO IS MELPOMENE

At the end of Francesco Cilea’s 1902 opera Adriana Lecouvreuer librettist Arturo Colautti adds a passage not found in the original 1849 play Adrienne Lecouvreur  by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve. As the great actress dies, Colautti presents her as hallucinating: Stand aside, Philistines! I am Melpomene! Behold the Light that leads me on, That […]

THE MET’S NEW LA TRAVIATA: A PINK CAMELLIA

In Alexander Dumas’La Dame aux Camellias /The Lady of the Camellia (1848) the heroine, a prostitute named Marguerite, signals her availability for business by displaying one of two camellias – the red camellia means she is unavailable, the white camellia means Marguerite will see gentlemen callers. A giant pink camellia dominates both the opening and closing of […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S DON GIOVANNI: FABULOUS FUN

After surveying the centuries of Don Juan incarnations, David Bentley Hart concludes that the character is simply now “beyond our ken”[i] While that may be true in the world of philosophy, in the nuts and bolts world of theater “ken”, or understanding, is what is demanded by performers and audience alike. So rather than pick […]

THE MET’S LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST- AMERICA’S OPERA WORLD PREMIERE

Heidi Waleson’s new history of the New York City Opera Mad Scenes and Exit Arias makes clear that the Metropolitan Opera was no friend to its Lincoln Center neighbor. The occasion of the Met’s production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West should remind us that the Met has never welcomed any rival to its place […]

THE MET”S SAMSON AND DALILA: THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMISTICE

One hundred years ago, on November 2, 1918, the Metropolitan Opera opened its season with a Jubilee Victory Celebration of the end of World War One during a performance of Saint-Saens’ Samson and Dalila. Enrico Caruso, a fervent champion of the allied cause, had been  barnstorming the country with Al Jolson, George M Cohan,  and […]