This category contains 23 posts

Whose undoing? Carmen Jones and the multiciplicity of interpretation

Recently, I traveled on a 14-hour long-haul flight from MEL to LAX. As a result, I was able to watch numerous films to help pass the time–if you are curious, the grand total that I watched during the 14-hour flight was seven. One of them, curiously, was Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones, the 1954 re-imagining of […]

Porgy, Bess, and Agency

Porgy, Bess, and Agency

Recently, I have been thinking quite a bit about Gershwin’s 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, mostly due to the fact that we are talking about it in one of my classes. I’ve found this work to be fascinating from several perspectives, particularly in Gershwin’s incredible fluency between different musical styles. His ability to move seamlessly from one idiom to the next is unmatched and makes him stand out from many of his contemporaries who sought to integrate new sounds in their music but were ultimately unsuccessful.

Wagner’s Moments versus Motives

Due to the fact that recently I have spent a considerable amount of time driving, I decided that there could be no better opportunity to revisit the Ring Cycle.

The Operatic Canon: Forgotten Chestnuts and Poisoned Violets

The Operatic Canon: Forgotten Chestnuts and Poisoned Violets

As a genre, opera is not a high earner. Indeed, the amount of money that must be invested to produce one is staggering: the costs are high and possibility for success unpredictable. Thus the question of programming has been a primary concern since the start of public opera. What will audiences want to hear? How can balance be achieved between the composition and its execution? Which works will keep the reliable patrons coming and draw in new audience members to the performance?

“Aufbruch und Ärgernis” – The never-ending Story of the Berlin Opera Crisis

“Aufbruch und Ärgernis” – The never-ending Story of the Berlin Opera Crisis

The “crisis of opera” has become a standing phrase in the ongoing debate on Berlin’s cultural developement for almost twenty years. It served as analysis and apology; as rational for demand and decline. Yet, what it this crisis all about?

Opera, or the under-doing of women

Opera, or the under-doing of women

Today I attended the Metropolitan Opera broadcast at my local movie theater in a performance of Puccini’s La Rondine (like La Traviata, only minus the tuberculosis and judgmental father). I cannot thank the Met enough for getting these performances out to a wide audience because for many of us here in the US, it is virtually impossible to see good opera live.

Opera in Germany after World War II: A Journey in Images

Opera in Germany after World War II: A Journey in Images

How German cities, how German cultural life reemerged after the Second World War has interested me for a long time. Earlier on today I was browsing the LIFE photo archive that contains quite a few images relating to the post-war music scence in Germany. Here are some of the treasures I found.

Salzburg Wrap-up

Ok, this year’s festival was a short one for me. I saw only a couple of performances but some of these were really excellent!


Just to remind all of us how great the Vienna Philharmonic and Christine Schäfer are… and of course that nothing can kill a good song! And this one only of you are really bold! Watch it until the end, there is a great tremolo coming…

Because once is never enough!

Almost exactly one year after I heard Claus Guth’s Figaro in Salzburg, I had the chance to hear that same production again yesterday (again in the Orchesterhauptprobe). The impression it made on me was even better than last July. It’s a very intelligent staging and the cast consists of truly great singers, amongst them Gerald […]

Oper für alle?

Eine Unverfrorenheit sondergleichen ist es, daß Klaus Wowereit, der Mann also, welcher das Amt des Kultursenators mirnichtsdirnichts im letzten Jahr abschaffte und damit der Kulturlandschaft Berlins nachhaltigen Schaden zufügte, daß dieser Mann sich also gestern Abend auf den Bebelplatz stellte, um ca 20 000 Menschen zu einer Liveübertragung von Massenets Manon aus der Staatsoper zu […]

What’s cookin’ in Berlin this week?

The Deutsche Oper is continuing its 19th-century opera marathon with performances of Rossini’s Semiramide (today), Verdi’s La Traviata (Thursday), Léo Delibes’ ballet Sylvia (Friday), the Verismo-potpourri Cavalleria rusticana | Pagliacci by Mascagni and Leoncavallo (Saturday), and on Sunday Weber’s Freischütz. The Staatsoper is still worshipping Anna N. with performances of Manon on Thursday and Sunday […]

Ridiculous Dress Code at La Scala

This has probably been roaming around for quite a few days but nevertheless I don’t want to deprive you, dear readers, of this fabulously ridiculous story about a new dress code at the Scala in Milan. The dress code Our correspondent Opera Chic in Milan on the matter Tagesschau covering God, I’m glad I live […]

A Flowering Tree in Berlin

For those of you who live in Berlin: rush over to the Berliner Philharmoniker website and buy a ticket for today’s (December 22) performance of John Adams’ newest opera “A flowering tree”. For those of you who cannot make it in time: read on …

Munich Opera House

Last night, Seda and I went to the Munich Opera House where we saw the Bayerisches Staatsballett with a very interesting program featuring Century Rolls (Davide Bombana, John Adams), In the Country of Last Things (Michael Simon, Heiner Goebbels), and Elemental (Jacopo Godani, 48nord). A couple of weeks ago I read an illuminating article in […]

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