High Notes

High Notes
National Puppy Day 2017: A Look At Opera’s Most Famous Dogs
A lot of opera stars have dogs. From Franco Zeffirelli to Ailyn Pérez to Elza Von den Heever, the canine is a great companion for the opera star as they travel around the world. Here is a look at some of the most famous dogs in the history of opera, both past, and present as we celebrate National Puppy day. Lenny and Tristan Let’s kick things off with the two…
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The Non-Verdi Roles Dolora Zajick has Dominated Throughout Her Career
Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick is synonymous with Verdi. She’s been the leading Azucena at the Metropolitan Opera house over the last few years, singing the role a whopping 58 times since her debut on October 8, 1988, also in that very role. In Verdi’s “Aida,” she has performed the role of Amneris 80 times at the house. Throw in 17 performances as Eboli in “Don Carlo” coupled with another 18 as…
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6 Stars You Can Not Miss At The Deutsche Oper Berlin
The Deutsche Oper Berlin has announced its 2017-18 season and with it, there are numerous exciting stars that will be performing in varying repertoire. This season, which includes 35 operas, will definitely present some gems that should be highlighted. The following are six artists that should not be missed when they perform. Joseph Calleja - L'Arlesiana Calleja began his career performing light lyric repertoire and has slowly moved into the…
High Notes On This Day
A Look At Modest Mussorgsky’s Other Unfinished Operas
We all know about “Boris Godunov.” Mussorgsky’s opera is one of the towering achievements of the operatic art form, even if there are continued concerns over which performance practice to adhere to. But Mussorgsky’s operatic output did not start and end with “Boris Godunov.” Nor was that the only one of his operas to face massive treatment in other hands. In fact, most of his operas remained unfinished by the…
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Sandy Powell & Other Film Costume Designers Who Have Also Worked In Opera
This week the Liceu is opening a production of Verdi's "Rigoletto" and while the singers will be the big showcase, audiences will also get to see Oscar-winner Sandy Powell's creations on stage. Powell is one of the leading film costume designers who has worked with the greatest film directors in the world including Martin Scorsese, Todd Haynes, Kenneth Branagh, Julie Taymor and Jean-Marc Vallee. As a designer she has obtained…
High Notes On This Day
What Historic Tenors Beniamino Gigli & Lauritz Melchior Had in Common
Danish tenor Lauritz Melchior was the quintessential Wagner tenor while Beniamino Gigli was one of the most beloved Italian tenors that history has ever seen. Both were born on the same day – March 20, 1890. While they both made their professional debuts one year apart, the Dane’s came in 1913 while the Italian’s a year late in 1914, they took decidedly different career paths. Melchoir started his life as…
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How Gounod’s ‘Faust’ Became A Violinist’s Dream
Violin fantasies based on major operas was a major trend back in the 1800s with such virtuoso violinists like Sarasate, Paganini, Vieuxtemps and Wieniawski looking for vehicles that could showcase their skills. Of these fantasies, Sarasate’s adaptation of “Carmen” is perhaps the best-known of the lot with a 20th-century version by Franz Waxman following suit. But no opera has been more apt to violinistic adaptation than Gounod’s “Faust.” The instrument has been…
High Notes On This Day
Exclusive: Conductor Gerard Schwarz Shares A Life-Altering Rimsky-Korsakov Encounter
In commemoration of Rimsky-Korsakov's birthday on March 18, 1844, OperaWire has the great fortune of collaborating with famed conductor Gerard Schwarz to share a special memory about his very first operatic encounter with the composer.  It is very interesting to think of the wonderful composers who are known primarily for a single work: Pachelbel - Cannon; Dukas – "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice;" Orff – "Carmina Burana;" Ravel – "Bolero;" and Rimsky-Korsakov…
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The Many Artists Who Have Made Verdi’s ‘Attila’ Great
When considered in the context of his entire oeuvre, Verdi’s “Attila” is far from a masterpiece. When propped up against his best work, this early work simply doesn’t hold up. In fact, prominent Verdi scholars, such as Julian Budden, have criticized the opera and called it “the heaviest and noisiest of the Risorgimento operas, blunt in style, daubed in thick garish colors.” And yet the opera has managed to garner the…
High Notes On This Day
Thaïs’ Meditation As Interpreted By Some of the Greatest Violinists in History
Massenet’s “Thaïs” is a beautiful feat of musical drama. The opera, which premiered on March 16, 1894, is rich in its character development and Massenet’s own development as a dramatist. While the work is filled with glorious musical writing, there is no doubt that the single most iconic moment of the work is the dramatic midpoint – Thaïs’ meditation. Played by a solo violin, the passage is a lyrical gem…