On This Day

High Notes On This Day
3 Great Verdi Recordings From Antonietta Stella
Antonietta Stella is one of the great Italian sopranos of all time. Known for her potent and elegant vocal artistry, she was a heralded interpreter of the dramatic repertoire. During a time when such greats as Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi were dominating the opera world, Stella held her own, making several high-profile recordings that remain among favorites, especially in the Verdian repertoire. Here is a look at some of…
High Notes On This Day
5 Major Differences Between Both Versions of Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’
On March 14, 1847, Giuseppe Verdi premiered his version of “Macbeth” to roaring disapproval. It would take another two decades to premiere an updated version of an opera he deemed among his finest accomplishments. While the changes are nowhere near as wild as those for “Don Carlo,” “Simon Boccanegra” or even “La Forza del Destino,” there are a few major differences between both versions of this great work. Here’s a…
High Notes On This Day
Watch Julia Migenes Star in Film & TV After Her Famed ‘Carmen’ Movie
Filming “Carmen” with Francesco Rosi and Plácido Domingo was a major moment in the career of Julia Migenes, potentially career defining. The American mezzo, born on March 13, 1949, had already put together a solid career prior to the 1984 film, starring in a film version of “Eine Nacht in Venedig” and the original Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” “Carmen” would put her on the map and she…
High Notes On This Day
The Sea As The Central Element in Verdi’s ‘Simon Boccanegra’
“Simon Boccanegra” was one of Verdi’s most sublime operas and a prized creation for the composer. After suffering a brutal premiere back on March 12, 1857, the work was essentially left for dead, likely to never get a chance to firmly establish its place alongside many of Verdi’s other masterworks. But on March 24, 1881, the composer premiered another version of the opera, no page in the score left untouched.…
High Notes On This Day
Verdi’s ‘Don Carlo’ As A World Of Failures
Of all his operas, Verdi’s “Don Carlo" (or "Don Carlos), which had its world premiere on March 11, 1867, is often referred to as his most “Shakespearean.” For most people, this description comes down to one thing – tragically complex characters. That said, when they talk about “complex,” King Philip and Princess Eboli are perhaps the most talked about with Elisabetta getting some mention. Rodrigo of course, despite his purity provides…
High Notes On This Day
How Rigoletto’s ‘La Donna e Mobile’ Has Dominated Pop Culture
It is arguably the most misogynistic piece in all of opera, its text essentially calls women “fickle” and “small-minded.” And yet everyone revels in its sumptuous melody that has become opera’s most iconic number. When Verdi first composed “La Donna e mobile” for his “Rigoletto,” which premiered on March 11, 1851, he hid it for tenor Raffaele Mirate because he knew that if he did, the tenor would be humming…
High Notes On This Day
Lorenzo Da Ponte’s ‘Other’ Works Not Named ‘Le Nozze di Figaro,’ ‘Don Giovanni’ or ‘Così Fan Tutte’
Lorenza da Ponte, born on March 10, 1749, is best known for three collaborations he had with Mozart. Those operas, “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Don Giovanni” and “Così Fan Tutte” stand as some of the greatest in the repertoire, not only because of Mozart’s great music, but also as a result of Da Ponte’s brilliant dramatic skills. But the librettist had a number of other work’s throughout his career. A…
High Notes On This Day
How Verdi Firmly Established His Ever-Evolving Style in ‘Nabucco’ & ‘Ernani’
On March 9, 1842, Verdi scored his first major success with his opera “Nabucco.” Two years later, on March 9, 1844, the composer scored another riveting success with the world premiere of his “Ernani.” While the respective journeys of these two works have diverged over the one-hundred plus years since their respective debuts (“Nabucco” is a cornerstone of the repertoire while “Ernani” is only sung when major singers want to…
High Notes On This Day
A Look At Denyce Graves’ ‘Carmen’ & ‘Samson et Dalila’
Denyce Graves is regarded as one of the great mezzos of the 20th century. For years she dominated the stage in many leading roles and after her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1995, became a household name around the world. Born on March 7, 1964, the mezzo-soprano has built an extensive repertoire throughout her career and she continues to find interesting roles that suit her voice and temperament. However, there are two roles…
High Notes On This Day
Two Great Mezzo-Sopranos Who Sang Bellini’s ‘La Sonnambula’
Bellini's "La Sonnambula" is one of the most popular operas in the Bel Canto repertoire and one that many coloratura sopranos have embraced on stage. On March 6, 1831, the opera had its world premiere with Giuditta Pasta in the title role. Pasta was known as a soprano sfogato which is designated to a contralto who is capable—by sheer industry or natural talent—of extending her upper range and being able to encompass the coloratura soprano tessitura.…