Opera For Beginners

Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: Carlisle Floyd, One of the United States’ Great Opera Composers
Many American composers have tried to create “The Next Great American Opera,” but few have succeeded in doing just that. Carlisle Floyd, born on June 11, 1926, did just that. The composer has quite a number of operas to his name, but none stands the test of time quite like “Susannah.” Floyd grew up in South Carolina, eventually moving to New York to continue his piano studies under Ernst Bacon.…
Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: ‘Tristan und Isolde,’ The Most Revolutionary Opera of the 19th Century
“Tristan und Isolde,” which had its world premiere on June 10, 1865, might be the greatest opera of all time. Or it might simply be the most revolutionary. Its entire musical philosophy was so unique that it revolutionized classical music forever. Wagner wrote the work after falling in love with the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. He also was involved in an extramarital affair at the time with the wife of…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Romanian Soprano Ileana Cotrubas
Romanian soprano Ileana Cotrubas, born on June 9, 1939, enjoyed a career of two decades, cementing her legacy for a sweet timbre and strong dramatic presence. She came from a musical family, her father a tenor in an amateur choir. She began her career at age nine as a member of a children’s radio choir and by 11 she was one of the soloists. She moved to Bucharest at age…
Opera For Beginners
Composer Profile: Otto Nicolai, A Remarkable Story & One Masterpiece
Composer Otto Nicolai, born on June 9, 1810, is not one of the famed composers of the opera world, but he did leave behind one noted masterwork and a unique story. Nicolai was a child prodigy but suffered from a nasty divorce between his parents. He ran away from his parents at the age of 16, taking refuge with a senior legal official called August Adler. Adler sent him to…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Tenor Roberto Alagna, Fiery & French
Tenor Roberto Alagna, born on June 7, 1963, is one of the world’s most famous tenors, renowned not only for his passionate singing but also his incredible dramatic ability on stage. Few tenors can immerse themselves in a character quite like the French-born tenor can. Alagna was born in France to Sicilian immigrants and spent his youth singing pop in Parisian cabaret. He eventually switched to opera, his training mostly…
Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: ‘Peter Grimes,’ Britten’s Masterpiece
Benjamin Britten wrote a number of well-regarded operas, but his undeniable masterpiece is “Peter Grimes.” The work, which premiered on June 7, 1945, remains one of the most influential operas of all time for its musical brilliance but also dramatic weight. It features one of the most complex characters in the canon. The work was a massive success from its first performance and has remained one of the major operas in…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Giacomo Aragall, A Legendary Tenor
Giacomo Aragall (or Jaume, as he was originally named) enjoyed a legendary career, even if his name is not always among the most recognized in the opera world. Born on June 6, 1939, he was singing from the age of nine onward. He made his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in 1961-62 season and then went over to La Fenice for his debut in 1963. That same year he…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Legendary Baritone & Verdi Specialist Robert Merrill
Robert Merrill, born on June 4, 1917, is one of the world’s most renowned baritones, making a lengthy career at the Metropolitan Opera throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He was born Moishe Miller and then, later on, was known as Morris Miller. His mother claimed to have had an opera and concert career in Poland and supposedly pushed her son to pursue vocal training. He was inspired upon hearing baritone…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Cecilia Bartoli, A Legend That Continues
Cecilia Bartoli, born on June 4, 1966, is one of the most famous opera singers on the planet. The mezzo-soprano, who has also shown an ability to sing a number of soprano roles, was born to professional singers and sang her first public performance at the age of nine in “Tosca” as the shepherd boy. She then went on to study at the famed Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome.…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Fedora Barbieri & One of the Longest Careers in Opera History
There were a plethora of great Italian mezzo-sopranos dominating the repertoire of Giuseppe Verdi in the mid-1900s. Fedora Barbieri was among those. Born on June 4, 1920 in Trieste, she quickly made her debut in Florence at age 20. She debuted at La Scala at age 22 but marriage derailed her career for two years. She re-emerged in 1945, becoming one of the first champions of the early operas of…