‘Les Pêcheurs de Perles’ DVD Review: Damrau, Polenzani, Kwiecien Shine in Must-Buy Metropolitan Opera Production of Bizet’s Gem

For decades Bizet’s “Les Pêcheurs de Perles” was rarely ever performed anywhere. We would hear the famed “Friendship Duet” or get the occasional recording here and there, but seeing a staged performance was a thing of dreams. But now opera lovers can enjoy a live performance of Bizet’s often-ignored work from the comfort of their living rooms. Mind you, the {…}

‘Turandot’ DVD Review: Berio’s Ending in La Scala Release Brings Out The Best in Nina Stemme, Aleksandrs Antonenko & Maria Agresta

The ending of Puccini’s “Turandot” is one of opera’s great tragedies. The composer, at the peak of his power, had composed his most musically daring work to date with some of his most phenomenal strokes of dramatic genius alongside some of his most riveting and enduring melodies. And yet, when he was ever so close to completing it, he hit {…}

Manon Lescaut CD Review: Anna Netrebko & Yusif Eyvazov Deliver Puccini’s ‘Desperate Passion’ in Intelligent Performance

When Puccini set out to write his “Manon Lescaut,” the composer drew attention to his “feeling it like an Italian, with a desperate passion.” Though the comment came in the context of his comparing it with Massenet’s own interpretation of the work, that idea of desperation has certainly played into numerous readings of the work. A look at the catalogue {…}