Opera Profile: John Zorn’s ‘Rituals’

(Credit: ALAN NAHIGIAN) “Rituals” is a five-act monodrama for mezzo-soprano and 10 instrumentalists composed by American composer John Zorn. The History The opera received its first performance at the 1988 Bayreuth Opera Festival, of which Wagner’s Parsifal (conducted by the late James Levine) opened the festival’s activities and where the late German opera director Harry Kupfer premiered a controversial-yet-innovative reimagining of {…}

Opera Profile: Haydn’s ‘L’Incontro Improvviso’

On the 29th of August 1775, Joseph Haydn’s seventh opera, “L’Incontro Improvviso” (The Unexpected Encounter – Hob 28:6) was premiered at “Eszterháza,” the Hungarian palace of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, principle patron of Haydn and a strong advocate of Haydn’s symphonic repertoire. The work had accompanied a four-day visit by Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Austria-Este and his consort Maria Beatrice d’Este. {…}

Composer Profile: Francesca Caccini, Opera’s First Female Composer

Francesca Caccini, also nicknamed “La Cecchina,” was a Florentine composer and music teacher who distinguished herself as an important figure of the early Baroque era in Italy. Though Caccini is credited with many compositions throughout her career, only one opera—a comedy called “La liberazione di Ruggerio,” or “The Liberation of Ruggiero from the island of Alcina”—survived to the present day. {…}