Christian Thielemann’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Recording Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is for a
record label equivalent to a climber reaching the summit of Mount Everest: it is the zenith from which a label surveys its position among its rivals and appreciates an achievement that can define its reputation for a generation.†

Cecilia Bartoli as Norma

Few people who love opera in general and bel canto in particular have never heard the comment made by Lilli Lehmann, veteran of the inaugural Ring at Bayreuth in 1876, that singing all three of Wagner’s Br¸nnhildes—in Die Walk¸re, Siegfried, and
Gˆtterd‰mmerung, respectively, all of which she sang to great acclaim—pales in comparison with singing the title rÙle in Bellini’s Norma.†

Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park

Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, with libretto by his regular collaborator Alasdair Middleton, has the remarkable distinction of being the first completed operatic adaptation of any Jane Austen novel to be staged.

Wagner 200th Anniversary Concert

London’s two principal opera companies have offered a baffling
near-silence as their response to Wagner’s two-hundredth anniversary.

Toronto’s Triple Success

If a recent trio of musically superlative performances at Canadian Opera Company is indicative of their norm, the casting director should get a hefty bonus.

Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Trionfo dell’Onore

Just when you imagine you’ve got the operatic time-line fixed in your mind
in a clean sweep of what goes where and when and how, you hear another work
from another forgotten corner of the repertory that upends one’s conclusions.

Handel’s Rodrigo by Operamission

Nothing inspires fable quite like defeat. The great riddle of Spanish
history is how the Christian Visigoths managed to lose the Iberian peninsula to
the Moors in one small battle in 711 and took eight hundred years to get it

“Marriage” at the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Take a pair of peripatetic, sharp witted, libidinous dramatists with deeply
humanist hearts, add a brilliant, fun loving young composer, who believed in
forgiveness, and you end up with The Marriage of Figaro, a comic,
always relevant opera, which the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra presented
in Disney Hall, as part of its Mozart/DaPonte series.

Tales from Ovid: Classical Opera

Since receiving some fairly mixed reviews of their production of Mozart’s
Zaide at the 2010 Buxton Festival, Ian Page’s Classical
seem to have focused their attention on recordings and themed
concert performances of 18th-century riches and rarities,

Baltimore Premieres Camelot Requiem

In May of 2013, the Spire Series at the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, observed the fiftieth anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy by presenting a work dealing with the 1963 assassination.