Always Free

October 13, 2010

I heard her live many times, and of course there were the recordings. But I’m not sure I ever heard anything more remarkably consistent than this recording of a live performance during a 1965 Australian tour.

O bell’ alma

October 11, 2010

New York Times

Guardian

Guardian

Guardian

BBC

BBC

The Australian

NPR

Business Week

Opera News

Sydney Morning Herald

Thomas Jefferson's library for the University of Virginia

A proposal. I hope it would include musical scores. (And I must say I’m a little puzzled by the implication that this would involve some vast, expensive building. Why?)

Whole Music

October 9, 2010

An enlightening e-mail interview with Alex Ross about his new book.

Side by Side

October 6, 2010

Michael Pollan in today’s NYTimes said something that helps explain why musicianly friendships are often so strong: “Sometimes getting to know people is easier done side by side than it is face to face.”

And, from Barcelona …

October 6, 2010

The principal daily, La Vaguardia devoted a lot of space to the New York production of Puss and Boots.

(Translations of some key passages are below the images.)

“My father would have loved it,” maintains Yvette.

Xavier Montsalvatge, one of the most relevant composers of contemporary music, has managed to make his mark on Broadway eight years after his death.

In the audience the satisfaction that made the sixty minutes go by like a single breath was evident.

All the puppeteers are dressed in black, the image of the darkness into which Spain was plunged at the time when this work was created.

Goren chose this opera — “the music seemed easy, but connoisseurs can see the inticacies” — and offered it to Kaufman. “I fell in love with it,” said the director.

Yvette, more than satisfied with the results, nevertheless maintains that her father never intended the work for children. It was for adults. But she recognizes that the world has changed a lot since then, and “opera and the way it works are changing.”

***

From the interview with the director:

Kaufman: Montsalvatge is telling us something very clear. The only thing we can do against apparent destiny is to use our imagination and intuition and go on.

La Vanguardia: Is it a show for kids?

Kaufman: The truth is that I never thought of this work as an opera for children. It is very beautiful and everybody can see it, adults and children.

Puss and Boots

October 5, 2010

If you want to see a well-made opera performed with a complete dramatic conception fully realized, incorporating theatrical devices that are thoroughly original, appropriate, and entertaining, get yourself to the elegant New Victory Theater this week for the Gotham Chamber Opera‘s production of Xavier Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas. Like Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, it was conceived for adults but delights children; unlike H&G, it’s only one hour long. I am generally anti-puppet, at least in opera, but these figures — and, more especially, the sensitive use of them — more than won me over. And the music itself is above praise.