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Home > Author Archives: Harry Rose

Author Archives: Harry Rose

General, not specific

General, not specific

General, not specific “My view is that cultural appropriation doesn’t apply to the classical arts.” — Russell Thomas As an opera fan, comparatist, and member of the chronically appropriating culture, I love and fear Otello. Verdi’s through-composed music drama adapts and distills its towering Shakespeare origin, towing the line between a domestic drama and political indictment. The characters are dynamic and interesting, the libretto is svelte and poetic, and the music is relentless in its ... Read More »

Immersed in eternal light

Immersed in eternal light

Immersed in eternal light In one stop of his all-Mahler tour, the U.S. leg of which concludes in New York next week, Christian Gerhaher disarms and enraptures the audience with the fairy tales and wayward loves of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. His approach, warmly professorial, is startlingly direct and serious. The gravitas of what he sings vibrates in his body. The child in you watches and listens, rapt. And ... Read More »

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up”

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up”

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up” As I sat watching Washington National Opera’s predictably acceptable season-closing production of Tosca with a friend (following a dinner at which an evaluation of the recent, Camp-themed Met Gala and the essay that inspired it was the dominant topic of conversation), it dawned on me why I have never been truly gripped by this ubiquitous piece my “Musical Dramaturgy” professor in Bologna called the ... Read More »

Dishonored in the breach

Dishonored in the breach

Dishonored in the breach As much as we like to believe it does, opera doesn’t always “work,” and if you go in to an opera dead-set on pointing that out, then you’re 1) a problem and 2) misusing your free time – nap at home next time!  Uneven operas, like Verdi’s Ernani, which just recently finished its Scala run, more often work as theatre on the micro level than the macro. The music can’t always compensate ... Read More »

Family values

Family values

Family values An insecure leader hounded by hubris, his repressed, suppressed, and far-from-home younger wife, his tormented son whose own political life is hounded romance and tense alliances, a dangerously seductive third party set on bringing them all down, and a mysterious, threatening governing body that seems to be pulling the strings on the whole thing; a regular day in 2018 Washington, D.C., or Verdi’s Don Carlo?  Indeed, if Washington National Opera’s presentation of Don ... Read More »

Down in the depths

Down in the depths

Down in the depths If opera as a genre in justified in its claim to one particular story, history confirms that the Orpheus myth would be that story. What’s more intrinsically operatic than a musician’s audio-visual dilemma and diegetic, musical externalizations and manipulations of the emotions that accompany it?  Bearing that in mind, it’s hard to imagine just what (highly repetitive) steps John Fulljames and Hofesh Schechter took to arrive at such an unmusical result ... Read More »

Little house on the scary

Little house on the scary

Little house on the scary Laura Ingalls, only wilder / Photo: Scott Suchman There are no fruited plains here. Out of a literal perforation in the horizon of the Nebraskan prairie emerges Proving Up, the most convincing case I have ever seen for modern American opera; the medium has been fitted to our sensibilities, using our sonic mediums and poetically and musically evoking our soundscape, and telling a uniquely American story by two of the most ... Read More »

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