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Home > Author Archives: John Yohalem

Author Archives: John Yohalem

A little Proust

A little Proust

A little Proust Though the novel’s structure and texture are often compared to musical forms such as Wagnerian music-drama, who would attempt to turn Proust’s A la Recherche de Temps Perdu into opera? Not even Berlioz would have had such hubris. (Offenbach, peut-être?) Attempts to translate the enormous novel into any other #art seldom have much success. Perhaps an entirely new sort of mixed medium is the way to go.  This is the calculated choice ... Read More »

Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin

Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin

Diana Damrau is a finished artist, the voice full-bodied rather than tinkling, pastel not metal, her agility well-schooled and the instrument of sufficient size to fill the Met. The range is extensive if sometimes a bit thin above the staff, and the core is strong. She does not sing around the note or touch on the note, as the watery coloraturas do; she sings the note. There is an ease and a weight to her ... Read More »

Cock of the walk

Cock of the walk

You are unlikely ever to hear Rimsky-Korsakov’s last opera sung in French, yet the piece, Zolotoy pyetushok (translated as The Golden Cockerel in English, folks around here being wary for some reason of calling it The Golden Rooster) is best known in these parts as Le Coq d’Or, which recalls its Met debut (1918, in French, on a double bill with Cavalleria Rusticana, in Sicilian) and nine subsequent Met seasons in that language.  Even the ... Read More »

Golden but not delicious

Golden but not delicious

The cultiest of cult musicals, an All-American take on the Iliad and the Odyssey, the spectacularly witty Golden Apple of John Latouche (words) and Jerome Moross (music), opened Off Broadway in 1953 to some acclaim, moved to Broadway in 1954 and promptly sank, overweighted by its own cleverness. This is a great American opera (all-singing, no talking) and a downright weird choice for the Encores! series at the City Center.   The score (which produced ... Read More »

Matchless!

Matchless!

You may have missed the announcement—because there hasn’t been one—but this is John Latouche Week in New York.  Latouche, who died, far too young, in 1956, was the immensely clever lyricist for, among other things, Cabin in the Sky, Candide, The Golden Apple (to be revived by Encores! at City Center next week) and Douglas Moore’s great American opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe, produced by the inventive Utopia Opera this weekend and next. The ... Read More »

Elements of style

Elements of style

Antonio Literes, a boy soprano from Majorca, had, we may presume, friends in high places. He was summoned to the royal chapel of Carlos II in Madrid and there learned enough about music, after his voice changed, to enjoy a career as a composer of “zarzuelas” until his death in 1747. An Accis y Galatea is listed in Loewenthal as premiering at the Buen Retiro palace in 1708, traveling on to Lisbon three years later.  ... Read More »

Ladies’ Quadrille

Ladies’ Quadrille

It is much to be regretted that song recitalists stick to the tried, the true, the excessively familiar when the repertory of song is so vast, so full of treasures ready for the light. It is delightful when a dusty wing of the mansion of song is opened up for inspection and a guided tour by sympathetic and gracious guides.  On Sunday afternoon, Vertical Player Repertory, one of Brooklyn’s most venerable small opera companies (nearly ... Read More »

Yes, we have no Banat

Yes, we have no Banat

Nineteenth-century opera comes in two varieties: With Gypsies or without. With Gypsies you get fortune tellers, stolen babies, wild dances and rhythmic metallurgy—unless they are metaphorical Gypsies, as in La Bohème. In The Gypsy Baron (Der Zigeunerbaron), currently (through Sunday) enjoying a revival by the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, you get all of them, plus Strauss waltzes and patriotic marches.  Patriotism, to Strauss, meant anything in march time or an ethnic dance beat. ... Read More »

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