Kiri Te Kanawa

Kiri Te Kanawa

I first noticed Kiri Te Kanawa because she kept appearing on opera CD box sets I bought – Le Nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, etc. She had a gorgeous, warm, unmistakable lyric soprano voice that seemed especially suited to Mozart. She has gone on to become one of my favorite divas.

Kiri Te Kanawa

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Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland was the first operatic soprano I ever knew. My passion for opera began with a 1971 Decca recording of Verdi’s Rigoletto in which Joan played Gilda opposite Pavarotti’s Duke of Mantua. Although never a master of diction, Sutherland had an unforgettable voice with a natural flair for coloratura passages.

Joan Sutherland

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Tito Gobbi

Tito Gobbi

Italian baritone Tito Gobbi was a prolific and versatile performer and stage director from his debut in 1935 to his retirement in 1979. He appeared in over 25 film versions of operas and played Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca almost 1,000 times. In fact, he played Scarpia opposite Maria Callas‘ Tosca Read more…

Maria Callas

Maria Callas

The quintessential diva, Maria Callas was renowned not just for her beautiful singing, but also for her superb acting. The short-lived Greek-American star was born in New York City in 1923. She studied music in Greece and first emerged on the operatic stage in Italy. Callas is widely regarded as one of the great interpreters of the 19th-century bel canto technique, singing virtually all the major Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini soprano roles. A recording of her singing the title role of Puccini’s Tosca in 1952 is still considered the gold standard. In fact, the recording itself has a Wikipedia page.

“Nearly thirty years after her death, she’s still the definition of the diva as artist—and still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists.” -Opera News, 2006

Maria Callas is “the Bible of opera.” -Leonard Bernstein

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Most popular opera

The performances to see early this 2016 / 2017 season

It’s an intoxicating time of year for operagoers! The 2016/2017 opera season is just beginning, and it looks like it’s going to be a fantastic year! Here are a few of the biggest productions to keep your eyes on this fall…

The Metropolitan Opera is opening its season with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde next week on Monday, September 26, 2016. This revolutionary work is often viewed as one of the earliest pieces to take definitive steps away from tonal music, as represented by the famous Tristan chord, an integral part of the Tristan leitmotiv. For those of you not in New York, you will still have a chance to see a live performance of this groundbreaking work at the cinema on October 8, 2016 at noon Eastern Time. Later in October I am particularly excited to watch the Met’s Don Giovanni, one of the Mozart – Da Ponte collaborations, at the cinema.

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Lucia di Lamermermoor, Mad Scene

Mad Scenes

  They were all the rage in the early 19th century, a time when bel canto dominated the operatic stage. The vast majority of mad scenes were written for the leading soprano, providing her the ultimate opportunity to showcase her skills. Many of these pieces are extremely demanding, full of Read more…

Behind the Curtain, Romeo and Juliet

Behind the Curtain, Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, @mnopera

Behind the Curtain, Romeo and Juliet

On September 14, 2016, a little after 7:00 p.m., Peter Mercer-Taylor made Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette come alive for me for the first time at the Minnesota Opera Behind the Curtain event at the Minnesota Opera Center in Minneapolis’s North Loop district. This rather obscure mid-19th century opera has never had a consistent place in the canon, but after Mercer-Taylor’s lecture, I wonder if it deserves one.
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