February 23, 2021 Götterdämmerung, Prologue and Act One
February 16, 2021 Siegfried, Act Three
February 9, 2021 Siegfried, Act Two
February 2, 2021 Siegfried, Act One
January 26, 2021 Die Walküre, Act Three
January 19, 2021 Die Walküre, Act Two
January 12, 2021 Die Walküre, Act One
January 5, 2021 Das Rheingold
November 10, 2020 Forgotten Greats III
Another installment in what has proved a popular series - thumbnail sketches of musicians who didn’t make history’s “A-list,” but perhaps should have!
November 3, 2020 The Moral of La Traviata
The world knows it about as well as any opera has ever been known - but what exactly is it telling us?
October 27, 2020 The Great Dane
If any voice in the 20th century deserves to be called “unique,” it is Lauritz Melchior’s, a heldentenor instrument that could do things nobody has matched before or since. And we can trace it uninterruptedly from 1913 to 1963.
October 20, 2020 The Wizard
Many of us heard Vladimir Horowitz play, and some of us met him - but we are most familiar with the last phase of a many-phased career. Ask any pianist: there is not one who fails to see him as the greatest of all, even if he was sometimes maddening.
October 13, 2020 The Life and Deaths of Maria Callas
We had a version of this talk about five years ago, but Callas’s legacy is so rich, and her story so absorbing, that it can be told again with a completely different set of audio examples and a fresh group of biographical vignettes.
October 6, 2020 Puccini the Wagnerite
“La bohème” is about as un-Wagnerian as it could be on the outside - short, sweet, down-to-earth, unintellectual. But half the secret of Puccini’s dominant position lies in the fact that he mastered Wagner’s techniques better than anyone else, and it’s ear-opening to re-examine the Bohemians through that lens.
September 29, 2020 Nordic Saga
Kirsten Flagstad’s career was a thirty-year success story until the Germans invaded her homeland. Improbaby and against all odds, she added a fourth decade, maybe the best of all, after the war.
September 22, 2020 The Way Back
A frank look at just where our artistic institutions are and how they are coping, here and worldwide, with a glance at the prospects, near- and far-term.
August 18, 2020 The Valkyrie
There are a dozen paths through the Ring cycle, and in some ways the most moving one is to follow Brünnhilde from innocent exuberance, through experience, loss, and betrayal, to understanding and transcendence.
August 11, 2020 After Cav and Pag
Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci are not just sure-fire melodramas, they are also seriously well-composed music by expert composers. It's unthinkable that these two had nothing more to say after their youthful hits. Here we look at what they did with the rest of their lives, and identify some operas that could make a comeback.
August 4, 2020 The Mysterious Señor De Gogorza
Here is a really wonderful "forgotten great" - an aristocratic baritone at home in multiple cultures and languages, and one of the most charismatic singers ever. Short stature and bad eyesight kept him off the opera stage, but he left behind nearly a thousand recordings from 1899 to 1929.
July 28, 2020 How Does it Go? Beethoven's Fifth
In honor of the Beethoven Year we were supposed to have - we've all known this piece all our lives, but it is startling how many different ways it can speak.
July 21, 2020 Paul Robeson: An American Tragedy
There was no more gifted artist or more magnificent bass voice in the whole 20th century, and few if any so battered by fate.