FRED PLOTKIN is one of America’s foremost experts on opera and has distinguished himself in many fields as a writer, speaker, consultant and as a compelling teacher. He is an expert on everything Italian, the person other so-called Italy experts turn to for definitive information. Fred discovered the concept of "The Renaissance Man" as a small child and has devoted himself to pursuing that ideal as the central role of his life. In a “Public Lives” profile in The New York Times on August 30, 2002, Plotkin was described as "one of those New York word-of-mouth legends, known by the cognoscenti for his renaissance mastery of two seemingly separate disciplines: music and the food of Italy." In the same publication, on May 11, 2006, it was written that "Fred is a New Yorker, but has the soul of an Italian."
What does it take to present all of Mozart's 20-plus operas? Operavore's Fred Plotkin talks to the founder of a London-based company that plans to do a two-decade cycle of the works.
Maria Callas is fading from memory as a performer and is now being built up as a myth and an icon. So how can she be best remembered? Should it be with an opera?
"Così fan tutte," Fred Plotkin can hear you shriek, “how is that an overlooked opera?” To which he would answer that “overlooked” is a word with shades of meaning.
In this year of composer anniversaries and in this month’s immersion in Mozart here at WQXR, there is another artistic event worth noting and taking pleasure in, writes Fred Plotkin.
Arnold Schoenberg was not only an influential composer but a visual artist of enough skill that his paintings rival masterpieces by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, writes Fred Plotkin.
"Among active singers, I can think of no one who owns as many roles as Karita Mattila," writes Fred Plotkin of the Finnish soprano who famously bared all in Salome at the Met.
Most people, when asked what comes to their minds first when they hear the name of Verona, immediately reply, “Romeo and Juliet!" As Fred Plotkin tells us, there's much more to discover.
Verdi's hometown is a special place, writes Fred Plotkin, with its misty climate and landmarks connected to the composer. It also faces some alarming financial difficulties.
Planning a trip to Italy but don’t know what is playing on opera stages? Fred Plotkin sorts it out for you, with this one-stop guide to opera calendars around the country.
In the wake of New York City Opera's demise, Fred Plotkin notes, "Italy is besieged in ways we cannot imagine. And yet they understand that culture is worth talking about and trying to save."
The Filarmonica della Scala began as the pit orchestra for Italy's La Scala opera house. As Fred Plotkin reports from Milan, the ensemble has a lively agenda apart from accompanying opera singers.
The absolute, unforgettable highlight of the Verdi anniversary week was being in the presence, and then the company, of conductor Richard Bonynge, writes Fred Plotkin.
Fred Plotkin considers some of Verdi's most compelling religious works and how a non-religious man could produce music that speaks so powerfully to very devout people.
One of the most remarkable, but least remarked upon, events leading up to this Verdi year has been the release of a series of DVDs called Tutto Verdi that contains every one of his operas.
Writer Fred Plotkin joins us to reflect on the demise of New York City Opera, the subject of his recent column for WQXR's Operavore.
A loss of leadership, mission, a home and visibility all contributed to City Opera's downfall, writes Fred Plotkin. But is it too late for a generous donor to step forward?
The Salzburg Festival named a new director this week. Fred Plotkin takes the occasion to consider why the town of Salzburg is about much more than just the Von Trapps and Mozart.
"In recent years, some of the traditional behaviors of audiences in the 30 minutes before the maestro enters the orchestra pit have fallen into disuse," laments Fred Plotkin.
Bringing a new opera into the world is a daunting task at any time, but Tobias Picker's Stephen King adaptation faced a challenge, potentially fatal, that few works do, writes Fred Plotkin.
Opera lovers in Washington, DC may not be the most demonstrative around, seldom with a "bravo" or "boo," but they can still recognize the city's rich offerings for fans of classical voice, writes Fred Plotkin.