"It is in this idyllic Swiss city on a lake, more than anywhere I have yet been, that I have felt the presence of Richard Wagner and the sources of his inspiration," writes Fred Plotkin.
"The production and the performances were incredible, unbelievable, singular, unforgettable and many other adjectives that can imply both the state of ultrawonderfulness and ultradreadfulness."
While the big-ticket, big-cast productions on the autumn opera calendar can speak for themselves, Fred Plotkin calls attention to some works in between that are of particular interest.
"You don’t have to look too hard in Salzburg to discover what makes it stimulating. The city has an innate respect for Kunst und Kultur, or Art and Culture," writes Fred Plotkin.
Martin Luther King knew something about opera – his widow Coretta Scott King studied opera singing in Boston. He also was a master at the musicality of words and speech, writes Fred Plotkin.
Former New York City Opera conductor Julius Rudel recently published a memoir, which despite its flaws, provides a history of the company and its most important figure.
Shakespeare’s plays, with their gorgeous language, are not always congenial for musical adaptation. And yet, the stories and characters are so vivid and, yes, human, writes Fred Plotkin.
"The death of someone like Regina Resnik, which happened on August 8, just weeks before her 91st birthday, is akin to a library burning to the ground," writes Fred Plotkin in this appreciation.
Two rarely-heard operas have caught the attention of blogger Fred Plotkin: Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and Prokofiev's Maddalena. The latter is being called "a scandalous, hot-blooded love triangle."
If Rossini took comfort from religious observance, we don’t know too much about it. His letters are seldom pious in nature, but his music offers other clues, writes Fred Plotkin.
Thomas Hampson recently appeared on the BBC's interview program, and the questioning turned predictably tough. To Fred Plotkin, it also reinforced some stereotypes about opera.
No matter how extravagant the vocal acrobatics might be, if singing—whether opera, gospel or just about anything else—is not anchored in genuine sentiment, it will ring as heartless and false, writes Fred Plotkin.
Wagner's relationship with Otto Wesendonck, his most important financial backer, and the young and beautiful Mathilde Wesendonck, who became his most important muse, made for real drama, writes Fred Plotkin.
Zürich, Wagner's base for nine years, became a place where he could reflect upon, and amplify, his ideas and theories, writes Fred Plotkin.
Operavore blogger Fred Plotkin continues his discussion of the contentious topic of amplified opera singers with microphones and how it affects our senses.
Operavore blogger Fred Plotkin reviews the issue of microphones and amplification during opera performances. Should they be used? Should they be disclosed to those attending?
This is the first of what will be an occasional series about prima donnas, those irresistible singers whose talents and larger-than-life personalities never fail to fascinate and inspire opera fans.
Weber's Der Freischütz has been unjustly ignored outside of the German-speaking world, writes Fred Plotkin. Yet this opera foreshadows much of what followed.
An opera about George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820, was written by Peter Maxwell Davies in the late 1960s and is called Eight Songs for a Mad King. This 33-minute work is a searing account of madness.