Can you appreciate a performer's music if his or her personal beliefs are deeply repugnant to you? That question comes up with growing frequency in the age of Facebook, writes Fred Plotkin.
The best conductors and critics have a great deal to teach us, writes Fred Plotkin, whether we are performers or lovers of opera and classical music.
“I love opera!” Fred Plotkin is so frequently told. “I have seen The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables ten times each and have every record by Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo and the Three Tenors!”
With many opera houses soon shutting their doors for the summer, if they have not done so already, those of us who love the art form must look elsewhere. Here are about a dozen opportunities.
Although no new music has been composed for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, taking place this week, an opera by Benjamin Britten deserves to be revived for the occasion, writes blogger Fred Plotkin.
Sooner or later, we all must say farewell. To blogger Fred Plotkin, the best operatic leave-taking is Wotan’s farewell in Die Walküre. What would your exit music be?
Verdi's operas — with their themes of anti-authoritarianism and democracy — spelled danger for the various governments that controlled the occupied Italy in the mid 19th century.
A new production of Verdi's Falstaff at London's Royal Opera House updates the setting to 1950s England in a way that is "fresh, vibrant and relevant" writes Fred Plotkin.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's death last week reminded blogger Fred Plotkin of "an indelible day in 1976, when my path crossed with the baritone in the most amusing way." Here's what happened.
Opera company directors often speak of a need for fresh theatrical values. But as Fred Plotkin writes, "'fresh values' only work if the director is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about opera."
Classical concert-going is sometimes criticized as too formal and rigid. But blogger Fred Plotkin believes that more restraint is needed when it comes to one common audience affliction: uninhibited coughing.
From Wagner to Joyce, Zurich, Switzerland has long welcomed creative types with strong viewpoints, writes Fred Plotkin. It's not because of its vaunted neutrality but its spirit of tolerance.
"The preparation of a single operatic role can take months or years as singers learn languages, acting, history, movement and make myriad emotional connections to the roles," writes Fred Plotkin. Here's why.
This year is the birth centennial of Sir Georg Solti. Operavore blogger Fred Plotkin profiles the famous conductor.
Flanders is an essential part of Europe's opera scene, home to the Vlaamse Opera and the Flanders Festival, and the setting itself for a pair of major operas. Fred Plotkin reports on its musical riches.
Blogger Fred Plotkin considers the $1.2 billion renovation project at Lincoln Center -- from the addition of the high-end restaurant to the "visual bling" of the stairs leading up to the plaza.
"As you stand on the central plaza of the complex and look in all directions, you see imposing buildings but might not know some of their unusual stories, what they were intended for and what they have become," writes blogger Fred Plotkin.
Word is spreading through the opera community of an epochal change at the Metropolitan Opera. Richard Horowitz, principal timpanist of the company, will retire at the end of the season.
"Even for someone who has never visited this city, Paris exists in the imagery one finds in paintings, films, print media, literature, wine bottles and much more," writes Fred Plotkin, who samples some of the city's musical treasures.
Richard Wagner’s series of 4 operas known collectively as the "Ring," now cycling through at The Metropolitan Opera, represents one of the great cultural treasures of the Western World. Maintaining a startling level of ambition and achievement over a period of almost 20 hours of music, the cycle defies easy description. Author Fred Plotkin joins us to explain why the "Ring" impacts everything from Hollywood to Bugs Bunny to environmentalism.