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.
The French capital has become the most important opera center in Europe in the early 21st century, writes blogger Fred Plotkin. "It has perhaps even surpassed New York."
Samuel Barber's lushly romantic music has long been considered passé in part because he does not have an effective advocate, writes blogger Fred Plotkin. But new recordings and performances may help change that.
In one of the most extraordinary discoveries in recent years, an opera that experts say is the long-lost first work by Vincenzo Bellini was found during an archeological dig in Sicily.
"In my many years of operagoing, I have observed and met audience members who are blind or deaf and yet are as passionate about the art form as I am," writes blogger Fred Plotkin.
This year marks the centennial of Massenet's death and the French composer is being honored with a new Met production of Manon, as well as new books and an exhibit in Paris. Blogger Fred Plotkin reports.
Aretha Franklin, who will turn 70 on Sunday, "is as exciting, surprising and compelling as when I first heard her in 1967," reports Fred Plotkin, who heard the singer on February 18 at Radio City Music Hall.
Turin, or Torino, is the only city in Italy right now that rivals Milan when it comes to opera and symphonic music, writes Fred Plotkin. Its food, wine and feeling of sophistication make it worth a visit.
"The Irish are the best conversationalists I know," writes blogger Fred Plotkin. "They do not simply banter, but spin out words and phrases in whirling musical arcs that beguile the listener."
As this post was being written, nine young singers are preparing for one of the most important days of their careers. Read on to find out why.
South Africa has produced some extraordinary singers but it has yet generate a major homegrown opera. Fred Plotkin considers the potential of an opera "flavored with the cadences of Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa."
Te Kanawa, who turns 68 on Tuesday, is an example of a singer who knew how to pick roles that perfectly suited her, writes Operavore blogger Fred Plotkin.
"I don’t see the worlds of classical/opera and “pop”/Broadway as separated by a wall but as sitting on the same gorgeous field in different zones that sometimes overlap," writes blogger Fred Plotkin.
Even while absent from the conductor's podium, Music Director James Levine's presence is nonetheless still felt in The Metropolitan Opera's upcoming programs. Blogger Fred Plotkin shares his highlights.
Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho is composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall this year. Her much-admired body of work includes the operas L’Amour de loin and Adriana Mater. Blogger Fred Plotkin spoke with her about her upcoming engagement.
Sipping a flavorful tea and enjoying an opera are mutually compatible activities, writes blogger Fred Plotkin. One composer has even written an opera on the subject.
One is a veteran artist who gets better all the time; the other is a young singer whose immense gifts and potential suggest he might achieve comparable things, writes Fred Plotkin.
Marco Armiliato will set a Metropolitan Opera record this week by leading six operas in six days, the highest number ever in a single week by one conductor. Blogger Fred Plotkin considers the feat.
The trailblazing African-American tenor George Shirley recently wrote an essay on race in opera that serves as a reminder of the opera field's past inequities and potential for progress, writes Fred Plotkin.
A scholarly book looks at the many depictions of people "of color" in opera, including the thorny stage practice in which performers apply heavy makeup to play leading roles such as Otello and Aïda. Fred Plotkin considers.