Friday, August 14, 2020
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What stories make the best operas?

There are certain things that every opera needs to have. One is brilliant music, of course. And another is an enthralling plot. But where do opera’s stories come from?

10 Dinner Party Facts About Giuseppe Verdi

1. His date of birth is unclear. Scholars have found references on October 11th that state Giuseppe Verdi was "born yesterday," but...

How can you turn as gruesome a tale as Hansel and...

From gruesome tale to Christmas tradition, follow Hansel und Gretel on their journey into the woods and onto the opera stage...

This Week in Music History: Verdi’s Aida premieres (1871)

“We must at least keep the fee secret,” wrote Verdi in June 1870, about his latest project: Aida.

This Week in Music History: The premiere of Strauss’s Salome (1905)

Strauss’s opera Salome scandalized the musical world in 1905—and again in May 1906, when, as Ross vividly describes, the Austrian premiere in Graz drew together an astonishing array of musical luminaries, from Mahler to Schoenberg to Puccini. “Like a flash of lightning,” Ross writes, “it illuminated a musical world on the verge of traumatic change. Past and future were colliding; centuries were passing in the night.”

This Week in Music History: Benjamin Britten is born (1913)

Benjamin Britten was born on November 22, 1913—St Cecilia’s Day, the patron saint of music—in Lowestoft, Suffolk, overlooking the English east coast. Music and the English coast were the forces that would shape his life. These twin influences were combined in perhaps the most profound way a full century after Britten’s birth.

This Week in Music History: Hans Sachs is born (1494)

There are relatively few shoemakers with their own entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the standard reference work for classical music. But Hans Sachs was no ordinary shoemaker.

The Classical Coven

Double, double toil and treble! Today we're sharing a playlist of some of our favorite witches in the classical repertoire—some scarier than others...

This Week in Music History: Don Giovanni premieres (1787)

It’s a strange thought that the farcical Figaro would be followed up with an opera in which the protagonist—a compulsive womanizer, as well as a murderer—literally descends to hell, leaving behind a smattering of his victims to try and rebuild their shattered lives.

This Week in Music History: Vincenzo Bellini dies (1835)

Vincenzo Bellini was just 33 years old when he died of dysentery in a Parisian suburb on September 23, 1835: younger than Chopin (39), Bizet (37) or even Mozart (35) at the time of their deaths...