124. Orlando furioso (Vivaldi)

Dramma per musico in 3 actsComposer: Antonio VivaldiLibretto: Grazio Braccioli, after Ariosto's Orlando FuriosoFirst performed: Teatro Sant'Angelo, Venice, autumn 1727 Vivaldi, like his wicked sorceress Alcina, enchants the senses, then lures us into a queasily erotic nightmare of the sort we associate more with Richard Strauss than opera seria. Gustave Doré's depiction of Alcina The … Continue reading 124. Orlando furioso (Vivaldi)

123. Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel)

Dramma per musico in 3 actsComposer: George Frideric HandelLibretto: Niccolò Francesco Haym after Giacomo Francesco BussaniFirst performed: King's Theater, Haymarket, London, 20 February 1724 The ides of March may have passed, but we still have time to stab Caesar. Here it is: the most famous and beloved opera seria. Keates calls it a "tragicomic masterpiece"; … Continue reading 123. Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel)

122. Le dilettante d’Avignon (Halévy)

LE DILETTANTE D'AVIGNON Opéra-comique in 1 act Composer: Fromental Halévy Libretto: François-Benoît Hoffman finished by Léon Halévy First performed: l’Opéra-Comique (salle Ventadour) 07 November 1829 This early Halévy rarity was released on Friday; “un chef-d'oeuvre inconnu”, as the Avignonnais dilettante remarks. One associates Halévy more with anathemas, anti-Semitism, boiling oil, and kings mad or poisoned … Continue reading 122. Le dilettante d’Avignon (Halévy)

121. La verità in cimento (Vivaldi)

Opera in 3 acts Composer: Antonio Vivaldi Libretto: Giovanni Palazzi First performed: Teatro Sant’Angelo, Venice, Autumn 1720   The sultan Mahmoud’s wife Rustena and his mistress Damira each give birth on the same day.  The concubine, with the sultan’s knowledge, swaps her baby with the queen’s; both women bring up the wrong child as their … Continue reading 121. La verità in cimento (Vivaldi)

120. L’incoronazione di Dario (Vivaldi)

Dramma per musica in 3 acts Composer: Antonio Vivaldi Libretto: Adriano Morselli First performed: Teatro Sant'Angelo, Venice, 23 January 1717 A simple word association test: Vivaldi ... Anyone not think of the Four Seasons? Vivaldi was, though, more than just an instrumental composer; he was a priest (his severe asthma forced him to leave the … Continue reading 120. L’incoronazione di Dario (Vivaldi)

Berlioz and other Frenchmen

Hector Berlioz, probably France's greatest composer, died 150 years ago yesterday. Here, in honour of his sesquicentenary, are some of his finest works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnKSfq9heeo&list=PL_kBt2ShObo_B89l8qZ_YvgiKAijU1JB1 The Opéra de Paris, meanwhile, has released its 2019/20 season: RameauLes Indes galantes [FRENCH]MozartDon GiovanniCosì fan tutteRossiniBarber of SevilleBelliniIl pirataI puritaniVerdiRigolettoLa TraviataDon CarloWagnerDas RheingoldDie WalküreSiegfriedGötterdämmerung  OffenbachLes contes d'Hoffmann [FRENCH] MussorgskyBoris GodunovBorodinPrince … Continue reading Berlioz and other Frenchmen

119. Rinaldo (Handel)

Opera seria in 3 acts Composer: George Frideric Handel Libretto: Aaron Hill and Giacomo Rossi First performed: Queen’s Theatre, Haymarket, London, 2 February 1711; revised King’s Theatre, Haymarket, 6 April 1731 Rinaldo was Handel’s first opera written for England, and, indeed, the first Italian opera composed for London.  It capitalized (so to speak) on the … Continue reading 119. Rinaldo (Handel)