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Mostly Met

Mostly Met

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Busy with several choral groups, Kent Tritle conducted the Oratorio Society’s invigorating Carnegie “Messiah” on December 18. The orchestra proved adequate if not exceptional, though trumpeter Scott McIntosh scored alongside Dashon Burton’s lively, well-projected bass-baritone in their marvelous joint aria. This venerable amateur chorus makes an impressive sound, not always flawless […]

Subs Surface at the Met

Subs Surface at the Met

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | In any of the much-discussed “golden eras” of the Metropolitan Opera, keeping casts of a production together was rarely a priority. Sometimes voice fans loved this. For example, in 1964-65 one could hear six Toscas, six Cavaradossis, and seven Scarpias divided among 16 house performances, virtually all of them international artists, many […]

In the Met’s New “Otello,” Moor is Less  

In the Met’s New “Otello,” Moor is Less  

BY ELI JACOBSON | The elimination of traditional blackface from Bartlett Sher’s new Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s “Otello” has occasioned considerable controversy online and in the print press. Both the Shakespeare play and Arrigo Boito’s libretto for Verdi’s opera refer to the Moor of Venice as “black.” By the Renaissance, “moor” (often “blackamoor”) referred to […]

Going to Hell and Back in the New Year

Going to Hell and Back in the New Year

BY ELI JACOBSON | January is the Janus month where we look forward to the new year and back at the old. In the opera world, 2013 had a lot of distressing developments, a few solid triumphs, but also a lingering sense of instability and a deadening sense of artistic compromise. Companies for the most part […]

Fumbling the “Ballo”

Fumbling the “Ballo”

BY ELI JACOBSON | Former bad-boy director turned respected grand seigneur David Alden made his Metropolitan Opera debut with a new production of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.” Alden overlaid his production with three parallel dramatic concepts, but they failed to coalesce into a compelling unified whole, instead adding layers of distracting artifice undercutting Verdi’s solid […]