Opera and More

Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on Classical 101

Host Christopher Purdy features one opera each week followed by the an art song, aria, and solo vocal releases as time permits. 

In 1983, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto tried a grand experiment. While the singers performed Elektra in German onstage, simultaneous translations in English were projected above the stage. These "supertitles," as they've come to be known, were quickly adopted at opera houses and are now an expected part of the opera-going experience.

Ken Howard / The Metropolitan Opera

Opera Abbreviated is a Classical 101 podcast that previews The Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series of performances beamed into cinemas worldwide.

The Met's new production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca, everyone's favorite operatic potboiler, is the next feature, showing at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27. Staged by David McVicar, the production is conducted by Emmanuel Villaume and stars Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo and  Zelkjo Lucic.

color side profile photo of David Del Tredici at the piano
daviddeltredici.com

When I told composer David Del Tredici that I had taken one of his courses at Boston University in the 1970s, he asked, "Which one? Was it my course on lesbians and music? The Gamelan course?... Did you write a fugue for me?" (Yes, very badly.)

So began my recent phone conversation with a composer who has been working at the international level in music for over 50 years.

Among Del Tredici's career posts is a lifelong obsession with Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." Said fascination has resulted in a number of large-scale works by the 80-year-old composer, including his mammoth Final Alice, An Alice Symphony, Adventures Underground and Child Alice. 

"In Memory of a Summer Day," part one of Child Alice, won the Pulitzer Prize in music in 1980.

cocoparisienne / Pixabay

These new recordings have brought me a lot of pleasure over the past few months. May they do the same for you.

Here are a few gift suggestions for the lovers of classical music in your life. (The recordings are available as downloads and, merciful God, as CDs.)

Sony Classical / amazon.com

 

 Monteverdi, Brahms and Palestrina are all wonderful. If I hear their music after I die, I'll know I made it to heaven ... big "if."

But sometimes, you have to get down and dirty.  

Sony Classical has purchased the old RCA Red Seal catalog of recordings made in the 1960s and '70s, and many of these are being brought back after many years.

CBS Television / Wikimedia Commons

Soprano Maria Callas—controversial, temperamental, with a voice described alternately as "dazzling" and "catastrophic"—remains an enigma whose recordings continue to be bestsellers 60 years after they were released.

Callas died unexpectedly at her home in Paris on Sept. 16, 1977, at the age of 53.

Houston Rogers / Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 16 is the 40th anniversary of the death of Maria Callas. Born in 1923, Callas was 53 years old when she died.

promo photo for Opera Project Columbus' production of Suor Angelica
Opera Project Columbus

Opera Project Columbus, conducted by Alessandro Siciliani, presents Giacomo Puccini's one-act opera Suor Angelica in the Lincoln Theatre, Friday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 10.

Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington Facebook page

One of the many joys of this job is seeing locally based talent grow to become a thriving entity. Such is the case with Antoine Clark, a young clarinetist and conductor who holds a doctorate in musical arts from Ohio State University.

Five years ago, Clark formed the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra. The chamber orchestra is now entering its fifth season, in residence at the eponymous performing arts venue in Worthington.

Mid-Ohio Opera Facebook page

Not long ago, a young man from Mansfield, Ohio, came to see me. Joel Vega is a tenor, husband, father and entrepreneur. He had heard that I've been around the opera and arts management business over the years—a good way to die broke.

Vega was trying to start an opera company in his hometown, and he asked for my advice.

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