What a Selfish Turk

Juilliard Opera, Rossini's Il Turco in ItaliaIn honor of Juilliard‘s performances of Rossini‘s 1814 comic opera Il Turco in Italia this week (glowingly reviewed at Parterre), here are some famous depictions of Turkey in opera.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of them wound up revolving around harems, ha ha…

Maybe the most famous opera set in Turkey, Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail follows the European hero as he tries to rescue his girlfriend from the Turkish Pasha’s harem.  I don’t know how she wound up there either…

Yet another opera partly set in a Turkish Pasha’s harem is Verdi’s 1848 Il Corsaro, depicting a war between the Pasha and some Pirates, with the Pasha’s favorite Gulnara, below, stuck in the middle…

And in a variation of the first story, here’s another opera about a Turk holding a Western woman captive (Oh, those dastardly Turks!), the first act of Rameau’s globe-trotting anthology opera Les Indes Galantes, aka Le Turc Généreux!  You can see the whole opera below, or click on the upper left hand corner to get to the fourth video, where the Turkish segment begins.

Ah, good old fashioned Orientalism!

Netrebko on Verdi on NPR

Anna Netrebko's Verdi CD, on Deutsche Grammophon

Anna Netrebko: Verdi, on Deutsche Grammophon

Superstar soprano Anna Netrebko‘s new CD is all Verdi all the time (just in time for his bicentennial, naturally), and before it drops stateside you can preview the whole thing on NPR‘s First Listen.

Here’s one of the arias she performs, in an earlier performance from the opening gala of the new Mariinsky II Theater in St. Petersburg.

Falstaff it’s All About!

Come for the questionable puns, stay for the free opera…

Tomorrow morning, Glyndebourne will be streaming an opera from the vaults, the 2009 production of Verdi‘s final opera, Falstaff.  From this page click “Watch Online” for the video and more details (including the actual time).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofQk3QOOEYI&w=350&h=300]

Rat Pack Rigoletto on PBS Tomorrow

Enrico Caruso in Rigoletto, 1903

Enrico Caruso in The Met’s Rigoletto, 1903, photo by Aimé Dupont

This new, Las Vegas-set Met Opera production of Verdi‘s 1851 opera Rigoletto is a far cry from earlier Met productions, including the 1903 season-opener where celebrated Italian tenor Enrico Caruso made his house debut as the Duke of Mantua.  It was an important debut, so the Met archives have a whole article devoted to it, with lots of fun anecdotes and primary documents.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzk5YLH4oxo&w=350&h=300]

Did you know there have been 9 different productions of Rigoletto at the Met?  Just one of the fun (if you’re me, at least) things you can learn on The Met’s online archives, which I am learning to love.  New productions are very well-documented, with plenty of production and rehearsal photos.

Rigoletto at the Met in 2012

Met Rigoletto 2012, photo by Ken Howard, copyright Metropolitan Opera

PBS will show the Met Opera‘s new production of Rigoletto tomorrow at 9 pm, with a repeat airing on Sunday at 12:30 in New York.  Check your local listings.

In Cuale Ora Bruna?


Finally reviving my “good morning” tag, here’s “Come In Quest’Ora Bruna”, from Verdi‘s Simon Boccanegra at the Met Opera in 1995 as sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ3j-xK-fXI&w=350&h=300]


Just listening to the opening I could’ve sworn it was some sort of dusk or dawn aria, but I couldn’t find any explicit reference to the time for a long time…  But Wikipedia says this first act begins before sunrise though, so guess that settles it.

Also, didn’t know about the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, dedicated to supporting opera singers in her native New Zealand.  Cute!



Otello Once More

Rafal Olbinski Otello poster

Copyright Rafal Olbinski, 2003

Last chance to hear  Verdi‘s Otello  from the Met this season with a live web stream tonight at 7:25 pm.  I’m more excited for next month’s schedule though:  3 streaming performances of Händel‘s Giulio Cesare, one of my faves!  It all kicks off on Thursday, April 4th, at 7:25 pm as well.

In keeping with the theme from my last Otello post, here’s another Polish graphic designer, Rafal Olbinski.  Those Poles sure are prolific poster designers