Diva to Casta Diva

When she’s not watching non-stop Catholic mass on TV, my grandmother sometimes watches the news from Spain, which is how I learned that today is Catalan soprano Montserrat Caballé‘s 80th birthday!  To celebrate, here is probably her single most famous performance, in Bellini‘s Norma at the 1974 Orange Opera Festival.

Additionally, here’s an interview with her in 1970, where she discusses the role of Norma four years before that legendary performance (Part 2 here).


Song to the (Full) Moon

It’s a full moon tonight, so what better way to celebrate than with “Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém” (that’s “Song to the Moon” for you non-Czech-speakers) from Dvořák‘s 1901 opera Rusalka.

Pretty sweet design, right?  That’s celebrated soprano Lucia Popp rocking the head-to-toe scaly look there; I don’t  envy having to wear that or having to learn to pronounce Czech : P  The world of Slavic opera, from Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, etc., is a pretty distinct, foreign world to me still, though I have enjoyed Janáček and Rimsky-Korsakov in the past and want to learn more…

I was admiring the moon yesterday, so take a break from your screens to look skyward tonight friends.

As You Sleep, You Stir Up Love

A whole slew of “good night” arias to lull you to sleep…  These are all from settings of Metastasio‘s libretto for L’Olimpiade, set by more than 60 composers!

First off, Italian contralto Sara Mingardo sings Vivaldi‘s take, followed by Caldara, for whom the libretto was written in the first place; noted French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky sings here.


Finally, Pergolesi‘s version, sung by German soprano Simone Kermes.  With all these settings of a single text laying around, it was really genius of Naive Records to create a pastiche, uniting arias by different composers to showcase the range of interpretations.  But it’s also interesting to hear different takes on the same aria, no?  Here’s a review of Naive‘s recording, and a behind-the-scenes video too:

Weekend Recap

So as I mentioned earlier this week, today is 24 Hour Comics Day, but I was invited to a couple of lovely get-togethers, so it was a no-go for me…  maybe next year!  Also this week, we had the first two live streams of Wagner‘s Ring Cycle from the Royal Opera House courtesy of BBC Radio 3; those are still available here for a few more days, so go ahead and catch up before the next installments.


There’s a new opera up on BBC Radio 3 now too: Verdi‘s penultimate opera, Otello.  2013 marks the bicentennial of the births of Verdi and Wagner, so they’re being feted in opera houses all over the world this season.  I thought I’d mix it up a bit with a French translation of Ave Maria, the song Desdemona sings before going to bed/getting killed, sung by Martha Angelici, a Corsican soprano with a big career in France.

Seems like all the good “good night” arias are basically prayers, huh  : P

Evenings, when I go to sleep…

Sorry for my recent absence (to all my adoring fans out there!).  I don’t think I mentioned this, but this blog was actually an assignment for a class and I got caught up in work for other classes after handing it in.  I want to keep blogging though; I spend enough time thinking about comics and opera that I might as well turn it into posts!  So stick around…

I’m already running out of “good morning” arias, so here’s a nice “good night” one instead from Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck:

Lovely singing, but also some great 80s fashion which definitely holds its own against the music. LOVE IT SO MUCH.