Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

In performance: Opera Lafayette

In today's Washington Post: Opera Lafayette's all-Charpentier evening, by Anne Midgette.

By Anne Midgette  |  October 21, 2009; 7:51 AM ET
Categories:  local reviews  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: In performance: Eroica Quartet
Next: Steinway rolls in

Comments

And...Brown would be....

a color?
a fine university in Providence?
Ryan Brown, the Artistic Director and Conductor of Opera Lafayette?

Anne, I fear your editors are asleep if there are any left.

Posted by: newcriticalcritic | October 21, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

“Baroque opera may be a field of scholarly interest, but that doesn't mean it's weighty in content.” (Anne Midgette, October 21, 2009. Washington Post - print edition)

This is an unbelievable statement in the pages of the Washington Post print edition. It may have been expected if the review had been penned by Robert Battey, but by the Washington Post’s great white critical hope – Yale, Munich, and New York City-educated (and New York City-based) Anne Midgette?

Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, L'incoronazione di Poppea, Dido and Aeneas, Giulio Cesare, Alcina, Serse, Semele … Der hochmütige, gestürzte und wieder erhabene Croesus … not great and weighty operas?

Then what in heaven’s name are great opera houses around the world doing staging – in increasing numbers -- these works of fluff by Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, Keiser, and others … (Screw all the great, humanist librettists involved).

If the Washington Post is going to promote Anne Midgette in print but not the far more musically sensitive and intelligent Cecelia Porter, then I’m cancelling my print subscription to the Washington Post.

(I’d love to read Cecelia Porter’s review of the Marc-Antoine Charpentier opera.)

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 21, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Newcriticalcritic: Yes, an earlier reference to Brown was inadvertently cut.

Snaketime: The sentence should have read "that it's ALWAYS weighty in content." I take it for granted that my readers know of the seriousness of the majority of Baroque operas - otherwise I wouldn't have written such an opening sentence in the first place.

Posted by: MidgetteA | October 21, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Snaketime, had you read beyond the first line you would have realised the context was entirely in relation to the evening's programming and not an isolated proclamation on the worth of Baroque opera.

Vive Midgette!

Posted by: ianw2 | October 21, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

“I take it for granted that my readers know of the seriousness of the majority of Baroque operas...” (Anne Midgette)

I very strongly doubt that your thousands of print edition readers do.

Would the Washington Post care to conduct a poll of its print edition readers regarding their understanding of the seriousness of Baroque opera?

*

I did read beyond the first sentence. It did not help my comprehension of the reviewer’s opening sentence.

el pweβlo uniðo xaˈmas seˈɾa βenθiðo

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 21, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@snaketime1, What deadline must the Post meet to respond to your demands before you make good on your threat to cancel your print subscription to the Post?

Posted by: prokaryote | October 21, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It's encouraging, in a strange sort of way, that at least one reader takes baroque opera so seriously as to threaten to cancel his subscription over an apparent dissing of the genre.

I didn't attend the performance, and my tastes tend to run in other channels, but I do have some recordings of M-A Charpentier's music that I listen to on occasion. The weightiness varies, but the delight is constant. If Anne's review leads even one reader to give Charpentier a tryout, I'd say that's all to the good.

Posted by: BobL | October 22, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Prokaryote, I am waiting to see who the Washington Post sends to review Opera Lafayette’s upcoming performances of Gluck's Armide on February 1, 2010 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall or on February 3, 2010 at Rose Hall in New York. In celebration of the company’s 15th season (ten less than the comparably outstanding Cathedral Choral Arts Society under J. Reilly Lewis), all tickets will be only $15.

Despite Anne Midgette’s current humanistically damaging review, I hope that the trailblazing Baroque and early classical troupe comes close to selling out the KC Concert Hall; and that audiences will be alerted beforehand by Washington’s musical establishment as to the greatness of Gluck and of this opera in particular. (Gluck’s ‘Armide’ is of comparable operatic and humanistic stature and power as his ‘Alceste’.)

http://www.operalafayette.org/armide.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2007/oct/12/classicalmusicandopera1

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The problem here is not the misery of Anne Midgette, it is her proud ignorance. The work in question is a remarkable piece of music transcending its text and moving from light diversionary airs and dances to a full scale Grand Motet, beautiful counterpoint, high Baroque sensuous and inspiring. If you are both unfamiliar and not sensitive to the language of the Baroque, calling it frothy because of a lack of understanding of the musical vocabulary, you are in no position to understand or comment on the success of lack of it in an interpretation. Did you not notice, Ms. Midgette, the skillful balancing of minuet, and fugue? Comment on that and how Brown was able to make a coherent tapestry of it all. Unfortunately, musical journalism is not carefully scrutinized and we are stuck with staffs of reviewers who add darkness to the mix, not light. A drag for those who cheer on fine organizations like Opera Lafayette. A drag for those of us who would like a newspaper to inform and educate a public.

Posted by: couperin | October 22, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I thought us operasexuals had the best pedants... but evidently not. I bet there are some fascinating opinions on A=440 in this crowd.

What exactly is humanistically damaging? And how is this review inflicting it? It sounds quite dangerous. Should FEMA be informed?

Posted by: ianw2 | October 22, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Musical criticism can be in service to the humanities, or damaging to the humanities and to public education, as was Anne Midgette’s current review:

“Baroque opera may be a field of scholarly interest, but that doesn't mean it's weighty in content. The pieces by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, written in the late 1600s, that Opera Lafayette offered on Monday night in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater were as sugary and ephemeral as a plate of meringues. … It's an allegory in which the arts are redeemed by the peace brought about by King Louis XIV: in short, a frothy piece of propaganda or, more precisely, of brown-nosing. … Opera Lafayette offered a perfectly pleasant, slightly homemade performance, in the vein one has come to expect from this small but determined company. Founded 15 years ago with one specific focus -- opera of the 17th and 18th centuries -- it has continued to mine this vein doggedly, to the extent of issuing a new CD annually for the past five years of the little-known repertory it generally explores [such as Antonio Sacchini's "Oedipe a Colone” and Gluck - Orphée et Euridice (1774 Paris Version)].
- Anne Midgette, Washington Post, October 21, 2009
*
'The opera-ballet "Zélindor". . .by François Rebel and François Francoeur, merits a hearing. So does the orchestra of Opera Lafayette, a Washington ensemble devoted to the music of the 17th and 18th centuries, which made its New York debut with this work at the Rose Theater on Wednesday night. The group’s conductor, Ryan Brown, created a performing edition of a piece that appears, before its premiere in Washington this month, not to have been played since the 18th century, and he conducted it with such spirit that it seemed he might join in the dancing. …
The evening’s strength, however, was the crisp, resilient playing of the period orchestra, bringing the lilting dance music to colorful life. Opera Lafayette has just recorded the work for release in 2009. Fans of early music should seek it out.'
- Anne Midgette, The New York Times, October 20, 2007

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

'Every now and then, it is both humbling and salutary to be reminded of how much great music there is that remains to be discovered…To this roster, we may add the operas of the French baroque, especially the numerous works of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau. Opera Lafayette’s production of Rameau’s "Hippolyte et Aricie" at the University of Maryland was one of the musical highlights of 2003. And, while it I still early in the year to make sweeping predictions, the same group’s concert performance of Lully’s "Armide" on Saturday afternoon…seems likely to attain similar ranking when we look back upon 2007....it was lovingly set forth by Opera Lafayette and the New York Baroque Dance Company, under the direction of Ryan Brown and Catherine Turocy, respectively. Brown led his small, supple orchestra and sweetly blended chorus with authority, dramatic intensity and welling musicanship....the outstanding performance of the afternoon was that of mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel in the role of Armide. It would be a cliche to say she was "larger than life" and, in fact, she seemed something even more elemental. At its best, her Armide seemed life itself, with its messy joys, sorrows, hungers and contradictions, and the role was sung with all the ardor, intelligence and vocal luster at Houtzeel's command, which was plenty. This was the sort of daring, impassioned performance that can make a career....'
- Tim Page, The Washington Post, February 5, 2007
*
"Brown's energized period-instrument orchestra, cast and chorus, in collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company, proved that one of Mozart's most lengthy and least understood operas could be as sparkling and musically rewarding as The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni....this Idomeneo came alive with more drama and intensity than you're likely to find in any formal opera house."
- Tom Huizenga, The Washington Post, June 5, 2006
*

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

In the years since its debut, the company has grown to become one of the most intellectually exciting fixtures of the Washington music world....their concerts, which regularly sell out, are events not to be missed by serious opera lovers....with tonight's performance of Antonio Sacchini's "Oedipe a Colone," they are making perhaps their most substantial and lasting contribution to the larger understanding of 18th-century French musical life....After performing and recording the rare Paris version of Gluck's "Orphee" in 2002, Brown was looking for some of the lost links in the history of French opera, a way of connecting the stately, formal, rhetorically sophisticated music of the 17th and early 18th century with the music that would lead, eventually to the wild glories, experimentation and curiosities unleashed by Berlioz and later 19th-century composers. Gluck was one link. Sacchini, who was born a little after Gluck but composed in much the same style, was another. "I think it is a very cogent dramatic work," says Brown. "This whole generation of composers after Gluck is something of a lost generation. It's a period ripe for discovery." '
- Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post, May 14, 2005
*

"...brilliantly realized...Haydn is recognized as a towering figure in the history of symphonies and string quartets, but his ability as an opera composer (not far below Mozart, but a bit less complex) is less well-known. More performances such as this [of Haydn: Il Mondo della Luna] one would help...the music seemed tailored for him [bass-baritone Francois Loup]...Brown conducted with a finely tuned sense of style...Leon Major's ingenious stage direction did wonders..."
- Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post, May 18, 2004

*
"Nature, at its most tempestuous, came to life with Brown's often vigorous pace, pungently delineated in shifting metrical pulses and in phrasing etched with diamond-cut precision... The members of Opera Lafayette share generous experience in performing French Baroque music...Robert Getchell's Hippolyte had all the intensity that Hippolyte's passion called for, while Gaële Le Roi artfully conveyed Aricie's devoted, yet troubled adoration of her lover. Jennifer Lane gave Phèdre psychological complexity laced with desire. As Thésée, Bernard Deletré paired monumental force with dignity of presence."
- Cecelia Porter, Opera News, May 2003

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"...a sensitive and affecting performance [of Rameau: Hippolyte et Aricie]
that opened up a sunny window into the rarified world of 18th-century opera. It was only a concert version, but more evocative and atmospheric than some fully staged productions."

- Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, February 3, 2003

*

"The ensemble's artistic director, violinist Ryan Brown, has become ringleader and star of Washington's newest baroque music scene. Through his own high standards he has injected a vitality and intellectual focus into performances."
- Pierre Ruhe, The Washington Post, October 10, 1996

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

WETA-FM and National Public Radio join forces to educate listeners about the beauty and weightiness of Baroque opera:

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie
Capitole Theatre, Toulouse, France
Emmanuelle Haim, conductor
Saturday October 31, 2009, 1:00 pm

Claudio Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea
Drottningholm Court Theatre, Sweden
Mark Tatlow, conductor
Saturday November 14, 2009, 1:00 pm

Rameau's Last Tango: 'Hippolyte Et Aricie'

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113184360

Passion Vs. Propriety: Monteverdi's 'Poppea'

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113634945

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm still not convinced how a positive review is causing damage to the understanding that WaPo readers may or may not have of the Baroque period. Your excerpts all highlight the energy of Brown's conducting- including the two of Midgette's.

The work in this review WAS written as a confection for the amusement of the aristocracy. Why Midgette's statement of this is somehow 'humanistically' damaging I am struggling to understand.

Is it inconceivable that Baroque composers occasionally wrote froth to please their patrons? Is all Baroque opera weighty and valid (and therefore, by default, is it the critic's role to cheerlead and educate?)? Just because one (positive) review of one (frothy) work is written doesn't translate into a critic dismissing an entire genre of work.

It sounds like Midgette is not celebrating Opera Lafayette to your liking- but she is not their publicist.

Posted by: ianw2 | October 22, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I never said that Anne Midgette was a publicist. Nor am I one. Anne Midgette simply did not write a professional quality review. (Nor a positive one, as you bizarrely claim.)

You have also confused matters by referring in your first sentence to Baroque music rather than to Baroque opera, which is the subject here.

Below is a section from an additional local review of the performance in question that I located:

“Following a brief pause for retuning and the addition of two Baroque flutes, the “high brow” half of the evening began with the five lightly staged scenes of Charpentier’s chamber opera Les Arts Florissants. Although the libretto is by an anonymous author, a memorable quote quite fitting of Molière proclaimed music the “delight of the spirit, the only innocent pleasure.” La Musique (soprano Ah Hong, heard two years ago in Opera Vivente’s production of Alcina) sang her invitation (“let my divine harmony fill your hearts”) with a lovingly relaxed agility. The chorus portrayed its roles of warriors and furies, depending on the scene, with orchestral interludes elegantly danced or pantomimed by Caroline Copeland. Soloists representing poetry (Stacey Mastrian), architecture (Monica Reinagel), discord (William Sharp), and war (François Loup) expounded the virtues of their respective embodiments. Soprano Nathalie Paulin’s sublime portrayal of peace (“Even the hardest warriors shall prefer peace to fighting…”) was underscored by a blissful continuo combination of theorbo, some sort of early guitar, harpsichord, and mellifluously played gamba. Brown conducted the second half of the program most effectively, but he might consider minimizing his presence: his hands mirrored each other 95% of the time, while lateral dance-like motions were somewhat distracting to the audience and perhaps confusing to those onstage trying to focus on a moving target. The outstanding quality of Opera Lafayette’s soloists combined with meticulous preparation made for a remarkable evening in a venue much more appropriate than some past programs in the drafty atrium of La Maison Française.”

Michael Lodico. ionart.blogspot.com. October 21, 2009


Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Unlike Anne Midgette’s review, this review by Michael Lodico is responsible and professional-level musical criticism.

Yes, Baroque allegorical musical art may be difficult to untangle today, but the subjects of poetry, architecture, discord, war, and peace continue to be important ones and hardly “sugary and ephemeral as a plate of meringues,” as described by Anne Midgette.

Since Ms. Midgette has no apparent sympathy for this form of allegorical art, why didn’t the Washington Post send Michael Lodico, Charles T. Downey, or Cecelia Porter – all of whom are Washington, D.C. - based and more highly experienced than Ms. Midgette with French culture and music, especially of the Baroque era?

For those who can handle allegorical complexity, I recommend Rameau’s Les Boréades (The Descendants of Boreas), the last of Rameau's five tragédies en musique. I hope that I never encounter an Anne Midgette review of this beautiful, but complex and cerebral, work of art. (Think Murasaki Shikibu or Rainer Maria Rilke.)

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 22, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Goodness, what a lively debate! It appears however that snaketime1 has broadened his differences with Anne Midgette from her review of the Charpentier evening as realized by Opera Lafayette to the position that she lacks understanding and knowledge of French culture and music. This is quite a leap and a little hard to understand since snaketime1 presented a little earlier a rather ringing endorsement of Opera Lafayette's performance of "Zélindor"

This raises the interesting issue of the role of the music critic. It seems that every performance involves four participants, the composer, the performer, the listener and the critic. I do not always agree with Anne Midgette nor do I always disagree. Sometimes she is positive and I am negative and sometimes vice versa. Nevertheless, I never feel the concert experience has been complete without reading the Washington Post review. I have enjoyed Midgette's reviews whether I agree with them or not because they allow me to reflect on my own impressions of the previous evening's performance.

The music critic, I believe, not only has the responsibility to stimulate our thoughts about last night's performance but to encourage readers to go to tomorrow's performance and that can conflict with the critic's responsibility to be, well, critical. More difficult still is the requirement for the critic to, in effect, forget every past performance he or she has ever heard of a particular work or by a particular musician and to set aside any expectations for the performance he or she is about to hear, all of which can affect what he or she is likely to write in the 18 minutes between the last note and the newspaper's deadline.

Initiating this blog, opens up an entirely new opportunity for musical criticism. We can now all be music critics whether or not we know anything at all, like me, for instance, who learned all he knows about music from listening to LPs and reading the record jacket.

And so I will continue to read Midgette's reviews, or the reviews of any reviewer of a performance I have just heard and from time to time throw in my two cents' worth which, I hope, will be worth every penny. I do hope that Midgette keeps reviewing music for the Washington Post.

Posted by: William Kirchhoff | October 25, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Mr Kirchhoff, my differences with Washington Post critics stem from when they become ideological, and not properly critical. (Joseph McClellan was an exemplary WP critic, in my book.) Please recall that music critic Philip Kennicott was removed from his position as the Washington Post music critic and replaced by Tim Page when the Washington Post top management came under pressure for Mr Kennicott being too critical – in the view of a small external group – of the performances of the National Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin. I do not know whether the NSO/Kennedy Center threatened to withdraw part of its advertising budget from the Washington Post, but the powers-to-be decided that Kennicott had to go. With Kennicott out, Tim Page proceeded for the next several years to be an uncritical cheer-leader for the National Symphony Orchestra, abdicating virtually all critical function. The Washington Post could no longer be trusted or believed in matters relating to the NSO. Later, toward the end of Leonard Slatkin’s tenure, Mr Page, perhaps sensing that he now needed to leverage his Pulitzer Prize into a guest professorship of music journalism, started properly criticizing NSO performances; and readers could once again begin to trust the objectivity of the Washington Post music page.

Mr Kirchhoff, I will again point out what I believe to be the unprofessional qualities of Anne Midgette’s review under question. Two years after praising Opera Lafayette in the pages of the New York Times and saying both that the group merits hearing and recommending the latest world premiere recording by the group, Opera Lafayette is suddenly “perfectly pleasant, slightly homemade” – “small but determined” – “doggedly” – “if not earthshaking, at least didn't sound stale.” Why this sudden change!! Why did Anne Midgette decide that now that she had secured a full-time critical position at the WP and could commute between New York City and Washington D.C., to dump on the Washington, D.C.-based group that had been in existence for 15 years, had performed in California and New York City as well as in Washington, D.C., and which had in the past five years produced CDs, including several world premiere recordings of lost masterpieces. (Can you name five CDs that the National Symphony Orchestra has released in the past five years?)

Was it because the Washington, D.C.-based group recorded for the lower cost Naxos label, and not the more expensive, elitist, and Germanic-leaning Deutsche Grammophon label? I also do believe that there is a problem with Anne Midgette not being based in Washington, D.C..

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 26, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Washington, D.C. might not have an top-level orchestra or a vibrant contemporary classical music scene, but – perhaps influenced by the strong museum and library presence – it does have – or until recently has had -- a top-flight Renaissance music and 18th century music scene – as represented by the National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble, the Folger Consort, the Washington Bach Consort, Opera Lafayette, and the past International University of Maryland Handel Festivals and Conferences. In fact, it has come close to matching Cambridge, MA and Berkeley, CA in the quality of its baroque performances – which is pretty good for a city not having top-tier universities. Opera Lafayette is helping Washington, D.C. garner international cultural respect through its annual recordings, and yet Anne Midgette – perhaps tired by her long weekly drives or train-rides (or flights) commuting between D.C. and NYC -- feels unconstrained to trash the group senselessly through a less than professional review.

Again, Anne Midgette’s opening sentence is senseless and damaging, and overlooks the fact that the Washington National Opera has recently performed both Handel’s Tamerlano and Giulio Cesare in superb productions, and in the 1980s performed both Handel’s Semele and Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea in the Terrace Theater (the Monteverdi, admittedly, in a trashy, ‘1980s fun-culture’ production).

Somehow, Anne Midgette – despite her elite education and travel and living experiences -- fails to recognize (I doubt that Cecelia Porter or Charles T. Downey would fail to recognize this) that without the early baroque opera of Monteverdi and the early classical opera of Gluck, there would not be her beloved Wagnerian opera or music drama.

Baroque opera was the first Western opera, and was not light in content – as is now the Washington Post music page.

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 26, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

snaketime1 somehow Tim Page seemed a perfectly decent critic a few posts earlier when you were able to excerpt his reviews...

Despite your lengthy replies, I'm still struggling to find in Midgette's review any evidence that she is dismissive of an entire genre of performance, or is somehow unaware of baroque opera's role in the development of opera in general. Midgette has written a review of 1 performance- a discrete, finite activity- not an critical analysis of the role of Opera Lafayette and its importance in academic discourse on baroque opera.

I can't make the leap that a review- again, of 1 performance, and a review that is generally positive- is somehow 'damaging and senseless'. I'd suggest you go right ahead and cancel that subscription, because I worry that the Washington Post arts section will never rise to the level of discourse you seem to require from a metropolitan daily on the field of baroque opera.

Posted by: ianw2 | October 26, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

snaketime1 somehow Tim Page seemed a perfectly decent critic a few posts earlier when you were able to excerpt his reviews...

Despite your lengthy replies, I'm still struggling to find in Midgette's review any evidence that she is dismissive of an entire genre of performance, or is somehow unaware of baroque opera's role in the development of opera in general. Midgette has written a review of 1 performance- a discrete, finite activity- not an critical analysis of the role of Opera Lafayette and its importance in academic discourse on baroque opera.

I can't make the leap that a review- again, of 1 performance, and a review that is generally positive- is somehow 'damaging and senseless'. I'd suggest you go right ahead and cancel that subscription, because I worry that the Washington Post arts section will never rise to the level of discourse you seem to require from a metropolitan daily on the field of baroque opera.

Posted by: ianw2 | October 26, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The Denver Post had no trouble this past summer easily rising to the level of discourse I – and I imagine many other people – ‘require from a metropolitan daily on [sic] the field of baroque opera’:

Opera has a crush on Handel:
In his 250th year, the baroque composer's genius is all over the stage
By Kyle MacMillan
Denver Post Fine Arts Critic
Posted: 07/05/2009

…. “That changed as world trends brought attention to operas that had been neglected and shelved and not performed "for decades or a hundred or two hundred years."

Spurring the look backward were famed singers such as Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, who were seeking fresh works to showcase their talents. Among their rediscoveries were Handel's operas.

In 1966, for example, the New York City Opera presented Beverly Sills in "Julius Caesar," a production that catapulted her to fame.

But it was not until the 1990s that the company started regularly performing Handel's operas, helping spark the composer's rise at opera houses across the country. To date, the company has presented 11 of his works.” …

http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_12743851#

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 26, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Five of Handel's most popular operas

"Julius Caesar" (1723-24). This portrayal of the Roman conquerer is the best-known of Handel's operas.
"Rinaldo" (1710-11). Central City Opera takes its first foray into Handel with the fantastical opera.
"Rodelinda" (1725). This love story is set against the backdrop of two brothers' feud for control of the kingdom of Lombardy.
"Agrippina" (1709). Handel's first operatic masterpiece centers on the wife of the Roman emperor, Claudio.
"Xerxes" (1738). Xerxes, king of Persia, falls in love with Romilda, who is below his social station.
-- Kyle MacMillan, The Denver Post, 07/05/2009

*

And yes, Tim Page’s music criticism in the WP had improved by 2007. I recommend that interested readers reread Mr Page’s review of Opera Lafayette’s performance of Rameau’s "Hippolyte et Aricie", above, before they listen to the different production of the work, this Saturday at 1 PM, on public radio.

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 26, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company