opera

As Hip as Elvis: Caruso the Pop Idol

John Potter

Every generation seems to reinvent the tenor as something closer to a pop star than an opera star. The Three Tenors were among the late 20th century’s great musical marketing successes, and the brightest star that they acknowledged in the tenor firmament was cinema heartthrob Mario Lanza. Lanza himself claimed Enrico Caruso as his greatest influence and famously played him on screen, reminding a wider audience that there was nothing incompatible with classical tenors and genuine popularity, whatever they were singing.

The Opera Industry’s Struggle to Remain Relevant

Angelo Franco

In the fall of 2013, the NYCO filed for bankruptcy. The demise of this major opera company has prompted a series of questions regarding the status of opera as an art form within the modern community, its relevancy, and contributions to society.  While there seems to be a general consensus that opera is struggling, there is discord as to what the industry can do to salvage its future, or if there is anything it can do to begin with.  

Verdi and the Immortal Opera

Hal Gordon

Verdi’s later operatic efforts were similarly meddled with to make them politically correct. In 1850, he gave the world “Rigoletto.” The opera was based on a novel by Victor Hugo called Le roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself). Hugo’s novel recounted the romantic escapades of the randy 16th Century French monarch, Francis I. Verdi’s portrait of Francis was largely accurate and that, according to the censors, was just the problem. 

Reflecting on Controversial Composer Richard Wagner on His 200th Birthday

Karolina R. Swasey

More people wrote about him than about any other person in history – with the exception of Jesus, Luther, Napoleon and Marx — they say. In 2013 the world is celebrating Richard Wagner’s birthday for the 200th time — his obit for the 130th. Wagner’s work continues to cause great emotions, ranging from sheer enthusiasm to utmost rejection, and his recitals attract people to opera houses all over the world. The poet, director, conductor, writer and first and foremost composer, remains a mystery for many, and doesn’t cease to polarize even 130 years after his death. 

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