The passing of legendary baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count di Luna and Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora in VerdiÕs ÒIl Trovatore.Ó Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera ÔLive in HDÕ transmission and radio broadcast: Apr. 30

Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count di Luna and Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore.
Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

November 22, 2017. The date of the passing of the great Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. It seems light years away now. Perhaps I am still in shock and that is what is distancing me from the heartbreak of his death. He was 55.

I bought a dvd of  Verdi’s Il Trovatore staged at The Met because it included powerhouse mezzo Delora Zajick, of whom I am a devoted follower. Renee Fleming  in her introduction to the blockbuster Opera states the great Caruso remarked that it’s easy to stage Il Trovatore — simply get the four greatest singers in the world. Another of the world’s great singers on stage with Ms Zajick that night was Dmitri Hvorostovsky. I was mesmerized.

Just listen.

And here’s a few more snippets of Hvorostovsky’s greatness.

And with the sublime Ms Fleming.

Until we meet again — Adieu, mon ami.

 

 

 

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Opera in America seeks to avoid a swan-song moment

The Metropolitan Opera House’s “Sputnik” chandeliers. Photo: Paula Soler-Moya, Flickr creative commons.

The Metropolitan Opera House’s “Sputnik” chandeliers. Photo: Paula Soler-Moya, Flickr creative commons.

Who knew that opera’s story is, in some ways, a mirror of America?
Its most hallowed hall, the Met in New York, remains an icon of an elite art form.
But to thrive elsewhere, opera might need to find a more common touch. — Mark.

NEW YORK, NY — The Christian Science Monitor published the following in The 30 Sec. Read. Written by Weston William.

New York’s Metropolitan Opera finished its 2016-17 season on a high note: Its May broadcast of “Der Rosenkavalier” was seen by a vast global audience. And that same month the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary in its Lincoln Center home.

But offstage things were less celebratory. Although opera lovers argue that performance standards have never been higher, ticket sales are lagging, as is the enthusiasm of American audiences.

Opera is struggling, says Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, as it transitions “from an aging audience to a new one.” That’s why, across the United States, some opera companies are turning to smaller-scale, more unusual works that address the problems of the modern world, productions like Philip Glass’s “The Perfect American,” based on the life of Walt Disney.

At its best, opera draws on something universal that does not alter with time or trends, says Douglas Clayton, general director of Chicago Opera Theater. “[A]s long as we’re human beings … we will still have this desire to connect with other people, and to be creative about how we do that.”

I am intrigued by the idea of Philip Glass’s “The Perfect American.” Hmmm.

Opera: Lucia Popp singing Queen of the Night and O mio babbino caro.

Lucia Popp. A 1986 recording session. © Clive Barda/ArenaPAL 2014.

Lucia Popp. A 1986 recording session. © Clive Barda/ArenaPAL 2014.

One of my favorite sopranos of all time, Lucia Popp. Here are two of my favorite arias sung by this divine singer.

Queen of the Night. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Mozart.

 

If anyone sings  “O mio babbino caro” any lovelier than Ms. Popp I don’t know who it is. Gianni Schicchi by Puccini.