28 September 2015

La Bohème: BLO’s Version

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (9/28/15). Boston Lyric Opera’s version of La Bohèmerelocates the famous opera from mid-19th-century Paris to the Paris of May 1968. The geographical location remains the same: the Latin Quarter neighborhood, which preserves much of the original bohemian spirit with students, artists, and vagabonds of all sorts hanging out at […]

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12 May 2015

Opera Blog: The Ethics of “Don Giovanni”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (5/12/2015) Don Giovanni premiered in 1787, eleven years after the start of the American Revolution and two years before the French Revolution. This was the twilight of the Enlightenment, an era that officially ended in the 1780s. Although many versions of Don Giovanni’s story were performed across Europe […]

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7 May 2015

Opera Blog: “Don Giovanni” – The Law of the Father

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (5/7/15)   One of the most compelling characters of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is the figure of the Commendatore, Donna Anna’s murdered father, who returns from the dead to avenge himself and his daughter. In the 18th century, Mozart’s portrayal of the Commendatore carried two important semiotic frameworks. First, as […]

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4 May 2015

Opera Blog: BLO’s Version of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (5/4/2015) During preparations for the Prague premiere of Don Giovanni in October of 1787, Mozart was, as ever, heavily involved with all aspects of the production, from the music and the staging to writing the libretto. In fact, he continued writing and rewriting until the opening and even […]

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29 April 2015

Opera Blog: “Don Giovanni” in Prague and Vienna

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (4/29/2015) Although we don’t know the exact date of Mozart’s arrival in Prague for the production of Don Giovanni, we do know that he was actively involved in shaping the libretto and the staging. His first letter from Prague, dated August 24, 1787, suggests that he had already […]

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27 April 2015

Opera Blog: The Legend of Don Giovanni (or, Don Giovanni before “Don Giovanni”)

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (4/27/2015) Abert, Hermann. Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” London: Eulenburg Books, 1976.The origins of the Don Giovanni legend reach back to the Middle Ages, but the character didn’t become fully fleshed out until the Renaissance, when it first appeared in the 1630 comedy, El Burlador de Sevilla y convidado de […]

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24 April 2015

Opera Blog: The Women of Don Giovanni

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (4/24/2015) By the 18th century, educated women were beginning to question male freedoms and dominance of society, and starting to demand similar freedoms for themselves. Many men were also increasingly uneasy about their own social and economic privileges, especially the moral latitude shown toward male sexuality (as opposed […]

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3 March 2015

Opera Blog: “KÁTYA KABANOVÁ” – The Drowned Woman and The Cult of L’Inconnue

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (3/3/2015) A note before we begin… What is a death mask? A death mask  is a wax or plaster cast made of a deceased person’s face. While certainly unusual today, death masks were a common and important method of commemorating the deaths of important figures throughout history. For […]

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26 February 2015

Opera Blog: “KÁTYA KABANOVÁ” and Aleksandr Ostrovsky’s “Groza”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (02/26/2015)   Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová is based on an 1859 Russian play by Aleksandr Nikolayevich Ostrovsky, titled Groza (The Storm, also known as The Thunderstorm). Often considered a precursor of Anton Chekhov, Ostrovsky wrote 48 original plays and “almost single-handedly created a Russian national repertoire.” Considered Ostrovsky’s […]

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20 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – Political and Cultural Context

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (2/20/2015) The scholar of Central Europe, Larry Wolff (2006) classifies Kátya Kabanová as a modernist opera, arguing that its history “illuminates the development of operatic modernism on the terrain of the late Hapsburg Empire, which was reconceived as the transnational domain of Central Europe after the demise of […]

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