18 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – Love, Death and Marriage




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (2/18/15) So often I imagine I’m a bird And can spread my wings and fly. I used to be so free and happy, But since I came here to live that’s all changed. —Kátya Kabanová Marital Woes Leoš Janáček’s 1921 opera, Kátya Kabanová, is foremost a study of marriage […]

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13 February 2015

Opera Blog: Kátya Kabanová – The Woman Behind the Story




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (02/13/2015)   The character of Kátya Kabanová was modeled on Kamila Stösslová (1892–1935), whom Janáček met in 1917 at a spa. Married to an antique dealer, Kamila was very beautiful, a mother, and 38 years younger than Janáček. Most of Janáček’s major works were inspired and often dedicated […]

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20 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – Love Death, or Liebestod




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (11/20/14). “Liebestod” is the title of the final dramatic musical piece from Richard Wagner’s 1859 opera, Tristan und Isolde, but the word itself also means the theme of “love death” prevalent in art, drama, and literature. Liebestod (from the German Liebe, meaning “love,” and Tod, meaning “death”) defines the […]

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17 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – Background Story




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (11/17/14)  Written by Switzerland’s greatest composer, Frank Martin (1890–1974), in the late 1930s, Le Vin Herbé was initially conceived as a 30-minute piece in response to Robert Blum’s commission for his Züricher Madrigalchor. Wanting to distance himself from Wagner and his operatic version of the myth (and, thus, also […]

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13 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – BLO’s Version




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (11/13/14). One of the most prominent characteristics of The Love Potion is the opera’s structure: twelve singers tell the story, which is constantly flowing, while supported by haunting and almost hypnotic music. That type of dramatic structure closely follows the tradition of the Greek Chorus, in which the plot […]

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10 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – The Myth of Tristan and Iseult




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (11/10/14). The legend of Tristan and Iseult’s love is one of the founding and most enduring myths of Western culture. The exact origins of the legend are difficult to pinpoint, as the story appears in Celtic, Persian, Irish, French, German, British, and Welsh traditions. Over time, its appeal spread […]

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10 October 2014

Opera Blog: “La Traviata” – Background Story




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (10/10/14). La Traviata, a melodrama in three acts, was set to a libretto by Verdi’s longtime collaborator Francesco Maria Piave and is based on Alexandre Dumas fils’ play, La Dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias). The play itself was adapted from Dumas’ novel of the same […]

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10 October 2014

Opera Blog: “La Traviata” – Beautiful Death




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (10/9/14). “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” —Edgar Allan Poe, “Philosophy of Composition,”  originally appeared in Graham’s Magazine, published in Philadelphia, in April 1846     The 19th-century affair with death is no great news to anyone even remotely familiar […]

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27 September 2014

Opera Blog: “La Traviata” – Love for Sale




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera blog (9/26/14). In the first volume of his sprawling 19th-century novel, In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust chronicles the tale of Charles Swann, an upper-class member of French society, and his obsessive love for Odette de Crécy, a popular and attractive Parisian courtesan. Although Swann is able to buy […]

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12 May 2014

Opera Blog: “I Puritani”: Why we killed Arturo




Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (5/12/14). In BLO’s version of I Puritani, a vengeful Riccardo kills Arturo during the last scene as the two happy lovers, Elvira and Arturo, finally reconnect after many trials and tribulations. Arturo dies in Elvira’s arms, and we can only anticipate that the final blow of his death will […]

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