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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

23 July 2014

Building the Future for Opera in a Digital World

Originally posted at In the Wings (7/23/14). During the last week of June, I chaired the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) conference, which took place in Boston and was hosted by Emerson College, my home institution. The annual gathering is a chance for dramaturgs across the U.S. and Canada to come together and […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

2 May 2014

Opera Blog: A Conversation with Mary Ann Smart about “I puritani”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (5/1/14). BLO Dramaturg, Magda Romanska talks to Mary Ann Smart, Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley about I Puritani. Professor Smart is the author of the book, Mimomania: Music and Gesture in Nineteenth-Century Opera, the editor of the critical edition of Donizetti’s last opera, Dom Sébastien, […]

Continue Reading

30 April 2014

Opera Blog: The Romantic Trope of a Madwoman in “I puritani”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (4/30/14). The portrayal of Elvira in I puritani follows the trope of the madwoman, which dominated the nineteenth-century European discourse on gender. Trapped in a man’s world, Victorian women often escaped into madness, which was viewed as the only permissible way for them to speak the truth and to […]

Continue Reading

25 April 2014

Opera Blog: “I puritani” Production History

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (4/25/14). Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835) is known for three major operas: La Sonnambula (1831), Norma (1831), and I Puritani (The Puritans, 1835). I Puritani was Bellini’s last, and it was composed between 1834 and 1835 specifi cally for the Théâtre-Italien in Paris. During the time he was writing the opera, […]

Continue Reading

24 March 2014

Opera Blog: The History of the Court Jester and Verdi’s “Rigoletto”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (33/24/14). The court jester is a universal character. He can be found in ancient Rome and in China, in Renaissance Europe and in czarist Russia, at the courts of the Middle East and in classical Sanskrit plays of ancient India. Although there were a few known female jesters, historical […]

Continue Reading

17 March 2014

Opera Blog: A Conversation with David Rosen about “Rigoletto”

Originally posted at Boston Lyric Opera Blog (3/17/14). Magda Romanska, BLO Dramaturg and visiting associate professor at Harvard University, talks to Professor David Rosen about Verdi’s Rigoletto. Professor Rosen is a world-renowned musicologist, a leading expert on Verdi, and professor emeritus of Music at Cornell University. Professor Rosen was responsible for the critical edition of Verdi’s […]

Continue Reading