1/ Mozart is a major opera composer bc of his 3 comedies w books by daPonte: FIGARO, DON GIOVANNI, & COSÌ. + inexplicably, Fratelli- er, um, THE MAGIC FLUTE. His “opere serie” like IDOMENEO ride on the coattails of these. IDOMENEO is not quite on the musical level of...
2/ his last opera seria, LA CLEMENZA DI TITO, but it has a simpler plot. That menacing sculptured face you see in the poster is a sea-monster sent by Neptune, who thoughtfulness is well documented throughout Homer & Virgil. IDOMENEO is not strictly Homeric but rather one of...
3/ many stories of problematic homecomings post-Trojan War. Like, Agamemnon arrived home and was violently offed by his wife and her lover. Idomeneus, king of Crete, was propelled home by a rash vow to Neptune, leading by staged to this sea-monster. Can Ido and his ppl escape...
4/ their fate? “Opera seria” ≠ tragedy, which ends in death. “Opera seria” has a happy ending, tho some bumps in the road getting there, and a very low joke quotient. (Unless the director majorly takes it in hand, as Sir David McVicar did w Handel’s AGRIPPINA).

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More from @david_m_wagner

6 Nov
1/ A historical tour of opera has to include “bel canto,” ie Italian romanticism in age of Scott & Coleridge. Best of bel canto, & in particular of Rossini, is comedy, so this fortnight gives us a basis (and a news backdrop) for some heavy bel canto historical drama. ...
2/ Hence “Semiramis,” or in Italian SEMIRAMIDE, 5 sylls., emph on RA. I tell opera peeps I’m not so interested in “SEMI-RAMIDE,” I’d rather wait for the whole RAMIDE, y’know? But srsly folks, not many of us wd even remember Babylonian Queen Semiramis if she weren’t a walk-on...
3/ in the Inferno canto that features Francesca da Rimini. I learned this opera’s plot last fall but have forgotten it again, so I’d say, watch/listen for the voices and tunes, which are what bel canto is about anyway. The evolution of opera toward stories ppl cd get more “into”
Read 4 tweets
5 Nov
“Count every vote” was also Gore’s postelection slogan in 2000. What we need to do is count every *legal* vote (as determined by state law, state legislatures being sovereign in this matter), and tossing out all others. ...
So like if I decide that Biden shouldn’t have carried Va, I nonetheless don’t get to manufacture wheelbarrows full@if Trump votes. UHaul then down to the county govt office, and demand that they be counted bc they’re, you know, votes. They aren’t *legal* votes. ...
So the county wd be right to toss me out, w my ballots flying after me; perhaps to have my ass kicked by the po-lice; and perhaps to have me prosecuted for attempted vote fraud.

So don’t attempt vote fraud; don’t get your ass licked by the po-lice; don’t even get tossed out of..
Read 4 tweets
26 Oct
1/ Otto Edelmann, noted 1950s exponent of Baron Ochs, DER ROSENKAVALIER’s comic villain, was once asked whether you have to be as coarse as Ochs to play him. He said “No, you just have to be Viennese: it’s our [munipical] nation anthem!”
2/ ROSENKAVALIER (title translated, if at all, as The Knight of the Silver Rose) is about toney Viennese ppl (+ Ochs: Viennese but not toney) with “naughtiness... high in the catalogue of grave sins” (Brideshead to the rescue, again) yet endearing in spite of that.
3/ About the hero, 17yo Count Octavian Rofrano, usually sung as here by a mezzo (sometimes even by a soprano), an envious person cd ask just how much action one young Count can get under the Imperial Nookie Equity Act (that’s in Justinian, rt?), since the Act 1 curtain rises...
Read 6 tweets
24 Oct
1/ I’ve fessed up in recent opera posts that I’ve made out like a bandit (Ernani? Dick Johnson? Johnson, for me) during the virus bc of these free webcasts, getting to know operas I didn’t already know and might not have been motivated to go to the local Bijou and...
2/ plunk down $20 for, per me disgrazia. One of these is Rossini’s comedy LE COMTE ORY. He spent his later years in Paris and some of his operas, both comedy and “seria,” are in French. I have reason to believe ORY is a about a naughty nobleman, not to different in that...
3/ regard from last night’s FALSTAFF, except that whereas Falstaff sought his happy hunting grounds among bourgeois married ladies, Ory does so among aristocratic ladies awaiting their husbands’ return from a crusade. He too gets his comeuppance.
Read 7 tweets
24 Oct
1/ #YouKeepUsingThatWord “production,” what does it mean? Operas, like movies and plays, need directors and set designers. They can be same person, as when Zeffirelli directed opera, or a team, like @MetOpera’s great Nat Merrill/Bob O’Hearn.
2/ Director ≠ conductor. Latter is responsible for the orchestra. When Wieland Wagner (composer’s grandson), as director, developed the “neo-Bayreuth” style at that Festival in ‘50s, some said his austere stage pictures and tight, Greek-drama-style character movements were....
3/ out of step with the yearning romantic style of Bayreuth’s conductors if that era (all of whom btw inexplicably had surnames that started with K). Well, director & conductor can have diff esthetics; that’s ok. But maybe this is why, when Bayreuth planned....
Read 13 tweets
23 Oct
1/ Same production as was shown during Bel Canto week, but an earlier iteration. Elina Haranča was an excellent Cenerentola but Cecilia Baroli is perfect, and she doesn’t mess things up here, unlike in NOZZE DI FIGARO, for three reasons:
2/ Cenerentola, unlike Susanna, is a mezzo part, and she’s a mezzo, so that’s sorted; she doesn’t swap in any unfamiliar “alternative” arias, or if she does it doesn’t matter bc tbh not many fans rly know CENERENTOLA the way they know NOZZE; and her tendency to make faces, ...
3/ out of place amid the jewel-like achievement of NOZZE, is just fine in Rossini comedy. I mean right now she’s making googly eyes at the Prince-in-disguise, and he’s making moogly eyes at her, and it’s all really cute. - Forgot to note, this is the Cinderella story, except...
Read 4 tweets

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