Renata Tebaldi *II 1 1922 — The Life You Give

Renata Tebaldi, born February 1, 1922, in Pesaro, Italy, was an operatic soprano, a star at both Milan’s La Scala and New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Tebaldi received her early musical training from her mother, a singer, and studied at the Parma Conservatory. At age 18 she sang for Carmen Melis, of the Arrigo Boito… Continue reading Renata Tebaldi *II 1 1922 — The Life You Give

Philip Glass *I 31 1937 — The Life You Give

No other composer, no public figure has ever played consequential roles in my life like Phillip Glass. It all began with a physical, mental, perhaps even spiritual shock in 1982, when I sat in Carnegie Hall and experienced his music for the first time. That year I moved to Boston, where, not long after that,… Continue reading Philip Glass *I 31 1937 — The Life You Give

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart *I 27 1756 — The Life You Give

Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptized as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, born January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, is the composer widely recognized as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. With Haydn and Beethoven he brought to its height the achievement of the Viennese Classical school. Unlike any other composer… Continue reading Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart *I 27 1756 — The Life You Give

Elektra (Strauss) premiered today in 1909

Music: Richard StraussLibretto: Hugo von HofmannsthalPremiere: 25 January 1909, Königliches Opernhaus, Dresden The courtyard of the Palace of Mycenae. The servants wonder whether Elektra will be grieving over her father, as is her daily ritual. Daughter of King Agamemnon and Klytämnestra, Elektra appears and locks herself up in solitude straight away. The servants all criticize… Continue reading Elektra (Strauss) premiered today in 1909

Plácido Domingo *I 21 1941

Plácido Domingo, born January 21 1941 in Madrid, Spain, is singer, conductor, and opera administrator whose resonant, powerful tenor voice, imposing physical stature, good looks, and dramatic ability made him one of the most popular tenors of his time.Domingo’s parents were noted performers in zarzuela, a form of Spanish light opera. The family moved to… Continue reading Plácido Domingo *I 21 1941

Manon (Massenet) premiered today in 1884

Music: Jules MassenetLibretto: Henri Meilhac & Philippe GilleACT IThe noblemen de Brétigny and Guillot de Morfontaine are having dinner with three young women—Poussette, Javotte, and Rosette—at an inn in Amiens. People gather for the arrival of the coach to Paris, among them Lescaut. He is waiting for his young cousin Manon, who is on her… Continue reading Manon (Massenet) premiered today in 1884

The Nose (Shostakovich) premiered today in 1930

The Nose “The Nose” details an “extraordinarily strange incident” of status-obsessed Kovalev and his nose. The story begins with drunken barber Ivan Yakovlevich unexpectedly discovering a nose in his breakfast, which he immediately recognizes as belonging to Kovalev, who is one of his clients. Fearing legal trouble, Ivan Yakovlevich hastily dumps the nose in the… Continue reading The Nose (Shostakovich) premiered today in 1930

“Parsifal” (Wagner) is completed on this day

The Poem Parzival, an epic poem, is one of the masterpieces of the Middle Ages, written between 1200 and 1210 in Middle High German by Wolfram von Eschenbach. This 16-book, 25,000-line poem is in part a religious allegory describing Parzival’s painful journey from utter ignorance and naïveté to spiritual awareness. The poem introduced the theme… Continue reading “Parsifal” (Wagner) is completed on this day

Applied Opera — Iolanta (Tchaikovsky)

With the opera Iolanta, by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Opera, Blood , and Tears begins the new series Applied Opera. The intention is to consider which lessons the world of opera can impart to the social and individual life. Iolanta —- a lyric opera in one act Music: Peter Ilyitch TchaikovskyLibretto: Modest Tchaikovsky Based on the… Continue reading Applied Opera — Iolanta (Tchaikovsky)

Grace Bumbry *I 4 1937 — The Life You Give

Grace Bumbry is a pioneering Mezzo & Soprano. Few mezzo-sopranos have successfully made the transition to becoming top sopranos. Grace Bumbry managed that. She was also a major figure in helping black singers find their rightful place on the opera stage in an era where segregation ran rampant.Born on Jan. 4, 1937, the mezzo was… Continue reading Grace Bumbry *I 4 1937 — The Life You Give

Giacomo Puccini *XII 22 1858 — The Life You Give

Giacomo Puccini, born Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini, December 22, 1858, in Lucca, Tuscany [Italy], is the composer, and one of the greatest exponents of operatic realism, who virtually brought the history of Italian opera to an end. His mature operas included La Bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), and Turandot (left… Continue reading Giacomo Puccini *XII 22 1858 — The Life You Give

Iolanta (Tchaikovsky) premiered today in 1892

Princess Iolanta, the King's daughter, has been blind from birth, and lives in a castle in isolated splendour. She has never been allowed to know that she is different from other people, or even that she is a princess. Her friends bring her flowers and sing her to sleep. Almeric, the King's armour bearer, announces… Continue reading Iolanta (Tchaikovsky) premiered today in 1892

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner)

The plot tells of the young knight Walther von Stolzing, who courts the bourgeois Eva Pogner and - in order to obtain her father's permission to marry her - must write a song of praise in accordance with the rules of the Meistersinger. The fact that the two lovers, Eva and Walther, finally come together… Continue reading Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner)

Wozzeck (Berg) premiered today in 1925

Wozzeck, opera in three acts by Austrian composer Alban Berg, who also wrote its German libretto, deriving the story from the unfinished play Woyzeck (the discrepancy in spelling was the result of a misreading of the manuscript) by Georg Büchner. The opera premiered in Berlin on December 14, 1925. Of all rule-breaking avant-garde operas, it… Continue reading Wozzeck (Berg) premiered today in 1925

Hector Berlioz *XII 11 1803 — The Life You Give

Hector Berlioz, born December 11, 1803, in La Côte-Saint-André, France, was a composer, critic, and conductor of the Romantic period, known largely for his Symphonie fantastique (1830), the choral symphony Roméo et Juliette (1839), and the dramatic piece La Damnation de Faust (1846). His last years were marked by fame abroad and hostility at home.The… Continue reading Hector Berlioz *XII 11 1803 — The Life You Give

César Franck *XII 10 1822 — The Life You Give

César Franck, born César-auguste Franck, Dec. 10, 1822, Liège, Neth.—died Nov. 8, 1890, Paris, France), Belgian-French Romantic composer and organist who was the chief figure in a movement to give French music an emotional engagement, technical solidity, and seriousness comparable to that of German composers.Franck was born of a Walloon father and a mother of… Continue reading César Franck *XII 10 1822 — The Life You Give

María Callas *XII 2 1923 — The Life You Give

Maria Callas, born Maria Cecilia Sophia Anna Kalogeropoulos, December 2, 1923, in New York, New York, U.S.A., is the operatic soprano who revived classical coloratura roles in the mid-20th century with her lyrical and dramatic versatility.Callas was the daughter of Greek immigrants and early developed an interest in singing. Accompanied by her mother, she left… Continue reading María Callas *XII 2 1923 — The Life You Give

Gaetano Donizetti *XI 29 1797 — The Life You Give

Gaetano Donizetti, born on Nov. 29, 1797, in Bergamo, Cisalpine Republic, was an Italian opera composer whose numerous operas in both Italian and French represent a transitional stage in operatic development between Rossini and Verdi. Among his major works are Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), La fille du régiment (1840), and La favorite (1840). In his… Continue reading Gaetano Donizetti *XI 29 1797 — The Life You Give

Alfredo Kraus *XI 24 1927 — The Life You Give

One of the most stylistic, professional and refined tenors of the century, Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus passed away recently in Madrid after a long and outstanding career in the world of opera. The Kraus personality gravitated between two poles. On one side the tenor of Mozart and on the other side the lyrical tenor of… Continue reading Alfredo Kraus *XI 24 1927 — The Life You Give

Benjamin Britten *XI 22 1913 — The Life You Give

Benjamin Britten, born Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten Of Aldeburgh, November 22, 1913, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, is the composer of the mid-20th century, whose operas were considered the finest English operas since those of Henry Purcell in the 17th century. He was also an outstanding pianist and conductor.Britten composed as a child and at… Continue reading Benjamin Britten *XI 22 1913 — The Life You Give

Meredith Monk *XI 20 1942 — The Life You Give

Meredith Monk, born Meredith Jane Monk, November 20, 1942, New York City, New York, U.S.A., is the performance artist, a pioneer in the avant-garde, whose work skillfully integrated diverse performance disciplines and media.Monk studied piano and eurythmics from an early age. She earned a B.A. in 1964 from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York. From… Continue reading Meredith Monk *XI 20 1942 — The Life You Give