The Valkyrie (Wagner) premiered today in 1870

Valkyrie, also spelled Walkyrie, Old Norse Valkyrja (“Chooser of the Slain”), in Norse mythology, any of a group of maidens who served the god Odin and were sent by him to the battlefields to choose the slain who were worthy of a place in Valhalla. These foreboders of war rode to the battlefield on horses,… Continue reading The Valkyrie (Wagner) premiered today in 1870

Remembering James Levine *VI 23 1943

James Levine, born June 23, 1943, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A., is the conductor and pianist, especially noted for his work with the Metropolitan Opera (Met) of New York City. He was considered the preeminent American conductor of his generation.As a piano prodigy, Levine made his debut in 1953 with the Cincinnati Orchestra in Ohio. He… Continue reading Remembering James Levine *VI 23 1943

The Life You Give: Peter Pears *VI 22 1910

Sir Peter Pears, born Peter Neville Luard Pears, June 22, 1910, in Farnham, Surrey, England, is the tenor, a singer of outstanding skill and subtlety who was closely associated with the works of Sir Benjamin Britten. He received a knighthood in 1977.Pears studied at the University of Oxford, at the Royal College of Music, and… Continue reading The Life You Give: Peter Pears *VI 22 1910

The Life You Give: Eva Marton *1943

Hungarian soprano Eva Marton has enjoyed a highly successful career on the world's leading operatic stages since the late '60s. With her powerful, attractive voice she has managed to score numerous successes in the Italian spinto roles of Verdi and Puccini, the heftier roles of Wagner and Richard Strauss, and the more delicate but equally… Continue reading The Life You Give: Eva Marton *1943

The Life You Give: Charles Gounod *1818

Charles Gounod, born Charles-françois Gounod, June 17, 1818, in Paris, France, is a composer noted particularly for his operas, of which the most famous is Faust.Gounod’s father was a painter, and his mother was a capable pianist who gave Gounod his early training in music. He was educated at the Lycée Saint-Louis, where he remained… Continue reading The Life You Give: Charles Gounod *1818

“Tristan and Isolde” (Richard Wagner), premiered today in 1865

Tristan and Isolde, Tristan also called Tristram or Tristrem, Isolde also called Iseult, Isolt, or Yseult, principal characters of a famous medieval love-romance, based on a Celtic legend (itself based on an actual Pictish king). Though the archetypal poem from which all extant forms of the legend are derived has not been preserved, a comparison… Continue reading “Tristan and Isolde” (Richard Wagner), premiered today in 1865

The Life You Give: Aleksandr Pushkin *1799

Aleksandr Pushkin, born Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, May 26 [June 6, New Style], 1799, Moscow, Russia, is the poet, novelist, dramatist, and short-story writer, often considered his country’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.Pushkin’s father came of an old boyar family; his mother was a granddaughter of Abram Hannibal, who, according to family… Continue reading The Life You Give: Aleksandr Pushkin *1799

The Life You Give: Mikhail Glinka *1804

Mikhail Glinka, born Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka, May 21 [June 1, New Style], 1804, in Novospasskoye, Russia, is the first Russian composer to have won international recognition and the acknowledged founder of the Russian nationalist school.Glinka first became interested in music at age 10 or 11, when he heard his uncle’s private orchestra. He studied at… Continue reading The Life You Give: Mikhail Glinka *1804

The Life You Give: Shirley Verrett *1931

Shirley Verrett was one of America's finest opera stars and recital singers, and was one of the remarkable generation of great African-American singers who came to international prominence in the 1950s and 1960s.She studied voice in Los Angeles with Anna Fitziu and Hall Johnson. In 1955, she won the nationally broadcast CBS program Arthur Godfrey's… Continue reading The Life You Give: Shirley Verrett *1931

The Life You Give: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau *1925

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, born May 28, 1925, in Berlin, Germany, was an operatic baritone and preeminent singer of lieder, distinguished for his lyrical voice, commanding presence, and superb artistry. Fischer-Dieskau studied with Georg Walter before serving in World War II and with Hermann Weissenborn afterward. In 1947 he made his concert debut in Johannes Brahms’s Ein… Continue reading The Life You Give: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau *1925

The Life You Give: Teresa Stratas *1938

Stratas was one of the controversial stars of the latter half of the twentieth century, and one whose personality and life, like that of Callas, another great soprano of Greek descent, are inextricably linked with her performances in the minds of many members of the public. Also like Callas, she had a special magnetism as… Continue reading The Life You Give: Teresa Stratas *1938

The Life You Give: Richard Wagner *1813

Richard Wagner, born Wilhelm Richard Wagner, on May 22, 1813, in Leipzig, Germany, is the dramatic composer and theorist whose operas and music had a revolutionary influence on the course of Western music, either by extension of his discoveries or reaction against them. Among his major works are The Flying Dutchman (1843), Tannhäuser (1845), Lohengrin… Continue reading The Life You Give: Richard Wagner *1813

The Life You Give: Claudio Monteverdi *1567

Claudio Monteverdi, baptized May 15, 1567, Cremona, Duchy of Milan [Italy], is the composer in the late Renaissance, seen as most important developer of the then new genre, the opera. He also did much to bring a “modern” secular spirit into church music.Monteverdi, the son of a barber-surgeon and chemist, studied with the director of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Claudio Monteverdi *1567

The Life You Give: Peter Tchaikovsky *1840

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, also spelled Chaikovsky, Chaikovskii, or Tschaikowsky, born April 25 [May 7, New Style], 1840, in Votkinsk, Russia, is the most popular Russian composer of all time. His music has always had great appeal for the general public in virtue of its tuneful, open-hearted melodies, impressive harmonies, and colourful, picturesque orchestration, all of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Peter Tchaikovsky *1840

The Life You Give: Valery Gergiev *1953

Valery Gergiev, born May 2, 1953, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R., is a conductor, known for his charismatic stage presence and passionate performances, who became artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre (previously called Kirov Theatre) in St. Petersburg in 1996.Gergiev was the son of Ossetian parents and spent much of his youth in the Caucasus.… Continue reading The Life You Give: Valery Gergiev *1953

The Life You Give: Alessandro Scarlatti *1660

Alessandro Scarlatti, born Pietro Alessandro Gaspare Scarlatti, May 2, 1660, Palermo, Sicily, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies [now in Italy], was a composer of operas and religious works.Scarlatti was sent to Rome at about the age of 12; there he met Bernardo Pasquini, by whom he was greatly influenced. The first of his 115 operas,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Alessandro Scarlatti *1660

Roméo et Juliette (Gounod), premiered on April 27 1867

Roméo et JulietteTragic Opera in five actsComposer - Charles GounodLibretto - Jules Barbier und Michel CarréLanguage - FrenchBased on - Romeo and Julia, William ShakespearePremiere - 27. April 1867, Théatre Lyrique, ParisLength - 2 ½ hours Roles: Juliette - soprano Roméo, son of Montague - tenor Frère Laurent - bass Mercutio, Romeo's friend - baritone… Continue reading Roméo et Juliette (Gounod), premiered on April 27 1867

“Turandot” (Puccini) premiered today in 1926

Composer: Giacomo PucciniLibretto: Giuseppe Adami, Renato SimoniWorld premiere: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, April 1926. Principal roles:Princess Turandot - sopranoThe Emperor Altoum, her father - tenor Timur, the deposed King of Tartary - bass The Unknown Prince (Calaf), his son -- tenor Liù, a slave girl --- sopranoACT IPeking, in the mythic past. Outside the Imperial… Continue reading “Turandot” (Puccini) premiered today in 1926

The Life You Give: Shirley Verrett *March 31 1931

Shirley Verrett was one of America's finest opera stars and recital singers, and was one of the remarkable generation of great African-American singers who came to international prominence in the 1950s and 1960s.She studied voice in Los Angeles with Anna Fitziu and Hall Johnson. In 1955, she won the nationally broadcast CBS program Arthur Godfrey's… Continue reading The Life You Give: Shirley Verrett *March 31 1931

The Life You Give: Béla Bartók *March 25 1881

Béla Bartók, Hungarian form Bartók Béla, (born March 25, 1881, Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, Austria-Hungary [now Sânnicolau Mare, Romania]—died September 26, 1945, New York, NewYork, U.S.), Hungarian composer, pianist, ethnomusicologist, and teacher, noted for the Hungarian flavour of his major musical works, which include orchestral works, string quartets, piano solos, several stage works, a cantata, and a… Continue reading The Life You Give: Béla Bartók *March 25 1881