Fifty years ago today, on 3 October 1968, Tullio Serafin died in Rome.In a long career he conducted singers from Caruso to Pavarotti. He was born near Venice in 1878, but when he was 11 the family moved to Milan where he eventually played viola at La Scala under the baton of Arturo Toscanini, and he was still in his teens when he conducted his first opera, L'elisir … [Read more...] about Remembering the conductor Tullio Serafin, fifty years after his death
music & opera
Vittoria Crespi Morbio, the writer of an exceptional collection of books produced by the Amici della Scala, has written monographs on important artists who have collaborated with Teatro alla Scala – some celebrated, some largely forgotten. These little gems are precious in the content but lacking in their scale. However, luckily, the Friends of La Scala sometimes bring out … [Read more...] about Two beautiful volumes from Amici della Scala: 80 years of costumes at La Scala and the designer Coltellacci
Luisa Mandelli, Maria Callas' Annina at La Scala, died last night, just short of her 96th birthday. Daniel Barenboim called her the 'eternal Annina' having sung alongside Callas in Luchino Visconti's production of La traviata at La Scala under the baton of Carlo Maria Giulini.Mandelli was a constant presence in the theatre travelling on the metro from her home in Verdi's … [Read more...] about Luisa Mandelli, Maria Callas’ Annina at La Scala, has died at 95
Schoenberg on the metro? It will soon be a reality in Berlin, but not to calm passengers’ nerves... or grate on them.Drug dealers, drunks and the homeless are a problem in Berlin’s underground passages and Deutsche Bahn’s solution is to play atonal music to encourage them to leave. Schoenberg would have been disheartened – though maybe not surprised.The Nazi Party labelled … [Read more...] about Atonal music to win the fight against German drunks?
Twenty-two years ago, Juan Diego Flórez arrived like a meteorite across the opera firmament. A couple of weeks before his career launching performance, I’d met the young tenor in Milan. He’d flown over from Peru with a work visa just for a handful of days, and was heading to Pesaro to make his Italian debut. A fellow tenor said, “This one… he’s got all those high notes!” … [Read more...] about Interview with Juan Diego Flórez who debuts in Ricciardo e Zoraide at Pesaro tonight
Q&AWhen and why did you start singing? When I was a kid… I come from a musical family, and so music has always been a part of who I am. But I got serious about singing in high school when people told me girls would think I was cute. So my love for singing began there, really.Which singer inspired you most when you were young and which singer do you most admire? Oh gosh … [Read more...] about Lawrence Brownlee answers the Gramilano Questionnaire… singers’ edition!
The autobiography of outspoken soprano Angela Gheorghiu — Angela Gheorghiu: A Life for Art — comes out in October. Her candidness will obviously make for fascinating reading. In an interview with the Corriere della sera she was as unbuttoned as ever.If I am the black sheep of my profession because I have my own opinions and I react to unkindness.The Romanian soprano has a … [Read more...] about Interview with Angela Gheorghiu on Draculina, Kaufmann, capriciousness and corruption
Olga Peretyatko was in glorious voice for her captivating recital at La Scala. Beautiful on both the eye and the ear she charmed throughout her highly demanding and lengthy programme, bewitching the audience for more than two hours – people headed toward the exits at 10.40pm after an 8pm start.A mixed programme offered three settings of Gretchen’s (or Margarete’s) soliloquy … [Read more...] about Olga Peretyatko – the generous and gifted artist in recital at La Scala
Q&AWhen did you start playing an instrument? I was five years old.Why did you start playing? Because I was given a little piano in my house.Which musician inspired you most when you were young? Lenny Bernstein.Which musicians (instrumentalists or singers) do you most admire? Joshua Bell and Placido Domingo.What’s your favourite piece to conduct? Every place … [Read more...] about Riccardo Frizza answers the Gramilano Questionnaire… Conductors’ Edition
Cecilia Bartoli was made to sing Isabella. Rossini wrote L’italiana in Algeri 200 years ago, but he could have been thinking of her. She waited until she was 50 to sing the role, though having pushed her voice into the stratosphere with feats of extreme-singing in her Sacrificium programme [the castrati repertoire] she hindered her ability to return to such a low-laying part. … [Read more...] about Salzburg, L’italiana in Algeri – the role Cecilia Bartoli was born to play