Just as Massenet was accused of being a Wagnerian in France, so too was Puccini in Italy. From Wagnerian-sized voices to a complex orchestral sound, Wagner’s influence can be heard throughout the canon of Italian opera, but nowhere more so than in the work of Puccini. In this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and musicologist Matthew Timmermans explores the influence of Wagnerian ideas across Puccini's output.
Published 03/20/20
Wagner’s tale of the cursed sea captain and the love of a faithful maiden has captivated audiences since its premiere in 1843. On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer, composer, and conductor Victoria Bond discusses the musical genius of Wagner and the power of love in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER.
Published 03/11/20
Filled with familiar figures from ancient Rome, Handel creates a comedic and lighthearted score to accompany a story with some pretty sinister sub-themes. Sir David McVicar’s production of Agrippina brings this balance of darkness and light to audiences at the Met for the very first time! On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer, composer, and conductor, Victoria Bond takes a closer look at this baroque masterpiece.
Published 02/26/20
French grand opera was lavish and spectacular – and in many ways, the antithesis Wagner’s operatic ideals. Yet Wagner is often mentioned as a major influence in the work of French Grand Opera master, Jules Massenet. What is the common ground to be found between these two compositional giants? In this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and musicologist Matthew Timmermans guides us through the Wagnerian influences in Massenet’s masterworks.
Published 02/12/20
This episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast begins with an exploration of Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HÖLLANDER and examines how later German composers responded to Wagner’s new perspective on operatic performance. In the first of a four-part series, musicologist and lecturer Matthew Timmermans guides us through the transformative influence of Wagner’s musical ideas.
Published 02/05/20
Despite its initial flop in 1935, PORGY AND BESS has gone on to become one of the most enduring and popular operas of the 20th century. In fact, it was the first opera by an American-born composer to be performed at the famous La Scala opera house in Milan. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have New York University professor, director of archives, and the author of "The Strange Career of Porgy and Bess: Race, Culture, and America’s Most Famous Opera," Ellen Noonan,...
Published 01/15/20
A champion of expressionism and atonality, Alban Berg wrote his first opera, WOZZECK, as a response to the chaos and tragedy he experienced during the First World War. It is generally considered to be his greatest score, and brought Berg international recognition and success. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have lecturer and Vice President of Community Initiatives for Opera Philadelphia, Michael Bolton, talking about Berg’s groundbreaking work.
Published 01/07/20
La Fenice in Venice, Italy is one of the first stops on The Metropolitan Opera Guild's upcoming “Treasures of the Mediterranean Cruise,” from September 30th to October 9th, 2020. During the cruise, Guild lecturer and podcast co-host Dr. Naomi Barrettara will be presenting a series of lectures accompanying onboard concerts and land excursions, as travellers visit Italy, Croatia, and Greece. This episode features Naomi giving you a sneak peak of what you can expect in the upcoming Metropolitan...
Published 12/23/19
The opera stage and the Broadway stage share many conventions, such as lavish scenery, exquisite costuming, and awe-inspiring voices. For Schönberg and Boublil’s MISS SAIGON, Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY serves as the source material, while Anaïs Mitchell’s HADESTOWN and Gluck’s ORFEO ED EURIDICE are both unique interpretations of the Orpheus myth. With so many intersecting elements, what are the precise characteristics that make these dramatic forms distinct? On this episode of The...
Published 12/13/19
A mysterious hand of cards, an unhappy betrothal, and a tormenting ghost all come together in Tchaikovsky’s riveting drama THE QUEEN OF SPADES. Based on a Pushkin story, this elegant fable is a tantalizing tale of love and obsession. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer John J.H. Muller explores how the composer uses 18th-century pastiche and highly original melodic and motivic elements to evoke the world of this haunting opera.
Published 12/05/19
For the first time in Met Opera History, Philip Glass’s AKHNATEN is coming to the stage! This much anticipated Met premiere is a deep meditation on the driving force of religion, and a powerful reminder of the fine line between revolution and destruction. Performances star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in the title role, J’Nai Bridges making her Met debut as his wife, Nefertiti, and conductor Karen Kamensek making her Met debut at the podium. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera...
Published 11/13/19
The ancient Greek “Orpheus myth” has inspired a vast array of artistic works, and composer Christoph Willibald Gluck is known for contributing their own operatic interpretation to the canon. Gluck’s adaptation explores the profound nature of grief, the power of love, and the rousing spirit of redemption in our two young lovers, portrayed on the Metropolitan Opera stage by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and soprano Hei-Kyung Hong. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer...
Published 10/30/19
The Met Live in HD broadcast of Massenet's MANON is just around the corner! Based on Abbe Prevost's 18th-century novel, the story of Manon has inspired a variety of composers, from Auber to Puccini, to Hans Werner Henze! But none reached the emotional lyricism of Jules Massenet's operatic setting. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and podcast co-host Naomi Barrettara takes a closer look at this French masterpiece.
Published 10/24/19
Finished after the composer's death by Franco Alfano, Puccini’s TURANDOT is a beloved work in the opera canon, with a dramatic, imaginative, and sometimes violent score. This season at the Met, the magnificent dramatic sopranos Christine Goerke and Nina Stemme share the role of the ice princess in Franco Zeffirelli's opulent production. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have a lecture from the archives of the Guild's critically-acclaimed series "Talking About Opera,"...
Published 10/09/19
Coming back to the Metropolitan Opera stage for the first time in nearly 30 years, the 2019-20 season opens with the Gershwin’s PORGY AND BESS. With stars Eric Owens and Angel Blue singing the title toles, as well as a star-studded ensemble, this new production by James Robinson is sure to transport audiences to the world of Catfish Row. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Opera News Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll and author, lecturer, and Met radio commentator William...
Published 09/18/19
On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturers Naomi Barrettara and Elspeth Davis are joined by composers Christopher Cerrone and Laura Kaminsky, as well as producer, director, and dramaturg Lawrence Edelson in an interview from this past season’s “Opera in the New Millennium” event.
Published 09/04/19
Called “the greatest tenor in the world” by his colleague and friend Robert Merrill, legendary performer Richard Tucker sang 724 performances spanning more than 30 leading roles at the Met! On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have Part 2 of our "Celebrating Richard Tucker" mini-series, drawn from a live event this past season. One of Tucker's sons, Dr. David Tucker, and biographer James A. Drake give listeners an inside look at the life and career of this great artist.
Published 08/14/19
Richard Tucker was unquestionably one of the world’s most eminent tenors. After beginning his musical career as a cantor in New York’s most prestigious synagogues, he went on to reign over the Golden Age of opera as one of the Metropolitan Opera’s superstars. This episode is Part 1 of a live event at The Metropolitan Opera Guild, celebrating the astounding life and career of America’s greatest tenor presented by one of Tucker’s sons, Dr. David Tucker, and biographer James A. Drake. They take...
Published 08/07/19
The evolution of French grand cuisine interestingly paralleled the development of French grand opera beginning in the late 18thcentury and culminating in the late 19th century, particularly in Paris. In this episode, Food Historian and Chef Carl Raymond explores how both food and opera came to be grand against the backdrop of the 18th century Comedie Francaise, as well as the glittering world of the 1890’s Belle Epoque and the great Parisian restaurant and café society.
Published 07/10/19
LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN by Jacques Offenbach is a tour de force of singing for both villains and victims within the opera’s plot! Since it’s world premiere performance, the four main villainous characters were designed to be sung by the same bass-baritone. And this opera has plenty of victims too, as three tales of doomed love are told from the perspective of the lead character, Hoffmann. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Met Radio Commentator Ira Siff explores excerpts...
Published 06/19/19
Soprano Renata Scotto gave a famously chilling interpretation of Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s take on Shakespeare’s play. But Scotto was just as loved for tugging at our heartstrings in the title role of LUISA MILLER. On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Met Radio commentator Ira Siff explores the artistry of legends such as Renata Scotto, Astrid Varnay, and others, in the second installment if his “Villains and Victims” series.
Published 06/05/19
While victimized characters often sing through their death in virtuosic song, successfully bringing a villain to life on the opera stage also takes a special kind of artistry. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have Met Radio commentator Ira Siff, in Part 1 of his “Villains and Victims” live lecture series from this past season!
Published 05/24/19
John Dexter’s classic production of Poulenc's DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES is currently on stage at the Met during the final weeks of the 2018-19 season and can be seen in cinemas worldwide on May 11th, 2019, through the Met’s upcoming Live in HD broadcast. Poulenc’s opera tells the story of a group of Carmelite nuns who refused to renounce their faith during the Reign of Terror. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild podcast, lecturer Desirée Mays takes a closer look at this...
Published 05/04/19
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus is one of the most revered opera choruses in the world, requiring long hours of rehearsal and a demanding performance schedule. What is a day, week, or year in the life of a Met chorister like? How much time is spent on learning music and rehearsing? How do you get into the chorus in the first place? In this episode, drawn from a live event in the Met Opera Guild's Opera Boot Camp series, lecturer and podcast co-host Naomi Barrettara sat down with three Met Opera...
Published 04/25/19
During the last year of his life, Mozart was deep into writing THE MAGIC FLUTE when he suddenly got a commission to write a new opera seria: LA CLEMENZA DI TITO. This season, powerhouse mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings her world-renowned portrayal of the tortured Sesto for the very first time at the Met! She is joined onstage by audience favorite, Matthew Polenzani, who adds the title role of Tito to his vast repertoire. In this episode, Guild lecturer and podcast co-host...
Published 04/11/19