Il Tabarro and Pagliacci at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera opened the 1994/5 season with a starrily cast double bill of Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.  Both were conducted by James Levine and filmed by Brian Large.


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Chatting with Liz Caballero

caballero-webLiz Caballero is an American soprano of Cuban origin.  Like many successful professional singers she never really planned to be one.  Opera wasn’t part of her childhood experience as a Cuban refugee in Southern Florida.  Like many young people she sang in school and church choirs and often got to take solo roles but she didn’t have a voice lesson until she was at university.  Her break came in 1995 when, on a whim, she entered the Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Miami and made it to the finals in Philadelphia.  Pavarotti encouraged her to develop her raw talent which led to stints in young artists programs in Miami and San Francisco and to her current busy career mainly singing Puccini and Verdi roles in US regional houses.

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Pavarotti and Freni in La Bohème

The audience at this 1988 San Francisco Opera production of La Bohème clearly thought very highly of it.  There is even some applause for the scenery.  I’m less impressed.  Seen as a star vehicle for Pavarotti and Freni it’s quite adequate, though both are decidedly on the mature side for Rodolfo or Mimi.  Other than that it’s rather dull, the video direction doesn’t help it any and the technical quality is no more than adequate.  Continue reading

Idomeneo at the Met

The 1982 Metropolitan Opera recording of Mozart’s Idomeneo will likely please those who like their Mozart on the well done side.  The story telling is straightforward (though there are some design quirks), the orchestra is big, the tempi are not too sprightly and the vocal talent is starry if not especially Mozartian.  To reinforce this James Levine has made a number of cuts and interpolations from different early performances to structure things a bit more like a grand opera and less like a tragédie lyrique. Continue reading