Classical Music

Puccini, Verdi, drinking, and the suggestion of sex

How to pick up cougars 19th-century style

Let’s connect some dots between Verdi and Puccini and Puccini and himself. This will only take a moment. The scene, which is an “other than arias” gem, is from Act II of Puccini’s La Rondine. ...

John Blackwood McEwen: Outlaw or composer?

The esoteric pick of the week is back

John Blackwood McEwen was a Scottish drifter who killed nine men in gunfights between 1889 and 1895. He was the scourge of the New Mexico territory and finally had his neck stretched in 1899. He ...

The Don(ald) Giovanni

Don Giovanni abuser of power at Opera Neo

It’s been an operatic week in mid-August. There was Opera Wednesday, then on Thursday I went to The Elixir of Love at Point Loma Opera Theatre, and on Saturday night I caught Don Giovanni presented ...

Pt. Loma Opera performed The Elixir of Love

...and the puppies went on a romp through Donizetti’s comedic gem

The Elixir of Love by Donizetti is a bel canto opera, except when it’s not. Sometimes it’s not bel canto and it’s just opera. The most present understanding of bel canto is based on the ...

A return to Opera Wednesday

Old musical friends and new discoveries in La Jolla

I haven’t been to an Opera Wednesday in quite some time, so I went on over to the La Jolla Community Center on Wednesday night and listened to four solid singers sing three pieces each. ...

Personality and musical preference

A look at something other than arias

We’ve never discussed personality type and musical preference have we? This might sound far-fetched or woo-woo in nature but I think there is something going on here. If we consider basic personality traits we can ...

Saint-Saëns and Henry VIII

Henry is long, beautiful, yet ineffective

I was browsing the performance history of the San Diego Opera when I saw Henry VIII by Camille Saint-Saëns. This was not the only rarity in the company history but I’m a fan of Saint-Saëns ...

Ernest Bloch and the Sacred Service

An esoteric pick of the week from the Swiss-American composer

Ernest Bloch is best known for his composition Schelomo for cello and large orchestra but he wrote a ton of music for “large orchestra.” We take an esoteric look at his Avodath Hakodesh: Sacred Service ...

Nadia Boulanger: The great woman

Nadia Boulanger exerted a lasting influence upon classical music

The next entry in our women in music thread is Nadia Boulanger. Boulanger was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century but her main contribution was as a teacher as opposed to ...

La Jolla SummerFest 2016

The La Jolla Music Society's summer chamber romp

It's August, which means the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest is starting. Each summer, the month of August is crammed with performances at the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla. With construction of “The Conrad” coming ...

A few more moments of classical music in movies

Vain to deny that these are great scenes...

As promised, here are a few more moments of classical music in movies. For this group I’ve selected a personal axe to grind and a few well-known scenes. Let’s start with my axe. At the ...

Five classical music clips in the movies

Some lesser known classical music appearances in the movies

With the massive celebration of pop culture over (Comic Con), I’ve been inspired to take a look at the best use of classical music in movies. This is not about original motion picture scores but ...

The Legend of Zelda at the San Diego Symphony

Symphonic video game music at Symphony Hall

I will admit that I missed the phenomenon that is The Legend of Zelda. The reason I missed it is clear. I’ve never had a Nintendo. In spite of my non-participation in the Nintendo world, ...

Female composer Clara Schumann let her opinions be known

"I despise Liszt to the very depths of my soul."

The next woman in our line of female composers is Clara Schumann. She might be the most famous of the early women pioneers in classical music. Nannerl Mozart was not allowed to play in public ...

The other Butterfly

Mascagni's tale of a Japanese girl destroyed by circumstances

Before Madama Butterfly there was Iris, the tale of a young and exploited Japanese girl. The opera was written by Pietro Mascagni, the king of verismo. Mascagni is the composer of the quintessential verismo masterpiece ...

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