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Blog Posts by Subject: Opera

Podcast #92: Nico Muhly and Ira Glass on Composers and the Internet

Nico Muhly is the youngest composer ever to have his work performed at the Metropolitan Opera. Recently, he joined Ira Glass, best known as the host of This American Life, to discuss his new opera Two Boys. Read More ›

December Author @ the Library Programs and More at Mid-Manhattan

Have you ever wondered what happens when a ghetto is unmade? Or what the future of Saudi Arabia means to the rest of the world? Or how overachievers do it? Do you think you know what real New Yorkers look like? Do you want to believe that

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Opera for the Uninitiated

The Gilded Stage: A Social History of the Opera by Daniel Snowman promises to do what few nonfiction books about opera have done thus far: describe the evolution of opera from everyman's entertainment to one, believed by many, to be reserved for those of a select social sphere.

In the Literary Review by Tim Blanning, he describes some attributes of that change. "One thing that 

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Words or Music, Part 4: Macbeth and Manon

I have spent a lifetime reading books and perhaps half a lifetime going to the opera. Each is a very real pleasure — neither can be done without — yet both offer different kinds of satisfaction. Words? Music? Which is more important? Fortunately, I am not in the position of having to choose. Books can sometimes lead to opera; opera can sometimes find its way back into books. Since the library specializes in both these worlds of artistic expression, it might be intriguing to look briefly at some of the places they intersect.

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Jacob Wrey Mould: Architect of Central Park and Lyricist

Angel of the Waters Fountain and Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, New York City - photograph by Ahodges7, used under Creative Commons license from Wikipedia

Each week for many years, Christopher Gray has written the Streetscapes column for the Sunday edition of the New York Times, focusing on out-of-the-way stories of curiosity, beauty, 

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Puccini's La fanciulla del West 100 years ago

The December 10, 2010 performance of the Metropolitan Opera’s production (which opens tonight) of Giacomo Puccini’s La fanciulla del West will mark the 100th anniversary of the opera, which had its premiere at the Met on the same date in 1910 featuring a stellar cast of Emmy Destinn, Enrico Caruso, and Pasquale Amato with Arturo Toscanini conducting.

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From archives to center stage: newly processed Theater Division designs and originals

The Harem, 1924In the recent weeks, staff of the Special Formats Processing unit have been hard at work arranging, re-housing, and cataloging a number of collections, consisting of original costume and scene designs, and caricatures from the Library for the Performing Arts Billy Rose Theater Division. You may have seen samples from these stunning, vibrant original works in past exhibitions at the Lincoln 

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Diamonds are a Diva's Best Friend

In the third installment (see 1, 2) of the series on "Glitter and Be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide, we turn to a different perspective: Jody Mullen, a self-proclaimed "coloratura geek" who teaches voice in Manhattan and is interested in the history of coloratura as a form.

Barbara Cook as Cunegonde in the original 1957 production"Glitter and Be Gay," Cunegonde's 

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The scores of Beverly Sills come to the Music Division

Beverly Sills musical scores have arrived at Lincoln Center in a venue in which she never sang: The Music Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. We take pride in announcing that we received the collection of her scores from her estate auction at Doyle's New York on October 7, 2009. (We also obtained two costume designs by Thierry Bosquet, a frequent designer for the New York City Opera, which I'll discuss in another post.)

The auction was filled with people seeking interesting 

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Words or Music, Part 2: Carmen

Intellectually, I have nothing against modern opera, and I can usually steel myself to try it again, even if the result inevitably turns out to be another tepid stew of tedious language and monotonous music. Emotionally, however, it is the standard repertoire which draws me again and again. These so-called “warhorses” of the operatic repertoire have endured for so long because they speak directly to our adult passions. (Melodrama is, after all, only real life ratcheted up a notch.)

How many of us, like Rigoletto the court jester, have felt humiliated by our employers 

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Words or Music

Words or music? Which is more important to opera? This is a question which intrigues opera lovers, such as me, as it is endlessly arguable without being finally answerable. Richard Strauss devoted an entire opera, Capriccio, to the debate. The opera culminates in a lengthy scene of ecstatic, mesmerizing musical intensity* which might seem to give the nod to music, if not for what the soprano is actually singing: that words and music are both indispensible, take one away and whatever is left will not be opera.

This season, the

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So I’ve been a card-carrying (Metropolitan Opera Guild card) opera fan for about 15 years. I’ve probably spent way too much time and money on this interest, but it has been worth it. Opera is a fabulous art form—singing, music, drama, and sometimes dance, all rolled into one (although anti-opera-ists say those things are all done poorly. Somethimes that’s true, but when all elements are working, nothing beats it, in my opinion).

Also, did you know you can get into the Metropolitan Opera for a perfomance 

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