A couple of years ago I produced a series of “best of” lists for video recordings, which I’ve updated from time to time. One can find them on the Index of DVD reviews page. So, for fun, I thought I’d put together a “weirdest” list. Mostly this captures operas that are intrinsically weird but I’ve included the odd recording where the director has gone a bit nuts in an attempt to get something out of non too promising material. So, in alphabetical order by composer, here is the “weird list”. Continue reading
The sudden death of Italian opera has always intrigued me. Works, by Italians or to Italian libretti, dominated opera houses, at least in the English speaking world, for centuries. The Metropolitan Opera even commissioned new work in Italian (Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, 1910). But after Turandot (1924) new works in Italian pretty much dried up. I can’t think of a single one that could be considered a repertory staple and even more recherché pieces like Pizzetti’s Assassinio nella Cattedrale are few and far between. Indeed, since WW2 at least, the dominant language for new operas has been English with German some way behind and the odd work in French or something more obscure. So, I was intrigued to get my hands on a recording of Luca Mosca’s 2007 work Signor Goldoni; a commission for Venice’s La Fenice inspired by the 18th century Venetian playwright and librettist Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni. What’s really surprising is that the libretto (perhaps we should say “book”) by Italian writer Gianluigi Melaga, is in English! Apparently librettist and composer consider that English is better adapted to the kind of word play they were aiming for than Italian.