In essence

Up close with composers

Strauss: Die Schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) Premiered today in 1935

Richard Strauss’ Die Schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) might be the only opera in the entire oeuvre with a central character who dislikes music. Sir Morosus, a retired British naval officer is allergic to noise of any kind. He disinherits [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 24th, 2018
Casanova – A Life in Music

Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) is still known to this day for his ‘complicated and elaborate affairs with women’ – not bad for someone nearly 300 years old. He ran in the highest social circles in Europe, and in addition to the [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | June 23rd, 2018
“Musical ideas sprang to my mind like Butterflies” Charles Gounod (1818-1893)

The historiography of music primarily remembers Charles Gounod as the composer of Faust, Mireille and Roméo et Juliette. However, in his 12 total works for the operatic stage Gounod engages with the entire range of operatic types available in the [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 22nd, 2018
When Girls are Boys

We’ve all been to the opera when they cast young men with unchanged voices in operatic roles and, well, they may not just have, let’s say, the vocal maturity to carry this off. Time for the women to take charge!

by Maureen Buja | June 19th, 2018
Mozart: Symphony in D major , KV 297 (Paris) Premiered today in 1778

In the spring of 1778, the 22-year old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart returned to the city of Paris. This time he was chaperoned by his mother—who would tragically fall ill and die—with father Leopold staying put in Salzburg to appease their [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 18th, 2018
Bach Makes a Joke: The Peasant Cantata

In 1742, Bach, late in his career, took a long look back at the music of his day and made such a thorough-going parody of it that we’re still not sure if he was making a social commentary or a [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | June 16th, 2018
Bruckner: Mass Nr. 3 in F minor Premiered today in 1872

Nothing came easy for Anton Bruckner, and habitually plagued by debilitating periods of low self-esteem, he was an easy target for music critics, journalists and composers alike. A particularly vicious critic accused him of “composing like a drunkard.” Given such [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 16th, 2018
The Sapho Affair! Charles Gounod and Pauline Viardot

Charles Gounod unabashedly referred to Pauline Viardot as “The godmother of my career.” He first met her around a rather difficult time in his life. His brother Urbain had unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a two-year-old child and a widow [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 15th, 2018