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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | December 15, 2007
In his last years, Verdi drew extraordinary inspiration from Shakespeare, producing two equally compelling swan songs - Otello and Falstaff, each with its own remarkable combination of musical sophistication and theatrical sureness. This being the age of directorial license, both works are candidates for rethinking. If you go Verdi's Otello will be performed at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia and New Hampshire avenues Northwest, Washington.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | July 17, 2013
I told you this would be a good summer to check out the Castleton Festival. There has been plenty of worthwhile activity each year at this venture, held deep in verdant Virginia countryside on the estate of celebrated conductor Lorin Maazel, but this fifth anniversary season stands out. To start, two large-scale operas -- Verdi's "Otello" and Puccini's "La fanciulla del West. " The opportunity to hear Maazel, one of the world's most impressive podium masters, lead these works is reason enough to make the schlep (a minimum two-and-a-half-hour drive from downtown Baltimore)
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | November 13, 1992
The Washington Opera's new staging of Verdi's "Otello" looks great and -- for the most part -- sounds that way, too.Zack Brown, who designed and costumed this production -- which continues in repertory until Nov. 28 -- is an artist who has a gift for expressing the monumental and doing it with such taste that it enhances, rather than deflects attention from, the music. His scenery and costumes create a version of the Italian renaissance that steps right out of the frames of pictures by Italian old masters.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | December 15, 2007
In his last years, Verdi drew extraordinary inspiration from Shakespeare, producing two equally compelling swan songs - Otello and Falstaff, each with its own remarkable combination of musical sophistication and theatrical sureness. This being the age of directorial license, both works are candidates for rethinking. If you go Verdi's Otello will be performed at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia and New Hampshire avenues Northwest, Washington.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | June 23, 2004
Rejoice! The Muslim's pride is buried in the sea." Ordinarily, when the flawed hero of Verdi's Otello delivers that rousing entrance line, fresh from a decisive battle with his enemy, we are safely situated mentally and visually back in the 15th century with Venetians and their jealousy-prone Moorish general. A very different, even uncomfortable picture greets audiences for a new production by Summer Opera in Washington. The opening scene is an aircraft carrier with a deck full of troops in desert camouflage gear.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 18, 2002
If anyone could translate Shakespeare into opera, it had to be Giuseppe Verdi. He was a true man of the theater, ahead of his time - and certainly most of his contemporaries - in so many respects. His creed was simple: "The public will stand for anything except boredom." And he knew the value of plot, language, character development, motivation, timing. As a septuagenarian who hadn't written an opera in 16 years (that was Aida), Verdi would have been forgiven had he faltered in his operatic treatment of Othello.
NEWS
March 16, 2006
On March 15, 2006, ALDO "Dino"CESARINI age 87, beloved husband of Mary E. Cesarini (nee Mellon) devoted father of Christine Miller and James Cesarini, loving grandfather of Laura May, dear brother of Gina Caporaletti, Anne, Helen and Americo Cesarini. He was predeceased by sister, Alda Lovecchio and brothers, Otello and Dolphi. Services and interment will be private.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | July 17, 2013
I told you this would be a good summer to check out the Castleton Festival. There has been plenty of worthwhile activity each year at this venture, held deep in verdant Virginia countryside on the estate of celebrated conductor Lorin Maazel, but this fifth anniversary season stands out. To start, two large-scale operas -- Verdi's "Otello" and Puccini's "La fanciulla del West. " The opportunity to hear Maazel, one of the world's most impressive podium masters, lead these works is reason enough to make the schlep (a minimum two-and-a-half-hour drive from downtown Baltimore)
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 7, 1996
While there is some competition from such mere septuagenarians as Claudio Monteverdi, Richard Wagner and Leos Janacek, the greatest opera ever written in old age is Giuseppe Verdi's "Falstaff," completed in his 80th year.Nothing about "Falstaff," which the Peabody Opera Theatre will perform tonight through Saturday in Friedberg Hall, suggests the work of a man as old as Verdi was when it was finished in 1893.The piece bustles with activity, demonstrating at every turn its composer's unflagging energy and invention.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Special To The Sun | September 16, 1994
Most theatrical farces these days seem to involve staid British vicars cavorting in their underwear amid countless cases of mistaken identity. Ugh.But when "Il Stupendo," Italy's greatest tenor, came to Cleveland Sept. 9 to sing Verdi's "Otello," and in the process created more mayhem, infidelity and, yes, cases of mistaken identity than you could believe, I laughed as much as anyone in the theater.That's because "Lend Me a Tenor," the Ken Ludwig play currently in production at the Colonial Players of Annapolis, is a witty, hilarious farce that goes well beyond formulaic nonsense to garner its belly laughs.
NEWS
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun Music Critic | September 9, 2007
Luciano Pavarotti was laid to rest yesterday, and, with his passing, an incredible chapter in operatic history came to a close. Bono, frontman of the rock group U2 and one of the many pop stars who collaborated with the charismatic tenor in large-scale concerts, said it well last week: "Some can sing opera - Luciano Pavarotti was an opera." Larger-than-life describes the man, physically and musically. A godsend to gossip columnists and TV chat show hosts, not just music journalists, he had everything needed for celebrity status - and quite a bit more.
NEWS
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 8, 2006
The Baltimore Opera Company's season-opening production of Rossini's rarely staged The Siege of Corinth is about to plunge audiences into anxious issues of love and duty amid a messy war between Greeks and Turks. Pamira, daughter of the besieged Greek governor, will be torn between two ever-so-conflicting matrimonial prospects - a young Greek officer and the leader of the Turkish invaders. The poor dear won't know which way to turn for guidance and inspiration, but the soprano portraying her will.
NEWS
March 16, 2006
On March 15, 2006, ALDO "Dino"CESARINI age 87, beloved husband of Mary E. Cesarini (nee Mellon) devoted father of Christine Miller and James Cesarini, loving grandfather of Laura May, dear brother of Gina Caporaletti, Anne, Helen and Americo Cesarini. He was predeceased by sister, Alda Lovecchio and brothers, Otello and Dolphi. Services and interment will be private.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | June 23, 2004
Rejoice! The Muslim's pride is buried in the sea." Ordinarily, when the flawed hero of Verdi's Otello delivers that rousing entrance line, fresh from a decisive battle with his enemy, we are safely situated mentally and visually back in the 15th century with Venetians and their jealousy-prone Moorish general. A very different, even uncomfortable picture greets audiences for a new production by Summer Opera in Washington. The opening scene is an aircraft carrier with a deck full of troops in desert camouflage gear.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 18, 2002
If anyone could translate Shakespeare into opera, it had to be Giuseppe Verdi. He was a true man of the theater, ahead of his time - and certainly most of his contemporaries - in so many respects. His creed was simple: "The public will stand for anything except boredom." And he knew the value of plot, language, character development, motivation, timing. As a septuagenarian who hadn't written an opera in 16 years (that was Aida), Verdi would have been forgiven had he faltered in his operatic treatment of Othello.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 7, 1996
While there is some competition from such mere septuagenarians as Claudio Monteverdi, Richard Wagner and Leos Janacek, the greatest opera ever written in old age is Giuseppe Verdi's "Falstaff," completed in his 80th year.Nothing about "Falstaff," which the Peabody Opera Theatre will perform tonight through Saturday in Friedberg Hall, suggests the work of a man as old as Verdi was when it was finished in 1893.The piece bustles with activity, demonstrating at every turn its composer's unflagging energy and invention.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | November 20, 1993
Rossini has been both a blessing and a curse for Chris Merritt. Without the incredible vocal demands of the composer's music, Merritt, 41, probably would not have achieved fame as one of the world's most important tenors quite so early. He now enjoys the kind of celebrity that made it possible for the Baltimore Opera Company -- for which the tenor gives a benefit recital tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Shriver Hall -- to sell almost all its tickets within days of announcing their availability.Merritt's voice is such that he can hit high notes with the sort of power and grace that must have characterized the singing of Andrea Nozzari, the legendary 19th-century, Italian tenor for whom Rossini wrote some of his great parts.
FEATURES
By STEPHEN WIGLER and STEPHEN WIGLER,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 22, 1996
Decent performances of Puccini's "Tosca" are commonplace. The composer and his librettists were first-rate theater men, and the melodramatic effects that make "Tosca" so effective are simple for singers to perform and for audiences to understand. There are only three major roles, and Puccini's vocal requirements -- here at least are not as daunting as Verdi's.Little wonder that "Tosca" has always been among the three or four most popular operas. And even less wonder that its popularity, along with its fail-proof dramatic mechanism, has made it so scorned by critics (who always hate what the public loves)
FEATURES
By STEPHEN WIGLER and STEPHEN WIGLER,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 22, 1996
Decent performances of Puccini's "Tosca" are commonplace. The composer and his librettists were first-rate theater men, and the melodramatic effects that make "Tosca" so effective are simple for singers to perform and for audiences to understand. There are only three major roles, and Puccini's vocal requirements -- here at least are not as daunting as Verdi's.Little wonder that "Tosca" has always been among the three or four most popular operas. And even less wonder that its popularity, along with its fail-proof dramatic mechanism, has made it so scorned by critics (who always hate what the public loves)
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Special To The Sun | September 16, 1994
Most theatrical farces these days seem to involve staid British vicars cavorting in their underwear amid countless cases of mistaken identity. Ugh.But when "Il Stupendo," Italy's greatest tenor, came to Cleveland Sept. 9 to sing Verdi's "Otello," and in the process created more mayhem, infidelity and, yes, cases of mistaken identity than you could believe, I laughed as much as anyone in the theater.That's because "Lend Me a Tenor," the Ken Ludwig play currently in production at the Colonial Players of Annapolis, is a witty, hilarious farce that goes well beyond formulaic nonsense to garner its belly laughs.
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