Phil: A Biographical Sketch

Hi, my name is Phil and since December of 2016 I have been updating this blog reviewing operas ranging from the rare to the semi-popular. I hold a Masters Degree in History from Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and am the Social Studies teacher of a private school in Indiana, but I am from a small town a few miles to the west of Hershey, Pennsylvania. If you remember that kid in school who did really well on geography bees or tests but was terrible at maths, that was me!

My reason for writing this blog is that I love opera, duh! but specifically because by the time I hit my mid-twenties (and had over fifteen years of operatic theory under my belt), I realized that I really wanted to listen to more than just La Traviata, Aida, Carmen, La Boheme, and Don Giovanni, and I hoped that there was an audience interested in learning about Petrella, Erkel, and Parma. I don’t think of opera as specifically Italian, German, or French. Rather I think of it as a universal art form, applicable to all peoples and cultures and which should be accessible to everyone. Although so far I have only addressed opera in Western and Eastern Europe, I look forward to reviewing operas that originate from all corners of the earth. I also see opera as entrenched in history and capable of reflecting the cultural values of any composer.

My favourite opera book is The Good Opera Guide by Sir Denis Forman (know in North America as A Night at the Opera), so I decided that his timer/star-rating system was the best methodology for producing a worthwhile record for any opera. I figured, if it worked for the most popular operas, why not all operas? Someone at some point took the time and effort to write them, so even the most far out there composition deserves to have a recording of it logged. Yes, even Rachmaninoff!

This blog reflects only my personal opinion (or sometimes a mock review designed to be bad as a joke, like my Rienzi review). My goal is not to tell you this opera is bad or this one good, rather it is to get others to listen to these operas which would otherwise be ignored.

Thank you to everyone who reads and comments. Please be civil, and enjoy learning about these far-out-there operas with me!


%d bloggers like this: