Benjamin Britten: Gloriana (1953)

Opera in three acts (because this one is in English!) Running Time: 2 hours 38 minutes. FYI: This post was released on the 420th anniversary of the execution of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Written for the coronation festivities of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, this was one of the few failures of an otherwise […]

Friedrich von Flotow: Martha (1847)

Romantisch-Komische Oper im fier Akten. Running Time: 2 hours 5 minutes. The most famous and perhaps only well known Flotow opera, this thing has one of the most hilariously bizarre plots in all opera that doesn’t attempt to suspend reality with the likes of a giant serpent. Based on a ballet for which Flotow composed […]

Saverio Mercadante: Il giuramento (1837)

Opera in tre atti. Running Time: 2 hours 12 minutes. This is the first of three reviews I finished in August 2020 because I just can’t get enough of Mercadante. In essence La Gioconda forty years before the fact, this was the first opera of the Mercadante reform, and his greatest international success (there is just something […]

Alessandro Nini: La Marescilla da Ancre (1839)

Opera in due atti. Running Time: 2 hours. Hi, this is Historian Phil coming to you with yet another of my famous opera-history connection lessons, and this one is très compliqué. This is one I know almost no one knows. I didn’t even know about it until I started writing this review. The husband of […]

Zdenek Fibich: Sarka (1897)

Opera in three acts. Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes. With a libretto written by the mistress of the composer, this can be termed a sexy opera. The title character, a Czech warrior maiden, falls destructively in love with her victim, the male warrior Ctirad, to the point of causing the deaths of her sisters […]

Louis Spohr: Jessonda (1822)

Grosse Oper im drei Akten. Running Time: 2 hours 6 minutes. Jessonda was an answer to Der Freischutz, specifically because Spohr disliked the usage of spoken dialogue that plagued German opera for over a century. The scenario was actually devised by Spohr himself, although the libretto was written by a Eduard Gehe. It incorporates a thicker orchestration than […]

A Word on Hansel und Gretel.

If Rienzi is the best opera Meyerbeer wrote, is Hansel und Gretel the best opera Wagner wrote? I recently showed Hansel and Gretel (the Met production from 1982) to my eighth grade history class and for the most part they really enjoyed it. Looking back on it, I feel that over the years I have […]