Where would opera be without ghosts? The genre began with the story of Orpheus and the bride he must rescue from the dead, and Verdi's opera based on Macbeth gave the composer an opportunity to write his most morbid music. But no ghost plays such a central role as that of the Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni. The soul in question belongs to the victim of Don Giovanni's sword — the father of a woman our louche hero has attempted to rape. The opera's veins of bleakness and comedy clash in the nocturnal cemetery scene when the philandering Don and his manservant Leporello come across a statue of the murdered man. Leporello quails, Don Giovanni scoffs and orders his long-suffering sidekick to invite the statue for dinner ("O statua gentilissma"). The thing nods, and arrives punctually for the finale ("Don Giovanni, a cenar teco"), a chilling episode of minor chords, implacable trombone and the stone avenger's brimstone basso.
By John Schaefer on 04.22.11 in Reviews
English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was not the first, nor would he be the last, to fall under the spell cast by A. E. Housman in his collection of poems called "A Shropshire Lad." Vaughan Williams responded to the t...
By Glenn Kenny on 04.22.11 in Reviews
This collection yields some tantalizing clues to the abiding mystery of Hasselhoff's ascendance as a pop idol in Germany. The Knight Rider and Baywatch star offers not only a believable impression of generic All-Amer...
By Justin Davidson on 01.16.15 in Features
She is no longer the goofy but serious alien girl with the long flowing hair; instead she’s a sage.
By Justin Davidson on 12.02.14 in Features
Justin Davidson examines the way recent solo cello albums by Alisa Weilerstein, Jeffrey Ziegler and Maya Beiser reinvent that wordless, eloquent voice.