Just found out that Sirius Satellite Radio has a MetOpera channel. Cool.

Also, a brilliant article on Slate: Was Brahms a Wiseass? Yeah, that Brahms. Great stuff.

Let me begin by saying that I find it hard to complain about any increase in the number of performances of Le Nozze di Figaro or La Traviata. The Deutsche Oper‘s recent decision to cancel performances of Mozart’s Idomeneo and replace them with the foregoing productions, however, deserves some attention.

The NPR story provides the most complete coverage I’ve seen, but the central issue seems to be that the chief of the Deutsche Oper, concerned about an intentionally controversial scene added to the original opera in 2003, cancelled the production citing potential threats of terrorism. This turns on advice handed down from security agencies in Berlin who, in a move wearily familiar to Americans, didn’t cite specific threats but rather the possibility of violence. The inflammatory scene in question involves one of the characters in the opera carrying the severed heads of Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed, and Poseidon on stage. The subtext seems to be that the only decapitation that would really provoke riots is that of Mohammed–I haven’t seen any radical priests of Poseidon in a while.

As opposed as I am to self-censorship, even in the face of the kind of response that cartoons and disingeneous remarks have provoked recently, I have to wonder whether tacking a gory scene on to a comparatively obscure opera is really a coherent critique of religion in society. Kinda seems like First Amendment groups being forced to defend Fred Phelps and his merry band of villains, although that group is in a much more serious league of despicability than Hans Neuenfels.

At any rate, this feels like a substantially different issue than the previous two posts. Is it?

I bought the soundtrack to Amadeus a couple of days ago. A friend of ours paid us with a gift card in lieu of gas money, and I splurged on that two-disc set and the lone copy (probably on the entire island) of 1776.

Good stuff.

Since then, we’ve listened to “Symphony #25 In G Minor, K 183 – Mvt. #1” six times and “But, Mr. Adams,” at least three, according to the iPod.

Elle bought the Anna Netrebko album Violetta as a download recently. It is excellent, though I think I still prefer the Opera Arias album. Either way, the consensus is that the whole international opera star thing is a big boost to her attractiveness. Kind of like how women seem to prefer men with accents from the former British empire. Nice to see some album covers with style, though. Rescue us from Joshua Bell and his lack thereof.

While I generally rush to defend opera to those who criticize, I would like to sharply limit the number of composers in the operatic canon. While the Standard Operatic Repetory includes many fine works. I would be content with Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, and on good days (either mine or theirs), Wagner and Donizetti for 1/2 each. Oh, and only Gilbert & Sullivan would be allowed to perform in English. Period.

Well, let’s have some debate on the subject! For references, see OperaGlass.