This year was 200 years of both Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. The only Wagner of interest was the Met Parsifal. In sharp contrast I experienced quite a lot of great Verdi. Kaufmann and Harteros together brought me Il Trovatore, Don Carlo and La Forza del Destino. The Met brought me Rigoletto and a magnificent Falstaff. Kaufmann released Wagner albums and a Verdi album, Netrebko released a Verdi album. This was a truly great year for some other things, too. Jamie Barton won Cardiff Singer of the World. I also traveled to Salzburg for Norma. I reviewed 45 performances, including 2 DVDs, 10 HDs, 22 live, 1 movie, and 10 streams at home.
For another perspective on 2013 see KK Awards.
- (JK) Parsifal in HD ** I stayed all the way to the end, which is odd for an opera I've always hated. Everything worked together to create a performance which even I loved. Met HD
- Verdi-Neon Rigoletto in HD ** I adored the flashing neon in the last act that accompanied the storm music, but Gilda in a car trunk? Maybe not. It does make it more plausible that Rigoletto mistakes her for the duke. Met HD
- Ainadamar in San Francisco ** Opera Parallèle brought excitement and joy and a completely coherent production for this complex opera. Do this opera in your town. You will love it. Local
- American Bach Soloists in Davis ** I discovered this group this year, and they play very close to home over in Davis. The consistent high quality of their work is encouraging, They aren't just named after Bach, they also play a lot of Bach. Occasionally they perform a bit of opera in concert format. Local
- (JK) (AH) Verdi-Il Trovatore from Munich with Harteros and Kaufmann ** This was heavily censored for the live stream so we missed the naked old woman who represented Azucena's mother. I still don't know why Leonora was blind. Live Stream.
- (CB) Cecilia Bartoli's Norma CD I was irresistibly drawn to this recording and played it over and over. I could not be more amazed. Cecilia recorded the new critical edition, of course, instead of the traditional late romantic orchestration. CD
- (CB) Norma in Salzburg ** In fact I was so amazed I traveled to Salzburg to see it for myself. This modern regie production was very effective and completely right for herself. It was a revolutionary transformation of a staid favorite, turning straw figures into passionate human beings.. Travel ##20
- (JK) (AH) Verdi-Don Carlo streamed from Salzburg with Harteros and Kaufmann ** I could have gone to this while I was in Salzburg and don't know why I didn't. I have since also bought the DVD. It is also one of the great things. Live Stream. ##20
- (JK) La Fanciulla del West from Vienna with Stemme and Kaufmann I watched this on YouTube and love it madly. Nina Stemme doesn't really look like the Minnie in your mind, but her acting wins you over. YT
- Verdi-Falstaff in HD with Ambrogio Maestri ** I liked very much the historical British tilt of this production and the magnificent Italian man who portrayed Falstaff. Met HD
- The Nose in HD by Shostakovich ** The opera was dominated by the production, but Paulo Szot brought a needed human dimension. Met HD
- (JK)(AH) Verdi-La Forza del Destino from Munich with Harteros and Kaufmann ** The year ended with the last of the Kaufmann/Harteros trilogy in an opera I am tremendously fond of. Could we have more, please? Watching it again after all these years, I become convinced that the right production could save this opera. Live Stream.
Singer of the Year
The singing prize is hard this year. No offense, Cecilia, but I must award to Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros for so much wonderful Verdi.
This was such a fabulous year I have nothing to disparage and cannot reduce the list to 10. Since then I have felt an emotional let down. I want endless thrills.
New to Me Opera
With the addition of streaming my new operas list grows longer:
- Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (2013) was live at SFO. **
- Barab's A Game of Chance (1957) was live in Sacramento. **
- Barber's Antony and Cleopatra (1966) was seen on YouTube.
- Barber's A Hand of Bridge (1958) was live in Sacramento. **
- Bucci's Sweet Betsy From Pike (1953) was live in Sacramento. **
- Donizetti's Maria Stuarda (1834) was HD from the Met. **
- Gasser's The Secret Garden (2013)was live in Berkeley. **
- Glass' The Perfect American (2013) was a stream.
- Golijov's Ainadamar (2005) was live in San Francisco. KK new to me award. **
- Humperdinck's Königskinder (2010) was a DVD with Jonas Kaufmann.
- Picker's Dolores Claiborne (2013) was a live world premier from SFO **
- Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie (1733) was streamed from Glyndebourne. Regie **
- Rossini's La Donna del Lago (1819) was on YouTube from the ROH.
- Shostakovich's The Nose, (1929) HD from the Met. **
- Spontini's La Vestale (1807) was on YouTube.
- Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes (1855) was streamed from London. **
##20 top 20 all time
** live, live stream or live in HD
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