February 28, 2019

Donizetti's Il Campanello di Notte (The Night Bell) was so successful that its premiere was revived every year for a whole decade after it took place in 1836 at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples. Five days after its world premiere, it was performed at the Lyceum Theatre in London. Nowadays, the average opera aficionado has likely never heard of Campanello as it is rarely performed.

On the other hand, the extenuating personal and socio-economic circumstances under which this one-act farce was composed are...

February 14, 2019

For the casual operagoer, the name “Puccini” is synonymous with tragedy. Young artists in poverty. Tuberculosis. Cross-cultural bigamy. Execution by firing squad. Even when Puccini’s operas don’t end in tragedy, such as La Rondine or La fanciulla del West, the plots have a definite overtone of bittersweetness, and an audience is more inclined to smile quietly than to laugh out loud.

And then, there’s Gianni Schicchi.

Composed in 1917, as the end part to Puccini’s sweeping triptych of one-act operas...

November 10, 2017

In the seventh scene of Mesdames de la Halle, we have two of the ladies—Madou and Beurrefondu—arguing over Ciboulette as to who’s child she is. Prior, Beurre discovered Ciboulette as an orphan who’s circumstances match her own, but Madou also had those same circumstances occur. They were both abandoned by their husbands eighteen years ago and their daughters were taken with them. In fits of rage, they argue that Ciboulette is the child of their own flesh and blood, but then they say something str...

October 27, 2017

This December, New Moon Opera will be performing the operas Bagatelle and Mesdames de la Halle by Jacques Offenbach. Mesdames de la Halle is rarely performed in the U.S., but it is done almost every year in France. Part of the reason may be because the opera takes places in the storied Les Halles, an open air market in the heart of Paris, which is held dear to Parisians and has been a source of discourse on how Paris should look for over a thousand years.

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