Tag Archives | Puccini

An Unusual Double: Puccini and Irish Music

TRI_New_Irish_TenorsSo, I am working away here in Italy doing research for conducting Tosca later in the year whilst I’ve been finishing off new orchestrations (with my colleague Troy Rogan) for symphony gigs by TRI: The New Irish Tenors in the U.S. starting in March.  It’s been a rather unusual double-act to say the least.

What I’ve noticed is this: a great melody is a great melody, but a great melody with great storytelling allied to a great tune is utterly compelling.  And funny enough, both trad. Irish music tunes and Puccini opera arias have both in spades.

So it’s very weird to be humming ‘Boolavogue’ (an Irish trad. tune) whilst walking about in Rome videoing and photographing the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, the Farnese Palace and Castel Sant’ Angelo respectively as part of a new 3D-interactive experience about Puccini’s verismo opera masterpiece – TOSCA that we’re producing (and how I have always loved that this marvelous opera was for so many years derided as “..that shabby little shocker.”)

Anyway, if you’re in or around Orlando, FL on March 3 go see TRI with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and enjoy an early St. Patrick’s Day festivity.  Great Irish singers who’ll bring a tear to you eye I imagine.

Back soon,




As opposed to Priscilla Frank, writing for the Huffington Post with both lazy epithet and sublime ignorance, believing Opera has “…evolved far past the La Bohème you dozed off to on your middle school field trip”, Fred Plotkin conversely; at his most ebullient, in a recent Operavore blog writes a wonderful piece about how visiting physical landmarks and locations (i.e., Rome, Seville etc.) where opera storylines are set, can give opera lovers a more nuanced appreciation of how place, setting and time may have been a catalyst in inspiring an opera composer in his work. Two widely divergent approaches to Opera criticism: one elucidating why the artform doesn’t need to ‘move on’, eschewing the ignorant presumption that progress is a mandatory requirement of the art form. The other is, well…just cheap and shoddy journalism, the consequences are inveitable. Continue Reading →

What Goes with Puccini?

I’ve pondered over many years what other operas you would put with any of Puccini’s ‘Il trittico’ if you were not going to do these operas as a double or triple-bill in their own right?  When in Lyon recently, I finally learned the answer.  What inspired programming by Opera Lyon!  What better to go with Il Tabbaro than Schoenberg’s Von Heute Auf Morgen; Une Tragédie Florentine by Zemlinsky paired with Gianni Schicchi and, lastly, Hindemith’s Sancta Susannna with the oft performed Suor Angelica.  Good programming; interesting programming; provocative programming.  Next time I see some of the more commonplace, non-thinking, complementary billings with these masterful Puccini jewels, I shall remember the innovation of Opera Lyon.  Bravo.