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Tuning in to Opera

The season of live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera is well under way. Today's offering (at 1:30 pm) is Massenet's Werther, which was first performed at the Imperial Opera (now the Wiener Staatsoper) in Vienna (see post on December 28, Opera and the Way Things Should Be; thanks to Stirling Newberry at Symphony X for his appreciation of that post on December 31) in 1892. This opera has a long history at the Met, since it was first performed there in 1894.

The title role will be sung today by tenor Roberto Alagna, who will not have his contract with EMI renewed next year (although his wife, Angela Gheorghiu, will keep hers), as I learned from an article (Look Who's Been Dumped, December 31) by Norman Lebrecht in La Scena Musicale, by way of Arts & Letters Daily. Alagna's misfortune has provided another opportunity for the favorite activity of classical music critics, to lament the decline and death of classical music. (For starters, see the scuffle on January 6 between acdouglas and Terry Teachout at About Last Night.) I agree that EMI's decision is shocking, and it is a sign of how bad CD sales are these days. All of classical music is probably not dead, but the CD and recording industry (and not only that for classical music) is clearly ailing. It has to be pretty bad if EMI really cannot make a profit from a voice like Roberto Alagna's.

In other news, congratulations to Tyler Green on getting his blog, Modern Art Notes, moved over to the ArtsJournal blogs. Thanks to Tyler for listing Ionarts in his "This Month's Blogroll": we appreciate it!

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