Libby Larsen Opera in Staged Reading, Oct. 31

Libby Larsen Opera in Staged Reading, Oct. 31

Libby Larsen’s “Barnum’s Bird,” a chamber opera about Jenny Lind, the superstar soprano “Swedish nightingale” and P.T. Barnum, who launched her on a 150-performance U.S. tour, will receive a staged reading at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City on Thurs. Oct. 31. Larsen describes her work as a means to ponder our culture’s dilemma: what is art, what is entertainment? … The story of Jenny Lind, a hardheaded businesswoman and a world-class artist, and P. T. Barnum, an equally hardheaded businessman and a world-class showman, is a compelling musical drama. It is also an extraordinary vehicle to…

Pauline Viardot

Pauline Viardot, like many other women featured this month, was fortunate to be born into a musical family. Born in Paris in 1821, Viardot (nee Garcia) has Spanish ancestry. Her parents were opera singers and fostered her talents as a singer, though she was also a highly accomplished pianist. Throughout her lifetime she was a student of Liszt and Reica, and a friend of Chopin and Clara Schumann, sang under Berlioz and knew Jenny Lind. She was also on friendly terms with Tchaikovsky and Rossini, who visited her home. After she retired from the stage, Viardot taught at the Paris…

Mendelssohn Scandal?

Numerous concerts have been planned to honor Felix Mendelssohn on the occasion of his 200th birthday. Though some bemoan the lack of enthusiasm for this momentous remembrance in the history of Western music, no one can deny that the recognition that Felix is receiving is a great deal better than the honorary concerts (or lack thereof) that memorialized his sister’s life and works. (Remember the deluge of performances when Fanny had her 200th birthday in 2005? Yeah, me neither.) And just because nothing helps to memorialize a life (or death) better than a scandal, new evidence suggests that Felix’s music…