An Elektra Complex

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Although the vast majority of my time and energy is currently devoted to Mozart's sparkling comedy "The Marriage of Figaro" (which we're performing at Carthage this coming Saturday and Sunday)  I have also been thinking a lot about an opera that could not be more different from Figaro:  a searing, horror-ridden one-act opera by Richard


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Heldentenor.  It's an operatic term that literally means "heroic tenor," and it refers to those massive-voiced tenors who specialize in the challenging operas of Richard Wagner,  which demand singers with large voices and tireless stamina.   Musically speaking,  Roberto Alagna is in no way, shape, or form a heldentenor.  But when it comes to operatic

A Lovely Night with Cinderella

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A week ago, "opera buddy" Marshall Anderson and I began our 30th season of attending the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It's a milestone that's both exciting and bewildering, especially when I realize that we've been going to the opera ten years longer than most of my Carthage voice students have been alive. When we first

The Four Tops (Opera Style)

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One of the things I like most about experiencing an extraordinary musical performance is that its impact can linger on in a way that does not happen with- for instance- a magnificent meal.   I can still remember what it felt like to sit in Orchestra Hall (in the Twin Cities) and listen to the Luther


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Today is a big, busy day for the Bergs for several reasons.  It is homecoming at Carthage.  It is the wedding day of Katie Wee, the daughter of very good friends of ours from church.  (Kathy and I are helping with the music.)  It's a long-awaited, long-needed day at the dog groomer's for Bobbi and

Alone at the Opera

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  I must tell you about the amazing night I just spent at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, enjoying an incandescent performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, one of the most beloved works in the repertoire.   True, it’s a somewhat ridiculous plot, and there are more than a couple of moments which inspire eye rolls if

A Good Cry

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I was already a budding fan of opera when I was a scrawny high schooler, thanks to the efforts of my first voice teacher, Cherie Carl,  who helped unlock the potential of my voice and made me realize that opera might very well be a big part of my musical destiny.  She gave me my

Bruno’s Baton

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  I knew I would have to write about opera today for several reasons.  It’s the birthday of my best friend, Marshall Anderson, who is my chief partner in all operatic matters.  It’s the birthday of Richard Strauss, who composed several of my favorite operas:  Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier. And today would have been the

Happy Ending

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It sounded like such a good idea....  combine opera workshop and music theater workshop for a semester in order to mount a program where a number of important stories would be told with excerpts from both operatic and music theater settings:  Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” with Rossini’s opera “La Cenerentola”  ...   Verdi’s “Aida” with Elton

Magic Elixir

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Well, we’re roughly halfway through the rehearsal process for Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love,”  the J-Term opera production at Carthage College, and I have to say that this is shaping up to be one of my happiest and most satisfying artistic undertakings in all my years at Carthage.  It’s a combination of a great opera, a