Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Jewess - a Jewish opera

On one of my whims, I punched "random musical term + Jewish" into google tonight. Just to see, you know. Tonight's term was Jewish Opera. I've gotten educated enough to know that something would pop up. There had to be.

The first thing that popped up is a article by Philip Kennicott about an opera called "La Juive The Jewess" in which "audiences watched an old Jewish man -- called the "Shylock of opera" and inevitably referred to as "vengeful" or "implacable" -- send his adopted daughter to her death in a vat of boiling oil. The character of Rachel, in Fromental Halevy's opera "La Juive," was being punished for the crime of marrying a Christian." The article goes on to explore some of the history of the opera and discuss the recent Neil Shicoff production.

Ah, melodrama set to music, opera how we love thee. But this is a wonderful production and Shicoff has a marvelous voice. If I understand correctly, this video is from a Deutsche Grammophon DVD that's available from your local music store, Amazon or favorite one line vendor.

Halevy - La Juive - Neil Shicoff

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