About Me

Teenage blogger nonpiudifiori burst onto the opera blogging scene in 2012 when Joyce DiDonato retweeted his article on teenagers and opera companies, and was advised by her to “preach it”. He started on the opera blogging scene early, when he tentatively made the switch from simply reading to occasionally commenting on the highly prestigious Parterre Box. He considers himself to have passed opera blogging school with honours, given that he can now comment on the site without making a fool of himself.

He first became interested in opera at the ripe old age of 7, after which he decided to become an opera singer. Undeterred by the fact that he cannot sing, he recently decided that he will one day run an opera house. His favourite opera really depends on who he’s talking to, although Lulu (the charming old ladies at the opera usually have quite the reaction) and Carmen (to quote his friends: “isn’t that the one about the slut?”) are pretty consistent answers. He also professes to love Weinberger’s masterpiece Schwanda der Dudelsackpfeifer, although it is unclear whether he enjoys the music or simply the title of the opera. His lirico-spinto voice makes him a natural for Puccini heroines, although he has yet to debut those roles outside of his home. In his spare time, he enjoys baiting voice students (“oh, you sing opera? I LOVE Phantom of the Opera!”) and, apparently, writing self-important bios.

10 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hello,

    This is in reference to your earlier tweet referring to the music of “The Tempest” by Thomas Ades as ‘stunning’.

    Did it take you a while to fall in love with this complex score or did you find it an easy nut to crack from the start?

    • Hi Karen,
      I must say that I really liked the music right from the first time I heard it. I definitely wouldn’t say that I understand all of the musical or harmonic structure, but I love Ades’ creative use of the orchestra, and also how lyrical most of the vocal writing is (apart from Ariel, of course!). Unlike a lot of other modern composers, I don’t feel like Ades is trying to be dissonant or different just for the sake of difference.

  2. Thanks.

    I was surprised to see a few contributors on the
    Parterre Box website last week (Oedipe, Cocky Kurwenal and Belfagor) more or less dismiss “The Tempest” as ‘boring’…. I personally think it’s a very good opera.

    The reactions during the live chat on October 23 should be interesting.

  3. I’m posting this not because I think many of us are really interested in this revival of “Il Trovatore”, but as a sample of Zachary Woolfe’s reviewing style. When we read that the Times was ditching Allan Kozinn to clear the way for Woolfe to be Anthony Tommasini’s successor as the paper’s chief classical reviewer, I was dismayed – not only at the loss of a seasoned and reliable reviewer, but that of all the classical music reviewers the Timesmight have chosen for this prestigious job, they appear to have fastened on Woolfe. Read the review and judge for yourself.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/arts/music/verdis-trovatore-at-the-metropolitan-opera.html

    Apart from being badly written – “ardent muscle” ?! “Il balen” a “longing monologue” ?! – and a major lapse in a professional reviewer’s decorum – the word “fabulous” is fan talk, not serious critical writing, Woolfe’s using only a performance from last season as a benchmark for assessing this one is callow and possibly ignorant.

    Maybe this breezy style of writing speaks more to the current tastes of the Times readership. Who knows. I am not in a position to judge. This review would not be out of place in a college newspaper but this is the ‘Newspaper of Record’. Where are the great critics (not an oxymoron) of the past? Andrew Porter, Pauline Kael, Michael Steinberg, GBS. Even Winthrop Sergeant (who I cut my teeth on), despite his lack of musical sophistication, wrote with a certain elegance and grace.

    Sign ‘O the Times (no pun intended).

  4. I agree about Zachary Woolfe. He may well need an editor with some red pencils to circle the following, among others, in the review Ulyana mentions:

    1. the performance was in a deep, delicious groove,

    2. gloriously extreme plot,

    3. peering into fevered thoughts.

    And then, of course, there is Mr. Hughes-Jones’s “ardent muscle”, which Woolfe seems to have some knowledge of.

    This kind of exuberance sounds more like a not very dim undergraduate from a good school, and can be easily remedied; but it is almost impossible to disabuse a reviewer from a style that relies on everyday collocations and cliches and twitterspeak. Woolfe may well represent a generational change some of us boomers will simply have to adapt to. The alternative is not to read him, which seems to be the trend at the New York Times which reported a loss of 27 cents a share

  5. I noticed that you do reviews in Vancouver–do you ever get the chance (or I guess, the inclination) to pop south of the border and attend Seattle Opera? With the teentix program, you can get a $5 rush ticket. It’s a program that I wish were deployed across the country, but alas that’s not the case.

    • Hi Sandrine!
      Yes, I go to Seattle Opera whenever I get the chance – I usually prebook my tickets though, because I would hate to do that 2 hour drive and have it be sold out. Hoping to make it down for the Ring for sure though!

      • I’m definitely struggling with whether or not to get tickets for the cycle, considering the price, having missed the presale, and not knowing if I’m coming home from school over the summer. In any case, I’ll be sure to read your review of it.

  6. Google have a (secret) maximum number of posts and links that they will accept from their Blogger users each day. The more we carry out the activities, the deeper the wiring gets embedded in our brain.

  7. Was just introduced to your blog today, and I am SO excited to read more. I enjoy your style, your opinions, and your humor – thank you for sharing all this with the world!

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