Thursday, July 25, 2024

The ALS mystery and Wagner and Puccini’s toughest critics

Every once and a while I find myself having to take a small break from writing and maintaining this wonderful site because something has come up in another aspect of my life.
If only time were more forgiving, because then I would have the time to do everything I want to all at once. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. That being said, have no fear, the site is not going anywhere. I just wanted to help you solve the mystery of why I’ve slowed down a bit recently.

I am still as devoted as ever to Art Life and Stilettos and thrilled that you have come along for the ride with me. Stay tuned for more interesting arts coverage and articles. If you have any ideas for the site, are interested in making a guest contribution or being interviewed please feel free to contact me at:

Now, for your reading, viewing and listening pleasure, I thought it might be fun for me to share some unexpected criticisms of some of music history’s most prolific opera composers. It’s your inspirational moment of zen:

“The Overture to Tannhäuser is one of the most curious pieces of patchwork ever passed off by self-delusion for a complete and significant creation…When it is stripped and sifted, Herr Wagner’s creation may be likened, not to any real figure, with its bone and muscle, but to a compound of one shapely feature with several tasteless fragments, smeared over with cement, but so flimsily that the paucity of good material is proved by the most superficial examination.” – H.F. Chorley, The Athenaeum, London, May 19, 1855

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“Those who were present at the performance of Puccini’s opera Tosca, were little prepared for the revolting effects produced by musically illustrating the torture and murder scenes of Sardou’s play. The alliance of a pure art with scenes so essentially brutal and demoralizing…produced a feeling of nausea. There may be some who will find entertainment in this sensation, but all true lovers of the gentle art must deplore with myself its being so prostituted. What has music to do with a lustful man chasing a defenseless woman or the dying kicks of a murdered scoundrel? It seemed an odd form of amusement to place before a presumably refined and cultured audience, and should this opera prove popular it will scarcely indicate a healthy or credible taste.” – A London newspaper, July 13, 1900


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