James O. Tate

James O. Tate has been writing for Chronicles for 30 years and counting.

Latest by James O. Tate in Chronicles

Results: 210 Articles found.
  • June 2019

    The Lady of the Camellias

    I once asked a most discriminating gentleman, who had studied singing, which opera he would call his favorite. He named La traviata. Since then, René Weis has lent support to his opinion at fascinating length in his book, The Real Traviata: The Song of Marie Duplessis (2015).

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  • Opera Managed and Mismanaged
    May 2019

    Opera Managed and Mismanaged

    Heidi Waleson’s Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America (2018) is a challenging and enlightening work—one which dares much and succeeds remarkably well.

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  • Hell Man
    March 14, 2019

    Hell Man

    Though famous as a melodrama, The Maltese Falcon has not yet completely received its due as a composition, as a poem made out of words.

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  • Opera Near & Far
    April 2019

    Opera Near & Far

    My relationship with Barnes & Noble is fraught with emotion simply because it is a big bookstore, among other things. And I am one of those types—an inveterate reader—who is easily hooked.

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  • Opera Without Meaning
    March 2019

    Opera Without Meaning

    Last year, in a January 3 review published by the Daily Telegraph, Hannah Furness made some remarkable assertions concerning the presentation of traditional operas on the modern stage.

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  • The <em>Carnaval</em> Prank Was On Me
    February 2019

    The Carnaval Prank Was On Me

    Sometimes the best things come in distorting packages, no matter how good they are. And sometimes that good is itself misleading when it has great appeal, or even particularly then.

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  • Chopin’s Life and Times
    January 2019

    Chopin’s Life and Times

    Alan Walker has insisted, at the very beginning of his massive new biography of Chopin, that the composer has today a unique global reputation and appeal. And when we consider the evidence that justifies his claims, we must admit that this evidence is most impressive—and also that some of it is the opposite: doubtful and even disturbing.

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  • Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music
    December 2018

    Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music

    I had long been in search of a pretext for writing a column on sex, drugs, and classical music when I discovered that, by extraordinary coincidence, just such a subtitle adorned Blair Tindall’s memoir, Mozart in the Jungle (2005).

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  • A Tour of Overtures
    November 2018

    A Tour of Overtures

    We somehow owe it to ourselves to contemplate the useful word sinfonia, one that once denoted the overture to an opera and suggested a pleasing combination of sounds. So yes—the term that denotes the tradition of symphony is derived from another musical convention which we think of as not symphonic, but rather related to opera.

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  • The Legacy of Leon Redbone
    October 2018

    The Legacy of Leon Redbone

    Leon Redbone left the scene in 2015—I don’t mean that he expired, but simply that he retired. There was mention at the time of health concerns, but he was through with television appearances and concerts and touring, and with recording as well.

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  • The Pavarotti Effect
    September 2018

    The Pavarotti Effect

    I have been told that there is something called the “Pavarotti Effect,” and that this phenomenon is observable and definable. Perhaps sometimes the Pavarotti Effect was an affect, or perhaps it was subsumed by the “Superstar Effect,” as Sherwin Rosen called it in a paper published in The American Economic Review in 1981.

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  • August 2018

    Simon Pure and Impure

    The other day I came across the pianist Simon Barere on YouTube, and I was glad to see him there—the recognition he has received is certainly deserved, though it is hard to know what would be the appropriate reward to a performer who never got his due.

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  • Those Oldies But Goodies
    July 2018

    Those Oldies But Goodies

    An Italian-American restaurant I count on features sound reasons for my presence there, and that of others. I like the tone in that environment. There is an aspect of 1950’s atmosphere—the place is quiet, the lighting subdued, and the manners polite.

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  • Adolf Busch & Colleagues
    June 2018

    Adolf Busch & Colleagues

    Some two decades ago, I found myself preparing for a trip to Niagara Falls, where I was to meet a lady. I had not been to Niagara Falls before, though I was familiar with the movie Niagara (Hathaway, 1953), which has sometimes been called the best Hitchcock movie not by Hitchcock.

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  • The Electric Conductor
    May 2018

    The Electric Conductor

    Back in the day, was there anyone more famous than Arturo Toscanini? Everyone knew who he was, what he did, and what he looked like. He was more famous than Walt Disney and got coverage like a movie star.

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  • The Lowdown on Music Appreciation
    April 2018

    The Lowdown on Music Appreciation

    Music Appreciation is a revealing phrase: It doesn’t mean what it says. It doesn’t mean that music is getting more expensive, though it is true that music is appreciating. It doesn’t mean even a proper regard, as in “I appreciate your efforts.”

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  • The Two Lhevinnes
    March 2018

    The Two Lhevinnes

    Though too many years have gone by since I last crossed paths with Robert K. Wallace, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten that gifted and accomplished man.

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  • “The World’s Greatest Pianist”
    February 2018

    “The World’s Greatest Pianist”

    The lives of musicians can be more than a bit repetitive. The same patterns are repeated again and again, as is the case with athletes—with all people who master a particular art or calling.

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  • My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!
    January 2018

    My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!

    History is rewritten, memory is transformed, recognition is withdrawn, and the cultural context is recast. The recent toppling of historical statues has proceeded so effectively that we can hardly remember a previous period of statue erection or insertion in Richmond, Virginia.

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  • Maria Callas, Four Decades On
    December 2017

    Maria Callas, Four Decades On

    Many’s the person who can tell you what he was doing on November 22, 1963, when he heard the news. Many more can tell you what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. And there are also quite a few who remember September 16, 1977, when the death of Maria Callas was announced from Paris.

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Results: 210 Articles found.