Culture Magazine

Zerbinetta’s Blog, a Trove of News and Reviews for Opera Lovers

By Galegirl

Zerbinetta’s blog, a trove of news and reviews for opera loversZerbinetta’s blog, “Likely Impossibilities: evenings at the opera” is an elegant, well-written trove of opera reviews and news hearkening back to 2005 (and offering ready access to her considerable archives).

It is smartly organized into Recent Highlights, Colleagues, and a robust Topics section, that includes anybody who’s somebody in the operasphere, such as:

  • anna “trebs” netrebko
  • bryn terfel
  • dorothea röschmann
  • mariusz kwiecien
  • roberto “bobby” alagna

(And so many more names I love dropping!)

One of the most appealing things about Zerbinetta’s blog, at least to an Amerikanischer, is the range of productions and performers she’s seen and written about during her time in Europe, as opposed to what’s typically seen in the American repertoire.

Zerbinetta’s blog has a global sensibility and at at the same time, an intimate quality that makes the reader feel she is writing just for you.

Welcome to Operatoonity, Zerbinetta!

O: When did you start blogging and why?

Zerbinetta: I studied both music and theater in college and wrote for my college paper. (I’m an instrumentalist, not a singer.) After I graduated I moved to New York and was overwhelmed by all the great stuff I suddenly had access to and I missed writing. I began my blog when I was still in college, but it was when I started writing from New York that I started keeping it consistently. (Considering my job, anonymity is prudent.) Writing about the performances I see keeps me listening carefully and thinking, and hopefully teaches my readers something too. I get bored seeing the same traditional Rigoletto over and over and like unusual repertory and creative productions. Spending last year in Europe gave me the opportunity to see many new things, like lots of Baroque opera and crazy Regietheater, and I learned so much. I hope my visitors’ minds were expanded as well.

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?

Zerbinetta: The hardest thing is writing a rave review! I always try to represent performances as honestly as I can but when I am really affected there’s this additional burden where I have to do justice to this greatness so everyone else realizes how fantastic it is and misstating or misunderstanding anything would be a kind of betrayal. My biggest thrill is when, after I’ve written about something, I really think I’ve learned something or appreciate it in a way I didn’t see before–the lightbulb moment. Getting email from and meeting people from around the world with similar interests is fun, too!

O: What is your favorite post and why?

Zerbinetta: The posts that feel the most personal are those where my activist side comes out, like discussing sexism in the Vienna Philharmonic or how we should stage some of the problematic entries in the operatic canon. Many people think of music as morally neutral or even as innately good. But we love it because it touches us deeply, sometimes unconsciously, so we need to pay attention to what it’s telling us. But I’ll start you with something more typical and less incendiary. Here’s my review of Eugene Onegin from Amsterdam, which was one of my favorite things I saw last season (and also one of the trickier ones to write about).

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You may also follow the mysteriously charming and utterly classy  Zerbinetta on Twitter at @ZerbinettasBlog.

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