Larry Wolff is Silver Professor of History at NYU, Executive Director of the NYU Remarque Institute, and the author of The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotion on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon. (December 2017)


All the World’s a Stage

A scene from the Handspring Puppet Company’s production of Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses, directed by William Kentridge

The Politics of Opera: A History from Monteverdi to Mozart

by Mitchell Cohen
Machiavelli’s The Prince was presented to the Medici family in 1513 with a dedication that turned out to be much more than a flattering formality since, for the next five centuries, it remained attached to the most influential treatise of modern political theory. Machiavelli began by observing that “those who …

Signor Tambourossini

Luca Pisaroni as the Ottoman Sultan Mahomet II and Nino Machaidze as the Greek Christian woman Pamyra in Gioachino Rossini’s The Siege of Corinth at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, Italy, August 2017

The Siege of Corinth

an opera by Gioachino Rossini, produced by La Fura dels Baus, at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, Italy, August 10–19, 2017
Two days after the Islamist attack in Barcelona on August 17, a chorus of Greek warriors sang out from a stage in the little town of Pesaro on the Adriatic coast of Italy: “We take up the sword; the Muslims are climbing our ramparts.” They were met by a chorus …


Wagner on Trial

In Barrie Kosky’s new production of Die Meistersinger, which opened the 2017 Bayreuth Festival, the musical cobbler Hans Sachs has been restyled as his creator Richard Wagner, isolated in the witness box at the Nuremberg Trials, and we the audience have now become the tribunal, passing judgment on him. Sachs, singing of German art, seems to be desperately pleading for absolution after the vicious ways in which German high culture—and especially Wagner’s music—was harnessed to the ideology of Nazism.