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June 21, 2009

A vocal salute to Father's Day

For your listening/viewing pleasure on Father's Day, here are a couple passages from opera that are all about fatherly love and how it gets tested. (And here's a shout-out to my own fantastic father, Ken Smith, in Northern Virginia. Thanks for everything, including that joke you remembered yesterday and cracked up telling.) 

One of the most moving musical expressions of fatherly love pours forth in Wotan's Farewell from the finale of Wagner's Die Walkure, when the angry god must punish his disobedient daughter, but clearly cannot banish her from his heart. Since I'm in Baltimore, I just have to choose a performance by ...

Baltimore native James Morris, a wonderfully sensitive Wotan.

After the Wagner, there's the melting O mio babbino caro from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, sung by a daughter turning on the sweetest of the sweet-talk to persuade her father to grant her desire. What father could resist this plea to 'daddy dear'? As for choosing among the many video options, I couldn't resist a particulaly lush, very slow performance by the indelible Montserrat Caballe.


Posted by Tim Smith at 7:20 AM | | Comments (1)


Two absolutely awesome singers (each a personal favourite of mine for their range! -- I didn't know Morris was from Baltimore) -- thanks!!!

My pleasure. TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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