1. Robert Ashley, the composer who redefined opera for the modern age, has died at 83. 

  2. Anti-austerity protesters throw Molotov cocktails in Greece and blockade parliament in Spain. The Portuguese are a bit more mellow. Opera soprano Ana Maria Pinto shot to fame for drowning out the country’s president in song.

  3. It’s almost Mother’s Day! Why are so many operatic moms depicted as murderous women on the verge of a nervous breakdown?
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

    It’s almost Mother’s Day! Why are so many operatic moms depicted as murderous women on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

    Photo: AFP/Getty Images

  4. During the chaos and oppression of China’s Cultural Revolution, one curious new theatrical and operatic genre was born — and it was the child of the Communist Party.

    Photos: Zhang Yaxin/Courtesy of the see Gallery, Beijing and the Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto.

  5. Peony Pavilion is one of China’s most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. An adapted version of the dream-like opera will take place at the Metropolitan Museum.
Photo: Zhang Yi

    Peony Pavilion is one of China’s most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. An adapted version of the dream-like opera will take place at the Metropolitan Museum.

    Photo: Zhang Yi

  6. Terrorism, worrying about China and immigration from Mexico — these sound like topics for Obama vs. Romney, but these pressing political issues have also found their way into today’s opera houses. Watch excerpts from five contemporary operas that grapple with these hot potatoes head-on.

  7. Is opera healthy today, or is the 400-year-old art form struggling for its life? We assembled a panel of experts to try to answer some important questions about where opera is today and what it might look like in the future. 
Photo: Strauss Peyton/State Library of New South Wales via Flickr

    Is opera healthy today, or is the 400-year-old art form struggling for its life? We assembled a panel of experts to try to answer some important questions about where opera is today and what it might look like in the future. 

    Photo: Strauss Peyton/State Library of New South Wales via Flickr

  8. wnyc:

    A treat from our sister station WQXR:

    Patti Smith’s Top Five Operas

  9. Watch an intensely physical and deeply felt performance by Danielle De Niese, a soprano who brings operatic elegance and rock glam to music by Handel, Dowland and Monteverdi at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York.