Monday, April 14, 2014

Operatic Selfie For The Ages At Opera News Awards

Luca Pisaroni posted the operatic equivalent of the infamous Ellen Degeneres selfie from the Academy Awards. Some pretty big names in this photo, including: Stephen Costello, Susan Graham, Kristine Opolais, Ailyn Perez and Joyce DiDonato. (Photo: Facebook)

Pre-Order Anna Netrebko Performance Of Verdi's "Giovanna D'Arco"

Click here to pre-order the live performance from the Salzburg Festival.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Celebrate Montserrat Caballé's Birthday At Her Hotel Suite

Soprano María de Montserrat Bibiana Concepción Caballé i Folch was born in Barcelona, Spain, on this day 81 years ago. As you listen to recordings and watch videos to commemorate the occasion, you might want to step it up and spring for a night at Hôtel Le Negresco in the suite named for the diva. Located in Nice on the French Riviera, the Montserrat Caballé Suite N° 121-122 houses, among other treasures, a Louis XV secretaire, two Sèvres porcelain lamps and a Louis XVI bed adorned with two gold-plated bronzes. Accommodating up to three guests, the 861 square luxury room boasts views of the Mediterranean Sea. Make your reservations by clicking here. See more pictures and read about the amenities after the jump.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Natalie Dessay Promotes Popular Brazilian Music For Erato

Soprano Natalie Dessay has a forthcoming release on Erato celebrating the music of famous Brazilian composers. The main works of classical composer Villa-Lobos are represented and popular music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, Baden Powell, João Gilberto, and more. She is joined by singers Agnès Jaoui and Helena Noguerra, as well as guitarist Liat Cohen.

Pre-order your copy here. Watch the EPK video after the jump. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Decca Pulls Out All The Stops With 50-Disc Release Of Most Wanted

Decca seems to be scouring the back-catalog to entice buyers to complete their collections before compact discs become obsolete. The latest batch of releases to include 50 CDs, with some familiar and not-so-familiar artists, is titled Most Wanted Recitals. Several of these discs have made it to CD transfer in chopped-up form, leaving buyers bewildered as to why the whole material was not simply released. For example, a two-CD set was released to commemorate the artistry of Pilar Lorengar. It was much of her recorded legacy with London/Decca. Only about half the material from an album done with Jesús López-Cobos made it to the set. Here at last, we will have it
complete. And it is worth having, as she is in spectacular voice. The same holds true for an
opera arias disc by Gwyneth Jones that was licensed by Belart, but did not have the complete Verdi scenes LP on it. Other discs have already had the material released in multiple sets. Such is the case with Cristina Deutekom recording of Viennese bon-bons. Material by Régine Crespin, Inge Borkh, Hilde Gueden, Virginia Zeani, and others, has made it to the store shelves in bits and pieces. It is nice to see a label dig deep into the archive and make an attempt to get some interesting programs out on CD, instead of just releasing them as MP3s. Hopefully this is the first round of this recital series, because we are still missing important releases [not counting
items already released on MP3 only]. A short list would include: Leontyne Price (
Noel, Noel with Charles Dutoit), Birgit Nilsson (Songs of Scandinavia and Wagner complete with Colin Davis), Helena Döse (Puccini, Mascagni, Verdi), Virginia Zeani (Puccini Arias), Elisabeth Söderström (Jenny Lind Songs), Edith Mathis (Haydn Arias), Sylvia Geszty (Coloratura Arias and Duets with Peter Schreier), Montserrat Caballé (Dramatic Soprano Arias and Music of Spain), Elly Ameling (German Romantic Songs, Bach Cantatas and Schubert on Stage), Marilyn Horne (Sings Carmen with Henry Lewis), and Eileen Farrell (Songs America Loves). Not to mention that Felicia Weathers could have a whole box-set dedicated to her. In addition to the Verdi & Puccini Arias recording (released by Decca on CD in
2006), there are the albums yet to be transferred:
Italianische Opernarien [arias by Cilea, Verdi, Boito, Puccini and Giordano]; Die Schönsten Lieder der Welt [songs of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms]; Spirituals & Folksongs; Richard Strauss Lieder; Hello Young Lovers [songs from Musicals]; Liebe, Love, L'amour [songs from Films]; and the label could probably get the rights to release the material on her Intercord recording Wunderbar ist die Welt. Check out more of the soprano selections from the Most Wanted Recitals collection after the jump. You can see the complete list here. Items will be released in March/April.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Anna Netrebko Wears Exclusive Fendi Fur Cape For "Manon Lescaut"

Fresh from her stint at the closing ceremonies
of Sochi Olympics 2014, Anna Netrebko wraps
herself in a new role.
"Fendi has created an exclusive fur cape for Russian soprano Anna Netrebko for her lead role in a new production of Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini. Conducted by Riccardo Muti and directed by his daughter Chiara Muti, the opera in four acts will run at Rome's Teatro dell’Opera from Feb. 27 to March 8. The white Rex rabbit cape, which is lined in silk, has been manufactured by hand at Rome’s Fendi fur atelier in collaboration with the opera house’s dressmakers and costume designer Alessandro Lai." [Source]

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Opera Singers Appearing On Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show

Although we don't have video footage of Robert Merrill, Risë Stevens, Jan Peerce, Patrice Munsel, Richard Tucker, Julia Migenes, Sergio Franchi, Grace Bumbry, and Roberta Peters, from their appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, we are fortunate to have footage of Judith Blegen, Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, Martina Arroyo, Marilyn Horne, Carol Neblett, and Plácido Domingo, from the program. As a bonus watch Kathleen Battle performing on The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson's successor Jay Leno, after the jump. [Source]

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Renée Fleming Heads The Line-Up Of New Productions At MET

Renée Fleming under the hot pursuit of Nathan Gunn (Photo: Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera)
The Metropolitan Opera announced its 2014-15 season today. Check out the online brochure here. Several new productions are added to the repertoire and many works created under the Peter Gelb regime will be revived. The New Year's Eve Gala will be focused on

Susan Stroman's new interpretation of Franz Lehár's 110-year old operetta
Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow as it will be performed in English) starring mega-star Renée Fleming in her role debut as Hanna. "The Merry Widow is an operetta by the Austro–Hungarian composer Franz Lehár. The librettists, Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, based the story – concerning a rich widow, and her countrymen's attempt to keep her money in the principality by finding her the right husband – on an 1861 comedy play, L'attaché d'ambassade (The Embassy Attaché) by Henri Meilhac. The operetta has enjoyed extraordinary international success since its 1905 premiere in Vienna and continues to be frequently revived and recorded. Film and other adaptations have also been made. Well-known music from the score includes the 'Vilja Song,' 'Da geh' ich zu Maxim' ('You'll Find Me at Maxim's'), and the 'Merry Widow Waltz'. The operetta was first performed at the
Theater an der Wien in Vienna on December 30, 1905, with Mizzi Günther as Hanna, Louis Treumann as Danilo, Siegmund Natzler as Baron Zeta and Annie Wünsch as Valencienne. It was Lehár's first major success, becoming internationally the best-known operetta of its era. Lehár subsequently made changes for productions in London in 1907 (two new numbers), and Berlin in the 1920s, but the definitive version is basically that of the original production. The operetta toured Austria and in 1906 enjoyed productions in Hamburg's Neues Operetten-Theater, Berlin's Berliner Theater (starring Gustav Matzner as Danilo and Marie Ottmann as Hanna, who made the first complete recording in 1907), and Budapest's Magyar Szinhaz. Its English adaptation by Basil Hood, with lyrics by Adrian Ross, became
a sensation in London in 1907 and ran for an extraordinary 778 performances, followed by extensive British tours. The first performance in Paris was at the Théâtre Apollo on April 28, 1909. Many international productions, as well as revivals followed, as did sequels, spoofs and film versions. The operetta originally had no overture; Lehár wrote one for the Vienna Philharmonic to perform at his 70th birthday concert in April 1940." [Source] For a full synopsis, click

Is "Las Hijas De Danao" A Remake Of The Classic Film "Diva"?

The thriller film Las Hijas de Danao is set in Paris during the 2005 urban riots. The opera is rehearsing to perform Salieri's Les Danaïdes, when a well-known soprano receives an anonymous threat. Coinciding with serious disturbances in the French capital, detectives do their best to infiltrate the opera company to solve the mystery. The director, Fran Kapilla, says the idea came out of the juxtaposition of the two worlds of protestors and the sophisticated opera society. If the plot sounds vaguely familiar, check out the description for Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1981 film Diva by clicking here. For more information about the film, visit the official website: See more cast photos, and find out the connection Montserrat Caballé has to this film, after the jump! [Source]

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Duke Ellington Opera "Queenie Pie" Playing In Chicago

Karen Marie Richardson portrays the entrepreneurial Madame C.J. Walker
"Any definition of the Great American Songbook has to include songs identified with Duke Ellington. It’s a lengthy list that includes such gems as 'Mood Indigo,' 'Sophisticated Lady,' 'I Got It Bad' and the jazz anthem 'It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).' Often collaborating with musicians from his band, Ellington wrote hundreds of tunes that are still among the standards cherished by veteran and newly-minted jazz singers alike. But throughout his career, which began in the 1920s and ended with his death in 1974, the pianist, composer and conductor experimented with longer forms as well. A complete list of Ellington’s compositions includes long suites, quasi-symphonic pieces and sacred works. From 1962 until he died, at age 75, he wrestled with an unfinished opera titled Queenie Pie inspired by a real person, Madam C. J. Walker, the dynamic African-American entrepreneur who became a millionaire selling hair and beauty products designed for the African-American market early in the 20th century. The story, which involves an imagined encounter between Walker and a young rival, opens in the very real world of Harlem in 1930s and continues on a fantasy island where Madam Walker hopes to find a magic potion to revive her failing business. There have been assorted attempts to stage the uncompleted opera over the years: Oakland Opera Theater produced a version in 2008, and in 2009 the opera department at the University of Texas at Austin took a stab at it. Now it’s Chicago Opera Theater’s turn. The company, headed by artistic director Andreas Mitisek, presents four performances of Queenie Pie at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 21 and March 5 and 3 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Harris Theater." [Source] Watch a video clip after the jump.

Celebrate Leontyne Price 365 Days Of The Year

Yesterday marked the 87th birthday of soprano Mary Violet Leontyne Price and the United States deems February as "Black History Month," so we have double reason to celebrate this fine artist. Click here for a listening party in her honor and continue to celebrate the living legend every single day of the year, regardless of holiday.