Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Patricia Petibon Gets Eccentric In A Very French Way For DG

"With this new record, soprano Patricia Petibon makes a welcome return to French repertoire on disc, exploring the fascinating world of French art song in this extraordinary new album, titled La Belle Excentrique. The record features all-time favourites by Satie, Fauré, Poulenc, Reynaldo Hahn, Manuel Rosenthal, but also popular hits by Léo Ferré. This selection takes the listener on an exciting journey of discovery: from the decadence of the cabarets of turn-of-the-century Paris to the melancholy of the 60s, from the eccentricity of the fin-de-siècle to modern-day spleen. This original program is a collection of often humorous and eccentric songs with a deeper subtext. Petibon is joined on this occasion by her accompanist and partner of many years,
Purchase your copy of the new disc, set to be
released September 26, by clicking here.
the superb pianist Susan Manoff, and a number of high-profile guests stemming from diverse musical backgrounds and influences, including star violinist Nemanja Radulovic and actor Olivier Py. This is a wonderful new release from one of DG’s key vocalists. Featuring music of exceptional variety and contrast, it showcases Petibon’s versatility and multi-faceted artistry in an intimate setting as never before, while paying homage to the great tradition of French mélodie and chanson." [Source] Watch the EPK video for the album, as well as a complete track list, after the jump. (Photos: Inge Prader/DG)

"Zombieland" Rule #32: Genießen Sie die kleinen Dinge

"A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, and a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the Last Twinkie and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America." The 2009 cult classic film Zombieland, from director Ruben Fleischer, features a scene where actors Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, tear up a souvenir shop while the overture from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro serves as the soundtrack to the scene. As the destruction is complete, the phrase "Rule #32: Enjoy the little things" pops above the screen. Watch the clip from the movie, as well as the complete overture, after the jump. [Source]

Monday, September 1, 2014

iTunes Festival Recruits Plácido Domingo As Closing Among Pop Stars

"Opera singer Placido Domingo has joined Kasabian and Kylie Minogue in the line-up for this year's iTunes Festival. The Spanish tenor is perhaps a surprising choice for the event, which tends to feature pop and rock acts. Domingo, 73, will perform at the Roundhouse in London on September 30 and will be the last act in a month of concerts. Deadmau5 kicks off the concerts on Monday night, followed by headline sets from pop names like Pharrell Williams, Calvin Harris, The Script and Ed Sheeran. Kylie Minogue, Kasabian, Mary J Blige, Blondie, Maroon 5 and Robert Plant are also playing the festival. The organisers quoted Domingo as saying he was thrilled to appear and for 'the recognition that this brings to the unique and magnificent world of opera and of classical music.' Tickets are for competition winners, but gigs can be streamed live in more than 100 countries or watched on-demand."[Source]

First Look At BAM's Transgender Opera Featuring Husband And Wife

Stage director Kenneth Cazan, librettist and filmmaker
Kimberly Reed, and performers Sasha Cooke and Kelly
Markgraf in rehearsal for As One.
(Photo: Stefano Giovannini/Brooklyn Daily)
"Opening minds is a two-person job. As One, a new chamber opera premiering at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Sept. 4, is pushing boundaries in more ways than one. Not only does it tell the story of a transgender character transitioning from male to female, but the role will be shared simultaneously by a male and a female singer. 'Occasionally an actor or singer shares a role with another across several performances, but I’ve never witnessed one where a male and female are asked to inhabit the same character,' said baritone Kelly Mackgraf, who will play one side of the lead role. The opera follows the character of Hannah from childhood to college through adulthood and hormone therapy. Hannah is concurrently portrayed by two parts — 'Hannah before' and 'Hannah after.' Through their songs and duets, the show explores Hannah’s inner life, as well as issues of transphobia and self-acceptance. 'The story is a simple treatment of the transgender story,' said Mackgraf, who plays 'Hannah before.' 'It looks at Hannah’s story through the most human lens — a being in search of their true self and the courage it takes to be that person.' 'Hannah after' will be played by Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke — who also happens to be Mackgraf’s wife. The pair said their close bond makes it easier for them to successfully embody the same character. 'Because we trust and know each other so well, I think the piece will benefit from our shared relationship and energy,' Cooke said. 'In a sense, two married people are two halves of one entity.'" [Source]

More Opera Singers Take The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In case you missed the first round of opera folks taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, click here. Enjoy the new editions of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Ildar Abdrazakov, Deborah Sasson, and Katherine Jenkins, below by clicking on each photo to watch the video:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Renée Fleming Brings Christmas Early With Latest Decca Release

"Christmastime in New York City is a magical and timeless experience beloved by New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. Picture a horse-drawn carriage in snow covered Central Park passing tree lined streets filled with twinkling lights. Come in from the cold, snuggle up by the fire and let these intimate renditions of holiday classics fill your home with Christmas cheer. American soprano Renée Fleming's first-ever holiday album celebrates the beloved and iconic Christmas season in New York City. From Rockefeller Center to the holiday windows lining 5th Avenue, the essence of the city at the most wonderful time of year is captured on Christmas in New York. With guests representing such genres as jazz, pop and classical, this album will appeal not only to Flemings core classical fan base but too all that embrace the holiday season. Joining Fleming for the Christmas celebration are guest artists ranging from Rufus Wainwright and Gregory Porter to Wynton Marsalis and Kelli O Hara. In total, Fleming and her guests have won 16 Grammy awards across multiple categories. Renée Fleming's elegant persona along with the intimate arrangements of holiday classics makes this album perfect for holiday parties, stocking stuffers and as a treasured holiday gift. This sophisticated album is sure to be a perennial favorite. An exclusive recording artist with Decca since 1995, Renee Fleming is known mostly as an opera singer with a career that has encompassed numerous genres and styles. This past February, Fleming became the first classical singer in history to perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, which was enjoyed by more than 111.5 million viewers in the US. The release of this album will be supported by Renée Fleming's appearance on the nationally broadcasted Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and local and national holiday events along with a December pledge PBS Christmas special." [Source] The complete track list and release date schedule can be found after the jump.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

All In The Family: Diana Montague & David Rendall Produce Heir

The Montague-Rendall clan with the
matriarch: Ed, Mimi, Diana, Nell, and Huw 

(Photo: Facebook)
Sometimes in the opera world, celestial singers come together to create some formidable offspring. Such is the case with mezzo-soprano Diana Montague and tenor David Rendall. The English couple made Brockenhurst, Hampshire, their home and produced four children: Mimi, Ed, Nell, and Huw. It is impossible to not have talent on some level when growing up in a house surrounded by music. Witness the jazzy vocals of daughter Nell by clicking here. But it can be expected with such dramatic vocalists for parents, one of the children would venture into the world of opera. Such is the particular case of Huw Montague Rendall. He attended the Ballard School in New Milton, Hampshire, where he graduated in 2010. He went on to study at Brockenhurst College where he received a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts. Currently living in London, he is attending the Royal College of Music where he is studying as a baritone and will graduate in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music degree. Thanks to YouTube, we are able to witness his budding talent. Below are videos featuring Huw singing "Questo amor, vergogna mia" from Edgar by Puccini, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma by Rodgers & Hammerstein, "Ombra mai fu" from Xerxes by Händel, "Les Berceaux" by Fauré, and "Se Vuol Ballare" from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart:

The name Huw is of Welsh
origin and means "heart,
mind and spirit"
(Photo: Facebook)
Other than a brief work stint at Tesco, a multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in the UK, Huw's only other venture outside the classical music realm has been performing with the band Shrunk In The Wash. He has been lead singer since 2004. The band plays jazz and rock, among other favorites, for various functions. You can see the band in action by clicking here and listen to an amazing rendition of "It Ain't Necessarily So" below:

(Photo: Twitter)
Best of luck to Huw Montague Rendall on his future in music and we will be sure to feature him more often when he reaches the stages of the world's leading opera houses. Be sure to visit his Facebook page and his Twitter page to keep abreast of current engagements. You can read more about Diana Montague and David Rendall after the jump. [Source]

Warner Classics Gives Inside Look To Callas Remaster Process

See the earlier feature about Maria Callas and Warner Classics by clicking here
Learn more about the remastering process by clicking here.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Andreas Scholl Makes Vocal Appearance In "Bob's Burgers" Cartoon

"'Ear-sy Rider' is the first episode of the third season of the animated comedy series Bob's Burgers. The episode premiered on September 30, 2012 in the United States on Fox. The episode's title is a parody of the film Easy Rider. Mort is holding a funeral for Horny Dave, the head of a motorcycle gang called the 'One-Eyed Snakes.' After the ceremony, the gang goes to Bob's Burgers to have beers, much to Bob's dismay. After having wrecked much of the restaurant, Critter, the new leader of the 'One-Eyed Snakes,' pays for the damage and gives Bob a card which he can use to ask the gang for a favor in the future. Meanwhile, the kids are crossing by a street corner which is often occupied by skateboarding teenagers after school. Louise taunts Logan, one of the teens, to the point where he grabs Louise's bunny ears and runs off. Louise, unable to cope with the loss, starts to act crazy and wears a hoodie as a replacement. She is determined to get her bunny ears back. When bribery fails, Louise begins to follow and stalk Logan in numerous desperate attempts to get them back. Logan is resistant because he believes that the bunny ears have given him good luck. She finally tattles on Logan to his parents. When his parents confront him, Logan tells Louise that he had them sent to the dumpster. When Louise tries to track them down to the waste management plant but it is believed that they are incinerated and she is too late. This brings Louise to her breaking point as she plots revenge. She cashes in the 'One-Eyed Snakes' card and the gang arrives to threaten Logan. He confesses to never having thrown the bunny ears away and pulls them out of his backpack to give back to Louise. The gang returns to Bob's Burgers to celebrate as Louise tells them food and drinks are on the house. Having learned that their son was threatened, Logan's family gathers the neighbors and they all confront the "One-Eyed Snakes" in the restaurant. Linda gets into a fight with Logan's mom. When Critter tries
To purchase this Andreas Scholl CD, click here.
to break up the fight, Logan's mom accidentally tears off Horny Dave's jacket from Critter and a standoff between the neighbors and the 'One-Eyed Snakes' ensues. Critter, in an attempt to prove his leadership, plans to beat the neighbors up. Before the fight can begin however, Mudflap, Horny Dave's pregnant lover, goes into labor. Logan's dad is a doctor and takes charge of the delivery where everyone in the restaurant lends a hand. After the baby is born, Mudflap confesses to Critter that he is the child's biological father. Everyone is at peace, except for Louise and Logan who were looking forward to the fight. But Louise is happy to have her ears back anyway." [Source] Watch the clip in the episode featuring Andreas Scholl singing "Cum dederit delectis suis somnum" from Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus by clicking here. Watch the countertenor sing the whole piece live after the jump.

Opera Crowd Taking ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Around The World

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Plácido Domingo Set To Release Mediterranean Songs In October

Pre-order your copy in Europe and America.

Watching Opera Search Trends On Google Yields Odd Results

If you use the Google search to watch trends on any given topic, it is surprising to see a spike in the term "opera" in 2005. What would cause an exorbitant amount of people looking this up on Google? Find the answer by clicking here.