Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anna Netrebko Sings the "Gavotte" From the New MET "Manon"

Vesselina Kasarova Talks Drug Use in the Opera World

"'Sometimes when I think of all that I do for my voice, I think I don't want to go on,'....She says that after 10 years on stage, most singers develop common cold-like symptoms year-round, 'because we breathe in dirt, dust and odors' while performing. Ailments affecting the breathing passages occur as frequently for singers as joint problems for professional tennis players, Kasarova explains. And like athletes in a fiercely competitive environment, some singers turn to drugs to perform instead of opting for a rest. But the gain is only short term. Overuse of steroids in the form of cortisone is common, say singers and doctors treating them. The treatment masks problems with inflamed vocal cords but the problem worsens to the point where operations may become necessary. That, in turn can change a voice – and even ruin it. Kasarova describes cortisone use as 'an infernal circle' that sometimes becomes an addiction. Others, she says, abuse sleeping pills to try to escape stresses of performing that have grown in the past decades as stages get bigger, orchestras louder and opera seasons longer than ever." [Source] Watch excerpts of the mezzo-soprano after the jump.

Natalie Dessay Sings "Dr. Tom ou la liberté cavale"

Click on the above image to launch the music video.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Young Hollywood Starlets attend Netrebko's MET "Manon"

"Emma Roberts, niece of Julia Roberts, dined with Chloë Moretz and Sky Ferreira. The sauteed sole was accompanied by asparagus and a puree of cauliflower and Yukon potatoes." (Photo: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg News)

YSL Gets Patricia Clarkson In the Mood at the "Manon" Premiere

"Patricia Clarkson, wearing a strapless velvet gown, declared herself 'pumped' to see Anna Netrebko singing the title role. "I saw her in Anna Bolena and she was astonishing," the actress recalled. 'I know it's this gala and I love the Met, and I love my YSL clothes—come on, I mean, gorgeous—I'm going to sleep in them, have sex in them. But I am truly beside myself about seeing her tonight.'" [Source] For a big photo gallery of stars and opera patrons (including Mercedes Bass, January Jones, Barbara Walters, Chuck Close, Michael Stipe, and Patti Smith) wearing Yves Saint Laurent, click here!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Maestro Gianandrea Noseda Discusses Arts Funding on CNBC

Click the above image to launch the video of Gianandrea Noseda on CNBC discussing arts funding in Italy.

Video: Paul Appleby Debuts in "The Juillard Sessions"

(Photo: Dario Acosta)
Watch a video from EMI Classics, featuring Paul Appleby in performance excerpts from the new "Juilliard Sessions," after the jump.

Angela Gheorghiu Continues to Rock Out in Crossover Video

Watch the video of Holograf's song "Nu mai e timp," featuring Angela Gheorghiu as a guest artist, after the jump.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Which Books Are On Renée Fleming's Reading List?

“I never would have developed the ability
to be on stage unless I had read so much...”
Renée Fleming

Blizzard of One: Poems (Mark Strand)

Dropped Names (Frank Langella)

The Divided Mind (Dr. John Sarno)

Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)

Read more about what the soprano has to say about each of these works by clicking here.

Netrebko and Schrott: King and Queen of Fashion?

"Ein Schloss muss es sein als Kulisse für das nächste Konzert-Event. Zur Besichtigung fährt die Limousine vor. Die Tür mit den verdunkelten Scheiben öffnet sich, und schwarze Wildlederstiefel mit glitzernden Steinen an den hohen Absätzen blitzen auf. Eine schwarze Handtasche mit goldener Schnalle schwingt hinaus. Das Gesicht ihrer Besitzerin ist von einem wuchtigen Fellkragen umrahmt, halb versteckt hinter dem dunklen Flaum. Die Netrebko schreitet die breite Wendeltreppe zum Festsaal im Schloss Münster hinauf. Einen anderen Auftritt hätte man sich für eine, für die Operndiva wohl nicht vorstellen können....Im Schloss Münster ist Erwin Schrott an Netrebkos Seite. Er könnte der Prinz sein, den sich die Opernkönigin zum Schloss gewünscht hat. Erobert hat er sie aber nicht von einem weißen Schimmel aus, sondern mit einer Harley Davidson. Unter dem schwarzen, engen Mantel zeichnen sich die Muskeln ab. Die dunkle Jeans ist gewollt knittrig in die lässig geschnürten Boots gestopft. Das markante Gesicht mit den vollen Lippen steht im Einklang mit dem tiefen Bariton, der dem Uruguayer Triumphe an den großen Opernhäusern garantiert." [Source]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Rita Streich

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Natalie Dessay Sings the Chanson of Debussy for Virgin Classics

Dessay: La Belle Voix. Buy the album by clicking here.
"Im ihrem Liedrecital steht Natalie Dessay ein Pianist zur Seite, der sich mit einer Gesamtaufnahme der Debussy-Klaviermusik höchste Meriten erworben hat: Philippe Cassard, von dem die Idee zu der Produktion ausging. Er hörte Natalie Dessay in Debussys Oper Pelléas et Mélisande und war überzeugt, dass sie als einzige Sängerin dieses Repertoire nicht nur zu singen, sondern wirklich zu verkörpern versteht. "Ihr Charisma als Darstellerin, ihre Energie, ihr Temperament, ihre Virtuosität und ihr Sinn für Humor sorgen für eine wirklich außergewöhnliche Interpretation". Natalie Dessay leiht in diesen Werken einer gewissen Marie Vasnier ihre Stimme – die Frau eines Debussy-Gönners, in die der Komponist verliebt war, und für die er rund 40 Lieder komponierte. Das Recital Clair de lune bietet eine Reihe von Raritäten – so das bisher noch nie eingespielte Lied Les Elfes (eine von vier Ersteinspielungen) und die Kantate La Damoiselle Elue." [Source]

Thursday, March 22, 2012

QE2 to Be Celebrated with Britten's "Gloriana" for Jubilee

Her Majesty (Photo: Annie Leibovitz)
"The Royal Opera House will mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation with a new staging of Benjamin Britten's opera Gloriana, which explores the relationship between the aging Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex. The work, poorly received when it first appeared in 1953, will be directed by Richard Jones, the man behind Anna Nicole, the Royal Opera House's controversial opera about the life of celebrity Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith. The 2013 production will also mark the centenary of Britten's birth in 1913. Susan Bullock will sing the role of the 'Virgin Queen' while Toby Spence will portray the "hot-headed" Essex, the opera house said Wednesday. The opera includes a 'haunting' scene in which the queen meditates on her reign and on death." [Source]

Former Flautist Promoted to Deutsche Grammophon President

Mark Wilkinson: Amateur to President
"Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most renowned classical music label, has a new President. Mark Wilkinson is appointed to the post with effect from April 9, assuming command of a 114-year-old company associated with many of the most celebrated musicians in recorded music history, as well as a roster of new, 21st century stars....During his long tenure with Universal Music, Mark Wilkinson has worked with a wide spectrum of UK and international artists. They include Nicola Benedetti, Andrea Bocelli and the afore-mentioned Miloš Karadaglić, Bryn Terfel, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, and, more recently, composers Ludovico Einaudi, Eric Whitacre and Paul Mealor. For the past three years, he has been co-Chairman of the UK’s Classic Brits awards. He holds a music degree from the University of Durham, and was an accomplished amateur flautist." [Source] Sounds like the label might see a resurgence in product like this: 

Listen to MET National Council Auditions Winner Janai Brugger

Find out more about the young soprano by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Irene Dalis

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Video Tribute: The Unforgettable Voice of Irina Arkhipova

Kathleen Turner in Full-On Operatic Mode For Early Portrait

An older photo of a glamorous Kathleen Turner. She almost looks like an opera singer in this portrait. Seems like she would be a mezzo-soprano singing French repertoire. Which of these selections do you think she would most likely be singing?
"O ma lyre immortelle"from Sapho (Gounod)
"Mort de Didon" from Les Troyens (Berlioz)
"Printemps qui commence" from Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns)
"D'amour l'ardente flamme" from La damnation de Faust (Berlioz)
"Asie" from Shéhérazade (Ravel)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Faye Dunaway and Danielle de Niese in "Master Class" Preview

The above photo was tweeted by Faye Dunaway today. "Just edited scene with Liam Dunaway O'Neill and Danielle de Niese. They are electric." For more information, click here and here.

Happy Birthday: David Daniels

Renée Fleming and Josh Groban to Perform at The Penthouse

Click the photo for the promo video for the "Live from Lincoln Center" concert. "Renee Fleming combines her musical worlds in an evening featuring Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, 'A Letter From Sullivan Ballou' by John Kander, a selection of Broadway melodies, and indie rock from her 2010 release Dark Hope. Josh Groban and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra lend their brilliance to the concert. Friday, April 6 at 9:00 P.M. on PBS - check your local listings!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Rita Hunter

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Latonia More Steps Into the Spotlight for MET Opera Debut

Ms. Moore in her house debut as Aida
(Photo: Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera)
"As often happens with cover singers at the Metropolitan Opera the soprano Latonia Moore had less than a day’s notice to take over a major part, in her case the title role of Verdi’s Aida on Saturday afternoon. Violeta Urmana, scheduled to sing, was ill. (Sondra Radvanovsky had filled in for her on Tuesday.) So with just some studio coaching sessions and no rehearsal onstage, Ms. Moore, a 33-year-old Houston native, made her Met debut in the last performance of the revival of the company’s 1988 production this season, with Marco Armiliato conducting. The audience loved her. When Ms. Moore took her solo curtain call at the end, she received an ecstatic ovation." [Source]

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Lisa Della Casa

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Canada's Got Talent" Might Just Kill the Audience With Kindness!

"Canada's Got Talent" host Dina Pugliese with judges Stephan Moccio,
Martin Short and Measha Brueggergosman. (Photo: Andrew MacNaughtan)
"Adjectives were in abundance at the press screening for Canada’s Got Talent. 'Everything about this show is world class,' enthused Scott Moore, the head of Rogers Broadcasting. Performances were variously described as incredible, amazing, mind-blowing and jaw-dropping, and sometimes in combination. It was a carpet-bombing of superlatives. I’d argue that calling any 90-second display of talent amazingly mind-blowing is setting the bar a touch high, but let’s just say that all those involved with City’s new competition show, from the producers to the judges to the host, are quite proud of the result. But Canada’s Got Talent is also something else: nice. In a genre best known for the flameouts of the auditions on American Idol, and the sanctioned abuse provided by judges such as Simon Cowell, the premiere episode was almost bereft of nastiness. Far more often than not, the judges were jumping up and applauding the performers rather than smacking their buzzers. It was unusual. It was unexpected. It seems risky. Can a competition show, so often a mix of performance and acerbic assessment thereof, hold an audience’s interest by being largely … friendly?" [Source] Two more images after the jump.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Soprano Maralin Niska and Tenor John Stewart in 1970 Recital

The soprano Maralin Niska made her Metropolitan Opera debut March 17, 1970, as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. She went on to perform with the company for the next eight years in such diverse performances as Musetta in La Bohème, Elena in I Vespri Siciliani, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and the title roles in Tosca and Salome. Tenor John Stewart sang at the MET in only two roles, both during the 1972-73 season: Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Alfred in Die Fledermaus. The above recordings are of the tenor and soprano singing "Già nella notte densa s'estingue ogni clamor" from Otello, ""Non la sospiri, la nostra casetta" from Tosca, and the final moments of "Vogliatemi bene" from Act 1 of Madama Butterfly. All recordings were taken from a 1970 joint recital in Lexington, Kentucky. Listen to Ms. Niska sing "Oh! quand je dors" (Liszt), "Le manoir de Rosemonde" (Duparc) and "Depuis le jour" (from Charpentier's Louise) and Joasquín Rodrigo's Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios (1. "¿Con qué la lavaré?"/2. "Vos me matásteis"/3. "¿De dónde venís, amore?"/4. "De los álamos vengo, madre") after the jump.