Thursday, May 31, 2012

Resident Artists of Opera San Jose Strike a Glamorous Pose

Click the image to see a larger version. Read more about the young singers here.

This Isn't Bach's "Magnificat" By Any Stretch of the Imagination

"After a difficult day, Paolo rushed from the American offices in Torino, climbing up the hills to Montgenevre just over the French border. Phone dead, car stopping and starting, navigating road construction, he was going to be late for their anniversary dinner at their Palazzo." What is being sold? John Saint-Denis candles. The music is "Magnificat" by Mina (and if you're looking for that Bach, watch "Et exultavit" from the Magnificat here). The star of the commercial is Peter Calandra. This isn't the first time he has sold household necessities. Check out his ad for Johnathon Abrielle sheets after the jump.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Justin Bieber Performs on Top of the Opera House in Oslo, Norway

"The pop star responded to the mass chaos in Oslo, requesting that his fans 'please listen' to law enforcement officers. Bieber fever has reached epic proportions in Norway. Oslo police reportedly are on the verge of declaring a state of emergency after tens of thousands of Justin Bieber fans turned out for the singer’s appearance at the city’s famed opera house. Bieber is scheduled to perform four new songs during the show, which is being filmed as part of his Around the World TV special. TMZ reports that police have lost control of the massive crowd and have asked the pop star to take the stage early in an attempt to control the chaos. Bieber is said to be currently waiting in a secret location before he is helicoptered to the stage. Bieber pleaded with his fans on Twitter, writing, 'NORWAY – please listen to the police. I don’t want anyone getting hurt. I want everything to go to plan but your safety must come first.'" [Source] Watch a video clip after the jump.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Anita Cerquetti

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, May 26, 2012

Santa Fe Opera Makes Vogue Magazine's "30 Days of Summer"

"On the desert’s most enchanting stage, the Santa Fe Opera’s 2012 season kicks off with Puccini’s Tosca, which hasn’t been performed in the open-air theater–against the backdrop of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains—in eighteen years." [Source]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Summer Release to Include Renée Fleming's Greatest Hits

The Art of Renée Fleming
Bellini: Casta Diva (from Norma)
Bernstein: Somewhere (from West Side Story) with Placido Domingo (tenor)
Catalani: Ebben? Ne andrò lontana (from La Wally)
Cilea: Io son l'umile ancella (from Adriana Lecouvreur)
Dvorak: Mesícku na nebi hlubokém 'Song to the Moon' (from Rusalka)
Gershwin: Summertime (from Porgy and Bess)
Gounod: Ah! Je veux vivre dans ce rêve (from Roméo et Juliette)
Gounod: Ave Maria
Handel: Ombra mai fu (from Serse)
Korngold: Glück, das mir verbleib 'Marietta's Lied' (from Die Tote Stadt)
Puccini: Vissi d'arte (from Tosca)
Puccini: Un bel di vedremo (from Madama Butterfly)
Puccini: O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi)
Schubert: Ave Maria, D839
Bonus tracks:
15. Wheels of a Dream [with Bryn Terfel]
16. Amazing Grace
17. Rodgers - Carousel / You’ll Never Walk Alone
18. Hallelujah – [new cut]

Release dates: USA - June 12 / UK - June 4 / Japan - June 20

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mariella Devia Sings Guilietta's Aria "Oh! Quante Volte" by Bellini

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Cristina Deutekom

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, May 19, 2012

Whoopi Goldberg "GLEE" Role Mixes Master Class and Leontyne Price

Whoopi Goldberg joined the cast of Fox's Glee for three episodes in May. The Academy Award-winning actress plays the character of Carmen Tibideaux, a theater veteran and professor at The New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts that Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) have applied to and must audition for entrance. "Carmen is the Dean of
The original turban diva: Ms. Price
Vocal Performance and Song Interpretation at NYADA and is an extremely accomplished performer and singer. She is generally considered to be admonishing and strict, but kind enough and very open to new students and ideas. Carmen makes her appearance being escorted into the hall by Will Schuester to oversee the auditions of Kurt and Rachel. Backstage, both Rachel and Kurt show extreme anxiety over the knowledge of their NYADA educator as she is revealed to be one of NYADA's most infamous alumni, a profound Broadway and opera performed and the recently appointed Dean of Vocal Performance and Song Interpretation travelling around the country to handpick the students for her own inaugural class." It is obvious from her name (a strange
Leontyne Price with Oscar de la Renta
cross between Bizet's opera Carmen and an real life opera-loving pianist Jean Yves-Thibaudet) to her signature turbans (made popular by soprano Leontyne Price), that her character is meant to invoke memories of Terrance McNally's play Master Class which re-tells the story of Maria Callas at Juilliard in the early 1970s. Although not quite on that level of grandiosity (the role was played by the likes of Zoe Caldwell, Faye Dunaway, Patti Lupone, and most recently, Tyne Daly), Ms. Goldberg does a fine job of portraying a diva with an elevated sense of importance bestowing her wisdom of the human voice and its production. Continue watching for more of her fine character through the end of May. [Source, Source] A few more images of Leontyne Price in turban, after the jump.

Remembering Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (May 28, 1925 - May 18, 2012)

Click on the above photo for a wonderful profile by The New York Times.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daphne Guinness Discusses Her Love (and Hate) of Opera

PETER BRANT II: I’m musically challenged. I love music, but I can’t play . . . When I was little, I wanted to be a child prodigy, but I was awful at the piano.
DAPHNE GUINNESS: I had an accident with my right hand, so I stopped playing. It had to do with a lawn mower. Can you imagine? I’ve still got scars. I’m almost ambidextrous as well. So I’ve always had this kind of left hand-right hand problem anyway, but my writing on this hand is almost calligraphical now. I don’t know why, because I didn’t ever learn it. My hands kind of work separately. But singing was always very, very, very easy for me. I know in the last few months it doesn’t look like I’m afraid of putting myself out there, but I also have terrible nerves. I don’t think I’m going to be performing any time soon, but I might join a choir.
DAPHNE GUINNESS: Yeah. It would be kind of fun. I always wanted to join the choir up in Harlem. They really know how to sing! That’s really great. I like certain operas. I’m not very keen on Puccini. If I have to see another La Bohème, I’m going to shoot myself. I mean, really. There are certain ones I love like the Ring [cycle], and I love Tristan und Isolde. I love Parsifal. I love Il Trovatore. I love all the Mozart operas. The Magic Flute bothers me because I just don’t like it when there’s no recitative. They start talking in the middle. I don’t like musicals for the same reason. Because when someone suddenly bursts into song in the middle of a sentence, you just think, That’s weird. But I like it when the whole thing is sung.
PETER BRANT II: I love The Marriage of Figaro.
DAPHNE GUINNESS: I can sing that from beginning to end And the Overture . . .

After the jump, an excerpt of Ms. Guinness singing "L'ho perduta, me meschina" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro[Source]

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Suze van Grootel

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, May 11, 2012

Christine Brewer to Sing at Classical Action Fundraiser in NYC

Michael Palm was a most generous and enthusiastic supporter of Classical Action. He was also, more than anyone, the person who spearheaded the concept of private benefit house concerts, hosting several of them himself at his penthouse apartment 37 floors above Lincoln Center. A supporter of a wide range of performing arts and HIV/AIDS organizations, Michael died in 1998, but his memory will thrive in the spirit and name of The Michael Palm Series, to benefit Classical Action.

Michael Palm Series 2011-2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Christine Brewer, soprano
Craig Rutenberg, Piano
New York City

The events begin with wine and hors d'oeuvres at 6:30pm. Concerts begin at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Get a Taste of Damon Albarn's English Opera "Dr. Dee"

More about the work can be found here and another video featuring the composer discussing the work can be found here.

Maestri Barenboim and Muti to Perform For Concerts With Pope

"Riccardo Muti will be conducting a concert in the Vatican in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. He's the second big-name maestro to be conducting for the pope this spring. La Scala opera house announced last week that Daniel Barenboim would conduct Beethoven's Ninth symphony when the pope visits Milan on June 1. According to a statement on his Web site Sunday, Muti will lead Rome's Teatro dell'Opera in selections from Vivaldi and Verdi in the May 11 concert, which is being offered to the pope by Italy's president in honor of the seventh anniversary of his election to the pontificate. Benedict is a classical music aficionado and himself plays the piano. It's not the first time Muti will conduct for a pope: He conducted selections of Verdi in 1983 when Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to attend a performance at La Scala. Muti left La Scala in 2005 amid bitter controversy over artistic and programming differences and is currently music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra." [Source]

Was Bianca Jagger Flashing at Barbican "Einstein on the Beach"?

Bianca, seen here at the Théâtre de France,
in a March 1974 photo shoot for Vogue UK.
"Last Friday, the theatre critic Mark Shenton was distracted from a five-hour performance of Philip Glass's opera Einstein on the Beach by a woman in his row taking photographs with a flash. It turned out to be Bianca Jagger. She had been snapping in defiance, Shenton claims, of complaints from those around her. Jagger has since said that others were taking pictures, too, adding that Shenton insulted and assaulted her. (He denies the latter, but admits the former with some pride.) The rules of behaviour in today's theatre audiences certainly seem to have changed. So, in the spirit of public service, and after consultation with Guardian critics, here is a new code of conduct." [Source] Read more details about the evening here.

Future Warning to All Critics Who Want to Become Composers

"Composer Michael Nyman, who wrote the music for Jane Campion’s 1993 film The Piano and is a long-term collaborator with Peter Greenaway, is furious that the Royal Opera House has rebuffed his approaches to stage a work in Covent Garden — and he has threatened to withdraw his tax in protest. Writing about himself in the third person on Facebook, he comments: 'Michael Nyman has just been informed that the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, will never commission an opera and will therefore spend whatever remains of his creative life without a single note of any of his operas, written or unwritten, represented on the stage of any opera house in the UK, ever. Maybe I should withdraw my tax.' Nyman, whose operas include The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, now lives in Mexico City. He laments: 'They are continuing to pay for new work, but not my work. Maybe they remember when I was a music critic in 1971, there was a laughable production of Rigoletto, which my companion and I laughed at throughout, and John Higgins, arts editor of the Financial Times, complained about ‘two badly behaved people in the Spectator seats’. Enough to kill a career as a composer, I guess.' Over to the Royal Opera House: 'Michael Nyman came to ROH with the proposition for a major operatic piece. Having given serious thought to his suggestion, and listened again to his operatic music in depth, we have decided that for us his musical language is not what we want to pursue in our next commissions. This is not a dismissal of Michael Nyman as a composer in general, nor a statement about the quality of his music, as such things can, of course, not be discussed objectively. In the end, it is a question of taste.'" [Source]

Maurice Sendak, Dead at 83, Remembered For His Work in Opera

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lyric Opera of Chicago Young Artists Leave Crowd Wanting More

Joseph Lim, Tracy Cantin and Kiri Deonarine in Act 2
from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro" (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)
"There can be no higher praise for a concert performance of an isolated opera scene than that it leaves you disappointed not to be hearing the remaining two acts. Such was the case Monday night at Symphony Center, when the Civic Orchestra collaborated with Lyric Opera music director Sir Andrew Davis and singers from the Lyric’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center in a pair of Mozart and Puccini scenes. And while the final act of La boheme had its moments, it was Act 2 of Le nozze di Figaro that was the clear highlight of the evening, and left one wanting more. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that so stellar was the vocalism and spirited portrayals of the principals that any regional American opera house would be lucky to field this group of gifted young singers for their next Figaro production." [Source]

Sierra Casady, of CocoRosie, Has a Classical Background in Opera

"CocoRosie is a musical group formed in 2003 by sisters Bianca 'Coco' and Sierra 'Rosie' Casady. The sisters were born and raised in the United States, but formed the band in Paris after meeting for the first time in years. Their music has been called "freak folk", and incorporates elements of pop, blues, opera, electronica, and hip hop. CocoRosie began as a duo, with Sierra singing, playing the guitar, piano and harp, and Bianca singing and manipulating various children's toys, electronic and percussion instruments, as well as other exotic noisemakers. They subsequently added various backing musicians, usually a bassist, keyboardist, and beatboxer. They have been a very active touring group, playing across Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. They have released four full-length albums: La maison de mon rêve (2004), Noah's Ark (2005), The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn (2007), and Grey Oceans (2010). Sierra Casady was born in Iowa, and Bianca was born in Hawaii. When Sierra was about 5 years old and Bianca 3, their parents separated. The girls lived with their mother, Christina Chalmers, an artist and singer of American Indian and Syrian ancestry who grew up in Iowa. They moved to new towns almost every year, living in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. Because their mother believed that the girls would learn more doing art in the 'real world' than in school, neither sister finished high school. Chalmers nicknamed her daughters 'Rosie' (Sierra) and 'Coco' (Bianca), from which the musical act takes its name. The Casady sisters are now estranged from their father, an Iowa farmer who became interested in American Indian religion. As children, the sisters spent summers with him, while he visited Indian reservations and took part in vision quests. The girls did not enjoy these experiences at the time, but later came to appreciate some of the things that interested him. In 1998, at about age 18, Sierra moved to New York City. Two years later, she moved into a tiny apartment in the Montmartre district in Paris, France, to pursue a career as an opera singer, studying at the Conservatoire de Paris." [Source]

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Margherita Carosio

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.