Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jason Forbach Studied Opera Before Turning to Broadway Career

"Jason Forbach has always had music in his heart. As a child, he enjoyed listening to music with his headphones and singing along. As he grew, he knew that music was the passion he wanted to pursue. He studied Opera at the New England Conservatory and thought that was the musical path he would take. Later, Jason headed to New York City and tried his hand at musical theatre. It wasn’t long after arriving in NYC that Jason got his first big break and later a new opportunity to perform in Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas. After 3 years in Vegas, Jason returned to NYC and landed a role in the U.S. Touring Production of Les Misérable. As Jason continues his role as Enjolras, he sees it as a chance to give back and share the music he loves so much. Jason is in San Francisco for 7 weeks while Les Misérable plays at the Orpheum, I had a chance to speak with him and have him share his interests, talents and passion." Read the interview here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jane Eaglen Passes On Her Wagner Know-How To Young Singers

Soprano Jane Eaglen with young artist Kirsten Hart
"Who knows where the next great Brunhilde may come from? You might want to keep a sharp eye on Kirsten Hart, a Portland-based singer who is one of twelve singers selected for Wagner Intensive, a unique (July 18-28) institute that Jane Eaglen and Tim Mussard co-direct at Baldwin Wallace University for up-and-coming Wagnierian singers. Hart is one of those young singers who has been flying under the radar. With a Bachelors in music from Pacific University and an Masters of Music from Portland State University, Hart has spent the last few years singing with the Portland Opera Chorus. But now she might be onto something really big." Read the interview here.

Russian-American Artist, Elizaveta, Defines Electro-Pop-Opera Sound

Glamour: You combine classical, electronic, and opera so beautifully. What inspired you to mix all the styles of music?
Elizaveta: First of all thank you! Secondly, I think I have a gift for mixing and matching things that would not at first glance--or listen--go together. It applies to my fashion choices, as well. I have a classical background, but I was always in love with good pop. Along came rock, jazz, soul, electronica, and I absorbed all those and I guess my creative output these days mirrors that. As long as the emotion is there and the song is good, I use all the colors in my palette to make the magic happen.
Glamour: What's on your playlist right now?
Jamie Lidell, Selah Sue, Groove Armada, Peter Gabriel, New Order, Frank Ocean, Verdi, Mumiy Troll, Cinematic Orchestra, and Nina Hagen. [Source]

Lesley Garrett Surprises Cyclists With Operatic Rendition of Anthem

"Cycling champ Bradley Wiggins was in visible pain last night – as opera diva Lesley Garrett blasted Paris with the national anthem. Wiggins stood high on the winner’s podium as the classical singer warbled a particularly grating version of 'God Save The Queen.' The 32-year-old cyclist and Mod fan was handed the winner's trophy bowl then, with a pained expression, listened to Garrett, who was clad in a Union Jack dress. Teammate Chris Froome and Italian Vicenzo Nibali, who finished the Tour de France second and third respectively, looked on expressionless." [Source] See an image of Lesley Garrett singing, after the jump.

Domingo, Terfel and Fleming Bring Olympic Spirit to London Opening

Opera singer Renee Fleming performs
"Vissi d'Arte" on stage during the Opening
Ceremony of the 124th IOC Session, prior

to the start of the London 2012
Olympic Games at The Royal Opera House
on July 23, 2012 in London, England.
"It's not often that Placido Domingo is upstaged at the Royal Opera House. Yet flamboyant London Mayor Boris Johnson managed to pull it off at a star-studded Olympic gala on Monday night. Opera stars Domingo, Renee Fleming and Bryn Terfel were the headline performers at the opening ceremony of the International Olympic Committee session at the famous venue in Covent Garden. But it was Johnson who brought the house down with his bombastic recital — in ancient Greek — of a Pindaric Ode for the London Games. After the Greek version, he paused and said 'which roughly translates as' before reading out the ode in English. It included word plays on the names of Olympic champions, including the 'lighting bolt around the track.' Pindar was an ancient Greek lyric poet famous for his victory odes. Johnson, who studied classics at Oxford, commissioned the poem for the games. It was written by Oxford academic Armand D'Angour and consists of six verses in rhyming couplets. Johnson received a huge round of cheers, applause and whistles from the packed theater, a bigger ovation than that received later for Domingo and Terfel's duet performance of Bellini's final opera and Fleming's Puccini aria." [Source]

Couple Reveals How They Make It Work in the Opera Industry

Opera lovebirds in real-life and onstage: Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello.
"Life can be complicated when you have two soaring opera careers under the same roof. Soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Stephen Costello estimate that in their first two years of marriage, they were together for five months. 'We wonder how opera singers and performers used to be able to function without cell phones and Internet,' Costello said last week at Music Hall. This month, the stars don’t need to gaze into each other’s eyes via Skype. They are performing the leading roles of operatic lovers Violetta and Alfredo in Cincinnati Opera’s La Traviata, Thursday and Saturday in Music Hall, to close the opera season." Read more of the article here. Learn about the Cincinnati Opera production of La Traviata and purchase tickets here.

Minnesota Opera Names New President and General Manager

"The Minnesota Opera today made it official and named interim leader Kevin Ramach (right) the company's new president and general manager. Ramach took the reins at the Opera earlier this year after the abrupt departure of Allan Naplan who resigned in March for personal reasons. Naming Ramach to the job gives the organization a little more certainty as it enters its important 50th anniversary season ion the fall. When asked how he feels about taking on the new permanent job at a time of a rocky economy, he said he's already enjoyed the support of the creative team at the Opera, and knows from experience about the enthusiasm of the Minnesota Opera audience. 'I am more excited actually than nervous,' he said. 'I think there will be tough days and those things we will just get through if we all work together.'" [Source]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Echo Klassik 2012 Awards Renée Fleming and Klaus Floridan Vogt

"Die Sopranistin Renée Fleming und der Tenor Klaus Florian Vogt erhalten den Musikpreis Echo Klassik 2012. Fleming und Vogt werden als Sänger des Jahres geehrt, wie die Deutsche Phono-Akademie mitteilte. Als Dirigent des Jahres wird Riccardo Chailly ausgezeichnet. Unter den Preisträgern ist auch die Geigerin Anne Sophie Mutter. Sie wird für die 'Konzerteinspielung des Jahres, 20./21. Jahrhundert' in der Kategorie Violine ausgezeichnet. Die Verleihung findet am 14. Oktober in Berlin statt." [Source]

Watch Renée Fleming sing "Un bel di" at the Queen's Jubilee:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Anna Netrebko Hometown Receives Aid From Valery Gergiev

"O diretor do Teatro Mariinsky de São Petersburgo, maestro Valery Gergiev, tomou a decisão de doar, aproximadamente, R$ 62 mil, arrecadados durante a última apresentação da casa de espetáculos no domingo, 8, às vitimas de enchentes que atingiram a região de Krasnodar. Neste dia, no âmbito de XX Festival Musical Noites Brancas, no palco subiram a Orquestra Sinfônica sob a direção do maestro, os solistas de ópera Olga Sergueeva e Yuri Vorobiov e o pianista japonês, cego de nascença, Nobuyuki Tsiji. A mesma quantia o Teatro irá transferir ao fundo para as vitimas das enchentes na Kuban, depois do concerto da Anna Netrebko que será realizado no Teatro Mariinsky, no dia 20 de julho. Segundo a representante do Teatro, a solista Anna Netrebko também nasceu em Krasnodar e, para ela, esta atitude representa um gesto de apoio aos seus conterrâneos." [Source]

Young Singers Earn Top Prizes in Vienna Singing Competition

"A South Korean tenor beat out 3,000 other up-and-coming opera talents Sunday to win first prize in the 31st annual International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. The bespectacled Beomjin Kim, 22, soared to the top with his rendition of Italian composer Gabriele [sic] Donizetti's 'Tombe degli avi miei,' pocketing a 7,000-euro ($8,600) cash prize in the contest aimed at pairing up young talent with industry contacts. Fellow South Korean soprano Sang-Ah Yoon won third place, with South African soprano Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi coming in second, at the top voice competition named after a former head of the Vienna Chamber Opera. Following preliminary rounds in 50-some cities across the globe from March to June, the best 138 singers took the stage in Vienna in early July before being whittled down to the top 14 in Sunday's finals. Along with her 3,500-euro second-place prize, Mkhwanazi, 26, won both the audience award and the media prize, each worth 1,500 euros. Sang-Ah Yoon, 24, went home with a 2,500-euro third prize." [Source]

British Beer Takes Aim At Young Demographic With Opera

"SABMiller has launched an opera for its Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand in the UK to help take advantage of increasing demand for world beers. The company's Miller Brands unit in the country said Opera Di Peroni, which opened in London's Regent's Park on Thursday, aims to attract interest in the brand for the summer. The open-air opera will tour London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester over the next two months. 'The performances will appeal to Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s key demographic and reach a new generation of opera fans,' said director of customer marketing at Miller Brands Lucy Jordan. 'The world beer category is growing three times faster than the total lager category, showing that beers like Peroni Nastro Azzurro provide the opportunity to maximise profits.' Peroni is the top-seller in the world beer market in the UK, Jordan said. The opera tour will be supported by a partnership with the Guardian newspaper, which will run advertising for the event."[Source]

From the World of Marvel Comics Comes a Rock Opera

The co-creator of superheroes like Spider-Man, the Hulk and the X-Men is preparing a rock opera that will be presented in Macau. Marvel Comics former president Stan Lee recently revealed to American media that his company, “POW! Entertainment”, where he serves as chairman and chief creative officer, was developing a live rock-opera style theatrical musical called Yin Yang: The Battle of Tao. 'It’s a big live-action musical in which the audience actually plays a role—that’s never been done before. It’s so big we may open it up in a theater in Macau, because there’s no theater in the Western hemisphere big enough to handle this show!'" [Source]

Vancouver Receives Grant For Film About Iraq War Opera

"City Opera Vancouver has received US$100,000 to finance a documentary film about its new chamber opera which explores the tragedy of the Iraq War. The U.S.-based Annenberg Foundation has provided the grant for the film about the making of the opera Fallujah, City Opera announced today. The opera was inspired by the experiences of former U.S. Marine Christian Ellis, who took part in the invasion of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004....City Opera Vancouver is a professional company whose other commissions include the Margaret Atwood opera Pauline and Brokeback Mountain based on the Annie Proulx short story. [Source]

Bats, Beetles and Opera Singers Don't Mix Well For Outdoor Concerts

Opera Holland Park at night (Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen)
"As she settled into the rhythm of her aria, Julia Riley, singing Dorabella in our current production of Cosí fan tutte, felt something scramble on to her hand. With a thousand people hanging on her every word, she glanced down to see a small bat hanging nonchalantly from her wrist. Impressively, she continued as if nothing had happened but a nearby chorus member almost levitated sideways into the arms of fellow chorister squealing 'hold me, hold me!'" Read more about the dangers of performing outdoors at the Opera Holland Park by clicking here.