Friday, August 30, 2013

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Remembers Richard Tucker

The Supreme Court Justice in 1953.
"A tribute to the late, great American tenor Richard Tucker was well under way at the Juilliard School on Wednesday when the panelists, led by soprano Renée Fleming, stopped for a moment. Making a late entrance to the stage was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose flight had been delayed due to a rainstorm. 'I really have no expertise to be on this stage,' said the justice, once she had settled, 'but because of my age, I attended many performances.' When Ms. Fleming asked of her first memory of Tucker onstage, Ms. Ginsburg recalled the exact date and performance. It was Verdi's La forza del destino, at the old Metropolitan Opera House, located on Broadway between 39th and 40th streets, on March 4, 1960, which was also memorable because it was the night that another Met star, the baritone Leonard Warren, died. After that, Ms. Ginsburg saw many more Tucker performances. 'It's hard to think of a Verdi role I didn't see Richard Tucker in,' she said." [Source] Click here to also read the The New York Times coverage of the event.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Renée Fleming "Guilty Pleasures" Full Track List Revealed

"Guilty Pleasures is an album of sheer indulgence: the beautiful voice of Renée Fleming in a new and very personal selection of songs and arias featuring a feast of music, much of which we might never hear her sing on stage. For our pleasure she has chosen to record many famous arias from roles which are not normally associated with her repertoire: romantic highlights from operas by Dvorak, Smetana and Tchaikovsky among many others." [Source] View the full track list after the jump.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chinese Soprano Song Zuying Promoted To Leadership Position

"Song Zuying, the most famous soprano in China, was promoted to become the new leader of the Song and Dance Troupe of China's Naval Political Department in early August for her outstanding performance serving as the deputy leader of the troupe....In recent years, Song has visited Europe, Australia, United States, Canada and Southeast Asia as part of Chinese art delegations. During the World Cup held in South Korea in 2002, Song was invited to represent China in a large -scale vocal concert. In December 2002, as the cultural ambassador for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia, she held a concert in Sydney. In November 2003, she held a concert in the Golden Hall in Vienna. In 2006, her album The Diva Goes to the Movies: A Centennial Celebration of Chinese Film Song was nominated for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in the category of Best Classical Crossover Album. Song also performed a duet with tenor Plácido Domingo at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing. She also performs regularly on the Chinese Spring Festival Gala. In 2009, in addition to her own song, she sang a duet with Jay Chou. On May 1, 2010, the day following the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Expo 2010, Song joined tenor Andrea Bocelli, singer Jay Chou, and concert pianist Lang Lang in a concert titled Charming China at Shanghai Stadium, in front of an audience of 80,000 people. On June 5, 2012, Song once again performed with Bocelli, Yu Long and Lang Lang in the East Meets West concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. On February 9, 2013, Chinese New Year's Eve, Song Zuying sang the traditional Chinese song Jasmine Flower as a duet with Canadian pop star Celine Dion at the CCTV New Year's Gala." [Source] Watch performances of the soprano after the jump.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Second Annual Richard Tucker Day Good News For Reuben Lovers

"Throughout the day, Junior's restaurant - a Brooklyn institution for more than 60 years - will offer an off-menu special sandwich, "The Richard Tucker Reuben," in a nod to the American tenor's given name, Rubin. The sandwich, a variation on the traditional Reuben, includes both pastrami and corned beef, which were two of Richard Tucker's favorite deli meats. Junior's is located at 386 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn." [Source]

Check out highlights of the festivities and opera stars performing for Richard Tucker Day, after the jump.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Azerbaiyán Declares Montserrat Caballé Persona Non Grata

"Las autoridades de Azerbaiyán han incluido a la soprano española Montserrat Caballé en una lista negra de personas 'non grata' por haber visitado la disputada región de Nagorno Karabaj, dijo a Efe un portavoz del Ministerio de Exteriores azerí. El portavoz Elmán Abduláyev señaló que la cantante es una de las 335 personalidades extranjeras que aparecen en la lista, que hoy publicó el Ministerio, y que incluye a políticos y artistas que han estado en el enclave separatista armenio cuya soberanía enfrenta desde 1988 a Azerbaiyán con la vecina Armenia. En la lista figuran, además de Caballé, otros artistas como el cantante italiano Al Bano. Entre los políticos y diplomáticos aparecen el antiguo representante especial de la UE para el Cáucaso Sur, Peter Semneby, o la exvicepresidenta de la Cámara de los Lores británica Caroline Cox. Montserrat Caballé, embajadora de buena voluntad de la Unesco, visitó el pasado junio los territorios de Nagorno Karabaj, que Bakú considera 'ilegalmente ocupados' por las tropas armenias. Caballé, que cumplió recientemente 80 años, fue recibida oficialmente en la capital regional, Stepanakert, por Bako Saakián, dirigente armenio del enclave." [Source]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Veronika Dzhioeva Has A Voice With Bountiful Bloom

The Russian soprano Veronika Dzhioeva displays a healthy sound of great beauty in the unexpected repertoire of "Im Abendrot" from Vier Letzte Lieder of Richard Strauss. A former prize-winner in the Maria Callas International Competition, she is a regular soloist at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, and Novosibirsk State Opera. Read more about the singer here and watch a few more videos after the jump of Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi arias.

Countertenor David Daniels Engaged To Conductor Scott Walters

The happy couple seen here enjoying Glüwein last December in front of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. Congratulations to them both. David Daniels is currently performing in Theodore Morrison's opera Oscar at
the Santa Fe Opera. Read more about the performances here. (Photo: Facebook)

Anti-Gay Laws In Russia Prompt Anna Netrebko Statement On FB

(Photo: Kristian Schuller/DG)
"As an artist, it is my great joy to collaborate with all of my wonderful colleagues—regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I have never and will never discriminate against anyone." -Anna Netrebko


Keeping Up With Kathleen Kim In Korean Interview

Mezzo-Soprano Regina Resnik (1922-2013) In "Granada" Performance

Watch a video clip after the jump of the recently departed mezzo-soprano singing Agustín Lara's "Granada" on the television show The Goldbergs from 1954. Read her full obituary here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Glimpse Joseph Calleja 2013 Festival Performances In Malta

Click on the above image to see a video of performances from the festival in Malta that Joseph Calleja built to bring classical music to larger audiences.

Is Rising Star Director Stefan Herheim MET Opera Bound?

The director in picturesque Salzburg. (Photo: Kerstin Joensson/AP)
"Stefan Herheim started directing operas at age 6, moving puppets around a tiny stage to recordings of his favorite works. No surprise then that the man known today for the intellectual rigor of his productions also infuses them with a sense of childlike wonder. Herheim's father played viola in the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, and as a youngster he often attended performances and then re-enacted what he had seen. 'It was my need to be God and have my own opera house and conquer this world of my own,' Herheim said in an interview a day before his latest production — Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg — opened at the Salzburg Festival on Friday night. (It plays five more times through Aug. 27.) Conquer this world he has, at the age of 43, and though he doesn't have his own opera house, he works regularly at Europe's best. And now he's coming to the U.S. as well: Peter Gelb, who runs the Metropolitan Opera, was in the audience for the Meistersinger opening and afterward made preliminary arrangements to bring it to the Met in a future season. Herheim got his musical training playing cello, then spent time as a production assistant at the Oslo opera and even ran a touring marionette troupe. In his 20s, he moved to Hamburg, Germany, to study opera production with the legendary Goetz Friedrich." [Source]

Danielle De Niese Gives Glyndebourne "Don Pasquale" Tour

Danielle de Niese stars in Donizetti's Don Pasquale at the Glyndebourne Festival this season. Watch a backstage video tour of the final rehearsal after the jump. Click here to read an article in The Guardian where Miss de Niese "...reveals how she became one of the world's most sought-after sopranos."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sondra Radvanovsky Talks Norma Role At Festival Castell de Peralada

Click on the above photo to watch the press conference and an excerpt of "Casta Diva" is after the jump.

Anna Netrebko Presents More Verdi In New English DG Trailer

As a follow-up to the previous post about the Verdi album due out this August, Deutsche Grammophon has released a new video EPK with the soprano explaining her approach to the composer and how she likes the music to be sung. Plenty of screen caps and the video can be found after the jump.

Talented (And Adorable) Nick Phan Talks About Gay Britten

(Photo: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times)
"Grecchinois, the name of Nicholas Phan’s engaging blog, reflects the Greek and Chinese heritage of this 34-year-old American tenor, who has fast made a name for himself as an expressive interpreter of the British composer Benjamin Britten. Raised Greek Orthodox in Ann Arbor, Mich., Mr. Phan, who initially studied the violin and played in a youth orchestra, discovered Britten when he played his 'Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.' In college, as a gay man, he became fascinated with the relationship between Britten and the tenor Peter Pears, who lived together at a time when homosexual acts were illegal in Britain. He cites an experience performing Britten in a recital at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., around early 2006 as proof that the music, with its 'beautiful combination of head and heart,' speaks to audiences everywhere." Read the entire article by clicking here.

Thomas Hampson Defends Opera on BBC News HARDTalk Program

Interviewer Sarah Montague sets out to skewer Thomas Hampson as if he were the nearest Capulet in a 100 mile radius. As she stretches the boundaries of HARDTalk to border on ATTACK-with-random-surveys-and-loose-facts, she manages to coax the baritone into one of his best roles to date: extraordinarily intelligent wordsmith. Here we have a opera singer who has not only a complete mastery of the English language, but knows how to calmly engage in oral debate. He seems a bit surprised at some of the questions (or perhaps it was just the tone of the delivery he was reacting to....), so it seems he wasn't warned in advance to prepare talking points.