Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Global Updates On Opera Events Taking Place In The Desert

"The Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman, will launch its new season September 18th with a variety of performances from Oman and the Gulf, as well as from Arab and foreign countries. This season's performances will feature five operas including Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi and Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini as well as the Cologne Opera presenting My Fair Lady. The new season will include several Omani performances such as Omani Women's Day celebrations with Egyptian singer Angham as well as an Omani military musical performance, said Issam al-Mallah, programmes and events advisor to the Opera's board of directors. The Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra will be accompanying the Lebanese oud player and musician Marcel Khalife in concert and the Egyptian musician Omar Khairat in another concert. Lovers of Arabic melodies and music will have a chance to see Gulf singer Hussein al-Jasmi perform and Egyptian singer Amal Maher in an evening performance of Kulthumiyat, during which she will present the best of Umm Kulthum's songs. 'Every year, we pay attention to cater our performances to the taste of our Omani audience and those living in the sultanate as we have foreigners living with us from 90 Arab and foreign countries with their own preferences and cultures, so we aim for diversity and uniqueness in our performances,' said Nasser al-Taie, adviser on education and outreach to the board of directors. 'Our goal is for our performances to have cultural and humanitarian dimensions, carrying messages of peace, tolerance and love, and focusing on cultural immersion and human communication amongst nations through art and music as a global language,' he added." [Source]

The Barber was at the Bayley last weekend and all was well as professional opera returned to Las Vegas in this hilarious production from Opera Las Vegas that was even funnier than the famous Bugs Bunny spoof. This production of The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) by Gioachino Rossini (sung in Italian with English supertitles) was surprisingly traditional when one remembers Opera Las Vegas’ innovative stagings of Pagliacci in 2007 and Tosca in 2012, but the simple, yet attractive set design worked well for this beloved comedy because it kept the focus on director Henry Price’s cartoonlike buffoonery. Opera Las Vegas Artistic Director and conductor Gregory Buchalter, who is also maestro di banda with the Metropolitan Opera, made a dashing figure as he led the Opera Las Vegas orchestra in a vivacious performance of the world’s most famous opera overture. He continued with a confident hand throughout the performance, ably supported by the production’s outstanding musicians and singers. The light as panna cotta plot of the opera revolves around the attempt by dashing Count Almaviva to whisk away the innocent young Rosina from the clutches of her lecherous guardian Don Bartolo with the assistance of Seville’s resident yenta, the barber Figaro. The story is straight out of Italian commedia dell’arte. Baritone Daniel Sutin, who sang the leading role of Wozzeck at the Met this season made his role debut as the famous Barber in this production. The cheese has fallen on the macaroni of his Figaro and he sang the role with infectious good humor in 'Largo al factotum della citta,' ('Make way for the factotum of the city'). His portrayal was role-defining. Robert McPherson made a dreamily romantic tenor in the role of Count Almaviva. Of course, the more heartfelt he was, the more comical the results. The scene where he accompanies Rosina on the harpsichord for her music lesson had the audience in stitches with laughter. Mezzo-soprano Renee Tatum, who spent the 2013-14 season with the Metropolitan Opera, made her role debut as this production’s lovely Rosina. She was an appropriately fiery romantic heroine and her comic expressions had the emotional range of a Meryl Streep. She gave the impression that she was controlling the emotions of all the men in the opera." [Source]

It’s year five of the Israeli Opera Festival at Masada, and while not all of the expected tens of thousands of audience members expected over the course of four performances will actually make it up to the top of the mountain for a visit prior to the overture, they’ll still experience the proximity of history. 'People want to feel the aura of the mountain,' said Eitan Campbell, general manager of Masada National Park. Still, this is a massive undertaking. The production team began working in early spring, taking two full months to clear a 50,000-square-meter (538,195 square feet) stretch of desert, then building stairs, hauling machinery, creating safety supports, and setting up tents, lighting and toilets. Once the stage was ready, they trucked in the set designed in Tel Aviv, which this year includes a massive video-screen backdrop and partial reproductions of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, as well as LED-lit chandelier skirts and 12 red couches that flip over and double as planters. After all, this is La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi’s hugely popular opera about a French courtesan and her lover, and the complications and misunderstandings in their relationship." [Source] Click here for full cast listing.

"The main contractor of the Dubai Opera House, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), has said it has begun work on the Dubai Opera House project. CCC is the main contractor on the project, having previously worked with the developer as part of a consortium on Dubai Mall. The 2,000-capacity venue will be situated in the shadow of the Burk Khalifa, in Dubai’s Downtown district. It will be used for opera, theatre, concerts, art exhibitions, orchestra, film, sports events and seasonal programmes and is being developed by Emaar, which has said it will be the centerpiece of a new district to promote the arts, culture and events scene in Dubai. 'It’s a really challenging but exciting project, as it is in a really prime location, and we’re moving in the right direction. The work has already begun and the concrete works will happen soon,' said Nazih Abdul Kader, executive VP of operations at CCC. 'I think the proper form of the opera house will begin to become apparent in 12 months, and it will be finished in around 24 months.' Kader also predicted that a number of infrastructure projects will soon begin in Dubai, much of which will be linked to the 2020 World Expo. 'I think Dubai is approaching another boom. The 2020 event will bring a renewed infrastructure market as it builds out towards Jebel Ali, for example – Dubai is going to become a bigger place.'" [Source]

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