Saturday, January 31, 2015
"She's come a long way from the small South African town of Piet Retief, where—after first singing in church and at family sing-alongs—she discovered opera as a teenager in a British Airways commercial featuring 'The Flower Duet' from Léo Delibes's Lakmé. 'I heard the music, and somehow my soul knew what it was, but my mind didn't know,' says Yende, sipping her caffe latte at Manhattan's Empire Hotel. 'The following day I asked my high school teacher what it was, and he told me it's called opera. I said, 'Is it humanly possible?' and he said, 'Of course.' I said, 'Well, you need to teach me that.'' Soon her career goal had switched from accountant to opera star—something she couldn't have imagined before the fall of apartheid in South Africa. 'Black people were not allowed to study opera in schools before,' says Yende, who now embraces being a trailblazer in opera circles. 'I had to learn to accept that it will be something I will carry with me all the time, because I can't change the color of
my skin. Seeing that minority inspired me more, because I love a challenge. I hardly enjoy comfort zones because I must find out what's the best in me.' Yende—whose offstage style is much more comfortable than the corsets she sometimes wears in costume—will have to keep on hitting those high notes. 'I'm booked until 2020,' she says, 'so no babies until then!'" [Source] See more of the glamorous photos by Hao Zeng by clicking here.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Although the media chose to air weather reports about the blizzard Juno that never really happened, Deborah Voigt still appeared on The Today Show to discuss her new book, Call Me Debbie. The video of that appearance is now streamed online. Watch it after the jump.
|Deborah Voigt enjoyed music from an early age.|
|As a little girl, the soprano was spinning around the room to the music of My Fair Lady.|
Monday, January 26, 2015
"On Monday, February, 2, 2015 at 10pm ET, VisionTV will celebrate Black History Month with the world premiere broadcast of Songs of Freedom, a new 90-minute film from Rhombus Media’s Barbara Willis Sweete starring the internationally acclaimed Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Every Friday in February at 10pm ET, VisionTV will also broadcast the premieres of 30-minute Songs of Freedom episodes featuring additional footage from Measha’s performances. In Songs of Freedom, Measha performs for the first time, an intensely powerful and spiritual collection of 18 ‘Freedom Songs’, like 'Amazing Grace,' 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot,' 'Go Tell it on the Mountain,' and 'Go Down Moses,' that emerged from Africa via the slave trade to America, then to Canada via the United Empire Loyalist migration and the Underground Railroad. As Measha explores the role music played throughout these turbulent chapters in North American history, she also discovers her roots and embarks on a life-changing
odyssey to meet her ancestors in Cameroon, Africa. There, Measha learns about her tribal heritage, is initiated into their traditions, and uncovers the story of her family’s harrowing journey from Africa to slavery in America, and ultimately to freedom in Maritime Canada, where she and her family live today....Online, VisionTV will support the broadcast with a media rich easy-to-navigate website and mobile interactive songbook application for iPad and iPhone. Both the website www.SongsOfFreedom.ca (coming soon) and the Songs of Freedom App are centered around Measha’s full-length performances of 10 Freedom Songs as seen in the feature film and series. Articles, photos, and archival documents will give further context to the songs and a sing-along feature that generates synchronized lyrics of Measha’s performance will invite the online audience to share in their power. Exclusively for online viewing, four music performances have been recorded live on location in Cameroon, Nova Scotia and Ontario, using a 360° spherical camera. This user-controlled technology allows the audience to watch Measha’s performance from every point of view as if they were actually there standing beside her. The app will be available on iTunes (Search: Songs of Freedom)." [Source] Read more about the program by clicking here.
|Brueggergosman in Cameroon|
|Measha in Cameroon with Bassa tribe elder|
|Purchase the playing cards here.|
Sunday, January 25, 2015
"E il San Carlo finisce quasi in coda alla classifica degli enti lirici. Il massimo dei punti è 150 e li ottiene solo la Scala di Milano. Secondo è il Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, con 136. Sopra quota 100 c’è anche il Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, con 108. Il voto del San Carlo è un ben più misero 27, il Petruzzelli lo supera con 34, mentre due prestigiosi enti, come La Fenice di Venezia e il Regio di Torino prendono ancora di meno, rispettivamente 10 e 18." [Source] More about the Teatro di San Carlo after the jump.
|Hampson receiving honor in Boston |
(Photo: Andrew Hurlbut)
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
|A Rose by Any Other Name: Rosamund Pike in Vanity Fair|
scored for orchestra under the Rosamunde heading. "There are two overtures associated with Rosamunde: The overture used for the stage production was the overture Schubert had originally composed for Alfonso und Estrella, but Schubert thought it less suitable for that opera and in the 1891 publication of the Gesammtausgabe, the ten numbers of the Rosamunde music were preceded by the overture to Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), without any proof it was ever Schubert's intention to associate that overture with the rest of the Rosamunde music" The first vocal version, "Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshöh'n" was published in 1824 as Op. 26, with piano accompaniment. The one vocal version for mixed chorus and orchestra, dated 1863, is written "Andante con moto." Other forms of the incidental music include an entr'acte, ballet, and choruses. Additional uses of the music include an excerpt of the piece incorporated into the Christmas carol "Mille cherubini in coro," a song made popular by Luciano Pavarotti in a 1980 TV Christmas program. The piece is also played in Marvel's film The Avengers in the German opera house scene. [Source, Source] Watch a Vanity Fair video of Rosamund Pike being photographed by Mario Testino, and listen to Elly Ameling singing the vocal version of Schubert's music, after the jump.
|Reclining Rosamund: A scene that could easily be taken straight out of a Schubertiade.|
Monday, January 19, 2015
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day today, which celebrates the birthday of the great civil rights leader, we bring you two performances from the Civil Rights March on Washington that took place at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. This was the occasion for Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech:
|Camilla Williams sings the National Anthem in Washington, D.C., 1963|
|Marian Anderson sings "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" in Washington, D.C., 1963|
Sunday, January 18, 2015
|Hot Ticket: Next up for Palm Beach Opera is a recital by Ildar Abdrazakov, titled "Seduction of the Senses," on February 5, 2015. More details and tickets can be found here. (Photo: Julia Borodina)|
Sophie (Meryl Streep) and Nathan (Kevin Kline) are having an evening of Southern decadence when the scene climaxes with the two characters dancing romantically to "Frühlingsstimmen" of Johann Strauss II. "'Frühlingsstimmen' ('Voices of Spring'), Op. 410, is a waltz by Johann Strauss II, written in 1882, for orchestra and solo soprano voice. Strauss dedicated the work to the pianist and composer Alfred Grünfeld. The famous coloratura soprano Bertha Schwarz (stage name Bianca Bianchi) sang this concert aria at a grand matinée charity performance at the Theater an der Wien in aid of the 'Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth Foundation for Indigent Austro-Hungarian subjects in Leipzig.' The waltz was not a great success at its premiere, but was more successful when performed on Strauss' tour of Russia in 1886. A piano arrangement by the composer contributed much to its success beyond Vienna. Bianca Bianchi was then a famous member of the Vienna Court Opera Theatre and Strauss was sufficiently inspired to compose a new work, a waltz for solo voice, for the acclaimed singer. The result was his world-renowned "Frühlingsstimmen" waltz which celebrated spring and remained one of the classical repertoire's most famous waltzes. The piece is sometimes used as an insertion aria in the act 2 ball scene of Strauss' operetta Die Fledermaus. The waltz makes a grand entry in the key of B-flat major with loud chords preceded with the waltz's three beats to the bar ushering the first waltz's gentle and swirling melody. The second waltz section invokes the joys of spring with the flute imitating birdsong and a pastoral scene. The plaintive and dramatic third section in F minor probably suggests spring showers whereas the fourth section that follows breaks out from the pensive mood with another cheerful melody in A-flat major. Without a coda, the familiar first waltz melody makes a grand entrance before its breathless finish, strong chords and the usual timpani drumroll and warm brass flourish. A performance lasts between seven and nine minutes." [Source] Watch Carlos Kleiber conduct an orchestral and Kathleen Battle sing a vocal version of "Frühlingsstimmen," as well as more information on Sophie's Choice, after the jump.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
|I Am Woman: Deborah Voigt (Photo: Heidi Gutman)|
|A Star is Born: Soprano Sonya Yoncheva Arrives|
Monday, January 12, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
"World-renowned American opera singer Renée Fleming convenes a festival of special guests to celebrate the diverse range of America’s vocal artistry. Young artists receive mentoring from respected singers including Ben Folds, Dianne Reeves, Sutton Foster, Eric Owens, Kim Burrell and Alison Krauss. Also see performances by Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles and Norm Lewis. A documentary about the festival will air on Great Performances on PBS Friday, January 9 at 9/8c." [Source] Watch the complete performance, or just an excerpt of Renée Fleming singing "Danny Boy," after the jump.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
In a scene not for the faint of heart, Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly play step brothers that get beat up by a gang of young kids on the playground. The end of the scene is sophomoric, but underscores the ineptitude of the characters. The music accompanying the scene is the Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. "Step Brothers is a 2008 American buddy slapstick comedy film starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. The screenplay was written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, from a story written by them with Reilly. It was produced by Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow, and directed by McKay. The film was released on July 25, 2008, two years after the same group of men wrote, produced, and starred in another comedy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. 39-year-old Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and 40-year-old Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) are two unemployed, middle-aged, offensive, and self-centered men who still live with (and are reliant on) their parents. They have no intention of moving out or finding jobs and behave childishly. When Brennan's mother Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) and Dale's father Robert (Richard Jenkins) marry, Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other as step brothers." [Source] Watch the movie scene, and listen to Hildegard Behrens singe the complete arias, after the jump.
|Life Is A Stage: The soprano photographed by Sven Arnstein|
|Big Break: Actor James Corden portrays opera singer Paul Potts during his competition experience.|
Today marks the 78th birthday of opera singer Grace Bumbry. See a selection of rare photos after the jump that give a glimpse into her glamorous life and read more extensively about the singer's life by clicking here.
|Before the Obamas: Edward Brooke, seen with his wife |
and two daughters, paved the way for many.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
|The Volpes: Joseph and Jean in Florida|
Diana Damrau's upcoming release for Erato this spring, Fiamma del Belcanto, will feature the soprano in hardcore repertoire of Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi. The Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino is conducted by Gianandrea Noseda in works ranging from Rosmonda d'Inghilterra to Luisa Miller. The result is sure to please fans of the soprano as she mixes both familiar repertoire like "Sempre libera" from La Traviata with new offerings like "Lo Sguardo Avea Degli Angelilo" from I Masnadieri throughout the disc. The international release date is March 27, 2015. Pre-order a copy here. The full track list is after the jump.
Friday, January 2, 2015
|What really stopped the heart of the world-famous diva?|