Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seeing Double in Diva Photos With Similar Background

Donna Friedman Learns Financial Lessons From Opera

"I spent six butt-numbing hours at the movies on Saturday, watching the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast of Gotterdammerung – the last of four operas based on the same Norse mythology that informed Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It had spectacle, pageantry, and a buff-and-bitchin’ Siegfried who turned out to have a down-home Texas accent – it was a very successful day. The only thing better than opera is frugal opera....People don’t usually attend the opera to learn smart money practices. But composer Richard Wagner passed along some decent personal finance lessons in this soaring (and loud!) tale of greed, betrayal, mortal passion, and godly demise. I say you should take personal finance tips wherever you find them, whether they’re from the mouth of a once-was-Valkyrie or a malevolent dwarf played by a regular-sized human. (When it comes to opera, the willing suspension of disbelief is a useful life skill.) [Source] Check out the financial lessons learned at the opera by clicking here.

Which Opera Singer Has the Most Facebook "Fans"?

La Netrebko comes in at a close second behind
Cecilia Bartoli (we've excluded Mr. Bocelli).
"Anna Netrebko knackte kürzlich die 75.000 Fan-Marke auf ihrem Facebook-Profil. Ein Anlass für uns einmal die Profile anderer Klassik-Künstler unter die Lupe zu nehmen. Während Anna Netrebko mittlerweile genau genommen schon bei 75.050 Fans angekommen ist, hat ihr Gatte Erwin Schrott gerade einmal 5.347 Likes auf Facebook gesammelt. Andere berühmte Klassik-Stars verweist 'La Netrebko' ebenfalls in ihre Schranken. So müssen sich beispielsweise auch ihr langjähriger Gesangspartner Rolando Villazón (mit knapp 13.800 Fans) und Sopranistin Renée Fleming (mit knapp 17.000 Fans) geschlagen geben. Auch Maestro Daniel Barenboim und Geigern Anne-Sophie Mutter erfreuen sich im Bereich Social Media nicht annähernd ausufernder Beliebtheit. Trotzdem darf bei sämtlicher Euphorie nicht in Vergessenheit geraten, dass es durchaus Glanzlichter gibt, die Anna Netrebkos Beliebtheit auf Facebook noch weitaus überstrahlen. So verzeichnet der italienische Tenor Andrea Bocelli z.B. mehr als 550.000 (!) Likes und auch Mezzosopranistin Cecilia Bartoli überholt sie knapp mit fast 79.300 Fans." [Source]

Luca Pisaroni Interviews David Daniels in Chicago

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LOC Will Feature Hovering Harpsichord in "Rinaldo" This Month

David Daniels in the tile role of Rinaldo
(Photo: Terrence Antonio James/ Chicago Tribune)
"An opera that released a flock of sparrows over the heads of astonished London theatergoers 300 years ago is about to have its first full staging at Lyric Opera of Chicago. There won't be any live birds set loose in the Ardis Krainik Theatre, but there will be songbirds of another sort, amid a roster of mostly newcomers, with David Daniels, today's foremost countertenor, as the eponymous hero of Handel's Rinaldo. The new production that opens Wednesday night at the Civic Opera House marks a Chicago reunion for Daniels, conductor Harry Bicket and stage director Francisco Negrin, all of whom made their Lyric debuts in another Handel opera, Partenope, in 2003. Last season here, Daniels and Bicket collaborated in a successful new production of Handel's Hercules. An Italian opera by a German composer written for an English audience, Rinaldo was the young Handel's first work written specifically for the London stage, and his first operatic triumph, receiving more performances during his lifetime than any of his 42 operas. Much of that success had to do with the high level of singing (the cast included

Monday, February 27, 2012

Juilliard Forges Partnership with EMI Classics for iTunes

More information after the jump.

Daniela Fally Sings Zerbinetta's "Großmächtige Prinzessin"

New Releases: Gruberova, Mields, Piau and Thielemann

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Doris Soffel

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.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside: -30 Degree Music Festival in Sweden

Soprano Avemo sings to keep warm at Vinterfest
"As concert venues go, this one is perfect – a barn-like structure, whose pine timbers emit a fragrance not unlike that of a sauna, whose long glass windows look out across oxon-red wooden Swedish farmsteads and the frozen expanse of Lake Orsasjön. The Vattnäs Konsertlada is the labour of love of local girl, the international opera singer Pers Anna Larsson, and is being used at Sweden's by now best-known music festival, Vinterfest, for the first time. Guests are streaming into the barn, stepping on pine branches strewn across the entrance to stop them sliding on the ice. Meanwhile the artists for the lunchtime concert whose eclectic offerings range from Ophelia's madness scene from Ambroise Thomas' 1868 Hamlet, to Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major have taken pre-concert refuge down the road in this hamlet in central Sweden at the house of local silversmith Bernd Janusch who has given them use of his artist's studio, his bedroom and the baby grand in his living room, to warm up. Kerstin Avemo, the Swedish soprano probably best known for her portrayal of Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Gothenburg Opera last year, about which critics raved, is the first to arrive in the Konsertlada, in a car whose winter tires grip the icy sloped road between Janusch's cosy [sic] blue and white bungalow and the barn. If she possessed any diva-like qualities she has been forced to leave them at the door along with her fur-trimmed winter coat and knee-high snow boots which she replaces with a pair of dainty pale pink heels, sniggering along with the audience as she slips them on before taking up her position on the stage." [Source]

From One Hamburger to Another: Lagerfeld Advises Merkel

The potential fashion offense in Oslo.
"Top designer Karl Lagerfeld has offered German Chancellor Angela Merkel fashion advice, recommending she wear better-designed legwear -- and unbutton her jacket. Merkel, whose typical outfit can be a single-coloured trousers and jackets got the benefit of the German-born designer's knowledge in the pages of Saturday's Focus news magazine. The 57-year-old German leader has been mocked by some critics as a mousy bumpkin from the former East Germany, but she made headlines when she revealed a plunging neckline during an opera performance in Oslo in 2008. 'Overall her dress code is okay but the cut should be more precise,' Paris-based Lagerfeld told Focus. 'And she should wear her jackets open over a blouse with better cut trousers.' Lagerfeld, who like Merkel was born in the northern port city of Hamburg, argued that this would allow her to 'move with more ease.'" [Source]

Deborah Voigt Gives Weight Advice to Young Singers

Light as air: The soprano in México
(Photo: Jorge Serratos/Universal)
"Al ser cuestionada sobre la tendencia de la ópera de privilegiar la imagen sobre la música, Deborah Voigt advirtió: 'Los días en que podía haber una voz espectacular pero sin atractivo físico han pasado; ahora que enseño a alumnos les digo que deben prepararse en todos los aspectos e ir al gimnasio. Esto lo sé ahora porque en los últimos años he vivido una transformación que me ha permitido tener otros papeles. La ópera es, hasta cierto punto, un negocio, si un día aparece una voz milagrosa con un empaque poco agraciado seguirá siendo espectacular pero le costará más trabajo estar en este mundo.'" [Source]

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dmitri Nabokov, Son of "Lolita" Author, Dies at 77

"Dmitri Nabokov, the only child of acclaimed novelist Vladimir Nabokov who helped protect and translate his father's work while also pursuing careers as an opera singer and race car driver, has died. He was 77. Dmitri Nabokov, who helped protect and translate his father’s works, also pursued his own careers as a race car driver and opera singer. He also was a mountain climber and a playboy. The younger Nabokov died Wednesday at a hospital in Vevey after a long illness, literary agent Andrew Wylie said Friday. He had been hospitalized in January with a lung infection. Dmitri Nabokov spent much of his life trying to carve a life away from the shadow of his father, whose books Lolita and Pale Fire are regarded as some of the best English prose ever written. The Harvard-educated son was a mountain climber, opera singer, race car driver and playboy. But Dmitri Nabokov always returned to protecting his father's literary legacy, translating and editing his father's plays, poems, stories, the novella The Enchanter and Selected Letters.....'My father is gradually marching - with his two favorite writers, Pushkin and Joyce - arm in arm into the pantheon to join the greatest of all, Shakespeare, who is waiting for them,' Nabokov told The Associated Press in a 2009 interview. 'I like to think that I did my bit to keep things on track.' After the success of Lolita, Dmitri Nabokov translated his father's Invitation to a Beheading from Russian, and after his father's death, he wrote the memoir On Revisiting Father's Room. In 1962, the younger Nabokov began to race cars competitively and until 1982 he maintained an active professional operatic career as a basso profundo. After the death of his mother in 1991, he sold the remainder of the Nabokov archive to the New York Public Library and attended conferences dedicated to his father." [Source]

Palm Beach Opera to Make Major Seasonal Changes in 2013

Nicole Cabell as Juliette and Arturo Chacón-Cruz as Roméo star in Palm Beach Opera’s remarkable production of Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. Read the review of the performance by clicking here.
(Photo: Chris Salata/Daily News)
"Palm Beach Opera announced a planned 2013 season Friday night contingent upon closing a deficit and fund-raising that has yet to materialize. The company continues to struggle with an ongoing deficit and reduced contributions from patrons. Next season Palm Beach Opera will move to a festival business model, with a more concentrated season running three months from January through March at the Kravis Center, which they hope will reduce expenses. Further, the company will inaugurate an association with Lynn University and also offer a variety of opera performances throughout Palm Beach County. The season will open in January with Verdi’s La Traviata. Rossini’s La Cenerentola will follow in February with Richard Strauss’s Salome closing the season in March. Casting details are yet to be announced. The company will also mount a fully staged production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw featuring the company’s young artists at Lynn University’s Wold Performing Arts Center in Boca Raton. Other off-site festival events include a free outdoor concert performance of Bizet’s Carmen at the Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach and a gala concert in Palm Beach. Details of the season were announced by company general director Daniel Biaggi at Friday’s opening-night performance of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette at the Kravis Center." [Source]

When in Doubt, Send a Soprano In To Do a Home Depot Job

Gary Karr with his instrument
"Double bass virtuoso Gary Karr has played in all of the world's great concert halls, from La Scala in Italy to the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Albert Hall in London. Karr and pianist Harmon Lewis - his partner in life as well as on stage - have entertained audiences throughout the Middle East, in Russia, Japan, North and South America, Europe and Asia. But their favourite concert hall is the one they created in their three-storey, cliff-side home in Victoria....To create an acoustically superb space, they brought the walls in slightly and angled them so there would be no echo. 'You need to bend walls so there are no parallel surfaces,' said Lewis, who has a doctorate in organ music. They also added mirrors to enhance the lively sound. The storage-room ceiling was unfinished. 'It was a very unfriendly room,' Karr said. To solve the problem, the homeowners created an accordion ceiling and covering it with multi-coloured floor tiles. 'Home Depot didn't have enough of any one colour to do the ceiling and the floor, so we made a rainbow room,' Karr said with a chuckle. Montreal-born soprano Pierrette Simoneau, who formed Opera Piccola in Victoria in 1982, helped choose the tile colours." [Source]

Verdi's "Aida" Hits Royal Albert Hall in London

"'Set amid the ruins of ancient Egypt,' promised the fliers. The impresario Raymond Gubbay has achieved many feats in his 45 years in showbiz but transporting the city of Thebes or the Temple of Vulcan to the Royal Albert Hall is not yet one. But he's had a darned good try in his latest opera-in-the-round blockbuster, Verdi's Aida, directed by Stephen Medcalf and designed by Isabella Bywater, which opened to a packed Royal Albert Hall last Thursday....In the first of three casts the Italianate-sounding American Marc Heller, making his UK operatic debut as Radames, was alone in seeing the point of vowels and consonants. He scaled 'Celeste Aida' with assurance and acted with the right kind of arms-akimbo gestures needed for this space. In the title role of the Ethiopian slave girl, Indra Thomas was sympathetic and looked magnificent but was off form vocally, struggling with top notes throughout. Claire Rutter and Catrin Aur, both strong performers, share the role for remaining performances. Some of the cameo roles were well taken and musical standards otherwise were high." [Source]

A Farewell: Last Performance of Elizabeth Connell (1947-2012)

Elizabeth Connell, 65, of London, a South African-born opera singer who won global acclaim, died Feb. 18 of cancer. She debuted at Ireland's Wexford Festival in 1972 and did both mezzo and dramatic soprano roles. She had a long association with Opera Australia and the English National Opera, and she performed on major stages including the Bayreuth festival in Germany, Metropolitan Opera in New York and La Scala in Milan. [Source] Read more at the New York Times by clicking here.

The Metropolitan Opera 2012-13 Official Season Brochure

Now available online, click here to view the whole season brochure complete with videos of Bartlett Sher, David McVicar, Robert Lepage, David Alden and more, discussing their respective new works. Also included are photos of the performers in costume for their roles next year. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Renée Fleming Talks About the Germination of Her LOC Role

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Elisabeth Söderström

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.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Madonna Pays Homage to the Operatically Scaled "Cleopatra"

Click the above image to launch a scene from the 1963 film featuring opera-friendly Elizabeth Taylor under-dubbed by "Vogue." Check out a comparison image of Madonna from the Super Bowl XVLI on Sunday, after the jump.

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Anna Moffo

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.

Portrait of the Day: Petra Lang

Check out the article posted by Una Voce Poco Fa about the mezzo-soprano Petra Lang. The image below is taken from the article.

"Il Trovatore" at the Wichita Grand Opera Garners Praise

Bulgarian soprano Zvetelina Vassileva
"Manrico, the Troubadour, was played admirably at the last minute by tenor Michael Wade Lee, who had sung the role in the fall with the Lyric Opera in Dublin. The roll [sic] of Lenora was played by Zvetelina Vassileva. Vassileva possesses a voice with great tonal flexibility and she was able to display great tenderness and utter pathos; her coloratura tones were breathtaking. Baritone Michael Nansel’s Count di Luna also displayed a great vocal and emotional power making his character compelling and believable. Suzanne Hendrix powerfully dispatched her role as the most disturbed and disturbing mother since Shakespeare’s Gertrude, mother of Hamlet. The famous Anvil Chorus, gloriously staged, was strongly performed, but other choruses were plagued by weak diction and ensemble, particularly the chorus of nuns in Act II. The cast and orchestra were guided masterfully through the twists and turns of the score by music director Steven Mercurio. Mercurio’s clear, confident approach to the score made for a well-paced performance. Aside for some tuning challenges between sections, the playing of the orchestra was committed and very good." [Source]

Benedict Andrews Moves "Figaro" to a Gated Community

Joshua Bloom, Benedict Andrews, and Taryn Fiebig, at the Sydney Opera House
(Photo: Nikki Short/The Australian)
"Oxygen masks, walking frames and maids in starched uniforms are not normally associated with Mozart's 18th-century opera The Marriage of Figaro. But in director Benedict Andrews's imagination, these touches are a way to bring European feudal society crashing through the centuries into modern times. One of Australia's most accomplished theatre makers, Andrews is staging his first opera here after a false start two years ago. His production of Figaro was slated for 2010 but Opera Australia postponed it amid box-office fears and a $900,000 deficit. In the meantime, Andrews made his opera debut with a London production of The Return of Ulysses. 'I'm getting my first big drug hits as an opera addict,' he said before a rehearsal yesterday at the Sydney Opera House. Andrews has transferred Figaro from an 18th-century manor in Seville to a modern gated community to make clear tensions between characters of different social classes. 'This milieu, the framing device of the gated estate, there's nothing that radical about it,' he said. 'It's a simple transposition to a plausible present. 'The opera is about forms of love, forms of desire . . . but they are associated with class and politics and who has what, who gets what, who wants what.' The action begins with a young couple on their wedding day, Figaro and Susanna, and the threat of their aristocratic master, the Count, to exercise the droit du seigneur: the mythical right of a feudal lord to take a subordinate girl's virginity." [Source] For more about performance dates and purchasing ticket prices, click here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Dueling Divas" at the Waldorf Astoria Viennese Opera Ball

"The 57th annual Viennese Opera Ball at the Waldorf Astoria was a fair full of random cast members. Beauty queens, 'Project Runway' and 'Dancing with the Stars' alumni, West Point cadets and a biochemical scientist were all partying with the Austrian-American blue bloods at the anticipated white-tie event. Renate Brauner, vice mayor of Vienna, was the guest of honor. 'To be honest, I don't attend many balls in Austria,' said Ms. Brauner. 'But I've also never been to Brooklyn until this trip.' Perhaps because the cheapest ticket cost about $975, the entertainment portion was very elaborate. Two separate horse-drawn carriages were called to duty, transporting the evening's 'Dueling Divas,' a duo of Metropolitan Opera singers, Cynthia Sieden and Amy Shoremount-Obra. They arrived at the ball in fancy equestrian transportation, giving each other icy stares while their ponies circled the ballroom. They were acting out a diva rivalry as part of the evening's theme, while pretending to compete in a role in Mozart's The Impresario. Even though the script was camp, guests ate it up." [Source] One more photo of the divas after the jump.

Renée Fleming Wows New Jersey Audiences in Concert

La Fleming at the New Jersey Performing Arts
Center (Photo: Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger)
"With an album simply titled 'The Beautiful Voice' among her many recordings, Renée Fleming may be first recognized for the sheer quality of her sound. And audiences at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Sunday had ample opportunities to soak in that plush, opulent soprano. But while in fine form, Fleming made an impact with more than her musicianship. Throughout her performance with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under music director Jacques Lacombe, she was a warm, gracious presence. With infectious enthusiasm, she invited listeners into her world. She shared her affection for greatest hits arias as though they were new, and succinctly touted the virtues of lesser-known works." [Source]

Super Bowl XLVI Commercials Offer Up Some Verdi and Rossini

Friday, February 3, 2012

Marie-Nicole Lemieux Sings Berlioz, Wagner, and Mahler

Click image to purchase the recording
"As one of the cruel realities of competition, the winners switch from glory to complete oblivion after a few ephemerous mediatic sparks. When Marie-Nicole Lemieux won the Queen Elisabeth Singing Competition in 1998, nobody knew she would become the contralto of her generation, and nobody knew - even if many guessed at it - that she would become one of the most versatile singers imaginable as well as a first-class tragedian. In August 2000 the producers of Cypres were the first to offer her a recital with the pianist Daniel Blumenthal. Programmed was nothing less than Les Nuits d'été, the Wesendonck and the Rückert-lieder - three cycles of lieder counted among the most intense of the repertory. The calm trembling of the contralto in Berlioz, its poignant dignity in Mahler and its heightened expression in Wagner made this record into an undeniable commercial and artistic success. More than ten years have passed since; Marie-Nicole Lemieux today appears on the biggest stages in the world, and this "historic" record reminds us that even at the beginning of her career, the singer from Quebec was already the genius performer we know today." [Source]

"Le Cerisaie" Does Not Succeed in Blossoming at Palais Garnier

Elena Kelessidi as Madame Lyuba Ranyevskaya in the Philippe Fenelon opera La Cerisaie adapted from Chekhov's play The Cherry Orchard. (Photo: Andrea Messana/Opera de Paris)
"What were they thinking of? There is so much that is bafflingly wrong with Philippe Fénelon’s new opera – score, libretto and staging – that it is hard to know where to begin. But let’s start with the choice of Chekhov, hardly an obvious option even if the dominant introspective tone in his plays should appeal strongly to contemporary opera composers’ aversion to eventful narrative. Fénelon’s often dirge-like score – steeped as usual in Berg but this time heavy with quotes from Russian music – adds insult to injury with aggressive, overwritten orchestration. It too often seems geared to Dostoyevskian angst or a Solzhenitsyn gulag and jars with a fin-de-race family weighing its memories and confronting the end of an era. Even leavened with traditional lullabies and harmonious choruses – but also an embarrassing lift from Verdi’s Masked Ball on the feeble grounds that this is the act where the ball takes place – it is still an exhausting onslaught on the ears. Georges Lavaudant’s staging and Jean-Pierre Vergier’s glacial, hideous sets and costumes deliver the coup de grâce. Lavaudant works hard to outbid Fénelon with corny ideas. Monologues are swamped in useless background agitation; a ballerina flutters on so often, she seems to be justifying her fee, while a chorus of babushka peasants is handled with comical woodenness." The singing was apparently very good, click here for the rest of the review. [Source]

Fancy Men's Footwear Making Its Way to the Opera

Behold the Christian Louboutin "Mikarani" opera slipper: $2,195
"Opera pumps, evening slippers, court shoes — all are fairly off-putting, emasculating names for the footwear that made its way down many runways during the recent men’s shows in Europe. A more user-friendly term might be evening slip-ons. Those prim, shiny black-patent shoes, traditionally finished with grosgrain ribbon and worn to the opera and other after-five affairs, have been transformed into red-carpet walkers ornately decorated with embroidery, tassels, metal studs, glitter and prints. Dries van Noten chose sleek brown pony and black astrakhan for his version. Almost every single pair of shoes that walked down the Etro runway was a slip-on that was either jacquarded, paisleyed, embroidered or feathered. Jimmy Choo’s hyper elegant and wildly expanding men’s line has so many varieties of

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rolando Villazón Re-emerges With New DG "Werther"

Click on image to order the new Werther recording

Brigitte Nielsen und Roger Moore beim Wiener Opernball

"Vom Dschungelcamp zum Opernball: Die dänische Schauspielerin Brigitte Nielsen ist einer der Stars beim diesjährigen Wiener Opernball. Gemeinsam mit 'James Bond'-Darsteller Roger Moore wird Nielsen auf Einladung des österreichischen Bauunternehmers Richard 'Mörtel' Lugner das Fest besuchen, wie Lugner verkündete. Die 48-jährige Ex-Frau von Hollywood-Star Sylvester Stallone erklärte, sie freue sich schon darauf, nach Wien zu kommen. Nielsen war vergangene Woche bei der jüngsten Staffel des RTL-Dschungelcamp zur Dschungelkönigin gekrönt worden. Der österreichische Bauunternehmer Lugner holt alljährlich Stars und Sternchen zum Opernball nach Wien, die ihn bei dem Society-Ereignis begleiten. So waren unter anderem Hollywood-Star Sophie Loren, Baywatch-Nixe Pamela Anderson oder US-Schauspielerin Andie MacDowell Gäste in seiner Loge. Im vergangenen Jahr hatte Lugner die im Sex-Skandal um Italiens Ex-Regierungschef Silvio Berlusconi bekannt gewordene Karima El Mahroug alias Ruby mit auf den Ball genommen." [Source]

Marina Poplavskaya Fails to Impress at Tchaikovsky Hall

"In the Tchaikovsky Hall was a concert soprano Marina Poplavskaya - the one most quoted is online famous western scenes of domestic divas. The singer appeared with the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater....Less glossy hype than for La Netrebko, but it is really impressive demand, as well as an intriguing versatility, declared from the very beginning. Belkantovye queens of Donizetti and Verdi's dramatic party, Rimsky-Korsakov and Puccini, and another drop of the Baroque (she sang with Theodore Currentzis Belinda in Dido and Aeneas Purcell) and a bit of Wagner (Third Norn in Götterdämmerung). In short, nothing prima donna assoluta, for which there is neither repertory nor tessitura obstacles. But the launch of its present-day Moscow concert discouraged. The impression of Matilda's aria from Guillaume Tell Rossini singer greased colorful tone unstrung, hacking, and top notes of muffled sounds. Well, let's not raspelas, but then there was another smash hit once, and now a rarity - Isabella's cavatina from Robert le diable Meyerbeer, where no qualitative leap has not happened. For Marina Poplavskaya is not a problem of depth and penetrating power, it is beautiful sound and Mills parades elegant pianissimo, it is in the middle of the range is really memorable, entailing the nobility of tone, in addition, it is artistically without affectation, and enumerates the styles with adequate certainty. However, the picture of undisputed maestro of all this is in no way willing to take shape. Perhaps the best were two imposing Verdi Room, "Toi qui sus le neant" Elizabeth, from Don Carlos and the final scene of Desdemona
from Otello. Also not ideal - in Elizabeth ever did, and yell, and dilute the persistent tone portamento, but still the character of the party is clearly more comfortable for her. But Desdemona (by Marina Poplavskaya in 2008 sang with Riccardo Muti in Salzburg) has turned out much closer to the model - and not just pure technique, and even that little old-fashioned, but beautifully made until nuance little things 'Theatre,' which stood out in the vocals. Ironically, the last Russian disappoint prepared block. If a small aria from Francesca Francesca da Rimini, Rachmaninoff's lack of warming up and prunes phrasing looked more likely reason for the arraignment, the scene of writing is objectively Tatiana was annoyed at that: in the interpretation of the singer's spectacular, but heavy, sounded appeared out of nowhere constraint , the lack of organic and elemental tonal clarity. Speak in such cases, the general words about the lack of good schools, which theoretically could result in malfunctioning vocal and worse - the last thing, but there's one, and in addition to logic-chopping can judge the taste that ultimately outweighs: spontaneous, natural shades of a rare game, but not completely faceted voice or is it carefully, uniformity and orderliness." [Source]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First Time on CD: Janet Baker in Walton's "Troilus and Cressida"

Click the image to purchase the EMI Classics box set.

Kelly Kaduce Talks Baby and "Butterfly" in Portland

"Making predictions about musical performances is a fool's errand, as much as handicapping presidential primaries or the Super Bowl. But it's safe to say that Portland Opera's Madame Butterfly, which opens Friday night at Keller Auditorium, promises greatness, not least because it features one of the most appealing and acclaimed singers the company has brought in recent years. A winner of the 1999 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, rising star soprano Kelly Kaduce made her Portland Opera debut two seasons ago as Mimi in La Bohème, her signature role. 'It was Kelly Kaduce, who sang Mimi with gorgeous, open lyricism, who made the magic happen,' wrote The Oregonian's David Stabler, echoing the buzz around the performance. It's easy enough to point to good reviews; anyone singing at Kaduce's level with a halfway decent publicist can produce loads of them. But her press is noteworthy for the effusive praise she inspires even while performing two of the most well-worn roles in opera -- Mimi and Cio-Cio San, the title role of Butterfly -- and especially for critics' unanimity over finer points of her vocal beauty and control, the nuances of her acting and the strength she brings to characters distinguished principally by their vulnerability. Kaduce returns to Portland 10 months after having her first child. In a conversation last week in which she was as bright and focused as her high register, she mentioned how the physical experience of pregnancy and motherhood affected her vocally. 'Certainly I felt some changes,' she said, adding with a laugh that 'the support comes so much more easily when your abdomen is distended.' After taking four months off around the time of the birth, she said she is still rebuilding her stamina but feels that her voice has gained some fullness." [Source]

Major Landmark Soprano Camilla Williams Dies at 92

"Camilla Williams, the first black woman to appear in a leading role with a major US opera company has died in Indiana aged 92. She had been suffering from cancer, according to Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where Williams became the first black professor of voice. The singer made her debut in May 1946 in the title role of Madam Butterfly with the New York City Opera. She also became a strong advocate for civil rights. 'It's impossible to overstate how important that was for the music scene in New York, for African-American singers, and for American singers,' F Paul Driscoll, the editor-in-chief of Opera News, told the Washington Post. Williams' debut performance came nearly nine years before Marian Anderson became the first African-American singer to appear at New York's more prestigious Metropolitan Opera. A New York Times review of Williams at the time, said the singer displayed 'a vividness and subtlety unmatched by any other artist who has assayed the part here in many a year.' The following year she performed the role of Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme and in 1948 she sang the title role of Verdi's Aida. In 1951 she sang the title female role in first complete recording of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess." [Source]