Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sydney Opera House Hosts Second Sold-Out Lady Antebellum Show

"Lady Antebellum‘s Own the Night World Tour is a hit Down Under. The group sold out its upcoming shows in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney when tickets went on sell for the Australian leg of the trek. A second show was added at the Sydney Opera House due to demand as well. Lady A heads to Australia in September following a run through Europe in July. They continue their Own the Night World Tour with a show in Birmingham, AL Thursday night." [Source] For more about Lady Antebellum, click here.

Queen Mary 2 to Get Screening of Puccini's "Butterfly" in 3D

"As part of its worldwide release schedule, Cunard Line is proud to announce the first shipboard screenings of the 3D feature film, Madam Butterfly 3D, in association with the Royal Opera House and RealD, the world’s most widely used digital 3D projection technology. Captured during live performances at London’s internationally renowned Royal Opera House, Madam Butterfly 3D will be shown aboard Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2, beginning 6 July 2012, the only ship currently scheduled to present the film. The film opened earlier this year in the United Kingdom to much popular and critical acclaim and is being released worldwide in almost 40 other countries through the fall of 2012. Cunard began its successful partnership with RealD in 2011 with the installation of RealD 3D projection technology, furthering the relationship later that year with screenings of the RealD and Royal Opera House co-production, Carmen in 3D, which proved hugely popular with Cunard guests. Madam Butterfly 3D is expected to draw equally large and appreciative audiences when it is presented in the ship’s grand 450-seat theatre, Illuminations. This second co-production between RealD and the Royal Opera House gives viewers the best seat in the house at one of the world’s most prestigious venues for one of the world’s best loved operas. Liping Zhang appears as the Butterfly of the title, Cio-Cio-San, a role for which she is acclaimed worldwide – and James Valenti makes an especially dashing Pinkerton, the young officer whose thoughtless toying with love is the catalyst for this tragic story. This revival of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s elegant stage production offers the drama, the musical richness and the sheer enjoyment of great performances that make The Royal Opera truly world class. Madam Butterfly 3D was directed for cinema by Julian Napier and produced by Phil Streather. The original stage production was directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier with costume designs by Agostino Cavalca and set designs by Christian Fenouillat. The music is by Giacomo Puccini and the libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. For more information about the film, please visit www.madambutterfly3D.com. For more information about Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, consult your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free 1-800-728-6273 or go to www.cunard.com." [Source]

Anne Midgette Breaks News of Scheppelmann Leaving Post

"The other shoe has dropped at the Washington National Opera: Christina Scheppelmann, the company’s director of artistic operations, announced Thursday that she will step down at the end of November. She is taking on a new position, although she cannot announce what it is until her new employer makes it official at the end of the month." [Source]

Design Firm aka Hopes to Attract Young Audience with Campaign

"Marketing agency aka has designed a campaign for the Royal Opera House’s 2012 Autumn programme, One Extraordinary World. The designs used on the season brochures will also be seen across all other printed collateral, advertising, hoardings and online platforms, which also use video content to further develop the concept. aka was appointed to the project following a creative pitch last October. The consultancy worked with photographer Kevin Macintosh and production designer Daryl McGregor on the project. aka also created the One Extraordinary World strapline.Matt Dixon, creative director of aka, says, ‘We wanted to bring a new audience to opera, drive ticket sales and open it up to people who wouldn’t normally consider opera and ballet, who perhaps see it as prohibitive or they can’t identify with those artforms. We wanted to open it up through storytelling.’ The imagery is influenced by ‘contemporary fashion and production values’, according to aka; and the visual concept aims to represent ‘the moment between heaven and hell, love and loss, and darkness and light." See more images and read more here.

Conductor Philippe Jordan Sets His Sights on Vienna Opera

"Sein Büro in der Pariser Opéra Bastille ist das schönste des Theaters: Blick über die ganze Stadt, vom Eiffelturm bis Montmartre. 'Mir geht’s hier wirklich gut,' sagt er zur Begrüßung. 'Und mein Assistent heißt mit Vornamen Tristan – was soll da musikalisch noch passieren?' Philippe Jordan, der gebürtige Schweizer, hat gut lachen. Soeben wurde er für die Premiere der Oper Arabella von Richard Strauss gefeiert. Ab 2014 ist er parallel zu seiner Funktion des Generalmusikdirektors der Pariser Oper, zu der neben der Bastille auch das Palais Garnier gehört, Chefdirigent der Wiener Symphoniker. Das erste große Interview mit Jordan seit Bekanntgabe dieses Wiener Coups.
Straussian Soprano: Renée Fleming
KURIER: Sie dirigieren zurzeit Arabella mit Renée Fleming. Die neue Pariser Saison eröffnen Sie mit Capriccio. Das haben Sie an der Staatsoper auch schon dirigiert, ebenso wie den Rosenkavalier . Woher kommt diese Affinität zu Strauss?
Philippe Jordan: Die kam ganz früh. Meine erste Liebe war der Rosenkavalier, da war ich neun oder zehn Jahre alt. Ich habe eine Platte bei meinem Vater entdeckt und war begeistert. Später hatte ich meinen ersten Job im Pariser Chatelet-Theater, als mein Vater ( Armin Jordan, Anm.) Rosenkavalier dirigierte: Ich habe als Pianist die ganzen Proben begleitet. Das war wunderbar.
In Wien wurde, als Sie selbst den Rosenkavalier dirigierten, heftig über Ihren Zugang diskutiert: nüchtern, rational, wenige Klangeffekte. Kein leichter Start an der Staatsoper... Ich musste in Wien diesen Strauss-Klang erst entdecken. Aber ich hatte die Möglichkeit, das Orchester in dieser Serie besser kennenzulernen. Bei Capriccio war das überhaupt kein Thema mehr. Wir hatten eine tolle Zusammenarbeit. Bei Strauss ist es genauso wie etwa auch bei Mahler: Man braucht die Mischung zwischen Struktur und Emotion."
Read the whole interview here.

Orfeo Releases New Strauss CD With Soprano Anne Schwanewilms

R. Strauss: Frühling
R. Strauss: September
R. Strauss: Beim Schlafengehen
R. Strauss: Im Abendrot
R. Strauss: Das war sehr gut, Mandryka (3. Akt, Finale Arabella - Mandryka - aus: Arabella)
R. Strauss: Morgen mittag um elf! (Gräfin - aus: Capriccio op. 85)
R. Strauss: Marie Theres'! ... Hab mir's gelobt (Terzett Sophie/Marschallin/Oktavian und Finale, 3. Akt - aus: Der Rosenkavalier)

Mitwirkende: Anne Schwanewilms (Sopran); Jutta Böhnert (Sopran); Regina Richter (Mezzosopran); Gürzenich-Orchester Köln (Orchester); Markus Stenz (Dirigent)

To purchase the new CD, click here. Listen to the soprano sing "Beim Schlafengehen" by clicking here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Coke Zero Commercial Brings Sweet Operatic Joy For Prisoner Release

Click on the above image to watch the latest commercial for Coke Zero with a dash of Wagnerian humor tossed in for good measure.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TIME Magazine Features Opera Twins Christopher and David Alden

"Known for their audacious, pro- vocative takes on masterpieces, identical-twin opera directors Christopher and David Alden have been at the pinnacle of their field for three decades. 'It is strange,' says David, 'to have someone else in the world who looks just like you and does the same thing you do, and often with the same people, but never at the same time.' Or, for that matter, on the same continent Christopher is based in New York City, David in London, and both are in constant demand all over the world. This year, however, both Aldens are taking on high-profile assignments Stateside: Christopher with Don Giovanni for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, David with Un Ballo in Maschera for New York City's Metropolitan Opera House. The brothers grew up in Manhattan, sons of playwright Jerome Alden and ballerina Barbara Gaye, who, while pregnant, danced in the original production of Annie Get Your Gun starring Ethel Merman. 'That probably explains why we became who we are,' Christopher says. 'All of Merman's screaming prepared us to spend our lives around opera singers.' Immersed in theater and classical music from childhood, they were drawn to opera for its combination of the two art forms. By their teens, they were 'fanatical standees' (David's phrase) at the old Metropolitan Opera house." [Source]

Fleming and Boe Sing Bernstein on Buckingham Balcony

For those outside of the United States, click the below image to see Renée Fleming sing
"Un bel dì, vedremo" from the same concert.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Lily Pons

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.