Monday, September 23, 2013

Anna Netrebko Wears Irina Vitjaz Haute Couture Gowns

Suit of Armor: Wearing the Irena Vitjaz gown that she chose for the 2013
Salzburg Festival concert version of Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco.
Anna Netrebko is one of the most fashion-forward divas on, and off, the stage. Many of her latest gowns have been created by fellow Russian, designer Irena Vitjaz. Check out some photos after the jump that highlight more of these gorgeous dresses as Ms. Netrebko rubs shoulders with Riccardo Muti and Mikhail Baryshknikov.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Erato Crosses Over Coloraturas Dessay And Damrau

Click here to purchase the album
Entre Elle et Lui - Après une enfance passée en adoration pour les chansons de Michel Legrand, et de nombreux concerts avec lui à travers la France ces 3 dernières années, Natalie Dessay vient d'enregistrer cet album au parfum délicieux: des chansons dans le cœur de tous les français, simplement accompagnées par Michel Legrand au piano, Pierre Boussaguet à la contrebasse, François Laizeau à la batterie et Catherine Michel à la harpe. Et si Michel Legrand chante avec elle Les Moulins de mon cœur, deux invités de marque, Patricia Petibon et Laurent Naouri, viennent flâner chacun à leur tour, le temps d’un duo avec Natalie.

Click here to purchase the album
Forever - Das gilt auch für die Sängerin selbst, sodass das Album tatsächlich so etwas wie den „Soundtrack ihres Lebens“ darstellt – mit Erinnerungen an „My Fair Lady“ aus ihrer Anfangszeit in Würzburg oder an die Jahre, in denen sie als Heranwachsende voller Bewunderung Operetten-Platten mit Anneliese Rothenberger und Lucia Popp hörte. Schon damals wurde ihr klar: „Die Operette hätte einen viel besseren Ruf verdient, denn sie erreicht nicht nur unsere Herzen, sondern sie erzählt auch von den Irrungen und Wirrungen des Lebens.“ Das Repertoire des Albums Forever reicht von Operettenmelodien von Meistern wie Lehár und Strauß über Songs von Sondheim, Gershwin, Lloyd Webber und Bernstein bis hin zu Liedern aus „Mary Poppins“, „Arielle“ und anderen Musicals. Ein Höhepunkt ist sicher „Lippen schweigen“ aus Lehárs „Lustiger Witwe“ – mit Rolando Villazón als Duettpartner. 

Full track listing after the jump for both albums, along with a special bonus feature on one diva that has covered all of this territory in the past.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stream Renée Fleming's Entire "Guilty Pleasures" Album For Free

Guilty as Charged: The Beautiful Voice Returns!
(Photo: Decca/Andrew Eccles)
Listen to every track of Renée Fleming's new recording, Guilty Pleasures, by clicking here. It will be a challenge not to fall under the spell she casts singing such tracks as Canteloube's "La Delaïssádo." This recording will remind listeners of why the soprano was initially dubbed "The Beautiful Voice." Some of the cleanest singing Ms. Fleming has done in the last decade, it will be hard for audiences to find fault with this collection of bonbons.

"Opera enthusiasts and classical connoisseurs, rejoice. Four-time Grammy Award winner Renée Fleming is back with Guilty Pleasures, out Tuesday, promising an indulgent treat for music lovers. 'This is like jewelry, it's like chocolate, it's dessert,' Fleming says. "Each one of these pieces is just a standalone revel in beauty.' A sequel to her 1999 album The Beautiful Voice, which combined opera arias with classical tunes, Guilty Pleasures is a diverse collection of some of the soprano's favorite works." [Source]

Purchase the new CD, out September 17, by clicking here.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes Runs On Coffee, Wine, And Beer

(Photo: Cal Crary)
"His grand baritone and tall, brawny bearing have made Teddy Tahu Rhodes a pop star of the opera circuit and beyond. The cooly reserved New Zealander and one-time accountant is returning to the role of French expatriate Emile de Becque in Opera Australia's terrific production of South Pacific, a love story set during World War II. Reprising her part alongside Rhodes in last year's hit season of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is screen favourite Lisa McCune as Nellie Forbush, the nurse who falls for the wealthy plantation owner with a chequered past. Their apparent chemistry off-stage as well as on drew considerable attention last year, but Rhodes neatly sidestepped a question here about the two of them. Reports suggest they are also set to pair up on stage next year as leads in another musical classic, The King and I." Read all about his daily routine, from what gets him going in the morning to post-performance activities, by clicking here. [Source]

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Voiceless Linda Ronstadt Recalls Early Opera Memories Of Childhood

In December 2012, Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson's 
disease, which left her unable to sing. It was announced publicly
 in August 2013.
"Her deepest roots are musical. Ronstadt's paternal grandfather was a brass-band leader. Her father, a baritone, played her 78-rpm records of Grieg's Peer Gynt and the flamenco singer Pastora Pavón and took her to one of the few movies she saw as a child, Verdi's opera Aida. Her brother Peter was a boy soprano. Family singing, in a house with no TV until Ronstadt was in fifth grade, was the most readily available source of entertainment. It may also be the wellspring of her celebrated gift for harmonizing, exquisitely realized decades later in her three-part singing with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton and duets with the Cajun singer Ann Savoy. The strict Catholic school she attended turned Ronstadt off formal education. A natural autodidact, she became a voluminous reader, with interests that range from Victorian novels to architecture to politics. Even as she enrolled at the University of Arizona, Ronstadt knew it wasn't for long. She dropped out after a semester and headed for Los Angeles at 18 to seek her musical fortune."[Source]

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stephanie Blythe Offers Up A Great American Songbook CD

With the cross-over capabilities of Eileen Farrell, the booming-voice belt of Kate Smith, and Americana can-do spirit of Marilyn Horne, the mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe charters 19th-century popular song territory with the new CD As Long As There Are Songs. The recording will be released on September 24, 2013. Click here for the full liner notes and here to order the CD. A bonus audio clip of "Bei mir bist du Schön" can be heard here. Complete track list after the jump.

Bryn Terfel Talks New CD (And How To Pronounce His Name)

More about the recording after the jump.

Former Steel Worker Would Go Nude For Pittsburgh Opera "Aida"

"At 69 years old, heavier than he'd like to be, former steel worker Fred Rokasky knew he might not get one of the roles as the scantily clad, buff spear carriers for the Pittsburgh Opera's upcoming production of Verdi's famed ancient Egypt-based opera, Aida. 'You don't get to pick, so I'll probably be a [uniformed] soldier,' said Mr. Rokasky of Squirrel Hill, one of nearly 50 men who turned out Saturday at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for the Pittsburgh Opera's open casting call for spear carriers, soldiers, priests, slaves, boatmen and litter carriers. Appropriately, the auditions were held in front of the museum's Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt. Still, Mr. Rokasky said, if they need him for one of those roles as a spear carrier -- who would have to appear in front of up to 3,800 opera fans for four shows at the Benedum Center in October wearing what amounts to a mere loincloth -- he is ready. 'It wouldn't bother me, standing there topless,' he said. 'I'm a nudist anyway. So being partially nude wouldn't bother me.' [Source] Optional casting photo after the jump.

Joseph Calleja Has Cameo In Ray Mizzi's Film "Adormidera"

Tenor Joseph Calleja and his children, Clara and Xandru, prepare to shoot a scene with actress Julia Calvert
"Sword-wielding knights upon charging horses, merry bouts of tavern dancing and a cameo by tenor Joseph Calleja form part of the Maltese film Adormidera which will hit the cinemas on October 2. Produced by Great Siege Productions and directed by Ray Mizzi, the film is set in the medieval era and tells the story of army general Tristan de León and the enigmatic Adormidera." [Source]

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Eric Owens and Riccardo Muti Perform For Young Chicago Inmates

In April 2013, bass-baritone Eric Owens, accompanied by Riccardo Muti, performed for inmates as part of the
 CSO's Citizen Musician program. The singer commented, "It's actually one of the proudest moments of my career!"
To learn more about Mr. Owens and his upcoming engagements, click here. (Photo: Facebook)
"The concert was part of a unique outreach that's the brainchild of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's musical director, the Italian-born Riccardo Muti, who attended the event at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center on Chicago's West Side. The concert included half a dozen of the orchestra's members. But the center-stage performers were some 10 inmates who participated in a weeklong musical workshop at the lockup. It culminated in the Sunday concert featuring compositions the inmates wrote in collaboration with the professionals. 'This is a wonderful beginning for you and for us,' Muti, 71, told the group after the 45-minute performance ended. 'You will join society with the sense of harmony you learned here.'....The Naples-born Muti has taken his act into prison before. He once performed Robert Schumann's 'Warum?' — which means 'why' in German — in a Milan prison. The work, he explained later, was his way of asking inmates what had brought them to such misfortune. Muti spoke philosophically to the detainees in Chicago after Sunday's concert and just before a dozen burly guards escorted the inmates-turned-musicians back to their holding cells. 'We will meet again in the future,' he said. He quickly added, 'Not here! But on the outside.' [Source]

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Coen Brothers Bringing Opera Singer To Celluloid Soon?

"Unless you were at a film festival recently, you’re probably still waiting for the new Coen Brothers movie, Inside Llewyn Davis. The tale of a ’60s New York folk singer got stellar reviews out of Cannes and Telluride. It hits US theaters on December 20. Of course, with the pending release of one Coen Brothers movie, fans can start to look towards their next work. At the Telluride Film Festival, Joel and Ethan gave a small hint at what they’re currently writing. It’s a film with an opera singer as the main character." [Source] As far as movies about opera singers, the one that still stands the test of time is after the jump.