BREAKING NEWS: Opera & Ballet http://feed.informer.com/digests/LGBZAJQZUY/feeder BREAKING NEWS: Opera & Ballet Respective post owners and feed distributors Tue, 06 May 2014 13:36:52 +0000 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Il trovatore at Seattle Opera http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/01/il_trovatore_at.php Opera Today urn:uuid:2e7b77ef-fe45-2208-10b8-a6c815e3349d Wed, 16 Jan 2019 01:40:00 +0000 After a series of productions somehow skewed, perverse, and/or pallid, the first Seattle Opera production of the new year comes like a powerful gust of invigorating fresh air: a show squarely, single-mindedly focused on presenting the work of art at hand as vividly and idiomatically as possible. Anita Rachvelishvili http://medicine-opera.com/2019/01/anita-rachvelishvili/ Neil Kurtzman urn:uuid:2355db2e-4a11-30ce-e33e-411bb1033188 Wed, 16 Jan 2019 01:05:55 +0000 Exceptional talent by definition arises infrequently. The young (34) Georgian mezzo-soprano, the subject of this piece, fits into this tight niche. Though she has sung 53 performances at the Met since her debut there in 2011, her recognition as an operatic super nova has come this season the result of appearances as Amneris and the... <p>Exceptional talent by definition arises infrequently. The young (34) Georgian mezzo-soprano, the subject of this piece, fits into this tight niche. Though she has sung 53 performances at the Met since her debut there in 2011, her recognition as an operatic super nova has come this season the result of appearances as Amneris and the Princess di Bouillon in<em> Aida</em> and <em>Adriana Lecouvreur</em>, respectively. Anna Netrebko was the soprano in both operas. Rachvelishvili had no trouble rising to the level of the Met&#8217;s reigning diva. Riccardo Muti confirmed her exalted status when he called her <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/arts/music/anita-rachvelishvili-adriana-lecouvreur-met-opera.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the best Verdi mezzo in the world</a>.</p> <p>Below are some video and audio clips demonstrating not only her artistry, but her versatility as well. She can sing in styles usually forbidden to or trespassed by opera singers. First, a note about the YouTube videos. They have the lifespan of a Monarch butterfly. Accordingly, I have converted each one to an MP4  file that is linked below the inserted YouTube excerpt. Thus, if one, or more, go dark you can access the same video by clicking the link.</p> <p>First, a haunting rendition of Summertime from <em>Porgy and Bess</em>. The band and the piano player are all Georgians, like Rachvelishvili. Her English is perfect as is her interpretation of Gershwin&#8217;s great melody.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="375" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/inJd1x8UHdA?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/nbszbju79318tk5/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20-%20Summertime%20%28George%20Gershwin%29.mp4?dl=0">Rachvelishvili Summertime</a></p> <p>Next is a foray in Astor Piazzolla and Argentine tango. The singer not only sounds like a Porteña she dances as well.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="375" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/In6gQ64Puvg?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/g1egcn98gut0wua/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20-%20Mar%C3%ADa%20de%20Buenos%20Aires%20di%20Astor%20Piazzolla.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili Piazzolla</a></p> <p>Finally before returning to opera, here&#8217;s the mezzo singing Volare with Jonas Kauffman. Kauffman is trying his best to look like he&#8217;s having as good time. So much so that he resembles a bobblehead. But his singing is fine.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cB0sLCV8gkQ?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/b2j0eqi5h0f9bhy/Volare%20-%20Live%20from%20Berlin%27s%20Waldb%C3%BChne%20feat.%20Anita%20Rachvelishvili.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili and Kauffman Volare</a></p> <p>Sapho&#8217;s aria from Gounod&#8217;s first opera of the same name is about the only piece that most opera goers are aware of. &#8216;Ô ma lyre immortelle&#8217; is sung at the end of the third and final act after which the poetess fatally throws herself into the ocean.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YfNQlZ9EJKQ?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/mgxmwho7altfwi7/Sapho%20-%20Le%20Concert%20De%20Paris%20-%20Bastille%20Day%20Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20%C3%94%20ma%20lyre%20immortelle%20Spaho%20Gounod.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili Sapho&#8217;s aria</a></p> <p>Dalila&#8217;s aria from Samson et Dalila, &#8216;Mon cœur s&#8217;ouvre à ta voix&#8217;,  gets a luscious reading that realizes all the beauty and sensuality contained in the famous number.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="375" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gBl0QH0SQBY?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/xdsxcepk4yjbr9i/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20-%20Dalila%27s%20Aria%20from%20Samson%20%26%20Dalila%20Saint-Saens.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili Mon cœur s&#8217;ouvre à ta voix</a></p> <p>A couple of selections in Russian. &#8216;Snariazhay skorey&#8217; is from Rimsky-Korsakov <em>The Tsar&#8217;s Brid</em>e. The Rachmaninov&#8217;s song &#8216;Sing Not to Me, Beautiful Maiden&#8217; is set to a Pushkin poem.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_6086eDyL3w?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/ygl8ddgkjlgf9m8/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20-%20Rimsky-Korsakov%20-%20The%20Tsar%27s%20Bride%20-%20%27Snariazhay%20skorey%27%20-%202014.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili The Tsar&#8217;s Bride</a></p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V2bvEEklxfs?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/pemnmrcex5fv82i/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20and%20David%20Aladashvili%20Rachmaninov%20Sing%20Not%20to%20me%2C%20Beautiful%20Maiden%20lyrics%20Pushkin.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Rachvelishvili Rachmaninov Sing Not to me, Beautiful Maiden lyrics Pushkin </a></p> <p>Now to Verdi, which as the article shows is just a part of what this gifted singer can do &#8211; an important part to be sure. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/k1j7xdy6zcngzos/Don%20Carlo%2C%20Act%20IV%20O%20don%20fatale.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">O don fatale</a> is from Rachvelishvili&#8217;s recital disc imaginatively titled <em>Anita Rachvelishvili</em> . I don&#8217;t believe she has sung Eboli from <em>Don Carlo</em> onstage, but if she hasn&#8217;t she soon will. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/61nmebqofuft2be/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20%20Stride%20la%20vampa.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Stride la vampa</a> is from a 2018 performance of <em>Il Trovatore</em> at the Met. Strangely, the audience doesn&#8217;t applaud. Now that Muti has validated her Verdi bona fides the Met audience will follow instructions and go mad the next time she does the opera. The video just below is from a staged performance of <em>Aida</em>. It displays the last 11 minutes of the Judgement scene.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7nRFp3kCB0c?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/tfbkt4ddrf92y87/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%2C%20Ohim%C3%A8%21%20morir%20mi%20sento%20%28Aida%29.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili Aida Judgement scene</a></p> <p>Finally, the Liber scriptus from the Verdi Requiem. Muti is the conductor.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1RP3xO_vbuY?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/bj0gr3txe5mdbrk/Anita%20Rachvelishvili%20Liber%20Scriptus%20-%20Verdi%2C%20Requiem.mp4?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rachvelishvili Liber scriptus</a></p> <p>The mezzo world appears to be in the grasp of this young artist, at least for the next 15-20 years. Given the variety of her talent she can go on any path or paths she chooses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Onstage This Week: ABT's "Harlequinade" Hits the West Coast, Matthew Bourne's "Cinderella," and More! https://www.pointemagazine.com/onstage-this-week-2626070111.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:1167558e-7b52-0cd3-dce9-8eab8e0b5915 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 21:21:24 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19089905/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p class="">Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.</p><hr/><h3>ABT's West Cost Premiere of "Harlequinade"</h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="39Q12L1547589913" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yQgwOZsqRkQ?rel=0?enablejsapi=1" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>American Ballet Theatre heads to California this week for the West Coast premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's <em><a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/harlequinade" target="_blank">Harlequinade</a></em>. Inspired by Petipa's original choreography, this delightful comic ballet features familiar commedia dell'arte characters and over 250 vivid and detailed costumes. Catch ABT at Costa Mesa's Segerstrom Center <a href="https://www.scfta.org/events/2019/american-ballet-theatre" target="_blank">January 17-20.</a></p><h3>Matthew Bourne's "Cinderella" Comes to The Kennedy Center</h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="W05H7X1547589913" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QUkJff8rSSw?rel=0?enablejsapi=1" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p>Matthew Bourne and his London-based company New Adventures return<strong></strong> to Washington, DC's The Kennedy Center <a href="http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/DTDSA" target="_blank">January 15-20</a> with <em>Cinderella</em>. Bourne's version of the classic fairy tale is set in London during the Second World War and uses Prokofiev's beloved score. </p><h3>Guggenheim Works & Process Explores the Choreography of Light</h3><br/><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="YSB7R81547589913" id="5f753"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BscMFPhHBt2/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">JAMAR on Instagram: “"The Choreography of Light" January 18th + January 20th. Guggenheim Works & Process. Featuring new choreography by Jamar Roberts and…”</a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>Boston Ballet lighting director Brandon Stirling Baker discusses the close relationship between choreography and lighting in a program titled The Choreography of Light for Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum <a href="https://www.guggenheim.org/event/choreography-of-light-by-brandon-stirling-baker-with-jamar-roberts-sarah-daley-and-patricia-delgado" target="_blank">January 18 and 20</a>. Baker will present excerpts from two new works in which his designs play a large role: one by Justin Peck for Houston Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jamar Roberts's choreography for Taylor Stanley, Sarah Daley and Patricia Delgado.</p><h3>Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Presents The Trocks</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="MUPF4Q1547589913" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="fad6e" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19089872/980x.jpg"/><p>On <a href="http://www.aspensantafeballet.com/performances/season-performance-pages/Trocks.html" target="_blank">January 19</a>, for one night only, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents the comedic drag troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo for Aspen audiences. The Trocks will dance a few of their classic works including <em>ChopEniana</em>, <em>La Trovatiara Pas de Cinq </em>and <em>Raymonda's Wedding</em>. </p> Two divas enter! One diva leaves! https://parterre.com/2019/01/15/lultima/ parterre box urn:uuid:7ea14e80-dda3-0365-e92a-157e6904a87c Tue, 15 Jan 2019 19:40:14 +0000 "Remember where you are. This is Adriana Lecouvreur. Death is listening, and will take the first diva that screams." <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60123" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TWO-DIVAS-ENTER-518x346.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="346" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TWO-DIVAS-ENTER-518x346.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TWO-DIVAS-ENTER-250x167.jpg 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TWO-DIVAS-ENTER-768x513.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TWO-DIVAS-ENTER.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />&#8220;Remember where you are. This is <em>Adriana Lecouvreur</em>. Death is listening, and will take the first diva that screams.&#8221;  [<a href="http://wordfly.metopera.org/view/?sid=ODc1XzE0MTQyXzYzMzgyNl83MDg0&amp;l=0fc449a9-e414-e911-8991-e41f1345a486&amp;utm_source=wordfly&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=1-19HDAdrianaEncore&amp;utm_content=version_A">MetOpera</a>]</p> Carlos Acosta Takes on a New Role: Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet https://www.pointemagazine.com/carlos-acosta-birmingham-royal-ballet-2626070503.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:ff6bc501-e2cb-3296-f9cc-0a4e8e69a3e8 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 18:10:19 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19089047/origin.png"/><br/><br/><p>Birmingham Royal Ballet announced today that international star <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/carlos-acosta" target="_blank">Carlos Acosta</a> will be taking over as director in January of 2020. Current BRB director David Bintley will be stepping down this summer, at the end of the company's 2019 season, after a 24-year tenure. "It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet," Acosta said in a statement. </p><p>Since <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/carlos-acosta-retires-from-the-royal-ballet-2412833129.html" target="_self">retiring</a> from The Royal Ballet in 2015, Acosta has focused much of his attention on his native Cuba, where he's proven his directorial abilities at the helm of <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/inside-acosta-danza-where-risk-meets-reward-2623771565.html" target="_self">Acosta Danza</a>, the contemporary company that he founded in 2016. In 2017 Acosta also opened his first Dance Academy through his foundation, which provides free training to students. We don't yet know how Acosta will balance his time between his projects in Cuba and his new role at BRB. </p><hr/><p><span></span>Acosta was also recently featured in <em><a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/carlos-acosta-biopic-2604596192.html" target="_self">Yuli</a></em><a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/carlos-acosta-biopic-2604596192.html" target="_self"></a>, a biopic inspired by his life, which has been making the rounds at international festivals and premieres in London this spring. </p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-youtube"> <span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="DM5R8R1547578721" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zAzbNQZya9o?rel=0?enablejsapi=1" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption...">'Yuli' - first trailer for Icíar Bollaín's San Sebastian Competition title</small> <small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="add photo credit..."> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAzbNQZya9o" target="_blank">www.youtube.com</a> </small> </p><p>Originally called Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, BRB was established as the touring sister company of the Royal Ballet. In 1990 the company relocated to Birmingham and changed its name, though it has maintained its emphasis on touring. "My ambition is to build on its classical traditions, to expand its repertoire and to reach out to new and more diverse audiences," said Acosta in a statement. "I want to define what it is to be a world leading classical ballet company in the 21st century."<br/></p> Broadcast: Pelléas et Mélisande https://parterre.com/2019/01/15/broadcast-pelleas-et-melisande-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:6e8edb08-5434-6a0f-0904-a98fc9182364 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:21:19 +0000 La Cieca invites the cher public to visit Allemonde tonight at 7:30. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60111" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/pelleas-met-broadcast-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/pelleas-met-broadcast.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/pelleas-met-broadcast-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />La Cieca invites the cher public (not pictured) to <a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/free-live-audio-streams/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">visit</a> <del>Howards End</del> Allemonde tonight at 7:30. <span id="more-60109"></span></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60113" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-15-at-12.19.02-PM-518x843.png" alt="" width="518" height="843" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-15-at-12.19.02-PM-518x843.png 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-15-at-12.19.02-PM-250x407.png 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-15-at-12.19.02-PM-768x1249.png 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-15-at-12.19.02-PM.png 862w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /></p> Ballet Star Sergei Polunin Dropped By Paris Company After Sexist, Anti-LGBTQ Rant https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sergei-polunin-paris-opera-ballet-dropped_us_5c3d5d2de4b01c93e00ceb2d Ballet on Huffington Post urn:uuid:03637202-9ed0-7d32-1f6f-4dac1709c44a Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:46:20 +0000 “Man should be a man and woman should be a woman,” the famed dancer, who has been called the "James Dean of ballet," wrote on Instagram. “Man should be a man and woman should be a woman,” the famed dancer, who has been called the "James Dean of ballet," wrote on Instagram. Too many sauces https://parterre.com/2019/01/15/too-many-sauces/ parterre box urn:uuid:b27dcaeb-bbd5-6c78-ab95-fcf36af87681 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:44:44 +0000 On this day in 1958 <strong>Samuel Barber</strong>'s <em>Vanessa</em> had its world premiere at the Met. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60106" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/vanessa-1-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/vanessa-1.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/vanessa-1-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />On this day in 1958 <strong>Samuel Barber</strong>&#8216;s <em>Vanessa</em> had its world premiere at the Met. <span id="more-60103"></span></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJm-fWr-3Wk&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJm-fWr-3Wk</a></p> Carlos Acosta CBE appointed as the new director of Birmingham Royal Ballet http://www.balletnews.co.uk/carlos-acosta-cbe-appointed-as-the-new-director-of-birmingham-royal-ballet/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:d9d53dc8-eab4-3463-85a6-62250b0c8d78 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 15:08:00 +0000 Carlos Acosta. Photograph by Johan Persson Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to announce that internationally renowned Carlos Acosta CBE has been appointed as its new Director. He will take up his...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/49Veq2xl6Uc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Richmond Ballet Presents the Beloved Fairy Tale Cinderella February 14-17 http://www.balletnews.co.uk/richmond-ballet-presents-the-beloved-fairy-tale-cinderella-february-14-17/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:6fd0e106-925b-7a36-51d3-8999b7992e86 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 14:32:13 +0000 Dreams transform into reality with one enchanted night at a ball, where a girl with a kind and gentle spirit finds her happily ever after. This Valentine’s Day weekend Richmond Ballet revives...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/7r_HnNac9tE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Plácido Domingo awarded Honorary Fellowship of the International Opera Awards http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/01/placido_domingo.php Opera Today urn:uuid:418388fb-c7eb-59fe-bc8a-64d4468eadb6 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 10:06:43 +0000 A patron of the International Opera Awards since their inception, legendary tenor Plácido Domingo will receive the first ever Honorary Fellowship of the Opera Awards Foundation at a fundraising evening on Monday 28 January at the Royal Society of Arts, London. Wexford Festival Opera Announces New Artistic Director http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/01/wexford_festiva.php Opera Today urn:uuid:ccd8eff5-d6d0-b2cb-fe0a-6f33e72afa29 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 09:05:49 +0000 The Board of Wexford Festival Opera has announced Rosetta Cucchi as the new Artistic Director of the Festival. She will take up the six-year position when the current Artistic Director David Agler finishes his tenure after the 2019 Festival. Opera as Life: Stefan Herheim's The Queen of Spades at Covent Garden http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/01/opera_as_life_s.php Opera Today urn:uuid:71064c1c-7d88-78d4-7893-d17bcce514f1 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 22:58:00 +0000 ‘I pitied Hermann so much that I suddenly began weeping copiously … [it] turned into a mild fit of hysteria of the most pleasant kind.’ Making It Against the Odds: How Ballet Austin's Jaime Lynn Witts Went From Underdog to Leading Lady https://www.pointemagazine.com/jaime-lynn-witts-ballet-2625994882.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:b6a7b9ef-aa68-74c5-edaf-a44a78d62aa4 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 20:21:04 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19086782/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p><em></em>Growing up, I was always the one who didn't have the right body or the right feet or even just the right look. I never had that encouragement in the studio that things were going to work out for me, but I was always determined.</p><p>I didn't train at a big ballet academy, but I do think I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, with parents who always supported me. I started in dance with creative movement classes in my hometown of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I had some really wonderful Russian and Ukrainian ballet teachers from a young age, but it was frustrating because I didn't have the things they were looking for. You grow up seeing those pictures and videos of classical ballerinas and you know what it's supposed to look like. To not have the right body or feet when you're younger is devastating.</p><hr/><p>My whole life, my teachers would say things like "Well, you have a good jump." And I would think, Okay, that's my thing, but I don't have the right proportions or I'm not turned out enough. There were parts that I was passed over for, and when my class went on pointe at age 11, I didn't get to start pointe with them. I knew I wanted to be a ballerina, but I was afraid I was never going to make it if I was already behind my peers.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ZM58S01547497427" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="71523" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19086793/980x.jpg"/> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption...">Witts practicing outside of the studio</small><small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="add photo credit...">Courtesy Witts</small></p><p>I took every pointe class that year on flat, and I did all of the exercises the doctor gave me to strengthen my ankles and feet—relevés, scrunch the towel, pick up the pencil, using the TheraBand. I put all of that anger and frustration into working harder. I was a major tomboy, and I didn't have many girlfriends growing up, particularly in the dance world. I think it was a blessing in disguise because it was easier to focus on myself rather than what was happening around me. In my career now, the fact that I can push through and endure has been important because those setbacks are just amplified when it's your job.</p><p>While I didn't get into every summer program I auditioned for, I attended Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet when I was 12 or 13, and I also spent a summer with Boston Ballet when I was 15. The following spring, when I was 16, I broke my foot while dancing at the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley. I wound up in a hard cast to my knee for about eight weeks, and so I spent that summer practicing my rehabilitation exercises and reading all kinds of ballet books.</p><p>After I graduated from high school, I attended my last summer intensive with Ballet Austin. But I was very pragmatic, thanks to my mom. From the age of 9, I had been told by experts in the field that ballet was never going to happen for me, so now, as a mother myself, I really appreciate that my mom wanted me to always have a backup. I took AP classes in school, I took the SAT and ACT and applied to colleges, eventually deferring from the University of Tampa for Ballet Austin.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="T060K21547497427" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="352e7" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19086795/980x.jpg"/> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption...">Witts as Alice in Septime Webre's "ALICE (in wonderland)"</small><small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="add photo credit...">Anne Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin</small></p><p>Even going to Ballet Austin's summer intensive, I wasn't at the highest level. There was a teacher here, Truman Finney, who had danced under Balanchine at New York City Ballet, was John Neumeier's muse and taught at Hartford Ballet, and he saw something in me. But he saw me as a teacher. After the summer, I was invited by him, Michelle Martin and Stephen Mills to stay on as a trainee, and during my first conference with Truman, he said, "What are you going to do when you don't get a job?" I was always going to be too heavy and not quite tall enough and too muscular to dance. But he thought I could teach because I understood ballet. I had never thought of teaching before, and it was a shock to me then. But I feel really grateful to Truman for getting me into teaching because it has been one of the most fulfilling things for me. </p><p>But even when I started teaching about halfway through my apprentice year, I still had that mentality of "I'm going to dance because this is what I want to do, and I don't care what you say." I never really had that moment where I knew I was going to make it in the company, but I kept focusing on things I could do, like jumps and port de bras. Working with Gina Patterson on a contemporary piece really helped me to see my potential, too. If you can have the most beautiful, expressive upper body, that can make up for not being born with the best feet or perfect turnout. You tell a story with your hands, the tilt of your head, the way you turn your shoulders. Finding those little things that you're good at gives you something to keep working on and find more potential.</p><p>I spent two years as a trainee and one as an apprentice before joining the company. Since then, I've gotten to dance roles that I dreamed of, like Ophelia in <em>Hamlet</em>, and even roles like Juliet that I never thought I would get to dance. And I've gotten to do it all with people who have become family to me.</p><p>We put so much pressure on ourselves individually, but there are so many other elements involved in ballet that are outside of your control. When you're in such an intense art form, it can feel like "I'm not good enough for some reason." But I hope young dancers, and even I, can take a step back, take a deep breath, and realize they've accomplished a lot. </p> Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Jonathan Porretta to Retire at End of Season http://www.balletnews.co.uk/pacific-northwest-ballets-jonathan-porretta-to-retire-at-end-of-season/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:5b995cb2-ae64-5849-1bfc-70ae4b187e97 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 20:15:49 +0000 Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal and principal dancer Jonathan Porretta have announced that after a 20-year career with the Company, Mr. Porretta – one of PNB’s most beloved...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/79rcvmE8rYw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> The Queen of Spades, Royal Opera, 13 January 2019 http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-queen-of-spades-royal-opera-13.html Boulezian urn:uuid:9c7ed75c-0e8b-146d-71b0-da37499fcbd1 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:09:31 +0000 <br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Royal Opera House<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-n9VTMlAhfxI/XDyuLPbHMuI/AAAAAAAAFdg/ORVDqSoVZOg5itZd9eMVX3MAVY3uoCaEQCLcBGAs/s1600/0050%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1126" data-original-width="1600" height="450" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-n9VTMlAhfxI/XDyuLPbHMuI/AAAAAAAAFdg/ORVDqSoVZOg5itZd9eMVX3MAVY3uoCaEQCLcBGAs/s640/0050%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Tchaikovsky (Vladimir Stoyanov)<br />Images: ROH/Catherine Ashmore</td></tr></tbody></table><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Herman – Aleksandrs Antonenko<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Count Tomsky, Zlatogor – John Lundgren<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Prince Yeletsky, Tchaikovsky – Vladimir Stoyanov<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">The Countess – Felicity Palmer<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Lisa – Eva-Maria Westbroek<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Pauline, Milovzor – Anna Goryachova<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Chekalinsky – Alexander Kravets<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Surin – Tigran Martirossian<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Chaplitsky – Konu Kim<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Narumov – Michael Mofidian<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Governess – Louise Winter<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Master of Ceremonies – Harry Nicoll<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Masha – Renata Skarelyte<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Prilepa – Jacquelyn Stucker<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Stefan Herheim (director)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Philipp Fürhofer (designs)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Bernd Purkrabek (lighting)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach (dramaturgy)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Members of the Tiffin Children’s Chorus and Tiffin Boys’ Choir</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Royal Opera Chorus (chorus director: William Spaulding) and Extra Chorus</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Orchestra of the Royal Opera House</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Antonio Pappano (conductor)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-19oxBI5Oxko/XDyuSIOa70I/AAAAAAAAFdo/wtG-Ucm-60kSHm7urpP8xMOQiz2iHVIlwCLcBGAs/s1600/1305%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Band%2Bcast%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-19oxBI5Oxko/XDyuSIOa70I/AAAAAAAAFdo/wtG-Ucm-60kSHm7urpP8xMOQiz2iHVIlwCLcBGAs/s640/1305%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Band%2Bcast%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">London has not done badly in recent years by <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The Queen of Spades</i>, both <span class="MsoHyperlink"><a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-queen-of-spades-english-national.html">ENO</a></span>and <span class="MsoHyperlink"><a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-queen-of-spades-opera-holland-park.html">Opera Holland Park</a></span> having offered productions, the latter considerably more successful than the former. (A less recent yet hardly distant visit from <span class="MsoHyperlink"><a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2011/11/queen-of-spades-opera-north-22-november.html">Opera North</a></span> is also better forgotten.) In addition – fresher in and more germane to my own thoughts – Salzburg presented a fine new staging, typically misunderstood by most, from <span class="MsoHyperlink"><a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2018/08/salzburg-festival-5-tthe-queen-of.html">Hans Neuenfels last summer</a></span>. Covent Garden, however, has not seen the opera since 2002, so it was about time. Stefan Herheim’s much lauded production, first seen in Amsterdam in 2016, may now be seen courtesy of the Dutch National Opera’s co-producer, the Royal Opera.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ovKJR8fs2sk/XDytyEgDRaI/AAAAAAAAFdY/rZ9pLgH8mzsy_LhhAbdysrNX4UN4V4YGQCEwYBhgL/s1600/0606%2BFelicity%2BPalmer%2Bas%2BCountess%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1067" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ovKJR8fs2sk/XDytyEgDRaI/AAAAAAAAFdY/rZ9pLgH8mzsy_LhhAbdysrNX4UN4V4YGQCEwYBhgL/s400/0606%2BFelicity%2BPalmer%2Bas%2BCountess%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Countess (Felicity Palmer)</td></tr></tbody></table><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">I go back a good few years with Herheim’s work. My first encounter quite bowled me over: his <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Entführung aus dem Serail</i> for Salzburg in 2006, preserved on DVD in the Festival’s box of the complete Mozart operas. If I were bowled over then, growing acquaintance with his Bayreuth <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Parsifal</i> over three different years of that festival (click <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2012/08/bayreuth-festival-1-parsifal-11-august.html">here</a>for my final encounter, in 2012) proved something beyond bowling over; indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that it marked a turning-point in my understanding of opera as a critical, recreative genre. Not for nothing did a picture from the production feature on the cover of my book, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><a href="https://boydellandbrewer.com/after-wagner-hb.html">After Wagner</a></i>, which devoted a chapter to that production and another half-chapter to discussion of Herheim’s Berlin <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Lohengrin</i>. Since then, the director’s work has continued to occupy my thoughts both in my formal academic and less academic writing; Herheim’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Meistersinger</i> is, for instance, discussed in a chapter on modernist operatic culture I wrote for a <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=l5V2DwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PT5&amp;lpg=PT5&amp;dq=bjorn+heile+charles+wilson+musical+modernism&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=voNPG5dhhn&amp;sig=x3ne8IyBfyu8MnjrgFhUU5iOOko&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjnn9HEte3fAhVvShUIHZwwAzIQ6AEwB3oECAMQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=bjorn%20heile%20charles%20wilson%20musical%20modernism&amp;f=false">recent book, edited by Björn Heile and Charles Wilson</a>, on modernism in music. Why mention that? Partly to situate myself – we all do that, nowadays, do we not, both when staging and watching opera? – but also to situate the doubts I began to have, not entirely dissimilar to those I initially entertained concerning <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2018/07/pelleas-et-melisande-glyndebourne-30.html">Herheim’s Glyndebourne <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Pelléas</i></a> this summer. <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6Ba8202hBMg/XDyuYFVzmyI/AAAAAAAAFd8/9l5B4ELQGIYWfU3_sDrsFbPX65dN7ZbHgCEwYBhgL/s1600/0139%2BAleksandrs%2BAntonenko%2Bas%2BGherman%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1287" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6Ba8202hBMg/XDyuYFVzmyI/AAAAAAAAFd8/9l5B4ELQGIYWfU3_sDrsFbPX65dN7ZbHgCEwYBhgL/s320/0139%2BAleksandrs%2BAntonenko%2Bas%2BGherman%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" width="257" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Herman (Aleksandrs Antonenko)</td></tr></tbody></table></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Whilst neither of these productions struck me at the time as representing Herheim at his very best, certainly not at his most groundbreaking – perhaps my problem and mine alone – I have nevertheless continued to think, to deconstruct, and perhaps more important, to piece together, but also how one needed to see and, crucially as ever with Herheim, to hear the entirety of the production, not simply to rely upon what one thought before the interval. Much came together by the close, whether onstage or in one’s mind; indeed, one was prompted to ask whether the two were, if not one and the same, at least inseparable even from the analytical standpoint. Just as with more overtly confrontational theatre work, for instance from such different directors as Peter Konwitschny and Calixto Bieito, this is not theatre for the mere spectator. Herheim’s theatricality in a more conventional sense sometimes leads others to think his theatre conventional, even crowd-pleasing. Perhaps in some senses it is, or can be. That, however, is not its point. Like Wagner, or indeed Tchaikovsky, his work continues to have much to tell those angry and unreceptive from what we might tentatively term the musicodramatic ‘left’ and ‘right’ – without collapsing into centrist quicksand. There is something synthetic, in interesting and not always expected senses, to this art – as indeed there surely is to much opera ‘itself’, whatever that might mean.</span><o:p></o:p><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-f05yQToLkrU/XDytf3i9wOI/AAAAAAAAFdM/AbwCP_3vK6okCX_hjDFxscnsoEUok5VfQCEwYBhgL/s1600/0781%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1067" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-f05yQToLkrU/XDytf3i9wOI/AAAAAAAAFdM/AbwCP_3vK6okCX_hjDFxscnsoEUok5VfQCEwYBhgL/s400/0781%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" width="266" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Identity is a complex thing. How do we identify with the voices or voices on stage, back stage, in the pit, even in the audience (beyond yesterday’s highly aggravating coughing, chattering, air conducting and the rest, and perhaps even including those irritant voices)? A staple, not without reason, of Tchaikovsky criticism has been discussion of the relationship, even identity, between the composer and his operatic characters. Gerald Abraham, for instance, claimed that ‘some opera composers, notably Tchaikovsky, have been able to identify themselves only with characters that are essentially or partially self-projections’. Herheim’s concept takes this as its starting-point. Titles inform us initially of the composer’s death and the story behind it, namely Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality and nineteenth-century society’s retribution for that ‘deviance’. The curtain opens and we see a desperate, pathetic Tchaikovsky seeking love from an officer he had paid only to gratify. The contempt with which he is treated sparks a flurry of writing and self-poisoning by cholera. Delirium ensues, the writing – or is it the performance? – continues, drawing upon the woman in the painting above and Tchaikovsky’s own ill-fated marriage: are the two women, indeed the three once Liza appears on stage, to be identified? It draws also upon the composer and that guardsman. The former seems to become – although are we ever entirely sure? – Prince Yeletsky, but also a host of tormenting chorus members. Who after all, torments a repressed gay man more than his interior daemons? The latter seems to become Herman, a thrill-seeker with a death wish of his own. Whose wish fulfilment is whose? And what to make of the surrealist vision immediately before the interval, when, following a (largely unsuccessful) attempt to have the audience rise to sing the Tsarist national anthem, Herman or the soldier appears in mocking travesty as Catherine herself, the ultimate, albeit surrealist queen scorning our sordid, all-too-real queen. Who, then, we might ask, is the Queen of Spades herself?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kOy4DL7C8GY/XDytqeWEd4I/AAAAAAAAFdU/0YdfClMyUlEzbwIYDbmm54Hp-9X2a-iAgCEwYBhgL/s1600/0641%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Band%2Bcast%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1006" data-original-width="1600" height="402" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kOy4DL7C8GY/XDytqeWEd4I/AAAAAAAAFdU/0YdfClMyUlEzbwIYDbmm54Hp-9X2a-iAgCEwYBhgL/s640/0641%2BVladimir%2BStoyanov%2Bas%2BYeletsky%2Band%2Bcast%2Bin%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2BSpades%2B%2528C%2529%2BROH%2B2018.%2BPhotographed%2Bby%2BCatherine%2BAshmore.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , serif;">Yeletsky, who does not appear in Pushkin, is perhaps the most appropriate candidate for identity with the composer; more important, he is perhaps the most intriguing. Who is he? What is he for? Or what might we make him be, and be for? When Herman curses the prince’s luck, can we believe in this as anything more than Tchaikovsky’s fantasy? Probably, but it requires theatre – a production team and performers who communicate as well as think – to do so. Tchaikovsky-Yeletsky plays with our expectations. Who is he now? Who was he then? Frantically, he not so much writes as plays at writing, at conducting, at ‘tickling the ivories’. For the hammy gestures are those unmistakeably – at least as the drama continues – of a biopic composer. It might be Ken Russell; it might be someone else; it might be us air-conducting at home or, as yesterday, all around me in the theatre. As dramaturge Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach notes in the programme, Tchaikovsky’s autograph is ‘sketched out in a nervous, volatile, rushed script with innumerable changes and cuts. It offers compelling testimony of the feverish élan that seized Tchaikovsky in his execution of this story.’ Is this helpless, hapless carica Opera Wilmington's beautiful Amahl and the Night Visitors http://www.taminophile.com/2019/01/opera-wilmingtons-beautiful-amahl-and.html Taminophile urn:uuid:203accd4-2217-a999-dba4-2901b75a4988 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 18:02:22 +0000 I have a long history with <i>Amahl and the Night Visitors</i>. I have sung Kasper several times--I've had the boys playing Amahl prompt me on the next stone in my magic box!--and I believe one of the first reviews I ever wrote was of dear <a href="http://www.taminophile.com/2009/11/review-really-mrs-amahl-what-have-you.html">Chelsea Opera's 2009 production</a>. On Sunday I was pleased to see Opera Wilmington's production of <i>Amahl</i>. I'm relatively new to Wilmington, although my family has been here for many generations, so I was delighted to find such a fine production.<br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-157nVM6MrUA/XDzNqtqVQoI/AAAAAAAACRE/bBryWbbCqt4XythsEJKsMqavFfxaw7-7wCLcBGAs/s1600/Amahl-Mother.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="960" data-original-width="720" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-157nVM6MrUA/XDzNqtqVQoI/AAAAAAAACRE/bBryWbbCqt4XythsEJKsMqavFfxaw7-7wCLcBGAs/s320/Amahl-Mother.jpg" width="240" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Jose Chirinos as Amahl and <br />Maria Beery as the Mother<br />Photo:&nbsp; Opera Wilmington</td></tr></tbody></table>I must rave first about the two most important singers, Amahl and his mother. Jose Chirinos deserves great praise for singing and acting the crippled boy Amahl so beautifully. There was never a moment of doubt in my mind, and he played against the more experienced singers and actors very well. Maria Beery was a very fine Mother. Although the Mother is often sung by heavier voices, Ms&nbsp;Beery was fully equal to the role. Always vocally beautiful, but also quite expressive and musical. I don't believe I've seen a more desperate and passionate performance of "All that gold". Her vocal moments with Amahl were quite lovely, Ms&nbsp;Beery showing the complete vocal control to refrain from overpowering young Amahl. (I think it was a wise choice to very subtly mic young Mr.&nbsp;Chirinos.)<br /><br />The three kings are designed to be half comic relief and half Greek chorus. Rusty Kling as Kasper, Quentin Lovette as Melchior and Carl Samet as Balthazar were a fine trio, although not always balanced. I was especially pleased vocally with the lower two voices.<br /><br />This is my first experience with <a href="http://www.operawilmington.org/">Opera Wilmington</a>, and I'm quite impressed. This group knows how to raise funds! The programs were very professional, they had received a grant to use an orchestra, and most of the production values were great. They've had impressive looking seasons in recent years, and in June will be assaying <i>La Boheme</i>.<br /><br />I do wish they had done more to overcome the limitations of staging an opera in a chancel. Even if the orchestra had not been directly in front of the chancel--and why not off on the sides?--the way the place is built limits sight lines. Something as simple as a table for props or an elevated platform to perform upon would have done wonders. I have no complaints with the orchestra or conductor, and I must say the chorus, comprised of members of the UNCW Chamber Choir and Forest Hills Global Elementary School students, was quite fine, even though it needed more men.<br /><br />I am very sorry there was only one performance, for I'd gladly recommending seeing a subsequent performance. I can only recommend seeing future concerts and performances of other works.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MTOHhhH24dQ/XDzN4E8id-I/AAAAAAAACRI/UiwwAsOpEcUUgF0O5LPycunDbEx7Bt2kgCLcBGAs/s1600/Amahl-cast.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="626" data-original-width="960" height="260" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MTOHhhH24dQ/XDzN4E8id-I/AAAAAAAACRI/UiwwAsOpEcUUgF0O5LPycunDbEx7Bt2kgCLcBGAs/s400/Amahl-cast.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A triumphant curtain call<br />Photo:&nbsp; Opera Wilmington</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Taminophile/~4/5FP7PHB55eA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> In War and Peace https://joycedidonato.com/2019/01/14/in-war-and-peace-16/ Joyce DiDonato urn:uuid:4c3fa0aa-5944-3998-e1ba-13c0ab6ea69f Mon, 14 Jan 2019 17:46:49 +0000 Macau Cultural Centre Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor Il Pomo d’oro <p><a href="http://www.ccm.gov.mo/Event.aspx/Detail/9592" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Macau Cultural Centre</a><br /> Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor<br /> Il Pomo d’oro</p> Metropolitan Opera Preview: Iolanta/Duke Bluebeard's Castle http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2018/09/metropolitan-opera-preview-iolantaduke.html Superconductor urn:uuid:f1e0619d-0504-5087-a6fd-35cc0125c7ab Mon, 14 Jan 2019 17:13:24 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b>Two fairy tales of love and terror returns with new divas.</b><br />by <a href="mailto:ppelkonen@gmail.com">Paul J. Pelkonen</a><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xJfzt9VO7QE/XDzCvHHVyHI/AAAAAAAAVPI/oB12kApmRv4BmNHSBVFiYRrM9vRPW9atgCLcBGAs/s1600/Bluebeard_00946-s-L.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="534" data-original-width="800" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xJfzt9VO7QE/XDzCvHHVyHI/AAAAAAAAVPI/oB12kApmRv4BmNHSBVFiYRrM9vRPW9atgCLcBGAs/s640/Bluebeard_00946-s-L.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Either this is a scene from <i>Duke Bluebeard's Castle....</i>or the 1 train is taking forever.<br />Photo by Marty Sohl © 2019 The Metropolitan Opera.</td></tr></tbody></table>The pervading <i>motif</i> of young women in the throes of self-discovery and danger ties together this double-bill, one of the most eagerly anticipated revivals of the coming Met season.<br /><b></b><br /><a name='more'></a><b><br /></b><b>What is <i>Iolanta?&nbsp;</i></b><br />The ultimate Russian romantic, Tchaikovsky set <i>Iolanta</i> as his last opera: the tale of a blind princess (Anna Netrebko) whose world is changed with the discovery of a handsome suitor (Piotr Beczala) a new world of sight and color and finally, true love.<br /><br /><b>OK. Tell me about <i>Bluebeard </i>next!</b><br />Béla Bartók only wrote one opera. But thankfully that opera was&nbsp;<i>Bluebeard's Castle</i>, which chronicles the disastrous wedding night of newlyweds Bluebeard (Gerald Finley) and Judith (Angela Denoke.). With a slow and careful building of dread, the opera chronicles Judith's explorations of her choice in marrying her new husband, and the disturbing and bloody secrets of his mysterious and dreadful home. Bartók's mastery of musical color and a large orchestra make this domestic horror story a feast for the senses.<br /><br /><b>Do these two operas have anything in common?</b><br />Uhhh...sort of? These are both fairy tales and important one-act operas that remain underperformed. Each has spectacular orchestration and gorgeous music, and each is about the destruction of illusions and the opening of the heroines' eyes, in one way or another.<br /><br /><b>What are the productions like?</b><br />This Metropolitan Opera double bill debuted in 2015. It is imported from two European festivals. <i>Iolanta</i> comes from Baden-Baden, while <i>Bluebeard</i> originated at the Teatr Wielki, home of the Polish National Opera. This was the Met''s first-ever production of Tchaikovsky's <i>Iolanta</i> and the first staging of <i>Bluebeard's Castle</i> in the 21st century. Marusz Trelinski's twin bill is inspired by <i>film noir</i> of the 1940's.<br /><br /><b>Who's in the operas?</b><br />Sonya Yoncheva is the titular heroine of <i>Iolanta, </i>with Met utility infield tenor Matthew Polenzani starring as Count Gottfried. The Bluebeards are played by veteran baritone Gerald Finley and soprano Angela Denoke.&nbsp;Hungarian conductor Henrik Nánási leads all performances.<br /><br /><b>When do these operas open?</b><br /><i>Iolanta</i> and <i>Duke Bluebeard's Castle</i>&nbsp;return to the Met stage on January 24, 2019. This cast does not get a <i>Live in HD </i>broadcast.<br /><b><br /></b><b>Where can I get tickets?</b><br />Tickets for&nbsp;<i>Iolanta</i>&nbsp; and&nbsp;<i>Bluebeard's Castle</i>&nbsp;are available at&nbsp;<a href="http://metoperafamily.org/">MetOpera.Org</a>, by calling (212) 362-6000, or at the box office.<br /><br /><b>Recording Recommendations:</b><br /><b><i>Iolanta</i>:</b><br /><b>Kirov Opera Orchestra and Chorus cond. Valery Gergiev </b>(London/Philips)<br />Gegam Grigorian, Dmitry Hvorostovsky and Galina Gorchakova were superstars in St. Petersburg and this two-disc account of the 96-minute opera captures all three artists in fine voice. Mr. Gergiev leads a sweeping and emotive account of this lovely and underappreciated score.<br /><br /><b><i>Bluebeard's Castle</i>:</b><br />Chicago Symphony Orchestra cond. Pierre Boulez (Deutsche Grammophon)<br /><b>Bluebeard:</b> László Polgár<br /><b>Judith: </b>Jessye Norman<br />This searing recording features Mr. Boulez' detail-rich account of the score and the rich tonal color of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at their very best. The bright, brass-driven fanfare at the opening of the central door will probably scare your pets and annoy your neighbors.<br /><b>Like what you've just read? </b>Support the blog and join&nbsp;<a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor">the Superconductor Patreon page</a>. For a whopping $5 a month, you will help support the cost of independent music journalism in New York City.<br /><br /><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/9Pv4bGYSVYQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> A Canadian in Rossini? https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/ operaramblings urn:uuid:6307c50b-bc9b-835b-1bfa-6efd5384213f Mon, 14 Jan 2019 17:03:34 +0000 Yes, there is a Rossini opera with a Canadian character.  Well, OK it&#8217;s a bit ambiguous whether he&#8217;s Canadian or American and the librettist doesn&#8217;t seem quite sure that they aren&#8217;t the same thing.  Anyway, likely the earliest of an &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Yes, there is a Rossini opera with a Canadian character.  Well, OK it&#8217;s a bit ambiguous whether he&#8217;s Canadian or American and the librettist doesn&#8217;t seem quite sure that they aren&#8217;t the same thing.  Anyway, likely the earliest of an appearance of a Canadian in opera unless one counts the <em>Les sauvages d’Amérique </em>section of Rameau&#8217;s <em>Les Indes Galantes</em>.  The opera is the early one act comedy, <em>La cambiale di matrimonio.  </em>It&#8217;s a bit of a one trick pony.  An English merchant has contracted to marry his daughter to the Canadian, Snook, but she&#8217;s already unofficially engaged to another.  After much faffing about Snook makes the contract over to the other suitor and makes him his heir.  The joke, such as it is, is that all this is carried out in the language of commercial contracts.  For example, when Snook minds out that Fanny is engaged he considers the &#8220;merchandise&#8221; to be &#8220;mortgaged&#8221; and so on.  Still it provides a back drop for some showy singing and the usual rapid fire Rossini ensemble numbers.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25453" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/1-rain/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="1.rain" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25453 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png?w=584" alt="1.rain" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.rain_.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-25452"></span>Michael Hampe&#8217;s production for the 1989 Schwetzingen Festival is, well, very Hampe.  It&#8217;s all set in one elegant room with a view of London through the windows and, of course, it&#8217;s raining.  Snook, when he appears, wears furs and a plaid shirt and carries a musket.  Everybody else looks like they have stepped out of a Merchant Ivory adaptation of Jane Austen.  It&#8217;s brisk and efficient, even if there&#8217;s a fair bit of singing direct to the audience.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25454" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/2-lovers-8/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="2.lovers" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25454 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png?w=584" alt="2.lovers" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.lovers.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>The singing is decent, though not as distinguished as the <em>Barber</em> I reviewed a few days ago.  The best probably comes from Alberto Rinaldi as Slook who is very solid and shows fine control, particularly in one aria where he has to manage some tricky slow runs.  John Del Carlo blusters around nicely as the father, Tobia Mill, and Janice Hall makes a decent fist of the daughter.  David Huebler, as the suitor Milfort, sounds sweeter toned than on some other recordings I&#8217;ve heard.  There are nice cameos from Carlos Feller, as the cashier Norton, and Amelia Felle, as the maid, Clarina.  Gianluigi Gelmetti conducts the Radio-Sinfonienorchester Stuttgart and keeps everything moving along and in synch.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25455" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/3-slook/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="3.slook" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25455 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png?w=584" alt="3.slook" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.slook_.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Claus Viller directs for video and it&#8217;s clean and straightforward.  The video quality is &#8220;made for TV&#8221; 1980&#8217;s (4:3 aspect ratio) but it copes well enough with the well lit. compact stage.  The DTS surround sound and the CM stereo are perfectly OK (there&#8217;s also Dolby surround for the .001% who have a surround set up that can&#8217;t decode DTS).  The booklet contains a track listing, essay and synopsis.  Subtitle options are English, Italian, French, German and Spanish.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25456" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/4-mortgage/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="4.mortgage" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25456 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png?w=584" alt="4.mortgage" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.mortgage.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Strange as it may seem, this disk actually has competition on DVD with more recent versions from Wurttemberg and Bolzano.  I&#8217;m not about to seek them out!  This one is currently available separately or, at time of writing, as part of a five disk set of early Rossini operas, all directed by Michael Hampe and all recorded at Schwetzingen in roughly the same period.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25457" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/14/a-canadian-in-rossini/5-finale-9/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="5.finale" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25457 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png?w=584" alt="5.finale" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale-1.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> Royal Ballet School to open Associate centre in Scotland http://www.balletnews.co.uk/royal-ballet-school-to-open-associate-centre-in-scotland/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:28c52203-73ee-57a5-52c3-79babb7f69a4 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 16:57:09 +0000 © 2018, The Royal Ballet School. Photographed by Rachel Cherry  ·&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;The Royal Ballet School will open a new Associate centre in Dundee...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/mtQXJSIKnTo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Crazy little thing called trove https://parterre.com/2019/01/14/crazy-little-thing-called-trove/ parterre box urn:uuid:89f56b9d-f9d4-6e22-ae30-36d510cad82c Mon, 14 Jan 2019 15:00:28 +0000 Last week, our indefatigable podcaster Christopher Corwin (not pictured) achieved the milestone of  the 200th episode of Trove Thursday. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60076" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/trove-schmeckenbecker-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/trove-schmeckenbecker.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/trove-schmeckenbecker-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Last week, our indefatigable podcaster <a href="https://parterre.com/author/decaffarrelli/">Christopher Corwin</a> (not pictured) achieved the milestone of  the 200th episode of <a href="https://parterre.com/tag/trove-thursday/">Trove Thursday</a>. Thus it seemed an appropriate moment to provide the cher public of <em>parterre box </em>with an <a href="https://parterre.com/the-trove-thursday-archive/">alphabetical list</a> (by composer) of all those delightful musical tracks paired with the links to the postings in which they were originally unveiled. <span id="more-60069"></span></p> <p>Except for an unplanned hiatus in the fall of 2016, for more than three years “Trove Thursday” has been offering broadcasts or in-house recordings of live performances for listening and/or downloading. The 200 tracks so far can be found listed in chronological order of posting at <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trove-thursday/id1039652739">iTunes</a> or via any <a href="http://parterre.com/podcast/trovethursday.rss">RSS</a> reader.</p> <p>Each link on the <a href="https://parterre.com/the-trove-thursday-archive/">Trove Thursday Archive</a> page takes you to complete information about the performance including its venue, date, cast and conductor.</p> <p>Happy listening!</p> Paris Opéra Ballet Revokes Sergei Polunin's Invitation to Guest Star https://www.pointemagazine.com/sergei-polunin-paris-2625969963.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:38d8c29d-a1cb-f7a4-8301-787e70be47a2 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 14:46:41 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19085342/origin.png"/><br/><br/><p>Sergei Polunin, whose recent <a href="https://www.dancemagazine.com/sergei-polunin-homophobic-paris-opera-2625633630.html" target="_blank">homophobic and sexist Instagram posts have sparked international outrage</a>, will <a href="https://sceneweb.fr/qui-est-sergei-polunin-le-danseur-que-lopera-de-paris-ninvitera-pas/" target="_blank">not be appearing</a> with the Paris Opéra Ballet as previously announced. </p><p>POB artistic director Aurélie Dupont sent an internal email to company staff and dancers on Sunday, explaining that she did not share Polunin's values and that the Russian-based dancer would not be guesting with the company during the upcoming run of Rudolf Nureyev's <em>Swan Lake</em> in February.</p><hr/><h3>None</h3><br/><p>This decision comes in response to numerous complaints, including those <a href="https://twitter.com/Adriencvz/status/1083341787761205248/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1083341787761205248&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dancemagazine.com%2Fres%2Fcommunity%2Ftwitter_embed%2F%3Fiframe_id%3Dtwitter-embed-1083341787761205248%26created_ts%3D1547123784.0%26screen_name%3DAdriencvz%26text%3DSuch%2Ban%2Bembarrassment%2Byou%2Bare%2B%2540SergeiPolunin_%2B%250AFranchement%2B%2540operadeparis%2Binviter%2Bun%2Btype%2Bpareil%2Ben%2B2019%2B%25C3%25A0%2BParis%252C%2Bc%2527%25E2%2580%25A6%2Bhttps%253A%252F%252Ft.co%252FpFJmIwJWXB%26id%3D1083341787761205248%26name%3DAdrien%2BCouvez" target="_blank">expressed by POB dancers online</a> and during management meetings. French ballet fans have also been eager to weigh in on the controversy. Some argue that the POB is largely financed by the French federal government and that Polunin does not reflect "French law or values."</p><p>Other balletgoers who had hoped to catch a glimpse of the international star expressed disappointment. But even Polunin's talent has been called into question by some commenters who speculate that without a home company, the dancer isn't preparing for performances well and can't be relied upon to produce the same results that first delighted audiences at the Royal Opera Ballet.</p><h3>None</h3><br/><p>POB has not yet named a replacement for Polunin in the role of Prince Siegfried. However, a cast of accomplished étoile dancers that will appear in the production has been announced on the <a href="https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-18-19/ballet/swan-lake#distribution" target="_blank">company's website</a>. For the time being, the list does not specify the role each dancer will perform.</p><p>Dupont's decision to stage <em>Swan Lake</em> without Polunin is yet another sign that the ballet world is changing. Numerous international companies are currently striving to create a respectful and healthy working environment for all dancers. If being uninvited by the POB is any indication, Polunin will increasingly struggle to find collaborators who are willing to accept his erratic behavior and hateful outbursts.</p> To the extreme https://parterre.com/2019/01/14/to-the-extreme/ parterre box urn:uuid:d19c44de-95e2-b8cc-becb-5645c9f1d0df Mon, 14 Jan 2019 14:00:07 +0000 No other singer of Die Amme approaches the towering standard set by the German mezzo <strong>Tanja Ariane Baumgartner</strong>. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60062" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/tanja-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/tanja.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/tanja-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Richard Strauss’s <em>Die Frau Ohne Schatten</em> captivates me for framing themes of such profound humanity within its creators’ rich mythical symbolism. Of the opera’s main characters, no other intrigues me like the Amme—a Mephistophelean figure who orchestrates the drama’s fairytale machinations all while singing Strauss’ most fiendishly acrobatic vocal lines. <span id="more-60060"></span></p> <p>While the Amme’s writing is notorious for placing extreme demands on a dramatic mezzo’s technique and stamina, it is only during recent decades since theaters started presenting <em>Frau</em> uncut that audiences were able to savor the entirety of the character’s music.</p> <p>While artists like <strong>Hanna Schwarz</strong> and <strong>Michaela Schuster</strong> are justifiably celebrated for imparting’s the Amme’s lines with exceptional musical fluency, no other singer in my mind approaches the towering standard set for this character by the German mezzo <strong>Tanja Ariane Baumgartner</strong>.</p> <p>In terms of tonal beauty, vocal security, and musically inspired artistry, I would be hard-pressed to identify another singer who demonstrably conquers the composer’s difficult idiom while plumbing the depths of the character’s dramatic possibilities.</p> <p>Baumgartner’s Amme can be experienced uncut from <strong>Sebastian Weigle</strong>’s set on the Oehms label.  Although the recording features the work of several notable artists—including <strong>Tamara Wilson</strong>’s radiant Kaiserin, <strong>Terje Stensvold</strong>’s dignified and nobly sung Barak, and <strong>Burkhard Fritz</strong>’s lyrically vocalized Kaiser–it is Baumgartner’s incredible Amme that repeatedly draws me back to this highly recommendable performance.</p> <p>In a role often assigned to autumnal dramatic singers prone to cackling and histrionic excess, Baumgartner brings a meltingly beautiful, bronzen mezzo that easily scales the treacherous vocal writing while sculpting phrases with impeccable musicianship and nuance. In her first act interactions with Hoffmansthal’s motley characters, Baumgartner dispatches the wide-ranging vocal leaps and explosive ascents with utmost security.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9aaxbsrpdY&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9aaxbsrpdY</a></p> <p>In Act 2, she skillfully depicts through vocal gradations the layered facets of the character’s externalized congeniality and internalized contempt for mortals during her temptation of the Dyer’s Wife, and caps the tumultuous finale with a radiant and electrifying top B-flat.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMMIJp9hCI&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMMIJp9hCI</a></p> <p>In the moments leading to her character’s exile in Act 3, Baumgartner eschews melodrama and fearlessly delivers the Amme’s desperate entreatments without straying from the boundaries of musical taste. If this Amme were the only recorded documentation of Baumgartner’s work, she would nonetheless have set a staggeringly high standard for this most complex Straussian creation.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqHyt2uN7RM&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqHyt2uN7RM</a></p> <p>More of Baumgartner’s work is fortunately well represented outside of Weigle’s <em>Frau</em> recording. Last spring, the singer made her sensational role debut as Kundry in a videocast production of <em>Parsifal</em> from Antwerp’s Opera Vlaanderen. While many mezzos come to grief with Kundry’s vocal leaps and high tessitura at the end of the central act, Baumgartner aced the entire role’s technical challenges while still capturing the whole spectrum of this complex character.</p> <p>On surveying the five-year run of <strong>Frank Castorf’</strong>s Ring, no other artist gave as vibrantly characterized or as potent of a Fricka as Baumgartner did in the summer of 2017. Her portrayal of this character is something I was lucky enough to witness live in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new <em>Ring</em> Cycle, where she transcended a morass of flatfooted character direction with an incisive Fricka that commanded attention with every carefully modulated and sculpted phrase.</p> <p>It is a testament to Baumgartner’s artistry that her performances of this brief, yet crucial role made the strongest impression in Chicago’s staging of the first two <em>Ring</em> operas.</p> <p>In DVD’s that hail from Salzburg, one can sample her sensuous Countess Geschwitz in the 2010 production of <strong>Vera Nemirova</strong>’s <em>Lulu</em>, and a warm, luxuriously sung Charlotte in <strong>Alvis Hermanis</strong>’ 2012 take on Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s <em>Die Soldaten</em>. Another audio set from the Frankfurt Opera captures the German premiere of <strong>Aribert Reimann</strong>’s <em>Medea</em> (exceptional for <strong>Claudia Barainsky</strong>’s virtuoso reading of the antiheroine), where Baumgartner imbues the spiky vocal lines of Gora (Franz Grillparzer’s version of Medea’s nurse) with warm vocal tone and technically impressive 21st century coloratura.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF4iwW7SMH4&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF4iwW7SMH4</a></p> <p>In addition to demonstrating solid artistry in standard operatic repertory (glowing reviews often describe her assumption of mezzo and falcon parts by Wagner, Strauss, Verdi, Handel, verismo, French grand opera, and bel canto), Baumgartner has also consistently championed works by contemporary and modernist composers (e.g. Othmar Schoeck, Stravinsky, Hans Werner Henze, Mieczys?aw Weinberg, Rolf Riehm, Luigi Dallapiccolla, Beat Furrer) as a headliner and even a creator of characters.</p> <p>Artists who command respect and adulation in such a broad range of vocal styles and idioms in the operatic literature are rare. Those who do the same in inspiring composers to create new characters are even rarer.</p> <p><em>Parterre Box</em> today is an influential voice in the world of opera criticism and appreciation.  Opera singers visit these pages, and the administrative staff of many an opera organization likely do as well. It puzzles me that an artist of such a stellar caliber only made her U.S. debut in the fall of 2016 (Fricka in the LOC’s <em>Das Rheingold)</em>, and that no high profile North American engagements are listed in her future.</p> <p>I hope that my plug inspires you to explore more of this incredible artist’s work. If some of her repertory may not be to your liking, her tour de force interpretation of the Amme in Strauss’ <em>Frau Ohne Schatten</em> (the most accessible work in her discography so far) should at least give one pause for how excellently she traverses this summit of the dramatic mezzo fach.</p> Finalmente mia! https://parterre.com/2019/01/14/finalmente-mia/ parterre box urn:uuid:e454766d-f523-7070-91db-cf170746cc25 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 13:00:08 +0000 On this day in 1900 Puccini's <em>Tosca</em> premiered in Rome. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60058" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/darclee-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/darclee.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/darclee-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />On this day in 1900 Puccini&#8217;s <em>Tosca</em> premiered in Rome. <span id="more-60057"></span></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLR3lSrqlww&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLR3lSrqlww</a></p> <p>Birthday anniversaries of bass Ludwig Hofmann (1895), mezzo Grace Hoffman (1921), tenor Jean Cox (1922), baritone Louis Quilico (1929).</p> <p>Happy 79th birthday to baritone<strong> Siegmund Nimsgern</strong> and Happy 63rd to tenor <strong>Ben Heppner</strong>.</p> Concert Review: A Folio of Femme Fatales http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/01/concert-review-folio-of-femme-fatales.html Superconductor urn:uuid:85fdad47-d7f8-77f4-ea69-56f707e5c548 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 04:17:41 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b>Jakub Hrůša returns to the New York Philharmonic.</b><br />by <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor">Paul J. Pelkonen</a><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_1fPqkK2vBI/XDwJ45Jr0dI/AAAAAAAAVO8/MutSZxCQNv8b6dhpMdciSxFV9I9jk88fwCLcBGAs/s1600/ZbLB3xOY.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="853" data-original-width="1280" height="426" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_1fPqkK2vBI/XDwJ45Jr0dI/AAAAAAAAVO8/MutSZxCQNv8b6dhpMdciSxFV9I9jk88fwCLcBGAs/s640/ZbLB3xOY.jpeg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: xx-small;">The in-demand Mr. Jakob&nbsp;<span style="text-align: left;">Hrůša returned to the New York Philharmonic last week.<br />Photo by Andreas Herszau © 2018&nbsp;Bamberger Symphoniker courtesy IMG Artists.</span></span></td></tr></tbody></table>Rudyard Kipling once wrote that the female of the species is more deadly than the male. On Friday afternoon, conductor Jakub Hrůša tested that theory with a program of works by Janacek and Rimsky-Korsakov depicting females of cunning and wit. These orchestral showpieces flanked the <i>Piano Concerto No. 3</i> of Serge Prokofiev, the most elegant, energetic and <i>outré</i> of the composer's five.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br />The concert started with a return to the orchestra's biggest success of recent years: Leos Janacek's <i>The Cunning Little Vixen</i>. However, in place of the full work as imagined by former music director Alan Gilbert and conductor Doug Fitch, this was a performance of a two-part orchestral suite. It was constructed from two scenes from the first act by the late Sir Charles Mackerras. The music is superb and detailed, and if any criticism can be levied it is that it ignores the boisterious wedding music that ends the second act of the opera.<br /><br />Mr. Hrůša conjured the glimmering chords for woodwinds and tremolo strings that open the opera. Pointillist woodwinds added chirping crickets and twittering birds. Violins played the rambunctious and very Czech folk dance (in the opera a duet for cricket and grasshopper) before dramatizing the capture of the Vixen. The second half was the barnyard scene, a languorous passage that ends turbulently. As the Vixen snared and slaughtered the forester's chickens, the strings screeched and percussion pounded. Mr. Hrůša led the fray, his hands creating poultry in motion.<br /><br />Prokofiev's <i>Third Piano Concerto</i> dates from the composer's cosmopolitan period, and uses the same sense of arch playfulness that characterized his opera <i>The Love for Three Oranges</i>. However, at the first entry of the solo instrument, soloist Simon Trpceski was playig with so much delicacy and restraint that his instrument's voice disappeared, subsumed entirely by the swelling orchestration. This discrepancy was resolved with his first unaccompanied <i>forte</i> passage but it was not a good start to this difficult concerto.<br /><br />The <i>Theme and Variations</i> forms the concerto's central movement. Here, a simple folksy figure is stretched, twisted, tortured and contorted in the course of five complex variations, each allowing soloist and orchestra to build on what came before. Mr. Trpceski's phrasing here was accurate and precise. However, the athletic final movement seemed to degenerate into a contest of volume between orchestra and piano. with the soloist working frantically to navigate the music's twists and turns. Still, the audience seemed to like it.<br /><br />Rimsky-Korsakov's <i>Scheherazade</i> is a hybrid: a programmatic four movement work that follows the model of a symphony and yet does not number among the composer's efforts in that genre. It is loosely based on the tales from the<i>1,001 Arabian Nights</i>, themselves told by the Princess Scheherazade in a bid to prevent her execution at the hands of her husband. With its prominent violin part, it is a favorite for concertmasters who want an opportunity to step into the center spotlight. It is also leitmotivic, pitting the descending, domineering brass theme for the Sultan against the wily solo violin, representing Scheherezade herself.<br /><br />Mr. Hrůša took a traditional, muscular view of this music, letting the orchestra players dominate in the brief solo excursions given to strings, brass and wind. This performance was engaging but in no way subtle, as trombones and tuba gleefully blasted out the "Sultan theme" in the first and fourth movements. The central movements were colorful but ultimately draggy, a whole lot of effect with very little central cause. However, the stirring orchestral climaxes of the finale followed by one last descending sigh for Mr. Huang ended this concert on a sweet and engaging note.<br /><br />If you enjoyed this article, it's time to click over to Superconductor's <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor">Patreon page</a>, and help support the cost of independent music journalism in New York City at the low cost of just $5/month.<br /><div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/ghaFAPmRc6g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Opera Review: A Torrid Thespian Affair http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/01/opera-review-torrid-thespian-affair.html Superconductor urn:uuid:a4d7c485-9362-5b33-eb36-372f657f297f Sun, 13 Jan 2019 17:43:22 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b><i>Superconductor</i> takes another look at <i>Adriana Lecouvereur</i>.</b><br />by Paul J. Pelkonen<br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mv0aqU68vPM/XDt3xOMzM6I/AAAAAAAAVOw/3BzOjjnEwjYyiaeAWpQD19NKf8J7WQt-wCLcBGAs/s1600/785x590_adriana3.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="590" data-original-width="785" height="480" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mv0aqU68vPM/XDt3xOMzM6I/AAAAAAAAVOw/3BzOjjnEwjYyiaeAWpQD19NKf8J7WQt-wCLcBGAs/s640/785x590_adriana3.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Dying young: Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala light up <i>Adriana Lecouvereur.</i><br />Photo by Ken Howard © 2018 The Metropolitan Opera.</td></tr></tbody></table>Opening Night was so nice that we had to see it twice. On Thursday night, my regular opera companion and I finagled rush tickets to see a second performance of <i>Adriana Lecouvereur</i>, the Met's current offering starring super-soprano Anna Netrebko as a famous French actress whose love for a handsome two-timer leads to her inevitable (but oh so refined) death.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br />This show is all about Anna. From her first entrance (with her back to the audience in a private backstage dressing room on stage left) she teases and caresses the ear before letting that instrument loose at full flood. However, her performance this night seemed somewhat scooped. She still has a strong upper register and surprisingly powerful low end, but the all-important <i>passagio</i> between those two sounds was repeatedly overwhelmed by the orchestra.<br /><br />The same cannot be said for Anita Rachvelishvili, in a star-making turn as the villainous Princess who is out for revenge on Adriana. The first scene between the two singers is a microcosm for this entire opera, starting out as a comic encounter in a dark room. It is farce that quickly turns tragic as the two divas realize they are both in love with the same man, and the voices erupt in a duel over the orchestra with the force and fury of a slapped glove.<br /><br />The war continued into the third act, as Adriana and La Principessa found themselves at odds at a ballet performance. It culminates in the great scene where Adriana mounts the little stage set and recites from the play <i>Phedre</i>, insulting the Princess. This is the act that seals the actress' fate, as the wounded party responds by sending poisoned violets to Adriana, killing her in the most refined manner imaginable. Ms. Netrebko's death scene was once more spectacularly sung, with the orchestra allowing the soprano to dominate the stage.<br /><br />At this performance, (the third in the current run) the strong qualities of the cast had improved, with singing actors jelling together as a dramatic unit. At the forefront was Adriana's (and the Princess') stormy relationship(s) with the handsome Maurizio (Piotr Beczala.) Although he starts the opera posing as a poor soldier, Maurizio is a Saxon prince whose playboy reputation is only exceeded by the pulchritude of his endless supply of military tailcoats. Mr. Beczala too was in velvety voice, using the lyric qualities of his keen tenor to good effect.<br /><br />Baritone Ambrogio Maestri anchored this entire performance with his warm, funny and fully human performance as Adriana's mentor and would-be lover Michonnet. Mr. Maestri walks the fine line between comic foil and tragic, secondary hero, framed by two big monologue-arias in the first and fourth acts. As the Abbé and the Prince de Bouillon, Carlo Bosi and Maurizio Muraro remain an effective pair of comic intriguers, helping the texture of this opera veer between baroque comedy and full-on <i>verismo </i>tragedy.<br /><br />Gianandrea Noseda does a remarkable job with this score, lending weight and dramatic power to Francesco Cilea's music. He takes what is essentially middling opera music and brings a symphonic touch to it, lending Cilea's music an almost Russified sound that one associates with Rachmaninoff or Prokofiev. These &nbsp;skills elevated passages like the Act II <i>intermezzo</i>, the ballet music in the third act. In the fourth it is his restraint that allows Adriana to meet her tragic end in Maurizio's arms, bringing this tragedy to a quiet and heart-rending close.<br /><br />If you enjoyed this article, it's time to click over to Superconductor's <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor">Patreon page</a>, and help support the cost of independent music journalism in New York City at the low cost of just $5/month.<br /><div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/2mp-2nTuthU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Mutter/Vengerov/Argerich/Oxford PO/Papadopoulos - Bach, Schumann, and Beethoven, 12 January 2019 http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2019/01/muttervengerovargerichoxford.html Boulezian urn:uuid:5715ee78-132a-2a45-0200-65de0d05d2ac Sun, 13 Jan 2019 13:03:57 +0000 <br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Barbican Hall</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Bach:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;"> Concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Schumann: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Piano Concerto in A minor, op.54<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Beethoven: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Symphony no.3 in E-flat major, op.55, ‘Eroica’<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;">Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maxim Vengerov (violins)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;">Martha Argerich (piano)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;">Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;">Marios Papadopoulos (conductor)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">A curious concert this: three star soloists, any one of whom would likely prove a highpoint of most orchestras’ seasons; an excellent yet, to many, unknown orchestra; and, sadly, a conductor who proved at best mediocre. Quite how the Oxford Philharmonic and Marios Papadopoulos had been able to enlist the services of Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maxim Vengerov, and Martha Argerich (!) for the orchestra’s twentieth-anniversary concert, I have no idea. Even if I could not help but wish that I had left at the interval, it had been an unusual, or rather unique, opportunity to hear all three. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Bach’s Double Violin Concerto was performed without conductor, violins and violas standing. The orchestra instantly revealed a cultivated string sound, matched and indeed led by Mutter and Vengerov. The first movement was taken quickly indeed: too fast, I am afraid, with much of Bach’s music simply skated over. Solo ornamentation was not unduly distracting, but largely unnecessary. Still, compared to what one often hears today in Bach, there was nothing especially perverse. The central <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Largo ma non tanto</i> was again on the fast side, but perhaps not entirely unreasonably so. Mutter’s tone proved more Romantic, although Vengerov’s rich, viola-like tone on the G string offered its own allure and pleasure. It was a musical, if not especially profound performance. (We shall always have the Oistrakhs.) Much the same might be said of the finale, again very quick, but with better reason than the first movement. Mutter showed a naturalness in her phrasing I have not heard from her in years. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Argerich, however, seemed far more in tune with Schumann and his demands. A full, Romantic orchestra, large by today’s standards and all the better for it, joined her in an emphatic opening paving the way for poetic flights of fancy from piano and woodwind soloists alike. The problems, such as they were, lay with Papadopoulos, who drove the orchestra mercilessly, quite unmusically, and unquestionably at odds both with its playing and with that of the soloist; that is, until, he suddenly his direction started meandering. Insofar as Argerich regained (infinitely flexible) control, there was much to enjoy. Her direction of what became essentially chamber music was as much to be savoured as her solo playing; a knowing, confiding nod to the principal cello would have been heard, even had it not been seen. <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Innigkeit</i> and fire, dialectically related yet apparently spontaneous, reminded us once again what we miss, given her withdrawal from the solo platform. So too did the cadenza, despatched with a well-nigh Brahmsian integrity and vehemence, yet fresh as ever. If only, here and elsewhere, she had been partnered by a musician with a superior sense of harmony, of form, of tempo: a Barenboim, for instance. The Intermezzo benefited greatly from being essentially led by Argerich: these were her dreams, her phantoms. The finale’s opening bars proved surprisingly martial, yet not unreasonably so. Would that the same might have been said later on of hard-driven orchestral <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">tutti</i></span><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;">, blaring brass much in need of reining in.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">There was little faulting the orchestra in the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Eroica</i> Symphony. Admirable heft, variegation, unanimity of ensemble, and much more were all on display. Not to have the first movement taken at currently fashionable breakneck speed proved a relief in itself. Alas, neither here nor in any of the symphony’s movements did Papadopoulos convey so much as a hint of structure becoming dynamic form. The harmonic motion on which the symphony’s progress is founded passed for nothing, so too did much phrasing, especially during the slow movement. One phrase just followed another, one paragraph another. What did it add up to? What did it mean? Very little, so far as I could discern. The Funeral March and finale seemed interminable: not on account of having been taken particularly slowly, but from a lack of formal logic and impetus. Merely pleasant Beethoven barely registers as Beethoven at all: given the excellence of the orchestral playing as such, a great pity. As for the tedious, allegedly ‘humorous’ encore, the less said the better.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Boulezian/~4/Nq7m0mSrSTQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> The wit, the intelligence, the dignity and, of course, the voice. Basta! https://parterre.com/2019/01/13/the-wit-the-intelligence-the-dignity-and-of-course-the-voice-basta/ parterre box urn:uuid:ce63bb16-c9db-e0ec-ef85-15bc87ea3dbe Sun, 13 Jan 2019 13:00:55 +0000 Happy 83rd birthday baritone <strong>Renato Bruson</strong>. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60050" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/bruson-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/bruson-518x350.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/bruson-250x169.jpg 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/bruson-768x519.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/bruson.jpg 1063w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Happy 83rd birthday baritone <strong>Renato Bruson</strong>. <span id="more-60049"></span></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iOgiL-_Fv8&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iOgiL-_Fv8</a></p> <p>On this day in 1976 conductor <strong>Sarah Caldwell</strong> made history.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NELCWHnOBx0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NELCWHnOBx0</a></p> When Cross-Sex Casting Doesn’t Quite Work https://definitelytheopera.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/1979/ Definitely the Opera urn:uuid:9c77b969-134f-4173-5b86-36f065c998f9 Sun, 13 Jan 2019 04:32:46 +0000 Here&#8217;s an argument you&#8217;ve never heard me make before: in a limited number of cases, women should not be cast in male roles. Cross-sex or &#8216;gender-neutral&#8217; casting is now customary across English-speaking world because so many classical works (see first of all: Shakespeare) have so few great female roles. Woman playing Hamlet, or Lear, or &#8230; <a href="https://definitelytheopera.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/1979/" class="more-link">Continue reading <span class="screen-reader-text">When Cross-Sex Casting Doesn&#8217;t Quite&#160;Work</span> <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4253" style="width: 710px" class="wp-caption alignleft"><img data-attachment-id="4253" data-permalink="https://definitelytheopera.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/1979/1979-2/" data-orig-file="https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg" data-orig-size="1366,614" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="1979" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=700&#038;h=315" class="size-large wp-image-4253" src="https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=700&#038;h=315" alt="" width="700" height="315" srcset="https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=700&amp;h=315 700w, https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=150&amp;h=67 150w, https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=300&amp;h=135 300w, https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=768&amp;h=345 768w, https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg?w=1024&amp;h=460 1024w, https://definitelytheopera.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1979.jpg 1366w" sizes="(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Philip Riccio as Joe Clark and Christopher Hunt (in the background) as John Crosbie in Michael Healey&#8217;s 1979. Benjamin Laird Arts Photography</figcaption></figure> <p>Here&#8217;s an argument you&#8217;ve never heard me make before: in a limited number of cases, women should not be cast in male roles.</p> <p>Cross-sex or &#8216;gender-neutral&#8217; casting is now customary across English-speaking world because so many classical works (see first of all: Shakespeare) have so few great female roles. Woman playing Hamlet, or Lear, or Cesar, or Prospero, can work really really well&#8211;and there have been many notable cases where it did.</p> <p>But cross-sex casting in contemporary plays? Why not write plays with women in them, rather than write all-male plays and then hire women for some of the male roles?</p> <p>A couple of days ago I went to see Michael Healey&#8217;s latest, <em>1979</em>. As readers of this blog will already know, I am a fan of Michael Healey&#8217;s work, both as playwright and actor. <em>1979</em> dramatizes the night when Joe Clark, Canada&#8217;s first Progressive Conservative Prime Minister after a 15-year hegemony by Trudeau&#8217;s Liberals, is about to lose his first budget vote and with it the government. Clark is PM for a few months only before PET returns as the leader of the Liberals and beats him in the next election&#8211;and goes on to campaign for the unity side in the Quebec referendum, repatriating the Constitution and introducing the Charter of Rights.</p> <p>First Conservative Leader and first PM from out west, the non-charismatic Joe Who? however has integrity to burn&#8211;and a Red Tory vision of the country that does not pit region vs region, refrains from patronage and pork-barrelling, and is fundamentally anti-Thatcherist (Thatcher has just won the UK general election across the pond by antagonizing rather than unifying). Canada is different, Joe Clark is certain. The NDP and the Liberals are united in wanting to take his minority government down&#8211;everybody hates the gas tax he&#8217;s about to introduce, does nothing ever change in federal politics&#8211;while six of the members of his own caucus don&#8217;t bother showing up for this life-or-death vote. Does he start bargaining, threatening, cajoling in order to convert some opposition MPs? Does he simply postpone the vote for however long the government needs to line up the ducks, the not-unheard of and legal and legit parliamentary move? (Employed as recently as last month by one Theresa May before her Brexit deal vote in the UK Parliament, btw.)</p> <p>Neither, actually. The Clark of <em>1979</em> (and this is probably close to what happened in real life) believes that if he can&#8217;t get the votes for the budget, he does not have a moral right to govern. And that&#8217;s it. The country will go back to the polls, where he will, he believes, properly beat PET this time and return with a majority.</p> <p>Several figures visit Clark on this fateful night. Actor Christopher Hunt plays John Crosbie, Clark&#8217;s finance minister, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and for a few brief and pointless minutes in hard-to-pull-off-without-camp drag, Flora MacDonald. Just the glorious conversation between PET and Clark is in itself worth going to this play for, as is the one near the end, between the young page Stephen Harper and PM Clark. But Harper is played by a woman.</p> <p>Namely, there&#8217;s a third actor in the cast, and her name is Jamie Konchak. She shines as Flora MacDonald and Clark&#8217;s wife Maureen McTeer, but as a very sleazy Brian Mulroney who will go on to win the next PC leadership race and become Canada&#8217;s answer to Reagan and Thatcher, she is drag-kinging it, parodying, camping it up. Not for a second did I believe that female-bodied and female-voiced Mulroney is in any way threatening to Clark in their scene of confrontation.</p> <p>Worse, the final big conversation between the &#8220;Steve&#8221;, who has the advantage of knowing the future, in particular the future of the united Reform+PC Conservative Party too, and the amused and tolerant Clark just doesn&#8217;t work: the passionate monologues about hegemony, Thatcherism, the electoral benefits of charisma-less leaders, Canadian West, and how to hold on to power&#8211;none of that really rings through when told by a young woman performing a man. (Plus&#8230; the wigs are so bad I wondered at some point if they were purchased at Dollarama)</p> <p>The two female characters both complain at various points how sexist the Parliament Hill is&#8211;and how men&#8217;s hands of women&#8217;s behinds, including theirs, are not exactly a rare occurrence. That is a fact: the 1979 parliamentary life was still a colossal sausage-fest. Women in public life or adjacent to it via their husbands were being treated badly and patronized. Biggest decisions have been made by men and men only. The single-minded Stephen Harper and the sleazy, threatening Mulroney should have been played by men. The federal power circles were (and probably still are) <em>that</em> claustrophobic. A male body and deep-speaking voice is almost necessary in order to be granted admission. (Crystia Freeland is changing this now, luckily.)</p> <p>There exist plays without women that are extremely good. I am not a fan of any kind of creation that denies the existence of women but I can&#8217;t pretend that such creations can be, in a limited number of existing cases, superb. Who would you cross-sex cast in Mamet&#8217;s<em> Glengarry Glen Ross</em>? I don&#8217;t think it would work. What about, say, Michael Frayn&#8217;s <em>Democracy</em>, the play about Willy Brandt without a single female character? (It&#8217;s a good play, I was shocked to discover.) Or what about James Graham&#8217;s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_House_(play)"><em>This House</em></a>, which has one (1) female character, or his latest drama, <em>Brexit: The Uncivil War,</em> which is largely an affair between factions of men? Or any of the BBC movies on British political life, like <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Deal_(2003_film)"><em>The Deal</em></a> by Peter Morgan, on the deal between Blair and Brown? None of these would have worked I think with women playing characters like Blair and Brandt.</p> <p>It&#8217;s hard to write women into historical political events, innit? because they are, to this day, most often excluded.  Casting women in roles of powerful men it&#8217;s kind of like asking us to pretend that this wasn&#8217;t the case.</p> <p><em>But do see the play though and tell me if I&#8217;m wrong. Tickets <a href="https://www.canadianstage.com/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=1979&amp;BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id=">here</a>. They&#8217;re really affordable for arts workers, seniors, students, people willing to rush it (rush it, it&#8217;s never sold out); I got a superb one for $20.</em></p> Adriana Lecouvreur in HD http://medicine-opera.com/2019/01/adriana-lecouvreur-in-hd/ Neil Kurtzman urn:uuid:ed722e99-81c5-1cff-78c0-6c8d04bf8439 Sun, 13 Jan 2019 01:55:42 +0000 OK, I&#8217;m  guilty. I confess. I really like Cilea&#8217;s Adriana Lecouvreur provided it&#8217;s performed by great singers as it was today. No qualifiers like some critics who try to disguise their taste for Adriana as if it were a sugary drink. So what if Cilea repeats a lot of his tunes. They&#8217;re all very good.... <p>OK, I&#8217;m  guilty. I confess. I really like Cilea&#8217;s <em>Adriana Lecouvreur</em> provided it&#8217;s performed by great singers as it was today. No qualifiers like some critics who try to disguise their taste for <em>Adriana</em> as if it were a sugary drink. So what if Cilea repeats a lot of his tunes. They&#8217;re all very good. Don&#8217;t hide your guilty pleasures &#8211; life doesn&#8217;t have enough of them.</p> <p>Peter Gelb in an interview with director David McVicar said the opera was over the top. Does he think he&#8217;s the GM of the Metropolitan Museum rather than the Opera? All opera is over the top; that&#8217;s why people continue to go even though almost nothing really new has happened for almost a century.</p> <p>Cilea&#8217;s opera has an interesting history at the Met. It received three performances by the company in 1907 just a little over four years after its premiere at the Teatro Lirico in Milan. Enrico Caruso was in both runs; but his presence did not save the opera from more than half a century of oblivion. It did not return until the Met staged it in 1962 for Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli. Since then it has received 74 performances and counting. Placido Domingo made his Met debut as Maurizio substituting for an indisposed Corelli. Today the opera is a standard in the operatic repertory.</p> <p>David McVicar&#8217;s production, a cooperative venture with half the opera companies between New York and Alpha Centauri, put the <em>Comedie Française</em> on the Met&#8217;s stage which is bigger than the main runway at LaGuardia Airport. He also placed the action in the early 18th century where it&#8217;s supposed to be. In today&#8217;s world this is a revolutionary concept. Charles Edwards baronial sets took a lot of time to change. It looked like most of the Met&#8217;s stage hands were actually working during the backstage shots, unlike the usual relaxed standing around that characterizes the HD set change visuals.</p> <p><em>AL </em>can succeed if it has a great soprano in the title role along with an equally outstanding tenor as Maurizio. Today there were four great performers led by a conductor who paced the action with passion and lyricism. Anna Netrebko&#8217;s voluptuous voice is well suited for this part which requires volume, shading, and emotional involvement but which never goes above A5. Brigitte Reiffenstuel&#8217;s period costumes were flattering to her current generous figure. She played the role of a diva with all the godlike accoutrements the part requires.</p> <p>The same was true of the other leading lady, Anita Rachvelishvili (the Princess di Bouillon) &#8211; both with respect to garb and voice. The Georgian mezzo, only 34 years old, is having an MVP year in the opera world. Her second act confrontation with Adriana was riveting. Rachvelishvili has a voice that could defy a soundproof room. She made a lot out of a relatively small role that is often overlooked by audiences locked onto the work&#8217;s lovers.</p> <p>Piotr Beczala has a voice that varies from show to show. Today he seemed to have morphed into a fully developed spinto with ringing high notes. He was up to the standard set by Corelli and Domingo. His slender figure needed no camouflage.</p> <p>The genial stage manager, Michonnet, was played by Ambrogio Maestri. No amount of costume magic could disguise the Italian baritone&#8217;s girth. His size is an active threat to his health. The cane he used was not a prop. He is particularly known for his definitive portrayal of Verdi&#8217;s Falstaff. He gave a sensitive and appealing reading of Adriana&#8217;s friend and secret lover. He knows he&#8217;s too old and low status for her. His part usually goes unnoticed, Maestri made his character a real life person. His voices is a superb instrument that sounds like he could sing anything he wished. A real artist.</p> <p>Maurizio Muraro and Carlo Bosi were first rate in the comprimario roles of the Prince di Bouillon and the Abbé, respectively. There was a ballet in the third act, but I dozed off during it and can&#8217;t comment on its merit. Ballet in opera always has a soporific effect on me.</p> <p>Gianandrea Noseda is a conductor with great experience in both opera and orchestral music. He led the Met&#8217;s great band in a dynamic performance that underscored and amplified every important part of the score. He is a conductor with the insight and the skill to transfer intelligence to both singers and players. He got a great performance out of all involved. If you missed the live show, be sure to catch the repeat. If it shows up on PBS&#8217;s <em>Great Performances</em> series watch it again.</p> <p>Metropolitan Opera House<br /> January 12, 2019</p> <p>ADRIANA LECOUVREUR<br /> Francesco Cilea-Arturo Colautti</p> <p>Adriana Lecouvreur&#8230;&#8230;Anna Netrebko<br /> Maurizio&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Piotr Beczala<br /> Princess di Bouillon&#8230;.Anita Rachvelishvili<br /> Michonnet&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Ambrogio Maestri<br /> Bouillon&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Maurizio Muraro<br /> Abbé&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Carlo Bosi<br /> Jouvenot&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Sarah Joy Miller<br /> Dangeville&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Samantha Hankey<br /> Poisson&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Tony Stevenson<br /> Quinault&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Patrick Carfizzi<br /> Major-domo&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Christian Rozakis<br /> Chambermaid&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Anne Dyas<br /> Duclos&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Snezhana Chernova<br /> Pantalone&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Bill Corry</p> <p>Act III Ballet: Judgement of Paris<br /> Paris&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Kfir Danieli<br /> Shepherdesses&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Jennifer Cadden, Cara Seymour<br /> Mercury&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Bradley Shelver<br /> Jupiter&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Arthur Lazalde<br /> Juno&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Erin Monteleone<br /> Venus&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.Cajai Fellows Johnson<br /> Minerva&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Sarah Kay Marchetti<br /> Discor&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Maria Phegan</p> <p>Conductor&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Gianandrea Noseda</p> <p>Production&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..David McVicar<br /> Set Designer&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;Charles Edwards<br /> Costume Designer&#8230;&#8230;..Brigitte Reiffenstuel<br /> Lighting Designer&#8230;&#8230;.Adam Silvermann<br /> Choreographer&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Andrew George<br /> Associate Director&#8230;&#8230;Justin Way<br /> Video Director&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;..Gary Halvorson</p> <p>Production a gift of the Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund</p> <p>Co-Production of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London;<br /> Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Wiener Staatsoper; San Francisco Opera;<br /> L&#8217;Opera National de Paris</p> <p>Production first shown at the Royal Opera House, London,<br /> November 20, 2010</p> Looking ahead https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/12/looking-ahead-2/ operaramblings urn:uuid:713b72cd-07a5-1192-9190-abca0f0be0f0 Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:19:02 +0000 Here&#8217;s what&#8217;s coming up of note in the next few weeks. There are some interesting things coming up at the UoT Faculty of Music.  On January 17th at 7.30pm there&#8217;s an opera double bill in Walter Hall featuring Toshio Hosokawa&#8217;s The &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/12/looking-ahead-2/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Here&#8217;s what&#8217;s coming up of note in the next few weeks.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25447" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/12/looking-ahead-2/event_2132/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/event_2132.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="290,221" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="event_2132" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/event_2132.jpg?w=584?w=290" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/event_2132.jpg?w=584?w=290" class=" size-full wp-image-25447 alignleft" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/event_2132.jpg?w=584" alt="event_2132" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/event_2132.jpg 290w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/event_2132.jpg?w=150 150w" sizes="(max-width: 290px) 100vw, 290px" />There are some interesting things coming up at the UoT Faculty of Music.  On January 17th at 7.30pm there&#8217;s an opera double bill in Walter Hall featuring Toshio Hosokawa&#8217;s <em>The Raven</em> and <em>The Maiden from the Sea (Futari Shizuka).  </em>Kristina Szabó features in the first piece with Xin Wang in the second.  The composer conducts.  Then at 2.30pm on January 20th in the MacMillan there&#8217;s the Student Opera Collective show.  The libretto, as ever, is by Michael Patrick Albano.  This time it&#8217;s a black comedy whodunnit about the death of Adriana Lacouvreur.</p> <p><span id="more-25446"></span>The COC winter season gets underway with Strauss&#8217; <em>Elektra</em>.  Opening night is January 26th and it runs until February 22nd with the big draw being Christine Goerke in the title role.  It&#8217;s a revival of the James Robinson production directed this time by the young Israeli director Omer Ben Seadia.  Johannes Debus conducts.  The companion piece is also a revival.  It&#8217;s Atom Egoyan&#8217;s take on Mozart&#8217;s <em>Così fan tutte</em>.  It runs February 5th to 23rd with Bernard Labadie conducting.  There&#8217;s also the &#8220;season reveal&#8221; on February 4th.  All of this at the Four Seasons Centre of course.</p> <p>The <em>Confluence</em> season continues on January 26th at 8pm with Centuries of Souls at St. Thomas&#8217; Anglican (Huron Street).  The program includes works by Hildegard von Bingen, Johannes Ockeghem&#8217;s <em>Requiem</em>, Josquin des Prez&#8217; <em>Nymphes des bois: La Déploration de Johannes Ockeghem </em>and selected organ works by Messiaen.</p> <p>On January 27th at 2 pm in Mazzoleni Hall it&#8217;s the latest in the Songmasters series.  It&#8217;s a show called <em>Winter Words</em> featuring mezzo-soprano Lucia Cervoni and tenor Michael Colvin in works by Britten, Mahler and others.</p> <p>On January 31st and February 2nd the TSO is doing a concert version of Act 1 of Wagner&#8217;s Die Walküre.  Andrew Davies conducts with Simon O&#8217;Neill and Lise Davidsen as the Walsungs and Brindley Sherratt as Hagen.</p> <p>Also on February 2nd at 7.30pm there&#8217;s the Glenn Gould School <em>Vocal Showcase</em> in Mazzoleni Hall.  Or, alternatively, there&#8217;s <em>French Squeeze</em> at 8.30pm at Hugh&#8217;s Room.  That&#8217;s tenor and accordionist Jacques Arsenault with mezzo Marjorie Maltais in popular French rep.</p> <p>In free  lunchtime concerts in the RBA there&#8217;s the Ensemble Studio with instrumentalists of the COC Academy on the 22nd in a program called Opera Through the Ages while on the 29th Michael Schade is joined by Sandra Horst and Marie Bérard in a tribute to Irish tenor John McCormack and violinist Fritz Kreisler.</p> <p>I&#8217;m going to be out of the country from Feb 8th to the 17th but there a couple of things on at the TSO that I&#8217;ll be sorry to miss.  On the 13th and 14th Barbara Hannigan is singing and conducting.  If you have never seen her do this, do yourself a favour and go.  On the 15th and 16th they are screening <em>Casablanca</em> with Evan Mitchell conducting the music.  Sad to miss both of these but there you go.</p> <p>And finally, if you have ever had the urge to see <em>La Traviata</em> in Iceland (and who hasn&#8217;t) here&#8217;s your chance.  Iain Scott of Opera-IS is organising a trip to opera.is in March.  <a href="https://www.opera-is.com/index.cfm?pagepath=TOURS__Europe_/MARCH_2019_ICELAND__OPERA_IS_visits_OPERA_IS_&amp;id=90294">Details</a>.</p> Venus Unwrapped launches at Kings Place, with &lsquo;Barbara Strozzi: Star of Venice&rsquo; http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/01/venus_unwrapped.php Opera Today urn:uuid:fee2af1b-b5ab-b83a-2479-ef2dc44afb05 Sat, 12 Jan 2019 14:27:23 +0000 ‘Playing music is for a woman a vain and frivolous thing. And I would wish you to be the most serious and chaste woman alive. Beyond this, if you do not play well your playing will give you little pleasure and not a little embarrassment. … Therefore, set aside thoughts of this frivolity and work to be humble and good and wise and obedient. Don’t let yourself be carried away by these desires, indeed resist them with a strong will.’ Broadcast: Adriana Lecouvreur https://parterre.com/2019/01/12/broadcast-adriana-lecouvreur-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:01a647fb-5bfa-3f89-28e8-3063ae1bca94 Sat, 12 Jan 2019 14:23:50 +0000 Astounding <strong>Anita Rachvelishvili</strong> gets mixed up with Saxe and violets <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-59804" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/adriana-act-2-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/adriana-act-2.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/adriana-act-2-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Astounding <strong>Anita Rachvelishvili</strong> gets mixed up with Saxe and violets in <a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/saturday-matinee-broadcasts/station-finder/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this afternoon&#8217;s broadcast</a> of <em>Adriana Lecouvreur</em> starting at 1:00 PM. (Photo: Ken Howard / Met Opera)</p> “A maze of treacherous Puccini shallows” https://parterre.com/2019/01/12/a-maze-of-treacherous-puccini-shallows/ parterre box urn:uuid:927f3980-739a-1429-2eb9-a7988388b18f Sat, 12 Jan 2019 14:17:51 +0000 On this day in 1912 Pietro Mascagni's <em>Lodoletta</em> had its United States premiere at the Metropolitan. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-53780" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/lodoletta-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/lodoletta.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/lodoletta-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />On this day in 1912 Pietro Mascagni&#8217;s <em>Lodoletta</em> had its United States premiere at the Metropolitan with <strong>Geraldine Farrar </strong>and <strong>Enrico Caruso</strong> in the leading roles. <span id="more-60041"></span></p> <p>Pitts Sanborn in the <em>World</em></p> <p>Caruso Carries &#8216;Lodoletta&#8217;</p> <blockquote><p>There was diverting matter for the curious spectator in &#8220;&#8221;Lodoletta,&#8221; the third new opera of the season of the Metropolitan Saturday afternoon. There was a vision of Holland &#8211; a canal and windmills always mean Holland &#8211; not as the land of the tulip, but as a region where roses blow and blow and clamber, and even wreathe the tallest tree tops. And such gifted trees. Before their efficient draperies arboriculture is abashed, diminished, dumb.</p> <p>Then you marveled at a northern climate in whose beneficent embrace native and stranger behaved out of doors in glum November just as they did in merry May. Why lament the absent symbol of the Edam cheese when you could watch Miss Lodoletta, up with her namesake the lark, putting gaily to rights her American sleeping perch? Why complain this Lodoletta, tottering like a China-woman in her wooden shoes, was untrue to the simpler fashion of Dutch gaity? Why insist the Dutch discard such encumbrances on the doorstep or even wear them in a sleeping porch? O pedantry, though that killest the profits and stonest them which are sent unto thee!</p> <p>If you had witnessed a dress rehearsal and wondered whether spotted fever had attacked the backdrop of canal and windmills or a plague of gnats fastened itself on Holland, you discovered measure had meantime been taken to clean the drop and clear the brave Dutch air. Never in the memory of the present scribe has Paris on a New York stage looked so nearly Paris on the Seine as the last act of this &#8220;Lodoletta,&#8221; and with an exquisite solitude for the verities of the compass the snow fell to nor&#8217;ard in larger flakes and thicker bunches than to south-ard, It was pleasant to see in the winter night shadow pictures of the dancers within waltzing across Flammen&#8217;s window shades &#8211; Mrs. Castle seemed to be of the party. But or course no Paris crowd on New Year&#8217;s eve would ever have let Lodoletta perish in the snow &#8211; that just couldn&#8217;t have happened except in an opera.</p> <p>Seldom, indeed has the nameless and unsuspected malady that claims so many a hapless lady of the lyric stage seemed more gratuitous in its attack than in the case of Lodoletta. Surely it was quite enough for the good, old foster-father to suffer a fatal fall from a peach tree in Act I, while showering the rosy blooms on little children rejoicing over Lodoletta&#8217;s birthday, and then for the good wives of the village to drive the children from an innocent young girl in Act II because of an intrigue with a painter which never occurred, without handling her this sorry New Year&#8217;s blow in gay Paris. Really, that is just a bit too much! Mimi, Cio-Cio-San, Violetta, Gilda &#8211; none of that unhappy sisterhood but has her interlude of heaven. Even Lucia of Lammermoor, hounded relentlessly by the librettist, is allowed by the composer to lead the best sextet in opera and given a form of madness that brings the public up to her knees before she is at last consigned to the Ashton family tomb.</p> <p>No, it really is quite too sad a good tale of &#8220;Lodoletta,&#8221; but so perhaps not quite so sad as Mascagni&#8217;s music for it. That is all hovering on the teary smile of &#8220;La Bohème,&#8221; then suddenly remembering itself, and resolutely ascowl whining a dour plaint into Othello&#8217;s fateful handkerchief, Mascagni seems to have made up his mind on no account to rewrite &#8220;Cavalleria Rusticana&#8221; only to lose himself hopelessly in a maze of treacherous Puccini shallows flanked by frowning cliffs of Verdi.</p> <p>However, the music of &#8220;Lodoletta&#8221; is not pretentious, and that is perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about it. The first act, with its genuine simplicity, its pretty song for the caroling children, its soaring tenor phrases, would probably, despite the insistence on Antonio&#8217;s funeral march, seem to an opera customer not gorged with frequency to be very nice indeed. The same customer might find that second act a trifle tedious, but the third he would be sure to enjoy.</p> <p>Theatrically the third is the best act of the work. The orchestra waits for Flammen&#8217;s silhouetted guests, the festive music from the street, and set off against these, the pathetic monologues for tenor and for soprano make this an effective opera act even if wanting in originality or special ingenuity. It is on this act that must hang the main success of the work, together with the fact that the rôle of Flammen is so divined that Mr. Caruso can sing it with complete ease and decidedly thrilling results.</p> <p>He lived up to his opportunity on Saturday in a way that won him deafening applause from an audience which packed the house to bursting. He also looked so slender and played so naturally as the great painter from Paris that one saw in him a perfectly presentable Julien, if the Metropolitan ever gets around to producing that far worthier opera of love and painting, &#8220;Louise.&#8221;</p> <p>The ingenious Lodoletta gives Miss Farrar one of the parts in which she can look and act unsurpassably, recalling by more tokens than a death in the snow the Goose Girl with which she used to beguile the drab boredom of &#8220;Königskinder.&#8221; Only her very Chinese pedestrianism of the wooden shoes marred an exquisite impersonation. The high notes of the part which are not few, she sang with more substantial and better focused tone, than has been her wont. Lower down her voice often sounded weak and reedy. Still in phrasing and expression her singing was generally commendable. An admirer balked the no-flowers rule by throwing her a bouquet from a box.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=395aoVLExys&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=395aoVLExys</a></p> Gottfried von Einem&rsquo;s The Visit of the Old Lady Now on CD http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/01/gottfried_von_e.php Opera Today urn:uuid:df0cbf3d-cdbb-b37b-d522-5df28b831f85 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 20:12:00 +0000 Gottfried von Einem was one of the most prominent Austrian composers in the 1950s&ndash;70s, actively producing operas, ballets, orchestral, chamber, choral works, and song cycles. Adrianne Pieczonka joins Glenn Gould School https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/adrienne-pieczonka-joins-glenn-gould-school/ operaramblings urn:uuid:546f545e-ad34-8330-23f6-c33f4b4db813 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 17:11:26 +0000 It&#8217;s recently been announced that Canadian soprano and snow shoveler Adrianne Pieczonka OC will join the Conservatory&#8217;s Glenn Gould School as its first Vocal Chair in May 2019.  While my first thought was that a &#8220;vocal chair&#8221; sounded like something &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/adrienne-pieczonka-joins-glenn-gould-school/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p><img data-attachment-id="25442" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/adrienne-pieczonka-joins-glenn-gould-school/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg?w=284&#038;h=427" data-orig-size="290,436" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="portrait-1-ap-479-isoc" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg?w=284&#038;h=427?w=200" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg?w=284&#038;h=427?w=290" class=" wp-image-25442 alignleft" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg?w=284&#038;h=427" alt="portrait-1-ap-479-isoc" width="284" height="427" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg?w=284&amp;h=427 284w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg?w=100&amp;h=150 100w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/portrait-1-ap-479-isoc.jpg 290w" sizes="(max-width: 284px) 100vw, 284px" />It&#8217;s recently been announced that Canadian soprano and snow shoveler Adrianne Pieczonka OC will join the Conservatory&#8217;s Glenn Gould School as its first Vocal Chair in May 2019.  While my first thought was that a &#8220;vocal chair&#8221; sounded like something out of a Terry Pratchett novel, more serious consideration has convinced that this is a very good move indeed.  There are a handful, but only a handful, of current Canadian singers who are enjoying as distinguished a career as Adrienne so she knows how the business works at its highest levels.  She&#8217;s also a very grounded, down to earth, person so besides contributing to developing the vocal and dramatic talents of the GGS students I can&#8217;t think of too many people better able to coach/guide students around the snakes and ladders board of an opera career.  Smart move Glenn Gould School.</p> The Washington Ballet Announces New Company Dancers and Promotions http://www.balletnews.co.uk/the-washington-ballet-announces-new-company-dancers-and-promotions/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:087208b1-d66d-b45b-9680-d3ddbd213707 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:29:30 +0000 The Washington Ballet is excited to announce updates to its company roster for the 2018.19 season. Katherine Barkman joined the company shortly after her debut as a guest artist in the 2018.19 season...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/__JEP_PRBYo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Gentlemen prefer blinds https://parterre.com/2019/01/11/gentlemen-prefer-blinds-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:9ccc2eb5-7c3a-f821-c1dd-fb91d22a86b9 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:22:52 +0000 Which superstar performer, despite recent success in this hemisphere, has thus far hesitated to sign a contract for more performances next season? <p><img src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/blind-item-crawford-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-48802" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/blind-item-crawford.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/blind-item-crawford-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Which superstar performer, despite recent success in this hemisphere, has thus far hesitated to sign a contract for more performances next season?</p> Sonya Yoncheva we love you get up https://parterre.com/2019/01/11/sonya-yoncheva-we-love-you-get-up/ parterre box urn:uuid:744a4902-2b7c-94cc-2967-7d1cc26af194 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:01:38 +0000 "Couple of hours ago at home, I was preparing for the show, when suddenly I collapsed." <p><img src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/yoncheva-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-53515" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/yoncheva.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/yoncheva-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />&#8220;I am so, so, so sorry I can’t perform tonight for the last Otello at the @metopera. Couple of hours ago at home, I was preparing for the show, when suddenly I collapsed. I feel very weak and I will certainly need few days to recover. Thank you so much for your comprehension,&#8221; writes <strong>Sonya Yoncheva </strong>on Instagram. <span id="more-60024"></span></p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BseW2IaA0JC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:540px; min-width:326px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:16px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BseW2IaA0JC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" style=" background:#FFFFFF; line-height:0; padding:0 0; text-align:center; text-decoration:none; width:100%;" target="_blank"> </p> <div style=" display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;"><svg width="50px" height="50px" viewBox="0 0 60 60" version="1.1" xmlns="https://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"><g stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"><g transform="translate(-511.000000, -20.000000)" fill="#000000"><g><path d="M556.869,30.41 C554.814,30.41 553.148,32.076 553.148,34.131 C553.148,36.186 554.814,37.852 556.869,37.852 C558.924,37.852 560.59,36.186 560.59,34.131 C560.59,32.076 558.924,30.41 556.869,30.41 M541,60.657 C535.114,60.657 530.342,55.887 530.342,50 C530.342,44.114 535.114,39.342 541,39.342 C546.887,39.342 551.658,44.114 551.658,50 C551.658,55.887 546.887,60.657 541,60.657 M541,33.886 C532.1,33.886 524.886,41.1 524.886,50 C524.886,58.899 532.1,66.113 541,66.113 C549.9,66.113 557.115,58.899 557.115,50 C557.115,41.1 549.9,33.886 541,33.886 M565.378,62.101 C565.244,65.022 564.756,66.606 564.346,67.663 C563.803,69.06 563.154,70.057 562.106,71.106 C561.058,72.155 560.06,72.803 558.662,73.347 C557.607,73.757 556.021,74.244 553.102,74.378 C549.944,74.521 548.997,74.552 541,74.552 C533.003,74.552 532.056,74.521 528.898,74.378 C525.979,74.244 524.393,73.757 523.338,73.347 C521.94,72.803 520.942,72.155 519.894,71.106 C518.846,70.057 518.197,69.06 517.654,67.663 C517.244,66.606 516.755,65.022 516.623,62.101 C516.479,58.943 516.448,57.996 516.448,50 C516.448,42.003 516.479,41.056 516.623,37.899 C516.755,34.978 517.244,33.391 517.654,32.338 C518.197,30.938 518.846,29.942 519.894,28.894 C520.942,27.846 521.94,27.196 523.338,26.654 C524.393,26.244 525.979,25.756 528.898,25.623 C532.057,25.479 533.004,25.448 541,25.448 C548.997,25.448 549.943,25.479 553.102,25.623 C556.021,25.756 557.607,26.244 558.662,26.654 C560.06,27.196 561.058,27.846 562.106,28.894 C563.154,29.942 563.803,30.938 564.346,32.338 C564.756,33.391 565.244,34.978 565.378,37.899 C565.522,41.056 565.552,42.003 565.552,50 C565.552,57.996 565.522,58.943 565.378,62.101 M570.82,37.631 C570.674,34.438 570.167,32.258 569.425,30.349 C568.659,28.377 567.633,26.702 565.965,25.035 C564.297,23.368 562.623,22.342 560.652,21.575 C558.743,20.834 556.562,20.326 553.369,20.18 C550.169,20.033 549.148,20 541,20 C532.853,20 531.831,20.033 528.631,20.18 C525.438,20.326 523.257,20.834 521.349,21.575 C519.376,22.342 517.703,23.368 516.035,25.035 C514.368,26.702 513.342,28.377 512.574,30.349 C511.834,32.258 511.326,34.438 511.181,37.631 C511.035,40.831 511,41.851 511,50 C511,58.147 511.035,59.17 511.181,62.369 C511.326,65.562 511.834,67.743 512.574,69.651 C513.342,71.625 514.368,73.296 516.035,74.965 C517.703,76.634 519.376,77.658 521.349,78.425 C523.257,79.167 525.438,79.673 528.631,79.82 C531.831,79.965 532.853,80.001 541,80.001 C549.148,80.001 550.169,79.965 553.369,79.82 C556.562,79.673 558.743,79.167 560.652,78.425 C562.623,77.658 564.297,76.634 565.965,74.965 C567.633,73.296 568.659,71.625 569.425,69.651 C570.167,67.743 570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631"></path></g></g></g></svg></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style=" color:#3897f0; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)"></div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"></div> </div> </div> <p></a> </p> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BseW2IaA0JC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">I am so, so, so sorry I can’t perform tonight for the last Otello at the @metopera. Couple of hours ago at home, I was preparing for the show, when suddenly I collapsed. I feel very weak and I will certainly need few days to recover. Thank you so much for your comprehension. Yours, Sonya. #sonyayoncheva</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/sonyayoncheva/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Sonya Yoncheva</a> (@sonyayoncheva) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2019-01-11T00:34:26+00:00">Jan 10, 2019 at 4:34pm PST</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <p> <script async src="//www.instagram.com/embed.js"></script></p> Electrifying https://parterre.com/2019/01/11/60019/ parterre box urn:uuid:933c6afe-dfb7-5a3b-313a-710e7a04a40c Fri, 11 Jan 2019 11:39:17 +0000 On this day in 1934 soprano<strong> Lotte Lehmann </strong>made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sieglinde. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60020" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/lehmann-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/lehmann.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/lehmann-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />On this day in 1934 soprano<strong> Lotte Lehmann </strong>made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sieglinde. <span id="more-60019"></span></p> <p>Hubbard Hutchinson in <em>The New York Times</em>:</p> <blockquote><p>Mme. Lehmann&#8217;s voice is not immense in volume as operatic voices go, yet she used it so beautifully that it seemed far larger than it is. Her pianissimo, of exquisite quality, carried to the farthest corner of the house; her fortissimi pierced without difficulty the climaxes of the orchestra. At the beginning of the scene with Siegmund, and indeed well into the middle of Act I, it was not a warm voice and there were moments of slight departure from pitch, and apparently slight forcing at the top, as in the final apostrophe to Siegmund.</p> <p>But if her first act was of a sort to startle the critical faculty into sharp attendance and admiration, her performance in the second had an electrifying quality that swept that faculty away for once and made even the guarded listener a breathless participant in the emotions of the anguished Sieglinde.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=opbYohwrAn8&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=opbYohwrAn8</a></p> <p>Happy 75th birthday conductor<strong> John DeMain and</strong> happy 64th birthday countertenor<strong> Drew Minter</strong>.</p> The Importance of Paying Close Attention at the Opera http://www.wqxr.org/story/importance-paying-close-attention-opera/ The latest articles from Operavore urn:uuid:b96f6738-4350-8328-77df-cf91e91bad56 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 09:00:00 +0000 <p>In 2019, I think we all need to pay closer attention. In terms of politics and the state of the world, it is in our own best interest to stay on top of things and act accordingly on issues we care about. Paying close attention in social situations gives us more understanding about human motivations and behavior. It is also very flattering to the persons you are with.  </p> <p>Recently, I led a symposium in which 25 people attended four operas with me, and then we had long discussions about what we heard, saw and felt. My philosophy is that we can all learn from one another when sharing our perceptions if we accept that differences do not mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong. I tried to give my group skills for really paying attention at the opera.</p> <p>I know that projected titles are popular, though I am not a fan. To me, people who focus on reading titles pay less attention to dramatic details on the stage. Many people I know, including some opera professionals, strongly advocate for projected titles as part of the operagoing experience. I find them nominally useful — I consult them intermittently during a performance — but to me operagoing is about using my senses to really <em>listen</em> to (not just hear) the music and <em>observe</em> (not just see) the scenery, costumes, lighting and stage direction. When I take people to opera and gently encourage them to spend most of their evening listening and observing rather than reading titles, they tend to come away with a much more profound experience than those readers who blandly say, “The story was interesting and the music and costumes were pretty.” </p> <p>Another problem with titles is that they do some of the work that directors, designers, conductors and singers should be doing. These artists, as well as singing coaches and dramaturgs, don’t necessarily pay close attention to the libretto and the score. They count on titles to tell the story when that should primarily happen in the music-making and stage direction.</p> <p>Errors often get repeated from one production to another when the music and words are not carefully analyzed. For example, in the last act of <em>La Traviata</em>, the heroine receives a visit from the kindly Dr. Grenvil. He knows she is dying. Grenvil says to Violetta, “Addio. A più tardi,” without pausing. This translates as, “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNf8LvATuh0">Farewell. See you later</a>,” which does not make sense.</p> <p>Verdi and his librettist Piave intentionally have Dr. Grenvil make an error by saying to his patient (and revealing to us) that she is dying. The line should be recited as “Farewell” (quick catch of breath and look of sudden realization) as he then <em>corrects </em>what he has uttered and says, “I will see you later.” Violetta replies, “Non mi scordate” (“Don’t forget me”), in which she acknowledges to him and to us that she knows she is dying. Then he turns and walks away from Violetta to inform the servant Annina discreetly that her mistress has little time left to live. These moments are almost never played as Verdi and Piave wanted.</p> <p>When a singer or director pays close attention, it helps the artist create dramatic specificity. I loved seeing Juan Diego Flórez sniffing his Champagne before taking a sip of it and then singing the Brindisi in the first act of the Met’s new <em>La Traviata</em>. This small but telling detail makes sense. Anyone who is sensitive to wine, including a young Frenchman such as Alfredo Germont, would never sip a glass of wine without first noting its bouquet. You do not see Flórez do this in the video below, but take my word that he did.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/afhAqMeeQJk" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Many in my group wondered why most of the singers in the new production of <em>La Traviata</em> sounded faint. They did not notice the oculus above the stage into which sound floated upward rather than out into the auditorium. Did <em>you</em> notice the oculus in the video above? When scenic design for a new production is proposed, the director, set designer, technical director and general manager of an opera company must all pay attention and ask tough questions. This seldom happens in most opera companies nowadays, and it is a disservice to singers and audiences.</p> <p>Paying close attention can make the familiar seem new and fresh. “O Mio Babbino Caro,” Lauretta’s short aria in Puccini’s <em>Gianni Schicchi,</em> has such a beautiful melody that it is well known as a concert encore. In the opera, audiences recognize it and often applaud as the first notes are heard. Most singers stand and perform it based on pure sound. In the Met’s November 2018 revival, Kristina Mkhitaryan bucked the tradition by singing and acting the music as well as the words, which are pretty intense: She tells her father that if he does not allow her to marry the boy she loves, she will drown herself in Florence’s Arno River. It helped that Plácido Domingo, who understands drama down to his core, played Schicchi and reacted to what her Lauretta was actually saying. Jack O’Brien directed.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9J9XMe7zvVg" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Even in the most familiar works, I find pleasure in discovering new ideas in these masterpieces. In most productions of <em>Aïda</em>, when the messenger arrives to tell the King that the Ethiopians have launched an attack on Egyptian soil, the messenger usually walks in purposefully and then bows before singing. When I saw this scene at La Scala in May 2018 in the Franco Zeffirelli staging, the messenger ran onto the stage looking slightly disheveled and was out of breath. This makes dramatic sense because his motivation is to arrive as quickly as possible to share urgent news. Watch for this moment next time you see <em>Aïda</em>. </p> <p>Ultimately, at least to me, music comes first in opera. In addition to the marvelous voices on the stage, the orchestra plays a huge role in telling the story. This music is the ballast of the narrative, and the instruments chosen by the composer, and then the way it is orchestrated, says everything about the action and emotion of the story. Watch and — above all — listen to these performances of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI-CF_rOApI">Fidelio</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYDI6MWkCW8">Rigoletto</a> and you will understand.</p> <p>Many conductors, even the most acclaimed, conduct opera symphonically rather than operatically. By this I mean that they have carefully investigated all the instrumental elements of a score and play them magnificently. But they are not telling a story. Many of these maestros seldom look at the stage and do nothing to have the orchestra participate in the narrative. Singers are left to their own devices.</p> <p>Right now at the Met is a splendid example of how an opera should be conducted. Gianandrea Noseda is leading a great cast in Cilea’s rarely heard <em>Adriana Lecouvreur</em>, <a href="https://www.wqxr.org/story/adriana-lecouvreur-revived-21st-century/">which WQXR will broadcast on January 12</a> when it can also be seen worldwide on HD. Listen carefully and note how detailed, varied and in-the-moment Noseda and the Met orchestra are. They take a pretty good opera and make it magnificent, all because of how much attention they have paid to the music and the story it is telling. And listen with care to the three Italians in the cast — Carlo Bosi, Ambrogio Maestri and Maurizio Muraro — whose use of their native language is so exquisite and expressive that, even if you don’t speak it, you will swoon. That is what happens when you actively listen to and watch an opera rather than sit back and read the titles.</p> <p> </p> <p>In 2019, I think we all need to pay closer attention. In terms of politics and the state of the world, it is in our own best interest to stay on top of things and act accordingly on issues we care about. Paying close attention in social situations gives us more understanding about human motivations and behavior. It is also very flattering to the persons you are with.  </p> <p>Recently, I led a symposium in which 25 people attended four operas with me, and then we had long discussions about what we heard, saw and felt. My philosophy is that we can all learn from one another when sharing our perceptions if we accept that differences do not mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong. I tried to give my group skills for really paying attention at the opera.</p> <p>I know that projected titles are popular, though I am not a fan. To me, people who focus on reading titles pay less attention to dramatic details on the stage. Many people I know, including some opera professionals, strongly advocate for projected titles as part of the operagoing experience. I find them nominally useful — I consult them intermittently during a performance — but to me operagoing is about using my senses to really <em>listen</em> to (not just hear) the music and <em>observe</em> (not just see) the scenery, costumes, lighting and stage direction. When I take people to opera and gently encourage them to spend most of their evening listening and observing rather than reading titles, they tend to come away with a much more profound experience than those readers who blandly say, “The story was interesting and the music and costumes were pretty.” </p> <p>Another problem with titles is that they do some of the work that directors, designers, conductors and singers should be doing. These artists, as well as singing coaches and dramaturgs, don’t necessarily pay close attention to the libretto and the score. They count on titles to tell the story when that should primarily happen in the music-making and stage direction.</p> <p>Errors often get repeated from one production to another when the music and words are not carefully analyzed. For example, in the last act of <em>La Traviata</em>, the heroine receives a visit from the kindly Dr. Grenvil. He knows she is dying. Grenvil says to Violetta, “Addio. A più tardi,” without pausing. This translates as, “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNf8LvATuh0">Farewell. See you later</a>,” which does not make sense.</p> <p>Verdi and his librettist Piave intentionally have Dr. Grenvil make an error by saying to his patient (and revealing to us) that she is dying. The line should be recited as “Farewell” (quick catch of breath and look of sudden realization) as he then <em>corrects </em>what he has uttered and says, “I will see you later.” Violetta replies, “Non mi scordate” (“Don’t forget me”), in which she acknowledges to him and to us that she knows she is dying. Then he turns and walks away from Violetta to inform the servant Annina discreetly that her mistress has little time left to live. These moments are almost never played as Verdi and Piave wanted.</p> <p>When a singer or director pays close attention, it helps the artist create dramatic specificity. I loved seeing Juan Diego Flórez sniffing his Champagne before taking a sip of it and then singing the Brindisi in the first act of the Met’s new <em>La Traviata</em>. This small but telling detail makes sense. Anyone who is sensitive to wine, including a young Frenchman such as Alfredo Germont, would never sip a glass of wine without first noting its bouquet. You do not see Flórez do this in the video below, but take my word that he did.</p> <p>Many in my group wondered why most of the singers in the new production of <em>La Traviata</em> sounded faint. They did not notice the oculus above the stage into which sound floated upward rather than out into the auditorium. Did <em>you</em> notice the oculus in the video above? When scenic design for a new production is proposed, the director, set designer, technical director and general manager of an opera company must all pay attention and ask tough questions. This seldom happens in most opera companies nowadays, and it is a disservice to singers and audiences.</p> <p>Paying close attention can make the familiar seem new and fresh. “O Mio Babbino Caro,” Lauretta’s short aria in Puccini’s <em>Gianni Schicchi,</em> has such a beautiful melody that it is well known as a concert encore. In the opera, audiences recognize it and often applaud as the first notes are heard. Most singers stand and perform it based on pure sound. In the Met’s November 2018 revival, Kristina Mkhitaryan bucked the tradition by singing and acting the music as well as the words, which are pretty intense: She tells her father that if he does not allow her to marry the boy she loves, she will drown herself in Florence’s Arno River. It helped that Plácido Domingo, who understands drama down to his core, played Schicchi and reacted to what her Lauretta was actually saying. Jack O’Brien directed.</p> <p>Even in the most familiar works, I find pleasure in discovering new ideas in these masterpieces. In most productions of <em>Aïda</em>, when the messenger arrives to tell the King that the Ethiopians have launched an attack on Egyptian soil, the messenger usually walks in purposefully and then bows before singing. When I saw this scene at La Scala in May 2018 in the Franco Zeffirelli staging, the messenger ran onto the stage looking slightly disheveled and was out of breath. This makes dramatic sense because his motivation is to arrive as quickly as possible to share urgent news. Watch for this moment next time you see <em>Aïda</em>. </p> <p>Ultimately, at least to me, music comes first in opera. In addition to the marvelous voices on the stage, the orchestra plays a huge role in telling the story. This music is the ballast of the narrative, and the instruments chosen by the composer, and then the way it is orchestrated, says everything about the action and emotion of the story. Watch and — above all — listen to these performances of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI-CF_rOApI">Fidelio</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYDI6MWkCW8">Rigoletto</a> and you will understand.</p> <p>Many conductors, even the most acclaimed, conduct opera symphonically rather than operatically. By this I mean that they have carefully investigated all the instrumental elements of a score and play them magnificently. But they are not telling a story. Many of these maestros seldom look at the stage and do nothing to have the orchestra participate in the narrative. Singers are left to their own devices.</p> <p>Right now at the Met is a splendid example of how an opera should be conducted. Gianandrea Noseda is leading a great cast in Cilea’s rarely heard <em>Adriana Lecouvreur</em>, <a href="https://www.wqxr.org/story/adriana-lecouvreur-revived-21st-century/">which WQXR will broadcast on January 12</a> when it can also be seen worldwide on HD. Listen carefully and note how detailed, varied and in-the-moment Noseda and the Met orchestra are. They take a pretty good opera and make it magnificent, all because of how much attention they have paid to the music and the story it is telling. And listen with care to the three Italians in the cast — Carlo Bosi, Ambrogio Maestri and Maurizio Muraro — whose use of their native language is so exquisite and expressive that, even if you don’t speak it, you will swoon. That is what happens when you actively listen to and watch an opera rather than sit back and read the titles.</p> <p> </p> And over, and over https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/ operaramblings urn:uuid:723d5475-cf65-dddc-eb1f-b5038b7e477e Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:57:38 +0000 Ho Ka Kei&#8217;s take on the last canonical part of the story of the House of Atreus; Iphigenia and the Furies (on Taurian Land) opened last night at the Aki Studio in a production directed by Jonathan Seinen.  It&#8217;s a &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Ho Ka Kei&#8217;s take on the last canonical part of the story of the House of Atreus; <em>Iphigenia and the Furies (on Taurian Land)</em> opened last night at the Aki Studio in a production directed by Jonathan Seinen.  It&#8217;s a very funny and very thought provoking take on the story that will likely be best known to opera goers as the plot of Gluck&#8217;s <em>Iphigénie en Tauride</em>.  I want to start with the three questions that the playwright set out to answer:</p> <ul> <li>What does it mean for mainly POC&#8217;s and marginalized folks to be taking this tale on?</li> <li>What do we gain/ what do we lose/ what may feel erased/ what is truly universal about this tale or is that an assumption due to its status in the canon?</li> <li>When we end a cycle, say a cycle of vengeance, what other cycles emerge?</li> </ul> <p>This interests me especially because I&#8217;m not in any real sense a marginalized person.  Indeed I&#8217;m almost &#8220;archetypically&#8221; of the group that has made the classical canon its own; i.e a white male with a traditional classical education(1).</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25436" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,386" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;\u00a9 Dahlia Katz, all rights reserved&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="7 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia griffith" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25436 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg?w=584" alt="7 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia griffith" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/7-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-virgilia-griffith.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-25429"></span>So how does Ho Ka Kei&#8217;s work address these questions?  Really in two parts; which is quite clever for a piece that only runs about 65 minutes.  For maybe 55 minutes we get an idiosyncratic and very funny take on the story.  Iphigenia (Virgilia Griffith) hilariously recounts her dysfunctional childhood as the disposable daughter of Aggy and Clem.  Orestes (Thomas Olajide) and Pylades (Augusto Bitter) are an outrageously camp, and very physical, pair of lovers.  There&#8217;s no attempt to deal with the issues of Greek male/male relationships as mediated by later Western notions of appropriate male/male behaviour(2). What we get is a very modern &#8220;homosexuality&#8221;.  Then there&#8217;s Chorus (PJ Prudat); the nameless, blood thirsty, and entirely Taurian, assistant priestess who tries to get Iphigenia to get on with topping the captives while running off for coffee and getting generally down on the top jobs going to foreigners parachuted in by Olympus HQ.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25435" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,386" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;\u00a9 Dahlia Katz, all rights reserved&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="6 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring thomas olajide and augusto bitter" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25435 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg?w=584" alt="6 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring thomas olajide and augusto bitter" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/6-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-thomas-olajide-and-augusto-bitter.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>It&#8217;s colloquial, it&#8217;s raunchy, the comic timing is exquisite.  Iphigenia&#8217;s cunning plan to get the boys and the statue that they have come to claim/steal to the beach, and so away, is to declare that they are impure because of butt sex and need to be purified in the ocean.  A much interrupted and hilarious, &#8220;exorcism&#8221;  follows.  Chorus gets more and more flouncily exasperated at Iphigenia&#8217;s procrastination.  The boys barely (in both senses of the word) restrain themselves from shagging each other at every opportunity.  One wonders how and when the three questions mentioned above will ever be answered.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25434" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,386" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;\u00a9 Dahlia Katz, all rights reserved&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="5 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring pj prudat" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25434 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584" alt="5 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring pj prudat" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Then everything changes.  The central issue is the statue which Orestes believes he has to &#8220;restore&#8221; to Apollo but which is central to Taurian self identity.  For Orestes it&#8217;s the key to ending his pursuit by the Furies or, in other words, ending the cycle of killing and revenge that started at Aulis.  For Chorus it&#8217;s the loss of cultural identity to Greeks who don&#8217;t even recognise the Taurians as people.  In a short shockingly violent scene we see Orestes tear the statue from Chorus watched by an increasingly uncomfortable Pylades and Iphigenia.  The Greeks head for home complete with statue.  Chorus is left alone on the stage repeating &#8220;and over and over and over&#8230;&#8221; until the lights go down.  It&#8217;s really quite shocking, as it should be, especially given the tone of what&#8217;s gone before.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25431" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,386" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;\u00a9 Dahlia Katz, all rights reserved&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="2 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring augusto bitter &#8211; pj prudat &#8211; virgilia griffith &#8211; thomas olajide" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25431 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg?w=584" alt="2 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring augusto bitter - pj prudat - virgilia griffith - thomas olajide" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-augusto-bitter-pj-prudat-virgilia-griffith-thomas-olajide-.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The issue of Greeks (us, mainstream white folk) vs barbarians (everyone else) is subverted because Orestes and Iphigenia are played by POC while Chorus is white.  The outcome is the same as ever though.  The needs of &#8220;us&#8221; transcend the cultural identity of the &#8220;other&#8221; (pipelines anyone?).  The end of one cycle of violence is merely the beginning of another, perhaps more intractable, one.  There are reasons why a story like this still speaks to us after 2,500 years but those reasons perhaps change over time and depend on the audience.  Euripides could make some pretty safe assumptions about his audience and how they would react.  Can we?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25430" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/11/and-over-and-over/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,386" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;\u00a9 Dahlia Katz, all rights reserved&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="1 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring pj prudat" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25430 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=584" alt="1 iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring pj prudat" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1-iphigeniastills-photobydahliakatz-featuring-pj-prudat.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>This piece packs a lot into an hour.  It&#8217;s very well acted and very funny but it&#8217;s far more than that.  Once again the Aki Studio hosts seriously thought provoking theatre.  <em>Iphigenia and the Furies (on Taurian Land) </em>runs until January 20th<em>.</em></p> <p><strong>Notes:</strong></p> <p>(1) Who gets royally pissed off when, for instance, Marshall Pynkoski decides he needs to lecture his audience on the Aeneas legend because &#8220;nobody reads the <em>Aeneid</em> anymore&#8221;</p> <p>(2) You&#8217;ll need something like Davidson, James N (2008), <i>The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece </i>for that</p> <p>Photo credits: Dahlia Katz</p> Broadcast: Otello https://parterre.com/2019/01/10/broadcast-otello-5/ parterre box urn:uuid:4af5e272-4d56-b06d-1b3e-b40880a6b9f6 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 23:23:08 +0000 It's the final <em>Otello</em> broadcast of the Met season. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-60007" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/otello-broadcast-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/otello-broadcast.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/otello-broadcast-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />It&#8217;s the final <em>Otello</em> broadcast of the Met season, for your <a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/free-live-audio-streams/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listening</a> and discussing pleasure, starting at 7:30 PM. (Photo: Ken Howard / Met Opera)</p> Should You Consider a Smaller Summer Program? Here Are the Big Benefits of Going Small https://www.pointemagazine.com/benefits-of-small-ballet-intensives-2625664669.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:2c6323ae-7db7-3cc0-6f00-b8b9d1f0c0b8 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 21:17:49 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19079120/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>When Katie Spagnoletti was 16, she auditioned for several well-known, company-affiliated summer programs. Although she received some acceptances, the price tags and level of competition felt daunting. She decided to try the relatively smaller Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive instead, and when she walked into orientation her first day, she sensed she'd made the right choice. "Co-director Melinda Roy greeted me—and every other student—by name. It made me feel like the faculty was truly invested in me as a person and a dancer," says Spagnoletti, now a dancer at City Ballet of San Diego. "I had friends who'd gone to some of the big-name schools, so I'd heard about those experiences—and I knew mine was going to be unique."</p><p>When planning your summer, it's exciting to think about an intensive at a prestigious pre-professional school—maybe the one attached to your dream company or that all your friends are talking about. But is bigger always better? With a wealth of options for summer study, it's worth looking at the benefits of smaller schools. For many dancers, training in a close-knit atmosphere can outweigh the cachet of a big name.</p><hr/><h3>Good Things Come in Small Packages</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="N307LG1547157914" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="638c2" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19079125/980x.jpg"/><p>One large asset of a smaller program is its size. Fewer students in class means teachers can get to know you better, provide individual corrections and help you improve more as a result. For instance, at the French Academie of Ballet's summer intensive in New York City, its levels usually have no more than 15 students. "You get so much personal attention, whereas in a bigger program you might get drowned," says founder, president and director Francois Perron. "The corrections are geared to each student, instead of only general corrections for the class."</p><p>South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory, in Columbia, South Carolina, has about 65 ballet students divided into three levels. Director Susan Anderson stresses the value of a low student-teacher ratio. "We're very hands-on. We're not a machine or just a moneymaker," she says. "We make it a professional environment, but our students don't just take class and leave. We really know them, watch them and help them progress."</p><h3>World-Class Faculty</h3><br/><p>Keep in mind, too, that programs without an official company affiliation can still offer big-name faculty (and connections to the professional world). Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive often overlaps with New York City Ballet's residency in Saratoga Springs, offers multiple chances to see performances, and features current and former company dancers on faculty. Former NYCB principal Jock Soto, for example, taught Spagnoletti's pas de deux class.</p><p>You may also have a chance to train with a broader mix of guest faculty—for instance, French Academie of Ballet often invites teachers from American Ballet Theatre and the Paris Opéra Ballet. South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory also recruits impressive names—NYCB's Megan Fairchild and Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Addison Ector in 2018—but Anderson says she seeks out guests who are truly invested in teaching. She rotates her faculty roster every year, yet always includes teachers from the University of South Carolina dance program. "Many students return year after year because they want to work with new teachers, but they also get a taste of what it's like to be a dance major here," she explains.</p><h3>Putting "Intense" in Intensive</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="TLVDTF1547157914" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="54acc" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19079134/980x.jpg"/><p>A more intimate environment can also be a boost for younger, less experienced students who want to focus on strengthening their technique more than networking. Fifteen-year-old Clancy Penny, who attended South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory this summer, found the program's size made it more comforting—and more intense—than the larger programs she'd been to before. "We were arranged in small groups in the dorms, so I felt like I had my own little family. Everyone had a counselor you could talk to," she says. "Fewer people and more individual attention made classes incredibly strengthening and even more challenging. It made me realize I really want to continue dancing as long as I can."</p><p>Spagnoletti didn't yet have a ballet career in mind at 16 ("I was late to the game!" she laughs), but she doesn't feel she missed any opportunities by skipping a larger intensive. "I didn't realize how much I'd improved both technically and in my confidence until I came back home," she says. "Even my teachers and classmates noticed, and a couple of them joined me when I went back the next summer."</p><p>Many lesser-known programs are just as likely—or more—to have the elements for a successful and inspiring summer. When weighing the pros and cons between intensives, says Anderson,"look at the things that matter: consistency in teaching, student-teacher ratio and, most importantly, taking students to the next level."</p><h3>Will I lessen my job prospects if I don’t go to a company school’s intensive?</h3><br/><p> If your goal is to be accepted into a specific company or trainee program, attending its school intensive the summer beforehand may be a requirement. But thinking you have to go multiple summers in a row from a younger age can be misguided, says Francois Perron, artistic director of the French Academie of Ballet. He thinks younger students, in particular, can get lost at a large company program. While it's not a guaranteed strategy, he notes that students he's counseled to postpone prestigious company intensives until they were polished dancers had the most success in landing jobs. "You don't need to go at 12, 13, 14," he says. "But if you wait until 16 or 17 and show yourself as an advanced dancer, it's more advantageous for your career potential."</p> NYCB's "Sleeping Beauty" Promo Video Is Absolutely Hilarious https://www.pointemagazine.com/nycb-sleeping-beauty-2625662857.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:dc74f629-8ac3-0b85-3b5c-ee218dbcd0d5 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 20:51:24 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19079044/origin.png"/><br/><br/><p>Every once in a while, the stars align, things fall precisely into place, and the perfect marketing campaign is born. Such is the case with New York City Ballet's new trailer for their upcoming run of <em>The Sleeping Beauty</em>. </p><hr/><p>Instead of going the traditional promotional route (performance clips, snippets of the score), NYCB took it to the next level by staging an elaborate photoshoot for Princess Aurora (played by principal <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/lauren-lovette" target="_blank">Lauren Lovette</a>) and her court, to commemorate her upcoming 16th birthday. And when we say "court," we mean it: everyone and their mother is there, from the Lackey, to Catalabutte, to the King and Queen, trailed by their guards, of course. Watching company members <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/aaron-sanz" target="_blank">Aarón Sanz</a>, <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/maria-kowroski" target="_blank">Maria Kowroski</a>, <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/exclusive-watch-this-site-specific-short-film-starring-members-of-nycb-2451559970.html" target="_blank">Meaghan Dutton O'Hara</a>, and <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/Ask-La-Cour" target="_blank">Ask la Cour</a> (among many others) flex their acting chops is hysterical—they're all masters in the art of serving face (especially Kowroski, whose Carabosse literally sent chills down our spine), and we're so here for it. Catch the full video below! </p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-youtube"> <span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="PASRU21547157912" style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="auto" lazy-loadable="true" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ukRrSLkUYDs?rel=0?enablejsapi=1" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption...">New York City Ballet Presents The Sleeping Beauty</small> <small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="add photo credit..."> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukRrSLkUYDs" target="_blank">www.youtube.com</a> </small> </p> Bartoli’s Rosina https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/ operaramblings urn:uuid:488dfa0c-4516-e543-442e-e24eaee0e1e2 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 20:20:56 +0000 It&#8217;s a bit hard to believe, but, as far as I can tell, the only available video recording of Cecilia Bartoli singing Rosina in Rossini&#8217;s Il barbiere di Siviglia is a 1988 recording made at Schwetzingen when she was 22 &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>It&#8217;s a bit hard to believe, but, as far as I can tell, the only available video recording of Cecilia Bartoli singing Rosina in Rossini&#8217;s <em>Il barbiere di Siviglia</em> is a 1988 recording made at Schwetzingen when she was 22 years old.  It&#8217;s pretty typical of Michael Hampe&#8217;s productions of that period; traditional, elegant, symmetrical and generally well composed, but nothing terribly insightful.  It&#8217;s also rather dark and grey in places which taxes the recording technology of the period sorely.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25419" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/1-balcony-5/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="1.balcony" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25419 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png?w=584" alt="1.balcony" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/1.balcony.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-25418"></span>It has a pretty good cast with Gino Quilico as an appealingly youthful Figaro with a fine sense of Rossinian vocal style; even if his acting tends to the stock operatic gesture.  Carlos Feller and Robert Lloyd find the humour in Bartolo and Basilio and are very solid vocal performers.  The only weaker link is perhaps David Huebler&#8217;s Almaviva which I find a bit goaty and under-characterised.  Certainly he&#8217;s no Juan Diego Flórez.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25420" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/2-almavivafigaro/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="2.almavivafigaro" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25420 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png?w=584" alt="2.almavivafigaro" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2.almavivafigaro.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Then there&#8217;s Bartoli.  It&#8217;s astonishing really.  She seems to come out of the conservatory a fully formed and mature artist.  Everything that we know her for is there; the lovely smokey mezzo tone, the pinpoint coloratura and the crazy ornaments.  Even the just a little bit too cutesy acting is there.  She&#8217;s definitely a truly great Rosina and worth the (modest) price of this recording.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25421" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/3-act1finale/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="3.act1finale" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25421 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png?w=584" alt="3.act1finale" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/3.act1finale.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>The usual Schwetzingen forces; the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Cologne City Opera sound just fine in the intimate baroque setting and Gabriele Ferro conducts with verve and a sense of the required style.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25422" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/4-singinglesson/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="4.singinglesson" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25422 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png?w=584" alt="4.singinglesson" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/4.singinglesson.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Technically, well meh.  Claus Viller&#8217;s video direction is fine.  It&#8217;s hard to really muck up on such a small stage but the recording quality (it&#8217;s 1988 made for TV 4:3) does nobody any favours.  It&#8217;s not as good as some of the other Schwetzingen recordings with a fair bit of lost definition and some shimmering where the picture should be solid.  The stereo soundtrack though is fine.  Don&#8217;t be fooled by the box.  There&#8217;s no surround sound option.  The booklet contains a synopsis, historical essay and very brief note about the production and subtitle options are English, Italian, Spanish, French and German.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25423" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/01/10/bartolis-rosina/5-finale-8/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png?w=584" data-orig-size="580,435" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="5.finale" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25423 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png?w=584" alt="5.finale" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/5.finale.png?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>This is worth acquiring as a record of Bartoli&#8217;s Rosina and as an example of her early work.  It would be worth the price for <em>Una voce poco fa</em> alone.  Canadians in particular may also be interested to get a look at Gino Quilico in his prime.  This disk is currently available separately or, at time of writing, as part of a five disk set of early Rossini operas, all directed by Michael Hampe and all recorded at Schwetzingen in roughly the same period.</p> <p> </p> Esultate – Otello’s Entrance http://medicine-opera.com/2019/01/esultate-otellos-entrance/ Neil Kurtzman urn:uuid:347fd9b5-0e53-521b-90e0-17b48432502a Thu, 10 Jan 2019 18:48:11 +0000 There are many great entrances in opera. But none seems as compelling, informative, and brief as that of the title character in Verdi&#8217;s Otello. Only 12 bars long, it lasts barely more than half a minute yet defines Otello&#8217;s persona with a force and directness that is without peer. Julian Budden in his exegesis of... <p>There are many great entrances in opera. But none seems as compelling, informative, and brief as that of the title character in Verdi&#8217;s <em>Otello</em>. Only 12 bars long, it lasts barely more than half a minute yet defines Otello&#8217;s persona with a force and directness that is without peer. Julian Budden in his exegesis of the opera says of this entrance, &#8220;Otello&#8217;s solo goes far beyond the mere announcement that the Turks have been defeated in battle and their pride laid low; it places Otello himself on a peak of sublimity from which his descent will be all the more terrible.&#8221;</p> <p>Otello&#8217;s cry of &#8216;Esultate&#8217; (Rejoice) establishes the tenor&#8217;s herculean task right from his first word. The demands of the role never ease throughout the opera&#8217;s four acts. This solo&#8217;s difficulty lies in it placement of the vocal line in the most vulnerable part of the tenor&#8217;s range &#8211; the passagio, the notes that mark the transition from chest voice to the tenor&#8217;s upper register &#8211; about F to A above middle C. To further the difficulty, the solo ends with a grace note high B descending to an A. It (as does the rest of the part) requires a singer with great power and technical ability to bring it off. As  you&#8217;ll hear below many tenors fudge the piece in one way or another. The vocal score appears at the end of this article.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve collected 14 tenors singing this entrance. Most sang the role onstage. I&#8217;ll start with the best Otello I&#8217;ve yet heard &#8211; Mario Del Monaco. I heard him sing the Moor several times at the old Met. He was meant to sing Otello. He had a dark baritonal timbre with a powerful top. What stops his interpretation from perfection his the omission of the grace note. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/2b79h4duwzini8i/Del%20Monaco%20Esultate%201958.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Esultate Del Monaco</a> is from a 1958 Met performance. He, like every other tenor who sings the role, pays no attention to the time value of any of Verdi&#8217;s notes. I suspect Verdi knew any tenor would hold the high notes for as long as he pleased.</p> <p>Lauritz Melchior sang Otello in Europe, but gave only one performance of the opera&#8217;s last act at the Met. He has all the voice needed for the part, but doesn&#8217;t attempt the grace note. Given his imposing physical presence and his equally imposing voice, his interpretation of the role was doubtless formidable. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/qdh84f4zikj7ul1/Esulate%20Mechior.mp3?dl=0">Melchior Esulate</a></p> <p>Giacomo Lauri-Volpi was another tenor who sang Otello in Europe, but never at the Met. He gives an impressive reading of the solo, but lacks the baritonal overtones that add stature to Otello&#8217;s heroic and tortured nature. Nevertheless, he does not lack power. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/6xkh9jyz5htu1qb/Esultate%20Lauri-Volpi.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Lauri-Volpi Esultate</a></p> <p>Nicola Fusati (1876-1956) is the only tenor among those presented here who is likely unknown  to many readers. He was active mainly in Italy from 1908 to 1932. I may get around to doing a post on him at a later date. He had a rich dramatic tenor that sounds right for Otello, though he too drops the grace note. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/sltb329og4c0qc0/Esultate%20Nicola%20Fusati.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fusati Esultate</a></p> <p>Ramón Vinay started as a baritone, became a tenor and a noted Otello. Later in his career he returned to baritone roles and performed Iago. His dark baritonal voice made his Otello a success. He sang Otello 18 times at the Met and did the part under Toscanini in the broadcast and subsequent recording of the opera. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/mew522iceab6rzc/Esultate%20Vinay.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Vinay Esultate</a></p> <p>Jon Vickers was an acclaimed Otello. He was the Met&#8217;s Otello 31 times. His voice was well suited for the part, though his sound was somewhat dry. This version is very slow. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/2w3tcb2g9gzublq/Vickers%20Esultate.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Vicker Esultate</a></p> <p>Franco Corelli never sang Otello. This was his worst career move. He fully admitted so after he had retired. He would have been a grand Otello given his powerful voice and heroic looks. He did record Otello&#8217;s entrance. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/m824h7lxcxqw5e5/Esultate%20Corelli.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Corelli Esultate</a></p> <p>Giuseppe Giacomini had a stupendous voice; yet he never achieved the celebrity that he deserved. He did, however, sing at most of the world&#8217;s major houses. I heard him as Calaf in <em>Turandot</em> in Sicily. His &#8216;Nessun dorma&#8217; brought down the house or would have had there been one. It was an outdoor performance. He recorded a complete Otello; but I don&#8217;t know if he sang the role onstage. He certainly had everything needed for the part. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/cadcprt6qga5oe3/Esultate%20Giacomini.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Giacomini Esultate</a></p> <p>Placido Domingo added Otello to his repertoire when he was only 34. Everyone at the time, me included, though he was committing vocal suicide; we were all wrong. His fine technique and musicianship allowed him to become one of the great Otello&#8217;s. He sang the role 40 times at the Met. The following recording dates from 1976 shortly after he first assumed the part. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/f3c063tq68nnd9p/Domingo%20Esultate%201976.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Domingo Esultate</a></p> <p>Every tenor seems to think he&#8217;s up to the demands of Otello. Luciano Pavarotti was no exception. He performed Otello in a concert version of the opera with the Chicago Symphony under Georg Solti that was recorded and is still available. His voice, of course, is completely wrong for Verdi&#8217;s tragic hero, but he got through it without serious complications. His entrance solo is very good. He adds an extra note on his way up to the grace note. I&#8217;m surprised Solti let him get away with it. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlc4ll1qxhkkm84/Esultate%20Pavaroti.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pavarotti Esultate</a></p> <p>Russian tenor Vladimir Galouzine was Otello six times at the Met &#8211; all in 2003. He has a large and somewhat ponderous voice. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/jzzcmckkq6vy5wo/Esultate%20Vladimir%20Galouzine.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Galouzine Esultate</a></p> <p>Argentine tenor José Cura has sung Otello at multiple venues &#8211; including six times at the Met, all in 2013. He solve Esultate&#8217;s difficulty by lowering the piece a full tone and even at this pitch he still omits the grace note. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/gc7gtgfibfktn9i/Esultate%20Cura.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Esultate Cura</a></p> <p>Jonas Kauffman started singing Otello in 2017. The following excerpt is from his first performance as Otello. Like all his work, his version is intelligent and perfectly sung. He&#8217;s continuing to sing the role and likely is the best Otello now active. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/4c5rqmxg135386s/Kauffman%20Esultate%202017.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kauffman Esultate</a></p> <p>Australian tenor Stuart Skelton was the Otello in the Met&#8217;s current run of the opera. He was competent, though not very exciting. <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/yj22q17oafg16dc/Skelton%20Esultate.mp3?dl=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Skelton Esultate</a></p> <p>Verdi&#8217;s tragic opera will continue to intrigue audiences and challenge tenors for the foreseeable future. Esultate is just the first challenge that death defying tenors must overcome when they impersonate Otello.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://i2.wp.com/medicine-opera.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Esultate-1.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-26046" src="https://i2.wp.com/medicine-opera.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Esultate-1.jpg?resize=457%2C643" alt="" width="457" height="643" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><a href="https://i0.wp.com/medicine-opera.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Esultate-2.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-26047" src="https://i0.wp.com/medicine-opera.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Esultate-2.jpg?resize=457%2C334" alt="" width="457" height="334" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a></p> Wardrobe Supervisor Marjory Fielding Retires After 24 Years http://www.balletnews.co.uk/wardrobe-supervisor-marjory-fielding-retires-after-24-years/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:27cd4a33-99c0-2e57-c674-ca3ce0d39266 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 18:22:17 +0000 Marjory Fielding. Photo by Dylan Tedaldi. Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada announced today that after 24 years of service, Wardrobe Supervisor&#160;Marjory...<br/> <br/> [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/co/RudC/~4/ZHxaPRZMgvg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Discomfort zone https://parterre.com/2019/01/10/discomfort-zone/ parterre box urn:uuid:aa4b9e51-fda3-5f05-600e-1a59bb54fe40 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 16:08:32 +0000 <B>Roberto Alagna</b>’s physical and vocal embodiment of Don José lent his particular narrative a complication I hadn’t anticipated. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-59996" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/alagna-jose-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/alagna-jose.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/alagna-jose-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />I primarily returned to Sir Richard Eyre’s production of <em>Carmen </em>at the Met to hear <strong>Roberto Alagna</strong>. After his misfire earlier this season, in <em>Samson et Dalila</em>, I wanted to see how he fared in repertoire with which I’m a bit more familiar. And indeed, his over-the-hill Don José was worth a revisit to the ubiquitous opera<em>. </em><span id="more-59995"></span></p> <p>While at first, the tenor seemed miscast (despite that floppy hair, he no longer reads as youthful or naïve) his physical bearing and comfortably worn voice gave the character an edge of pathos. Instead of a petulant child pickling into toxic masculinity, his Act IV José was an old man—desperate, outcast, humiliated, used. Like a broken, Mediterranean Willy Loman.</p> <p>While age doesn’t make José any less of a villain in my book, Alagna’s physical and vocal embodiment of the character lent his particular narrative a complication I hadn’t anticipated. His beautiful singing elicited sympathy. Instead of being merely dangerous, he was also pathetic; and yes, I’ll say it again, if begrudgingly: I found myself feeling sorry for him.</p> <p>That’s a feeling I’m just not comfortable with.</p> <p>But doesn’t <em>Carmen</em>, of all the operas in the canon, lend itself to discomfort? Its scorching flashes of sexual desire; its tediousness; the capricious I-love-you-I-hate-you motif; race; destiny; violence; delinquency; bulls; swords, blood; and Micaëla, that siren of bourgeois respectability. These odd themes and symbols add up to something disquieting, ambivalent, and elegantly difficult: infinite analysis and ageless relevance.</p> <p>I struggle to enjoy <em>Carmen. </em>I find it even more difficult to dismiss it.</p> <p>If Sir <strong>Richard Eyre</strong>’s production felt awkward and static, I believe a malfunctioned turntable was to blame. But even so, his vision for the opera was a bit too on-the-nose for my taste. The main intervention was a leap forward in time, but not place. Other than that, it was a run-of-the-mill <em>Carmen</em>—flamenco dancing and insipid caricatures of Romani people.</p> <p>There were some twistedly kinky, grotesque moments to unpack. But just when they started to become noteworthy, things veered demurely toward cliché. For example, Act II featured Don José leading Carmen around the stage on a leash; she panted and purred, practically rubbing herself against strangers’ legs to secure freedom.</p> <p>The sexually racialized female body is hardly inventive, accurate, or politically responsible. But issues like this are embedded in the text. And so, I argue on behalf of their exposure, their need for wrestling—a little intellectual rigor from the director and designers. Go further; try harder.</p> <p>Carmen’s use of sexuality—her motivations, her cold calculation of resources—is left relatively unexplored in Eyre’s version of things: a rudimentary, cursory gloss. Whatever it is that makes the opera so uncomfortable, so difficult to forget or forgive, is imagined away here, soothed and ignored to a facile level.</p> <p>Whatever heat could be conjured came from the performers. And Alagna’s performance was not the only one to blister. Something should be said of<strong> Clémentine Margaine</strong>’s robust Carmen, which has deepened and dilated over time. She certainly didn’t avoid the more trite tropes attending the character—legs thrust open, a swagger—but her voice has grown larger, rounder, and suppler (I would love to hear her Amneris and Dalila).</p> <p>And it is not difficult to see why she appears so frequently at the Met in this particular role; she is as beautiful as she sounds, her looks perfectly suited for the Spanish-Romani character. (She reminded me so much of the actress <strong>Asia Argento</strong>—especially her performance as the tempestuous Spanish mistress in Catherine Breillat’s <em>Une vielle maîresse.</em>)</p> <p><strong>Alexander Vinogradov</strong>’s Escamillo contrasted nicely with Alagna’s José. Physically he is slighter, but vocally sturdier—his bass not only boomed, but bloomed.</p> <p>But <strong>Aleksandra Kurzak</strong>, as Micaëla, was a disappointment. While she began with a focused, clear sound in Acts I and II, her voice disintegrated in Act III. Her singing of “Je dis…” was shallow, unpleasant, and insufficient.</p> <p>And I found <strong>Louis Langrée</strong>’s conducting pretty boring. He didn’t make much of Bizet’s lush score, its sexy insouciance. Despite such excellent vocalism on stage, there was an interminable quality to the evening that seemed to fall within the orchestra’s jurisdiction. It was only during the Act II tavern scene that it actually felt like they were cooking with gas.</p> <p>Margaine and Alagna will appear throughout the opera’s run this season. For them alone, I would recommend a revisit. If Eyre’s production feels like nothing more than empty garnish, then these highly competent performances should provide enough meat and potatoes to chew on.</p> <p>Photo: Ken Howard / Met Opera</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>