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/ Metropolitan Opera Preview: La Clemenza di Tito http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/03/metropolitan-opera-preview-la-clemenza.html Superconductor urn:uuid:e34b9024-3dfe-438f-bed4-5068d1725bf8 Mon, 25 Mar 2019 04:30:06 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b>Mozart's drama of intrigue and attempted assassination in Ancient Rome.</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://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Vi0WnUpqUbE/XJhAyRU-S5I/AAAAAAAAVgI/AAi4XrwkuSo2POxs8ndXeh9TeZ1hfYaagCLcBGAs/s1600/785x590_clemenza.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://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Vi0WnUpqUbE/XJhAyRU-S5I/AAAAAAAAVgI/AAi4XrwkuSo2POxs8ndXeh9TeZ1hfYaagCLcBGAs/s640/785x590_clemenza.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Matthew Polenzani (seen here in the title role of Mozart's <i>Idomeneo</i>)<br />sings the title role in <i>La Clemenza di Tito </i>at the Metropolitan Opera this season.<br />Photo © 2019 The Metropolitan Opera.</td></tr></tbody></table>A stellar cast (Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Elza van den Heever) takes the stage in this late season revival of Mozart's <i>opera seria</i> of passion and power politics.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><b>What is <i>La Clemenza di Tito</i></b><br />It's funny how necessity can make an artist productive. That was the case in 1791, the last year of Mozart's life. In July, the composer (already hard at work on a new piece called Die Zauberflöte) received a commission to write a new opera celebrating the impending coronation of Leopold II. &nbsp;The result, banged out in just 18 days was <i>La clemenza di Tito.</i><br /><br /><b>What's the story?</b><br />In the reign of the Roman Emperor Titus, the noblewoman Vitellia leads a plot against his reign. Her chosen assassin is Sesto, a nobleman whose sister Servilia is the Emperor's love interest. This all comes to a head at the end of the first act, when the Capitol burns and Tito is reported dead. In the second act, Sesto is imprisoned, and the conspirators are going to be thrown to wild beasts in the Emperor's newly built Colosseum. Vitellia confesses and the Emperor, true to the opera's title, forgives all.<br /><b><br /></b><b>How's the music?</b><br />Given the tight deadline of the coronation, Mozart only had time to write the opera's arias. He added &nbsp;choruses and ensembles as needed, with the new text written by librettist Caterino Mazzolà. The opera has a rousing overture, memorable arias (particularly Sesto's "Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio" and Vitallia's burn-the-house-down rondo "Non più di fiori") and some of Mozart's most sophisticated writing for ensemble voice, including the fiery Act I finale.<br /><br /><b>OK. Tell me something else cool!</b><br />Mozart wrote this opera in just 18 days. However the recitatives (the bits between the arias and choruses) are the work of his student Franz Xavier Süssmayer, who is also credited with completing the last sections of the Mozart <i>Requiem.</i><br /><br /><b>How's the production?</b><br />This is a sturdy Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production from 1984, the same one that the Met revives every few years.<br /><br /><b>Who's in it?</b><br />Elza van den Heever and Joyce DiDonato, who opened the Met's production of <i>Maria Stuarda</i> in 2012, return here as Vitellia and Sesto. Matthew Polenzani is Tito, continuing his survey of Mozart heroes. Lothar Koenigs conducts.<br /><br /><b>When does it open?</b><br />Rome wasn't built in a day, but <i>La Clemenza di Tito</i> returns on March 30 for just six performances.<br /><br /><br /><b>How do I get tickets?</b><br />Tickets are available at metopera.org or call the box office at (212) 362-6000.<br /><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/WEH_TZ2pq4s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Opera Review: One Little Goat http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/03/opera-review-one-little-goat.html Superconductor urn:uuid:6b36921b-a19e-072b-7c4b-8dbb24b4605b Mon, 25 Mar 2019 01:18:05 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div><b>Amore Opera celebrates a decade with Meyerbeer's&nbsp;<i>Dinorah.</i></b></div><div>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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kdSAL8WJHDs/XJgrILEUIvI/AAAAAAAAVf8/bZzUpVT0W3ULSp7Zv5TkV_81tSuEUjrpwCLcBGAs/s1600/jennifer-moore-518x350.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="350" data-original-width="518" height="432" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kdSAL8WJHDs/XJgrILEUIvI/AAAAAAAAVf8/bZzUpVT0W3ULSp7Zv5TkV_81tSuEUjrpwCLcBGAs/s640/jennifer-moore-518x350.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Looking for goats in all the wrong places: Jennifer Moore in <i>Dinorah.</i><br />Photo © Amore Opera.</td></tr></tbody></table>Mention composer Giacomo Meyerbeer to an opera lover and they will think of enormous five-movement works with extravagant staging requirements, lengthy ballets and tremendous orchestral and choral requirements. And yet, there was another less elaborate side to the Meyerbeer. This month, the small Amore Opera company, which is celebrating a decade of bringing intimate opera to the ears of New Yorkers, brought back <i>Dinorah</i>. This is an all but forgotten pastoral fairy tale, in the genre of &nbsp;<i>opera-comique </i>that had not been staged in New York in 100 years. Sung in French and linked with spoken dialogue passages delivered in English, this proved to be a fun Saturday afternoon at the theater at Riverside Church.</div><div><br /><a name='more'></a>Giacomo Meyerbeer (birth name Jakob Wilhelm Beer) was the king of Paris grand opera in the middle of the 19th century. He would be eclipsed after his death by the rise of Wagner, thanks in part to that other composer's habit of attacking him and his work repeatedly in print. Today, Meyerbeer is not a household name, but he is &nbsp;recognized &nbsp;s a masterful orchestrator. His long, challenging and showy soprano arias have found favor with today's rising divas. And while you may not see a six hour Meyerbeer extravaganza at the Met, his works have enjoyed some revivals and even recordings in recent years.</div><div><i><br /></i></div><div><i>Dinorah</i> dates from 1859, and is set to a libretto by the composer himself. it was written for the Opera-Comique, the Paris theater that erved as the birthplace of Bizet's <i>Carmen</i>. This score is full of innovative touches: chorales of horns and winds, religious choruses that are sung <i>a capella</i>, and an utterly preposterous plot. Essentially, the title character gets a mad scene that lasts most of three acts. As she goes wandering in the mountains trying to find her little lost goat (played with adorable energy by Miss Carina Golden) she encounters her wayward fiancee Höel and the buffoonish bagpiper Corentin, themselves embroiled in a quest to retrieve a cursed treasure hidden in a spooky ravine.<br /><br /></div><div>The opening bars of the Overture showed the depths of Meyerbeer’s musical invention. Slithering violins skittered and scraped, creating a sense of unease. This was juxtaposed with a series of brass chorales and the entry of the chorus, aligned along the back wall of the small theater and singing the "Saint Marie" chorus, a nod to &nbsp;the Pilgrims Chorus in Wagner’s <i>Tannhäuser</i>. This grandiose opening set up the story that was to follow, which was simply and engagingly told against a progression of old-fashioned painted landscapes. It is the tale of a gormless girl who loses her fiancée, her marbles and her cute little pet goat and spends the rest of the opera trying to get them all back<br /><br /></div><div>Soprano Jennifer Moore did a stellar job meeting the steep requirements of the title role. This is a coloratura challenge, as the singer has to warble over a large orchestra and hit some stratospheric notes. Ms. Moore’s standout moment came in the “Shadow Aria” in the second act, where the girl sings a merry two-part waltz to her own shadow. The tricky but is that Meyerbeer asks for the shadow to respond in the same singers voice, but with a different musical inflection. She also sang beautifully in the latter pages of the very long part, maintaining a silver, gleaming sound in the arduous finale when Dinorah finally breaks the chains of madness and is reunited with Yöel.<br /><br /></div><div>The role of Corentin was sung by Michael Celentano, who had a fine comic stage presence and a robust voice. His is a a secondary comic role, confronting fears and phobias armed with a vacillating nature and an authentic looking set of bagpipes. The pipes were thankfully silent in the smallish theater, represented by oboe and English horn in the orchestra. The baritone part of Hõel, Dinorah's feckless fiancée does not become important until the second half of this three-act opera, He was played with flair by baritone Nobuki Momma. The duet-into-trio finale that brought down the curtain on Act II showed these three singers working together with gusto, as they vacillated over who would be unlucky enough to enter the treasure cave.<br /><br /></div><div>The supporting roles were well cast. Bass Gennady Vysotsky made the Hunter an appealing audience favorite. His Act III solo aria was &nbsp;supported by five interlocking French horn parts. As his counterpart the Harvester, tenor Steven Tompkins sang with pleasing tone. The introduction of these two figures marked a turn in the plot of this opera as Höel found his love for Dinorah and she got her memory back. The plot resolved with remarkable swiftness and Dinorah got her goat Bellah back. The opera ended with a sumptuous revival of the opening chorus, as the marriage of Höel and Dinorah finally commenced.<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.</div></div><div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/Xoz9qhYYnvQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> “Ah! That wonderful creature!” https://parterre.com/2019/03/24/ah-that-wonderful-creature/ parterre box urn:uuid:ed6fb9a6-eb3e-07a7-1e61-1e148498ba9d Sun, 24 Mar 2019 18:09:05 +0000 Born on this day in 1808 prima donna <strong>Maria Malibran</strong>. <p><img src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/malibran-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61452" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/malibran.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/malibran-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Born on this day in 1808 prima donna <strong>Maria Malibran</strong>. <span id="more-61451"></span></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OQSuOvFFV4&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OQSuOvFFV4</a></p> The National Ballet of Canada | Announcing the Winners of The Erik Bruhn Prize http://www.balletnews.co.uk/the-national-ballet-of-canada-announcing-the-winners-of-the-erik-bruhn-prize/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:d6820bb1-2826-d5da-6613-e53a8173cfca Sun, 24 Mar 2019 14:27:40 +0000 Siphesihle November. Photo by Karolina Kuras Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced that&#160;Siphesihle&#160;November, 20, of The National Ballet of...<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/fC_wOF_6HfY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Iolanta and L’Enfant et les sortilèges, Royal Academy of Music, 18 March 2019 http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2019/03/iolanta-and-lenfant-et-les-sortileges.html Boulezian urn:uuid:f703f736-55fb-ecdd-6558-6914563a04c2 Sun, 24 Mar 2019 14:22:10 +0000 <br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Susie Sainsbury Theatre<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></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://2.bp.blogspot.com/--OI1azGkFZQ/XJeQmoBLFUI/AAAAAAAAFsc/KP8IVeHBKxYo9pOm3IIUhBHBj2pWENzbQCLcBGAs/s1600/190314-iolanta-thursday-012.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--OI1azGkFZQ/XJeQmoBLFUI/AAAAAAAAFsc/KP8IVeHBKxYo9pOm3IIUhBHBj2pWENzbQCLcBGAs/s640/190314-iolanta-thursday-012.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Images: Robert Workman</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;">Iolanta – Samantha Quillish<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;">Brigitta – Emilie Cavallo<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;">Laura – Yuki Akimoto<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;">Marta – Leila Zanette<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;">Vaudémont – Shengzhi Ren<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;">Alméric – Joseph Buckmaster<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;">Robert – Sung Kyu Choi<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;">Ibn-Hakia – Darwin Leonard Prakash<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;">Bertrand – Niall Anderson<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;">King René – Thomas Bennett<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;">L’enfant – Olivia Warburton<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;">La princesse, La chauve-souris – Alexandra Oomens<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;">Le feu, Le rossignol – Lina Dambrauskaitė<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;">La théière, Le rainette, Le petit vieillard – Ryan Williams<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;">Maman – Tabitha Reyonolds<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;">La tasse chinoise, La libellulue – Hannah Poulsom<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;">La bergère, Une pastourelle, La chouette – Aimée Fisk<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;">La chatte, L’écureuil – Gabrielė Kupšytė<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;">L’horloge comtoise, Le chat – James Geidt<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;">Le fauteuil, L’arbre – Will Pate<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;">Oliver Platt (director)<br />Alison Cummins (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;">Jake Wiltshire (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;">Emma Brunton (movement and puppetry) <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;">Royal Academy Opera Chorus and Sinfonia</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;">Gareth Hancock (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="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HIjvb7ou0GM/XJeRoFCMHZI/AAAAAAAAFs0/OPwjqO_qK-wneDyJRd_YPEoHp1Kd7ogyQCLcBGAs/s1600/190315-sortileges--070.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://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HIjvb7ou0GM/XJeRoFCMHZI/AAAAAAAAFs0/OPwjqO_qK-wneDyJRd_YPEoHp1Kd7ogyQCLcBGAs/s640/190315-sortileges--070.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></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;">Tchaikovsky’s one-act <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Iolanta</i> seems to have gained in popularity recently. London, at any rate, has two different productions this year: this, at the Royal Academy of Music, and at Holland Park this summer. As ever, the question with a one-act opera is what, if anything, to pair it with. (That hardly applies with <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Salome</i> or <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Elektra</i>, though couplings have been known, but it will generally do so with shorter works.) Ravel’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">L’Enfant et les sortilèges </i>is a popular choice, and rightly so, from the one-act stable. Without much – although not without any – in the way of overt connection being made, the two operas complemented each other nicely, both proving excellent showcases for their young singers, both proving substantially more than that too.<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;">Oliver Platt, one of our most accomplished young directors – last year, I saw two (!) fine productions of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Così fan tutte</i> (<a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2018/06/cosi-fan-tutte-opera-holland-park-31.html">here</a>and <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2018/11/cosi-fan-tutte-guildhall-5-november-2018.html">here</a>) – once again offers us stagings both intelligent and involving. Like their hero(ine)s, they take their own paths, yet where those paths intersect, the results are thoughtful and intriguing. <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Iolanta</i>seems to me greatly misunderstood – or at least too often mostly understood in a way that limits rather than sets it free. The subtext seems obvious – a blind girl, kept safe by her father, eventually freed from her imprisonment by a stranger – and yet, too often ignored. Here, it certainly is not, a greenhouse, a place of hothouse care and incarceration, placed firmly on stage, its flourishing yet stifled plants both inspiring and warning, could Iolanta but see them. Likewise the surgical gloves of her companions, weirdly static in aestheticised presentiment of Maeterlinck and Debussy’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Pelléas et Mélisande</i>. But when, finally she can see, finally she can become – in the eyes of men, in the eyes of society more generally – a ‘woman’, Iolanta turns suddenly away from the sun’s blinding rays, from adulthood. It is too late: orchestra and chorus have rejoiced, she gives out a cry of anguish, but no one cares – other, perhaps than us, in the audience. Now she is on her own, awakened, seeing; or rather, captive once again, this time without the alleged protection and solace of childhood.<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;"><o:p><br /></o:p></span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3zP2g082U2c/XJeRO8RA0OI/AAAAAAAAFsw/-l2b5rqpIzY5k1acDYFt-fIUcdNqe8hqACEwYBhgL/s1600/190314-sortileges--010.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/-3zP2g082U2c/XJeRO8RA0OI/AAAAAAAAFsw/-l2b5rqpIzY5k1acDYFt-fIUcdNqe8hqACEwYBhgL/s640/190314-sortileges--010.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;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">The boy in <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">L’Enfant et les sortilèges</i> – a trouser role, naturally, in this most elegantly queer of operas – is on his own too; or is he? This is certainly an opera very much about childhood, an irredeemably adult idea, rather than a children’s opera. And so there is, or should be, always something enticing and yet disturbing about that penetration of an imagined child’s lair, here very much centred upon the imaginings of his bedroom. Here, the constructivism of our imagination, that of the work’s creators, most likely that of the ‘child’ too, is put centre stage. We see, lightly worn, the workings: puppetry, other short-trouser children, books, fabrics, a tent from his – our? – own life, creating a world that is, yes, imagined, but also equally his, Ravel’s, Colette’s, our own. It is never predictable, always with an element of the dream, of the unconscious, yet one can hazard a guess where it has come from, at least in retrospect. We are all psychoanalysts now, are we not? And when the Princess emerges, from the tent in the garden – here, as in <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Iolanta</i>, a place of magical enticement, which may or may not be quite what it seems – she is dressed as Iolanta was. Will the boy do to her what the earlier princess’s prince charming was set to do to her? Most probably: not, however, quite yet, for childhood, whatever that might be, and its enchantments, its gifts, still reign. Light and dark take a related, yet different path. At least, we believe so…<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="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HiLwwJSsI8A/XJeQ8YZJviI/AAAAAAAAFso/pZ03xD_fPucTazZKALikZ-0O43_wMn-fQCEwYBhgL/s1600/190314-iolanta-thursday-004.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://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HiLwwJSsI8A/XJeQ8YZJviI/AAAAAAAAFso/pZ03xD_fPucTazZKALikZ-0O43_wMn-fQCEwYBhgL/s640/190314-iolanta-thursday-004.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;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">These are not in any way easy operas for students, however accomplished, to perform. The young musicians of the Royal Academy acquitted themselves very well indeed. Without repeating the cast list, I should like to mention a handful of singers who stood out for me. All, however, performed creditably, whether individually or as a company. Samantha Quillish’s Iolanta was heartfelt, moving, possessed both of heft and subtlety: everything, at least, anyone could reasonably have asked. Shengzhi Ren’s Vaudémont proved honest, ardent, again moving: just what the Tchaikovsky brothers wanted, allowing us, should we wish, to question their assumptions whilst affording them the dignity of being taken seriously. Thomas Bennett’s King René grew in strength and compassion as the evening progressed, whilst Sung Kyu Choi’s Robert offered quite a taste of what might have been, had characters’ choices been different. Olivia Warburton’s Child (L’Enfant) impressed in every possible way: her French, her demeanour, her elegance of line. This was a character, both ‘real’ and constructed, in whom one could believe, ably supported and abetted by a near faultless cast. <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;">It was perhaps inevitable that the orchestra, conducted by Gareth Hancock, would sometimes fall a little short. Orchestras twice its size will find these tough nuts to crack, let alone together. There was much to savour, though, and if I sometimes missed the flexibility of the finest Tchaikovsky performances, that was hardly the point here. Hancock supported his singers with skill and care, permitting them, like those flowers in the greenhouse and the garden, to bloom as they would. As to what happens next, we shall see – and hear.<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/tqQ9h6NS64s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> The Next Wave workshop https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/24/the-next-wave-workshop/ operaramblings urn:uuid:bab8418c-804e-50db-68b2-2a3210a299cc Sun, 24 Mar 2019 13:33:28 +0000 Last night, at the Ernest Balmer Studio, we got to see somewhat more developed versions of the works presented earlier in the week in the RBA in staged format.  I&#8217;m not sure my opinions changed much as a result though &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/24/the-next-wave-workshop/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Last night, at the Ernest Balmer Studio, we got to see somewhat more developed versions of the works presented earlier in the week in the RBA in staged format.  I&#8217;m not sure my opinions changed much as a result though I think I&#8217;m even more convinced that here we have five pieces of substance that deserve to be seen in fully realised form.  So, some brief thoughts on each.  Note that, except for <em>Book of Faces</em> we only saw extracts from pieces that are still WIP.<span id="more-25815"></span></p> <p><em>The Chair</em> &#8211; Maria Atallah/Alice Abracen: The scene presented, about how one responds, in equally formulaic manner, to formulaic condolences while seething inside was effective and powerful.  I&#8217;m not sure where this goes though.  The write up promises a &#8220;mysterious&#8221; new character and who knows what role they might take?</p> <p><em>Singing Only Softly</em> &#8211; Cecilia Livingston/Monica Pearce: This sets the redacted parts of Anne Frank&#8217;s diary; the parts dealing with her inner state of mind and hr (troubled) relationship with her mother.  It&#8217;s clever in using two singers to portray Anne&#8217;s inner conflicts.  But is it an opera?  It&#8217;s described as a &#8220;song opera&#8221; and it is a succession of &#8220;numbers&#8221;.  Is there anything to stage or is it really a concert piece wearing operatic clothes?</p> <p><em>Book of Faces</em> &#8211; Kendra Harder/Michelle Telford:  It&#8217;s a very skilful parody of a baroque oratorio about social life on the Internet.  It&#8217;s also a pretty acute critique of the gig economy.  It&#8217;s funny, clever and doesn&#8217;t outstay it&#8217;s welcome.  I can see it as part of an evening of short pieces, which is exactly how Highlands Opera Studio is planning to use it.</p> <p><em>Suites d&#8217;une Ville Morte</em> &#8211; Margareta Jeric/Naima Kristel Phillips:  This one interests me a lot.  It feels less &#8220;finished&#8221; than the other works, which is to say perhaps has more potential to grow into something of real substance.  It&#8217;s the story of a woman who returns to her home town to find it destroyed by war but a piano survives in the rubble.  It feels like it needs more than just piano score to allow the &#8220;character&#8221; of the piano to emerge.  The music is bold and more challenging than the other pieces.  Dramatically and musically it feels like something one would more likely hear in Berlin or Amsterdam than Toronto.  It&#8217;s not frightened of its audience or their reaction.  FAWN have picked this one up and I really want to see it complete in full score.</p> <p><em>L&#8217;hiver attends beaucoup de moi</em> &#8211; Laurence Jobidon/Pascale St. Onge:  This is a very dramatic and musically effective story of a pregnant woman trying to reach a safe house in winter in northern Quebec.  It&#8217;s a bit of a cliff hanger and very intense.  Musically it&#8217;s also quite adventurous.  I don&#8217;t think in our extract we heard where the &#8220;end of a road where no-one else goes&#8221; is but the excerpt certainly left me both wanting to know and fearing the answer.  We can find out next year as Opéra de Montréal have programmed it as part of their 2019/20 season.</p> <p>I haven&#8217;t said much about the performances as I think this project is more about the works but hats off to the performance team of singers Kristen Hoff, Lindsay Connolly and Suzanne Rigden and the amazingly versatile Jennifer Szeto on piano (with a bit of help from Natasha Fransblow).  Switching gears, musically and emotionally, as they did all evening was some feat.  Staging too was in the hands of an amazing line up of directors; Anna Theodosakis, Alaina Viau, Jessica Derventzis, Amanda Smith and Aria Umezawa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Obsession and Revenge: Drot og Marsk at the Kongelige Teater https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/ operatraveller urn:uuid:04084cf0-4ce3-e4ac-170e-7232f5f85cd3 Sun, 24 Mar 2019 11:47:31 +0000 Heise – Drot og Marsk Marsk Stig – Johan Reuter Kong Erik – Peter Lodahl Rane Johnsen – Gert Henning-Jensen Fru Ingeborg – Sine Bundgaard Aase – Sofie Elkjær Jensen Grev Jakob af Halland – Morten Staugaard Jens Grand – Simon Duus Herold – Teit Kanstrup Det Kongelige Operakor, Det Kongelige Kapel / Michael Schønwandt. [&#8230;] <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Heise – <em>Drot og Marsk</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Marsk Stig – Johan Reuter</strong><br /> <strong>Kong Erik – Peter Lodahl</strong><br /> <strong>Rane Johnsen – Gert Henning-Jensen</strong><br /> <strong>Fru Ingeborg – Sine Bundgaard</strong><br /> <strong>Aase – Sofie Elkjær Jensen</strong><br /> <strong>Grev Jakob af Halland – Morten Staugaard</strong><br /> <strong>Jens Grand – Simon Duus</strong><br /> <strong>Herold – Teit Kanstrup</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Det Kongelige Operakor, Det Kongelige Kapel / Michael Schønwandt.</strong><br /> <strong>Stage directors – Amy Lane &amp; Kasper Holten.</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Det Kongelige Teater, Copenhagen, Denmark.  Saturday, March 23rd, 2019.</strong></p> <p>Tonight was an opportunity to see a rarity.  Peter Heise’s <em>Drot og Marsk</em> is widely considered to be Denmark’s national opera.  Premiered by the Kongelige Teater in 1878, it addresses a key moment in Danish history – the murder of King (Drot) Erik in 1286 by Marshall (Marsk) Stig.  This new production, for which tonight was the first night, was entrusted to the Royal Theatre’s Artistic Director, Kasper Holten, who was joined by his London-based collaborator, Amy Lane.  The house helpfully also offered English-only surtitles for this production.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4384" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4384" style="width: 210px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4384" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_p2a9042d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg" data-orig-size="5792,8688" 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="_P2A9042d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg?w=200&#038;h=300" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg?w=683" class="size-medium wp-image-4384" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg?w=200&#038;h=300" alt="" width="200" height="300" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg?w=200&amp;h=300 200w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg?w=400&amp;h=600 400w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/p2a9042d.jpg?w=100&amp;h=150 100w" sizes="(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4384" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>King Erik is something of a piece of work, who drops his initial love interest, the comely Aase, for Stig’s wife, Fru Ingeborg, as soon as Stig heads off to war against the Swedes.  As the evening progresses, it’s revealed that quite a few members of Erik’s court have beef with him, a king who allows his obsession with the ladies to cloud his judgment.  Indeed, that idea of a leader so fixated on their own obsessions, to the detriment of their people, felt incredibly timely tonight.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4383" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4383" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4383" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_k1p4259d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg" data-orig-size="5184,3456" 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="_K1P4259d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4383" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p4259d.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4383" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>Heise’s music is relatively engaging.  The sound world is big and craggy, with some attractive folkloric elements, notably in Aase’s opening number, as well as some powerful, emotionally heartfelt scenes for Stig and Ingeborg.   There are also some big, stirring showcases for the chorus – not least in a rousing Act 2 finale where Stig and the chorus express their thoughts of revenge.  The musical language seems redolent in some places of the Beethoven of <em>Fidelio</em>, combined with early Wagner, in addition to some tantalizing hints of Nielsen.  It felt, at least on this hearing, to be somewhat episodic – there are several moments along the way where it felt that the interesting melodic material was underdeveloped.  Still, it’s a work worthy of discovery and clearly means a lot to the audience.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4382" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4382" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4382" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_k1p3569d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg" data-orig-size="5184,3456" 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="_K1P3569d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4382" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3569d.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4382" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>Lane and Holten give us a visually stimulating staging.  In common with Holten’s <em>Don Giovanni</em>, which Lane has revived on his behalf in a number of theatres worldwide, the set is constantly moving.  We see the shell of the King’s castle, full of ornate paintings, compared with the bunker outside.  It meant that as the evening developed, the set dissolved and reformed – at one moment setting the action within the castle, at another without.  It made for an interesting visual perspective.  The problem is that that the carefully choreographed moving of the set was met with personenregie that far too often required the singers to indulge in stock operatic gestures – looking to the front desperately, or holding an arm out aloft.  The chorus, was also parked at the front in rows, occasionally gyrating in the dances, but otherwise appearing somewhat under-directed.  Lane and Holten used the set interestingly to set up a scene, showing characters listening outside to events within, but I would question how much of this was actually visible from parts of the theatre.  In many respects, I wish that Lane and Holten had choreographed the set less and used the text to create a deeper theatrical argument.  There is no shortage of material here for a meditation on the betrayal of power, but it felt underdeveloped, instead offering us a more prosaic reading.  That isn’t to say we didn’t get some gripping performances from the principals – with singing actors of the calibre of Peter Lodahl as Erik and Johan Reuter as Stig this was of course expected – just that it could have been something even more compelling.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4381" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4381" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4381" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_k1p3107d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg" data-orig-size="5184,3456" 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="_K1P3107d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4381" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p3107d.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4381" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>Both Lodahl and Reuter were absolutely enthralling.  Lodahl’s tenor appears to have opened up quite nicely in recent years.  The oaky core and characterful tone were ideally placed to interpret the lascivious king.  The top rang out nicely and he also used the text to create some masterful tone colours, bleaching the sound quite hauntingly as he reflected on death.  His Erik was an insinuating, dangerous playboy and his healthy tenor was a pleasure to hear.  Reuter commanded the stage as Stig, finding a genuine beauty in the text.  He brought out the Marshall’s pain with warmth and fullness at the bottom and an admirable ease in the higher reaches of the part.  There was an undeniable electricity whenever he appeared on stage.  Reuter clearly loves this music and sang his role with such persuasive passion that we were also won over by it.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4380" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4380" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4380" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_k1p2531d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg" data-orig-size="5184,3456" 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="_K1P2531d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4380" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2531d.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4380" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>As his wife, Sine Bundgaard sang with dignity and generosity.  Her big scene, as she contemplated her own death, was dispatched with easy lyricism and an attractive, fast vibrato.  As Aase, Sofie Elkjær Jensen, sang with bright, diamantine tone, the top penetrating into the house with ease.  As Erik’s somewhat put-upon sidekick Rane, Gert Henning-Jensen dispatched his music with a bright, focused tenor and was an active and energetic stage presence.  In the supporting cast, Teit Kanstrup revealed a handsome baritone as the Herold and Simon Duus’ firm and resonant bass-baritone was an asset as Jens Grand.  The chorus sang with lusty enthusiasm and made a mighty noise.  The sopranos didn’t always agree on what pitch they were aiming for but the gentlemen sang with excellent blend and admirable amplitude.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4379" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4379" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4379" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_k1p2220d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg" data-orig-size="5184,3456" 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="_K1P2220d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4379" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2220d.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4379" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>The superb house orchestra was on formidable form for Michael Schønwandt.  It really is one of the best opera orchestras around.  Schønwandt brought out the big, dark cragginess of the score, the band producing a remarkable range of orchestral colour.  The strings dispatched some really quite treacherous rapid figures in the fourth act with almost nonchalant ease, while the brass, horns in particular, were deliciously characterful.  Schønwandt’s reading was well paced, particularly in a gripping Act 3, but it would be wrong not to mention that there were a few longueurs along the way, particularly in the earlier acts – though I’m not sure any of the performers could do much to negate them.  Nevertheless, as guides through this unfamiliar score, one could not hope for better.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_4378" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-4378" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><a href="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg"><img data-attachment-id="4378" data-permalink="https://operatraveller.com/2019/03/24/obsession-and-revenge-drot-og-marsk-at-the-kongelige-teater/_k1p2161d/" data-orig-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg" data-orig-size="5184,3456" 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="_K1P2161d" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" data-large-file="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg?w=723" class="size-medium wp-image-4378" src="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg?w=300&#038;h=200" alt="" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg?w=600&amp;h=400 600w, https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/k1p2161d.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a><figcaption id="caption-attachment-4378" class="wp-caption-text">Photo: © Miklos Szabo</figcaption></figure> <p>This was a most interesting evening in the theatre.  It was a pleasure to be able to discover a work that one rarely, if ever, gets to hear – especially in performances as strong as these.  We were given a towering pair of central performances from Lodahl and Reuter and the remaining roles were all satisfyingly sung.  The staging was efficient, if perhaps lacking in the ultimate degree of psychological insight.  The audience received the cast and production team with an extremely warm ovation.</p> <p><em>If you value the writing on this site, you can help expand its coverage by joining the </em><a href="https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3724545">Patreon community</a><em> and helping to support independent writing on opera.  Alternatively, you can support operatraveller.com with a one-off gesture via </em><a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&amp;hosted_button_id=B2ZJE5AHE36JJ">paypal</a><em>.</em></p> La forza del destino at Covent Garden http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/03/la_forza_del_de.php Opera Today urn:uuid:82370151-d7c5-aee4-61f6-9c1a0ceecc2e Sun, 24 Mar 2019 09:18:54 +0000 Prima la music, poi la parole? It’s the perennial operatic conundrum which has exercised composers from Monteverdi, to Salieri, to Strauss. But, on this occasion we were reminded that sometimes the answer is a simple one: Non, prima le voci! Alzheimer’s Disease as an Infectious Disease http://medicine-opera.com/2019/03/alzheimers-disease-as-an-infectious-disease/ Neil Kurtzman urn:uuid:cb6f7468-da24-9f9f-9f0e-d4692616839b Sat, 23 Mar 2019 19:51:29 +0000 In 2005 Barry Marshall and Robert Warren received the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery that about 75% of peptic ulcer disease was infectious &#8211; secondary to infection with H pylori, a bacterium. Earlier studies had shown that viruses could cause certain forms of cancer. Kaposi&#8217;s sarcoma was a prominent feature of the weakened... <p>In 2005 Barry Marshall and Robert Warren received the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery that about 75% of peptic ulcer disease was infectious &#8211; secondary to infection with<em> H pylori</em>, a bacterium. Earlier studies had shown that viruses could cause certain forms of cancer. Kaposi&#8217;s sarcoma was a prominent feature of the weakened immune system cause by symptomatic HIV infection &#8211; AIDS.</p> <p>This work was a jolt to the medical profession&#8217;s thinking. If a disease thought to be related to excess gastric acid secretion turned out to be an infectious disease it was obviously possible that many other diseases thought not to have an infectious etiology could have an infectious component.</p> <p>Alzheimer&#8217;s Disease is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins in the brains of afflicted patients. But how or if these proteins cause dementia is not known. New work is focusing on the possibility that this disorder may, at least in part, be infectious.  There is a possibility that the herpes simplex virus may play a role in Alzheimer&#8217;s in patients genetically predisposed to respond adversely to its presence in the brain. An association between the HSV virus and the apolipoprotein E gene has been suggested as a possible cause of the disease.</p> <p>Also clear is the association between chronic inflammation and a whole host of diseases including type 2 diabetes and vascular disease in general. A common cause, and an easily preventable one, of chronic inflammation is poor oral hygiene. There was a reason your mother told you to brush and floss regularly. For a good discussion of this issue see <a href="https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/909445?src=WNL_infoc_190323_MSCPEDIT_germtheory&amp;uac=77922DX&amp;impID=1913852&amp;faf=1#vp_2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rethinking the Most Common Causes of Death</a>.</p> <p>Medicine is not a science, though it relies heavily on science. When a doctor has a patient in front of him, he must do the best he can based on the best evidence available. Scientists are not under the same pressure. They can take as much time as necessary to first come up with the right question and then the best answer. The subject can always be re-evaluated. The doctor must proceed with what&#8217;s available realizing that the most current evidence often  turns out to be inadequate or incorrect. The cause(s) of dementia will doubtless turn out differently from what we now think.</p> Terezín https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/23/terezin/ operaramblings urn:uuid:2ff30c06-7c9a-73e0-ac9e-272441b577ca Sat, 23 Mar 2019 19:21:32 +0000 Terezín/Theresienstadt is a CD of music composed in the concentration camp at Terezín in what was then Czechoslovakia.  Virtually the entire Czech intelligentsia; certainly those of Jewish or Communist persuasion, were imprisoned in a kind of &#8220;show camp&#8221; to demonstrate &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/23/terezin/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p><em><img data-attachment-id="25811" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/23/terezin/terezin-2/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/terezin.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="290,287" 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="terezin" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/terezin.jpg?w=584?w=290" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/terezin.jpg?w=584?w=290" class=" size-full wp-image-25811 alignleft" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/terezin.jpg?w=584" alt="terezin" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/terezin.jpg 290w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/terezin.jpg?w=150 150w" sizes="(max-width: 290px) 100vw, 290px" />Terezín/Theresienstadt</em> is a CD of music composed in the concentration camp at Terezín in what was then Czechoslovakia.  Virtually the entire Czech intelligentsia; certainly those of Jewish or Communist persuasion, were imprisoned in a kind of &#8220;show camp&#8221; to demonstrate to the world that the Nazis weren&#8217;t as bad as made out.  Nine of the ten composers featured on the disc ended up on a &#8220;Polentransport&#8221;; a one way ticket to Auschwitz.  No story is more poignant than that of Ilse Weber, a nurse in the hospital.  She chose to accompany the sick children of the camp on their final journey and reportedly sang to them in the gas chamber.</p> <p><span id="more-25810"></span>The record opens, fittingly enough, with Weber&#8217;s simple, strophic and very beautiful &#8220;Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt&#8221;.  After that, there are cabaret style songs by Karel Švenk, Adolf Strauss and Martin Roman as well more of Weber&#8217;s settings of her own poetry.  Carlo Taube and Viktor Ullmann look to their Jewish roots with &#8220;Ein jüdische Kind&#8221; and <em>Three Yiddish Songs</em> to texts by David Einhorn.  There&#8217;s more conventional art song too with Hans Krása&#8217;s settings of Rimbaud and Pavel Haas&#8217; <em>Four Songs on Chinese Poetry.  </em>The disc finishes with Erwin Schulhoff&#8217;s <em>Sonata for Solo Violin.  </em>This work was written some years before his arrest and he &#8220;escaped&#8221; Auschwitz.  He died at the Wülzburg camp in 1942.</p> <p>This is all pretty hard to listen to even when performed as well as on this disc.  The songs are split between Anne Sofie von Otter, the driving force behind the project, with Bengt Forsberg on piano and Christian Gerhaher with Gerold Hüber accompanying.  They are joined by various other instrumentalists as needed.  There aren&#8217;t many (any?) better interpreters of art song than these two and they treat these works with due sensitivity.  Both sound as comfortable in Czech as in German.  Daniel Hope gives an equaly satisfactory account of the Schulhoff.</p> <p>The tracks were recorded by Deutsche Grammophon in Berlin and Munich in 2006-7.  It&#8217;s a crisp, clear recording with just enough resonance to avoid dryness.  There&#8217;s a good explanatory essay in the booklet as well as full texts and translations.</p> <p>Lest we forget&#8230;</p> José Manuel Carreño Named Guest Artist for American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School Summer Intensive Program http://www.balletnews.co.uk/jose-manuel-carreno-named-guest-artist-for-american-repertory-ballet-princeton-ballet-school-summer-intensive-program/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:f26e594a-9f5d-2faa-7938-c7e6f8a1e4c7 Sat, 23 Mar 2019 16:19:16 +0000 This summer ballet students from around the world will have the opportunity to train with the legendary&#160;José Manuel Carreño&#160;during American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School Summer...<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/~4/7_gEyDCQ5mQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Broadcast: Samson et Dalila https://parterre.com/2019/03/23/broadcast-samson-et-dalila-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:2cecbbec-9b8b-7f6b-4d45-0d1bee123e44 Sat, 23 Mar 2019 16:00:29 +0000 The Philistines lose yet once again this afternoon at 1:00. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61331" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/samson-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/samson.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/samson-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The Philistines <a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/saturday-matinee-broadcasts/station-finder/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lose yet once</a> again this afternoon at 1:00. (Photo: Ken Howard / Met Opera)</p> Still crazy after all these years https://parterre.com/2019/03/23/still-crazy-after-all-these-years/ parterre box urn:uuid:ad511aa5-7a9c-d2d4-d4ea-66b6fe585828 Sat, 23 Mar 2019 15:14:38 +0000 A return to Amore Opera’s production of Meyerbeer’s <em>Dinorah </em>to hear the second cast underlined two conclusions. <div id="attachment_61446" style="width: 528px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-61446 size-large" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jennifer-moore-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jennifer-moore-518x350.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jennifer-moore-250x169.jpg 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jennifer-moore-768x519.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jennifer-moore.jpg 855w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Dinorah is the &#8220;attractive… worthy… untiring&#8221; Jennifer Moore.</p></div> <p>A return to Amore Opera’s production of Meyerbeer’s <em>Dinorah </em>to hear the second cast underlined two conclusions: first, that the woods of Brittany are absolutely full of top-notch coloratura sopranos running mad after pet goats, and second, less astonishingly, that Meyerbeer was a first-rate, elegant composer of opera, light as well as grand. <span id="more-61445"></span></p> <p>In his lifetime, of course, Meyerbeer had all the success a reasonable opera composer could desire. (Among his contemporaries, Verdi, too, was reasonable, triumphantly successful and rich; Wagner was never reasonable, on this or any other subject.)</p> <p>Why, then, did Meyerbeer, once inescapable, the most popular composer at L’Opéra for most of a century, as commonplace then as Puccini is now, fall out of favor?</p> <p>But first: <em>Dinorah</em>’s second cast. <strong>Jennifer Moore </strong>is as attractive a stage presence, as worthy an actress, as untiring a diva as was <strong>Holly Flack </strong>in the first cast. She lacks those insane beyond-high notes and has a less perfect trill—and she does not caper quite so vividly in time to the music she is singing, but the voice is a very beautiful one of impressive quality, a bit heartier in tone.</p> <p>Moore’s ornamentation (and this era at the Opéra-Comique demanded constant ornamentation) pours out tirelessly in a lengthy evening. There are two performances of the opera on today and you are in for a treat with either lady.</p> <p>Hoël, the faithless bridegroom who abandons Dinorah in hopes of supernatural gold, then regains our approbation by leaping into a gorge to rescue her, was sung by <strong>Nobuki Momma</strong>, a handsome stage figure with a pleasant ringing baritone.</p> <p>And the comic bagpiper Corentin, whose foolish mutterings put some flesh on the bare bones of the story, was performed by <strong>Michael Celentano</strong>, with a thin but well-schooled tenor but excellent comic instincts. The minor pastoral characters (all double cast—how does Amore <em>do </em>it?) were also very well handled. Even Bellah the goat was played by different talented small children in cottonwool suits on the different nights.</p> <p>The orchestra still falls down on the vivid Weber-esque rushing strings that open the overture, but thereafter, under the able hand of <strong>Richard Cordova</strong>, give us a very competent approximation of a worthy, delightful score, in no way deserving of its neglect.</p> <p>Meyerbeer was justly renowned for inventive orchestral effects, and it’s no simple matter for a small-scale company to perform them: The hunter’s song in Act III, for example, calls for <em>five </em>French horns, and there they all are, playing in tune to boot.</p> <p>The chorus appears rarely in <em>Dinorah</em>—there’s a religious procession during the overture, repeated at the evening’s end to draw the fable to a proper close, and the usual hunting song in Act II, and they provide a nice texture. But it’s the three stars and the orchestra who have the big numbers in a long and striking evening.</p> <p>The pastorale is no longer a genre with which we are familiar—that accounts in large part for <em>Dinorah</em>’s obscurity. Even reduced as it has been here, and spoken in English, there is enough confused motivation in the story (she’s mad, of course she turns up and adds a third line to the trio for no obvious reason) to perplex the audience of 2019.</p> <p>But if you love singing, and beautiful melody, there is much to delight in in <em>Dinorah</em>, the work of a consummate professional, presented by Opera Amore with impressive ambition and some extraordinary talent.</p> <p>Photo via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AmoreOpera/?__xts__[0]=68.ARAo3sroV1_sycftnFPiMJloUGWf8Pln18mRawMBFYMAeYcZzzWlw1j_JEZ5JUEQy-ZDFJm_jS-cVs3OHR3AutHpWFrTSLXZ873zfCv7caFSvfz0oYlTJWzezQB4a2NOcmu_tg08cOzA5zXm2O0VikzScWR5IQNXXCqfn51BzJRcnQsSM-Ww3GfCRNs4QbgL-07A01IoD-isldvRvU-AOEUTA5O-6JdyAmkhZrx5lpDHa4LU3TOjNQrzu-SU3zIRiDMunkMfG7sVQ1Op3kpGbmGAyvRRGrWTTETFDP4du2KhLPfy6PZp5SN2sRNrKLv8ijYCSw4FyCzaUja8kRpc&amp;__tn__=k*F&amp;tn-str=k*F">Facebook</a></p> An unusually fine artist https://parterre.com/2019/03/23/an-unusually-fine-artist/ parterre box urn:uuid:31a3d90d-3bb6-2522-1df8-e9594aa1f4dc Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:00:57 +0000 On this day in 1977 soprano <strong>Ileana Cotrubas</strong> made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Mimi. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61437" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cotrubas-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cotrubas.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cotrubas-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />On this day in 1977 soprano <strong>Ileana Cotrubas</strong> made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Mimi. <span id="more-61436"></span></p> <p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1977/03/25/archives/new-jersey-weekly-opera-boheme-with-a-new-mimi.html">Ray Ericson</a> in the <em>New York Times</em>:</p> <blockquote><p>Miss Cotrubas&#8217;s performance as Mimi indicated why there has been such favorable advance notice about her. The Rumanian?born and trained soprano has a special quality, compounded of several factors. She is slim and dark, with a long oval face whose features are haunting, rather than pretty. They give her a vulnerable, pathetic look. She has a poise that suggests a stillness within her, giving depth to her acting. While somewhat light for Mimi, the voice is fresh and clear, soaring easily into the upper reaches. As the evening went on, the voice took on a small vibrato, adding warmth to the tone. Complete this list of attributes with sensitive and musical phrasing, and you have an unusually fine artist.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnQz9pOnU2w&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnQz9pOnU2w</a></p> The Man Behind the Music: Ma Cong's Newest Work for Tulsa Ballet Explores Tchaikovsky’s Life https://www.pointemagazine.com/tulsa-ballet-tchaikovsky-ma-cong-2632498191.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:fa8a8b19-7661-557c-ea4d-413407045864 Fri, 22 Mar 2019 20:56:46 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19306074/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>Without him we wouldn't have <em>The Nutcracker</em>, <em>Swan Lake</em> or <em>Sleeping Beauty</em>. But how much do you know about Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the man behind classical ballet's most recognizable music? Did you know that the Russian composer hid his homosexuality for much of his life? He also struggled with depression; there's been speculation that his death in 1893 was in fact a suicide. </p><p>Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer <a href="https://tulsaballet.org/company/staff/ma-cong/" target="_blank">Ma Cong</a> dramatically recounts his life in a new full-length ballet titled <em><a href="https://tulsaballet.org/tchaikovsky/" target="_blank">Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music</a></em><a href="https://tulsaballet.org/tchaikovsky/"></a>, premiering March 29-31. If you think a story ballet about the most renowned composer of story ballets set to, yes, a Tchaikovsky score, is a bit meta, you wouldn't be wrong. But considering the renewed importance of LGBTQ rights in society, it's a ballet perfectly timed to our era. In Russia, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/02/tchaikovsky-letters-saved-from-censors-reveal-secret-loves-homosexuality" target="_blank">censorship still asserts</a> that Tchaikovsky was <em>not</em> gay. The subject also calls to mind <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/louisville-ballet-lgbtq-themed-ballet-2630166059.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1" target="_self">backlash</a> surrounding an LGBTQ-themed work at Louisville Ballet just last month.</p><hr/><p>We talked to Cong (the man behind the movement behind the man behind the music—see, we told you we were being meta) to hear all about his boundary pushing creative process.</p><h3></h3><br/><p><strong>How did the idea for a Tchaikovsky ballet come about?</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/marcello-angelini" target="_blank">Marcello Angelini</a> and I talked about doing a full length and went through all the fairy tales, but we landed on Tchaikovsky. A lot of people know about his music but not his life. The most interesting thing for me was that he had a double identity. To the public he was an amazing and internationally known musician. But underneath, being a gay man during that time was such huge pressure. Really dramatic things can push artists to create extraordinary work; I think that happened to his music. </p><h3></h3><br/><span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1J9B2K1553292327" 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/2zY7GRGtgUw?rel=0?enablejsapi=1" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span><p><strong>What parts of his life did you choose to focus on in the ballet?</strong></p><p>The story centers on three of his most important relationships. There's an opera singer named Désirée Artôt. Early on Tchaikovsky really did express interest in dating women, and through Artôt he discovers his sexual identity. But due to societal forces, he could not speak out. Then there's his secret lover Iosif Kotek, a violinist who helped Tchaikovsky compose his violin concerto.</p><p>In the second act, I put Antonina Milyukova into his life. Antonina is Tchaikovsky's students who falls in love with him and writes him love letters for years. When he's at a critical juncture, he receives a letter from her saying "I love you so much, please marry me." And that's like a sign: Better to cover himself and not to destroy his career. So he married Antonina and there's a wedding scene and a bedroom pas de deux. But they separated very soon after; it's very complicated.</p><h3></h3><br/><p><strong>Wedding scenes and bedroom pas de deux are pretty standard tropes in story ballets. How are you modernizing them here?</strong></p><p>I wanted to maintain the late 19th century Russian classical aesthetic, but at the same time have a modern touch. I invited Tracy Grant Lord, a very brilliant costume and set designer from New Zealand, plus lighting designer Matt Marshall from Australia. They're very good at the modern look.</p><p>And for the choreography itself, I tried to not do the mime scenes, for example. People point to a finger and it means you're married. They cross their hands; you're dying. I dislike those things because I think they're old fashioned. I tried to use the body and the dancers' acting skills, to put more theatricality in there. I think that's what I'm looking for in this ballet, for it to be very easy for people to understand.</p><h3></h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="SXAJTT1553292327" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="a020b" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19306085/980x.jpg"/><p><strong>What sort of research went into crafting the story?</strong></p><p>I did a lot of online reading about Tchaikovsky's life and career. I watched documentaries and other dance productions about his life like Boris Eifman's version. Marcello also invited Russian history expert Daniela Kolic as a consultant and composer Oliver Peter Graber to put the music together. </p><h3></h3><br/><p><strong>Tchaikovsky is part of the reason we have classical ballet. Was it intimidating to take on his story? </strong></p><p>Not so much. I think his own music tells the story of his life. I learned that right before he died he composed his sixth symphony, which is his most dramatic and successful. And that's coming from his relationship with Antonina, which was so intense. And we used the violin concerto he composed with Kotek for the male pas de deux between them. I do feel that this ballet has a message: Be brave with your sexuality and to be who you are. Especially doing this in Tulsa.</p><h3></h3><br/><p><strong>Why especially in Tulsa? Do you think people there won't be receptive to the theme?</strong></p><p>I think it's half and half. Tulsa is very educated in the arts. But we live in the bible belt, and some people don't want to talk about homosexuality. This ballet is going to really open discussion for this. I crafted it in a refined way, so I don't think it will be shocking. But I feel like the ballet will inspire people to understand that love is love. Or at least I hope so. </p> Concert Review: Wide Boys http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/03/concert-review-wide-boys.html Superconductor urn:uuid:c4d3ef7c-f3bd-c942-e3b3-6ebee6a36cd4 Fri, 22 Mar 2019 19:41:36 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b>Thomas Adès conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra.</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://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yvTbSB1qtEo/XJU5uNrwiNI/AAAAAAAAVfs/MnwSrEQqGHMc3Cu7Nix28i68CrfwkzztgCLcBGAs/s1600/1104_thomas-ades-bso01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yvTbSB1qtEo/XJU5uNrwiNI/AAAAAAAAVfs/MnwSrEQqGHMc3Cu7Nix28i68CrfwkzztgCLcBGAs/s640/1104_thomas-ades-bso01.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Thomas Adès: Photo by Jesse Costa for the Boston Symphony Orchestra</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Although the first conductors were themselves composers, the wearing of both hats at the helm of a symphony orchestra is always cause for comment. On Wednesday night, the British composer Thomas Adès, who is currently in the new role of "Artistic Partner" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led that band at Carnegie Hall in a program featuring the New York debut of his <i>Piano Concerto</i>.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br />Mr. Adès made his reputation back in the 1990s with <i>Powder Her Face</i>, a caustic modern opera about sexual mores. he has carefully maintained that bad-boy image through a series of orchestral works and further operas, most recently <i>The Exterminating Angel</i> at the Met. This concerto is his second piece for the combination of piano and orchestra but his first to be properly numbered. It is in the traditional three movements.<br /><br />The soloist at this performance was Kirill Gerstein, and he had a hefty task. His piano spoke volumes, thundering against orchestral fanfares and a series of quirky march rhythms, engaging in terse dialogue with tuned percussion like the glockenspiel and xylophone. Mr. Gerstein's steely attack and forceful performance reminded one of concertos by 20th century Russian composers, but Mr. Adès' continued &nbsp;and inventive use of the orchestra's full capacity reminded one that this was a new work.<br /><br />The second movement slowed matters a bit, adding lush and eerie textures to the sonic tapestry. Here, the soloist was faced with the task of hewing graceful curves out of the marble slabs presented in the first movement. The free-roaming piano part found itself in thickets of woodwinds and strings before returning from that overgrown path and restating the thematic material in a traditional manner.<br /><br />Mr. Adès and Mr. Gerstein ended this collaboration with a burst of pell-mell energy that built into a series of increasingly raucous variations. The percussion section found itself working overtime as piano and xylophone now doubled each other in a discordant but clever unison. One was reminded of how certain rock musicians incorporate this same idea: descending, doubled arpeggios that build in power and volume, barrelling forward in a freight train of sound that leaves the listener flattened and awed.<br /><br />Shock and awe are words that well describe the opening of Tchaikovsky's <i>Fourth Symphony</i>, a staccato blast of trumpets that returns like an unloved visitor throughout the work. Mr. Adès aimed for raw, primal energy in this work, whether in the slow lilt of the slow movement, the brilliant <i>pizzicato</i> movement that comes through on little cat feet or the thunderous finale, in which a bold and determined march does battle with the triumphant fanfare. It wasn't anything subtle, but neither is this music.<br /><br />The concert started in a pianistic vein with an orchestral treatment of Franz Liszt's first <i>Mephisto Waltz</i>. Mr. Adès whipped daemonic froth from the orchestra, generating ferocious rhythms from the low strings to support violins and harps. The Boston players responded with enthusiasm to his leadership: not technically precise but imbued with a vigor and energy that might be missing from a more delicate conductor.<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.</div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/V3q2huASdEo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Miami City Ballet Principal Jovani Furlan to Join NYCB This Fall https://www.pointemagazine.com/jovani-furlan-joins-nycb-2632471058.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:50a0f3a6-6325-a5fc-4412-4231d7e4f871 Fri, 22 Mar 2019 18:38:04 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19305270/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>New York City Ballet <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nycballet/?__tn__=kC-R&eid=ARARvWjrKuc44dnU-ZlWIxP_54L0QtqPrrtpmWYQJYLwcy7QdzY1YM4IdqQHiD6Z5eNoTWv1-yaH7Wf1&hc_ref=ARQrn_bUWc688TGyjD_dDbNiFajCJ1ZvEQN6FPU5gRZcEsf2kPUalMvPHw0DrWEuCBg&fref=nf&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARAlf1I9g3qNYPL-nmaLTAend6opKMPP-FRld3MNixvyGDvgp9Vlj7r2wO-lvHm4Tjo98mO9UT8L6XsfsOUIlaFWVHVYe7yx0i9q2C-Q001_7pTo2wZhKVKnVZyrKZE_n7VINyKQlq2mgBZgYgKrKeGMgcBZ3ef5hQoQMEfgB4hYdAnuW-erpYHbeIfqp7zr7l-2_p-p8JU-vNLUD3yaoY-_5jCCAfjT7ZW_V0lhRZ4d90PSWW1EoysZ_NKQ76i_M3EFIFWPiuV2zfBBMjxuwwZ0jGf_xI3VJVHsmkRgjk_2VsFINdqosCEovvMyRqTULopiOzajRms62iA2uLsl" target="_blank">announced</a> on Facebook earlier this week that current Miami City Ballet principal <a href="https://www.miamicityballet.org/portfolio/jovani-furlan" target="_blank">Jovani Furlan</a> will be joining the company as a soloist this fall. Furlan, a native of Joinville, Brazil, left Brazil's Bolshoi Theater School in 2011 to train at the MCB School; he joined the company as an apprentice in 2012 and has quickly made his way through the ranks.</p><hr/><h3>None</h3><br/><p>Though it's highly unusual for NYCB to hire dancers from other companies (out of NYCB's 90 plus dancers, only two, <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/gonzalo-garcia" target="_self">Gonzalo Garcia</a> and <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/Ask-La-Cour" target="_self">Ask La Cour</a>, did not come straight from School of American Ballet), the company is in need of qualified male dancers to fill its upper ranks. Last fall, the company lost four principals: <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/joaquin-de-luz" target="_self">Joaquin de Luz</a> retired, while Zachary Catazaro, Chase Finlay and Amar Ramasar were fired in the midst of a <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/chase-finlay-2602842225.html" target="_self">scandal</a> surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit photos. NYCB also <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/jonathan-stafford-wendy-whelan-lead-nycb-2630282804.html" target="_self">recently announced</a> that Justin Peck will be stepping down as soloist at the end of the spring season to focus on choreographing and his new role as artistic advisor. </p><h3></h3><br/><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2PT0BA1553281527" id="80ef3"><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/BvPU8RdFhCR/" 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">Jovani Furlan on Instagram: “I’m so excited to be able to share that I will be joining @nycballet as a soloist this fall Broadcast: Der Prinz von Homburg https://parterre.com/2019/03/22/broadcast-der-prinz-von-homburg/ parterre box urn:uuid:d33649bd-5540-0dd6-9fa8-57f3c06837e0 Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:07:43 +0000 The rarely-heard Hans Werner Henze opera is telecast live from the Staatsoper Stuttgart beginning at 2:20 PM. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61432" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/prinz-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/prinz.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/prinz-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The rarely-heard <strong>Hans Werner Henze</strong> opera is <a href="https://www.staatsoper-stuttgart.de/service/live/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">telecast live</a> from the Staatsoper Stuttgart beginning at 2:20 PM.</p> One more ‘Kiss’ https://parterre.com/2019/03/22/one-more-kiss-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:f212e10c-c6e9-b052-1bcb-0c15f813abee Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:40:25 +0000 <em>Kiss Me Kate </em>is a sophisticated soufflé of a show: a comedy of manners, requiring effortless verve and elegance in the playing. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61425" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kate-1-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kate-1.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kate-1-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Cole Porter wrote music and lyrics for more than two dozen Broadway musicals over nearly four decades. Scads of his individual numbers are cornerstones of the Great American Songbook. Yet the shows themselves are largely forgotten–or, as in the case of <em>Anything Goes</em>, now performed in radically revised editions. <span id="more-61424"></span></p> <p>But <em>Kiss Me Kate</em>, a late career hit, still plays like gangbusters, starting with a near genius set-up (Sam and Bella Spewack wrote the funny book). Lilli Vanessi and Fred Graham, formerly married operetta stars, now presumably in the waning days of their fame, reunite to star in a new musical version of <em>The Taming of the Shrew</em>that’s about to premiere in Baltimore.</p> <p>The fractious romances—Lilli and Fred’s, and (within the Shakespeare) Katharine and Petruchio’s—play in delicious counterpoint.</p> <p>Porter delivers on all cylinders, from gorgeous romantic ballads (“So in Love”) to the brilliantly sophisticated comic numbers that were his specialty (“Always True To You In My Fashion”). My favorites are the pastiche songs that slyly meld Shakespeare with a colloquial twist (“Where Is the Live that Late I Led?”).</p> <p><em>Kiss Me Kate </em>could be seen as Porter moving toward to the Rodgers and Hammerstein ideal of the “integrated musical” (<em>Oklahoma! </em>had opened five years earlier). Songs here do have a place and function in the larger narrative.</p> <p>To me, though, it’s still very much rooted in an earlier aesthetic. <em>Kiss Me Kate </em>is a sophisticated soufflé of a show: a comedy of manners, requiring effortless verve and elegance in the playing.</p> <p>The thing about these old musicals is you need to fall in love with them—including with their archness. Character motivation, consistent logic: don’t worry about it. Just go with it.</p> <p>In <strong>Scott Ellis</strong>’s very busy, often entertaining revival, his love of the material is palpable, and sometimes he goes for the style. Each of the four principals get star entrances, designed to milk applause. The adjoining dressing rooms have a door right between them, suitable for farce. The painted backdrops (by <strong>David Rockwell</strong>) and yummy costumes (<strong>Jeff Mahshie</strong>) evoke a bygone era.</p> <p>Yet Ellis also wants to apply a post-R&amp;H theater style on the proceedings—to make <em>Kiss Me Kate </em>somehow more “organic.” The result puts this production between a rock and a hard place.</p> <p>Sometimes songs, including “Where Is the Life” and “Always True to You,” are overplayed and winked at. In others, there is an attempt to turn a song into more of an interior monologue.</p> <p>Usually, this means awkward tempo shifts and loosened rhythms meant to reflect the idea the character is actually thinking. In both scenarios—winking and interiorizing—the result undercuts the effectiveness of Porter’s material.</p> <p>Among the cast, <strong>Corbin Bleu</strong> (Bill) is the most consistently satisfying. His dancing is terrific (the athletic choreography is by <strong>Warren Carlyle</strong>) and he has a lovely voice, but more than that, his easy charm is just right and he never pushes.</p> <p>By contrast,<strong> Stephanie Styles</strong> is a grating Lois—she seems to think she’s funnier than Porter. (She’s not.)</p> <p><strong>John Pankow</strong> and <strong>Lance Coadie Williams</strong> are enjoyable but not a home-run as the gangsters. That they don’t quite nail “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”—almost always a showstopper, but less so here—is largely due to awkward reworking that deprives the song of its needed context.</p> <p><strong><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61426" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kate-2-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kate-2.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kate-2-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Will Chase</strong> (Fred) is a frisky, funny actor with a terrific baritenor ideal for many ‘50s and ‘60s musicals. But he’s vocally undercharged here, in a score that largely lies too low for him (though he’s also challenged at the top).</p> <p>And though he’s more than a decade older than <strong>Alfred Drake</strong> was when the latter created the role, there’s a boyishness about Chase that isn’t quite right for Fred. Perhaps to compensate, he pushes too hard to land the jokes.</p> <p>That leaves <strong>Kelli O’Hara</strong>, a wonderful and adored performer, likely the raison d’être for this revival. Her gorgeous soprano is in exceptional shape here, navigating some newly added coloratura flourishes with ease.</p> <p>It’s a special voice, but at least as precious is O’Hara’s particular gift as an actor to find complexity, humanity and heart in characters that initially seem underdeveloped. In the right thing, it’s magical—her Babe in <em>Pajama Game </em>came across like a fragile but luminous Inge heroine.</p> <p>Here, though, it’s too much of a good thing. Paradoxically, what O’Hara <strong>doesn’t </strong>have—a glamorous, flinty edge—is what Lilli needs. (The role’s creator, Patricia Morison, had appeared in a handful of films noirs prior to <em>Kiss Me Kate</em>.)</p> <p>Early in the show, it struck me that O’Hara, like Broadway’s previous Lilli, the late, lamented <strong>Marin Mazzie</strong>, is a beautiful blonde giving a blonde performance… in a very brunette role.</p> <p>A final word on the edition, which incorporates changes made for the 1999 revival (where playwright <strong>John Guare</strong> gave an uncredited assist) and includes new ones by <strong>Amanda Green</strong>.</p> <p>Reviving <em>Kiss Me Kate </em>was bound to be raise some hackles, in part because the Spewack book and Porter lyrics reflect the unquestioned sexism of their time, but likely even more because the <em>Shrew </em>itself is now a cultural flashpoint.</p> <p>The changes are largely subtle, though Green has substantively reworked Lilli/Katharine’s final monologue, which becomes not a supplicating female but a wide-spread plea for peace (it now begins “I am ashamed that people are so simple,” and continues in that vein).</p> <p>I understand the impulse behind the change—I could even embrace it (though for sure many purists won’t) if this were actually a production of <em>Shrew</em>.</p> <p>But it’s not—it’s a musical, set in the 1940s, that is itself a meta-musical of the Shakespeare. In that sense, it’s utterly illogical and anti-theatrical to alter it. Like so much of Ellis’s production, tinkering doesn’t solve problems—it creates new ones, often in places where there would be no problem if they simply trusted the material.</p> <p>As I said—rock, meet hard place.</p> <p>Photos: Joan Marcus</p> A saucerful of secrets https://parterre.com/2019/03/22/a-saucerful-of-secrets/ parterre box urn:uuid:894b50b4-ab6f-e161-9ff9-6155ca1da64e Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:02:59 +0000 Born on this day in 1912 soprano/mezzo-soprano <strong>Martha Mödl</strong>.  <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-54038" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/moedl-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/moedl.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/moedl-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Born on this day in 1912 soprano/mezzo-soprano <strong>Martha Mödl</strong>. <span id="more-61422"></span></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q4pid_87Xw&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q4pid_87Xw</a></p> <p>Happy 89th birthday composer <strong>Stephen Sondheim</strong>.<br /> https://</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3iBgBCnCv0">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3iBgBCnCv0</a></p> <p>Happy 71st birthday composer <strong>Andrew Lloyd Webber</strong>.<br /> https://</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8STyVPHptU">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8STyVPHptU</a></p> CANADA’S ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET REVEALS 80TH SEASON http://www.balletnews.co.uk/canadas-royal-winnipeg-ballet-reveals-80th-season/ Ballet News | Straight from the stage - bringing you ballet insights urn:uuid:662042ad-6a19-d7fb-2fea-d3e2a479ec23 Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:39:53 +0000 Yayoi Ban, Chenxin Liu and Alanna McAdie- Photo by David Cooper Esteemed organization celebrates prairie roots as it launches milestone season On March 20 in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) Founders’...<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/wFSp_1eOBMw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> All Arts – Discovering New Rhythms: Joyce DiDonato on Her Album “Songplay” https://joycedidonato.com/2019/03/21/all-arts-discovering-new-rhythms-joyce-didonato-on-her-album-songplay/ Joyce DiDonato urn:uuid:5579ebf6-8f17-136c-1c0c-4ced44f52b2f Fri, 22 Mar 2019 04:01:24 +0000 All Arts Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has performed celebrated arias in arenas around the globe, from the world’s most prestigious opera houses to a maximum-security prison. Most recently, the star toured the United States with her new album “Songplay,” a record that spins selections from “The Great American Songbook” into a dizzying array of musical exploration. Blurring musical genres [&#8230;] <p><a href="https://allarts.wliw.org/2019/03/discovering-new-rhythms-joyce-didonato-on-her-album-songplay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">All Arts</a></p> <p>Mezzo-soprano <a href="https://joycedidonato.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Joyce DiDonato</a> has performed celebrated arias in arenas around the globe, from the world’s most prestigious opera houses to a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/arts/music/opera-in-attica-bringing-arias-to-a-maximum-security-prison.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">maximum-security prison</a>. Most recently, the star toured the United States with her new album “<a href="https://joycedidonato.com/2019/02/15/songplay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Songplay</a>,” a record that spins selections from “The Great American Songbook” into a dizzying array of musical exploration.</p> <p>Blurring musical genres with a diverse selection of jazz, tango and (of course) opera, the project is arranged by pianist Craig Terry and features musicians across disciplines, including legendary Jazz Players Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Lautaro Greco and Charlie Porter. Earlier this month, DiDonato performed as part of Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series in the Appel Room, where ALL ARTS was there to capture the live concert for the series “<a href="https://allarts.wliw.org/programs/the-set-list/">The Set List</a>.”</p> <p>To mark the broadcast and streaming premiere of “<a href="https://allarts.wliw.org/programs/the-set-list/set-list-joyce-didonatos-songplay-preview-hef7ti/">Joyce DiDonato: Songplay</a>” on March 24, we corresponded with DiDonato about how the album came together, the challenges she has faced singing across the genres and more.</p> <p><strong>What was your initial inspiration for “Songplay” and how did the project come to be?</strong></p> <p>It came from my deep love of song! Craig Terry, the pianist and arranger for this project, had the idea of transforming some of the Arie Antiche pieces that every beginning voice student encounters. We wanted to reignite the joy inherent in these pieces and to highlight the essential beauty of them.</p> <p><strong>How does your technical approach to singing these particular songs differ from how you might approach a traditional aria?</strong></p> <p>It doesn’t differ at all. I always approach music in the same way — focusing on the text and painting with my voice to tell the story. The fact that I am with a jazz ensemble and using a microphone just gives me a different choice of colors and dynamics than I may have with a traditional orchestra.</p> <p><strong>Were there any specific challenges for you as an artist and musician in collaborating with musicians from outside the world of opera?</strong></p> <p>I learned what it means to have amazing rhythm! The jazz musicians have an impeccable, astonishing capacity for incredibly complex rhythm, and it was easily intimidating. But once I learned to trust the bass and drums to take the lead, we settled into the right kind of groove!</p> <p><strong>Was there anything that really surprised you through the process?</strong></p> <p>How organically our two musical worlds fit together, once we all agreed on a common language! The Baroque world has always thrived and demanded improvisation from its performers, so this fusion seems to feel quite simple, giving a different color to music we have loved for years, even centuries.</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite thing about performing these pieces live?</strong></p> <p>Telling the story so vividly and bouncing off the improvisation of these amazing musicians around me. Not once do the pieces feel as if they are ever played the same!</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite song to perform from the album?</strong></p> <p>Impossible. Every single one is my favorite!</p> <p><strong>Do you think you’ll make more records like “Songplay”?</strong></p> <p>Let’s see how this one goes, first!</p> "As One" opens at Portland Opera with Lee Gregory http://barihunks.blogspot.com/2019/03/as-one-opens-at-portland-opera-with-lee.html Barihunks urn:uuid:e1ada982-13a5-13c2-674a-ae9c84bada5f Fri, 22 Mar 2019 03:53:00 +0000 <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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TBq9p6cd_8c/XJRbAWhHtaI/AAAAAAAAoCQ/FUPa26eO5KMlueVFLJqu7Euwvk45nO_hACLcBGAs/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-03-21%2Bat%2B8.34.18%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1002" data-original-width="1406" height="285" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TBq9p6cd_8c/XJRbAWhHtaI/AAAAAAAAoCQ/FUPa26eO5KMlueVFLJqu7Euwvk45nO_hACLcBGAs/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-03-21%2Bat%2B8.34.18%2BPM.png" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><b>Hannah Penn and Lee Gregory</b> (<i>Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera)</i></td></tr></tbody></table>Barihunk Lee Gregory, who starred in the Southern California premiere of Laura Kaminsky's opera "<i>As One</i>" at the Long Beach Opera in 2017, will reprise the role up the coast when he opens as "Hannah before" at the Portland Opera on March 22nd. <br /><br />The world premiere of Laura Kaminsky's opera "<i>As One</i>," which explores the revelatory and redemptive journey of a transgender individual, opened on September 4, 2014 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the real-life married couple of mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and barihunk Kelly Markgraf. The opera was a critical success and has been performed throughout the country.<br /><br />Joining Lee Gregory in Portland as "Hannah after" will be soprano Hannah Penn.<br /><br />Performances will be on March 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 and tickets are available <a href="http://www.portlandopera.org/">online</a>. There will be an extended Q&amp;A after the Sunday, March 24th performance, which is free and open to the public.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="247" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OVSYVLHR940" width="455"></iframe><br /></div><br />Kaminsky was inspired to write <i>As One</i> after reading an article in the New York Times in 2008 about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from straight to gay. The opera is based on the life experience of noted filmmaker Kimberly Reed.<br /><br /><i>As One</i> provides insights into both the personal and philosophical questions at the core of how personhood is defined, as well as into the compromised civil and humans rights of transgender individuals in the broader societal framework. <div class="blogger-post-footer"><p><a href="http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=http://feeds.feedburner.com/MichaelColbrunosMountainViewCemeteryBioTour"><img src="http://buttons.googlesyndication.com/fusion/add.gif" width="104" height="17" style="border:0" alt="Add to Google Reader or Homepage"/></a></p></div> Barbara Hannigan sings Berg and Gershwin at the Barbican Hall http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/03/barbara_hanniga.php Opera Today urn:uuid:7dabfa07-7b27-3f82-adb1-e77fcd48e315 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 17:34:32 +0000 I first heard Barbara Hannigan in 2008. Christina Scheppelmann appointed General Director of Seattle Opera http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/03/christina_schep.php Opera Today urn:uuid:842c11b4-8d0e-c4f8-4e4a-f6dcce1d8e21 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 17:16:23 +0000 Scheppelmann heads to the Pacific Northwest following leadership roles in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East 5 Ways to "Marie Kondo" Your Dance Life https://www.pointemagazine.com/marie-kondo-your-career-2632389631.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:fcefadf9-2773-49d1-c4ba-d01fe157ac18 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 16:05:23 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19303665/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>If everyone seems a bit obsessed with tidying up right now, blame the trendy Japanese organizing guru <a href="https://konmari.com/" target="_blank">Marie Kondo</a>. Her uber-popular book-turned-Netflix-show has so many people purging their closets that <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/01/21/687255642/thrift-stores-say-theyre-swamped-with-donations-after-tidying-up-with-marie-kond" target="_blank">thrift stores can no longer keep up with the donations</a>. The reason? Fans are falling in love with what Kondo calls "the life-changing magic of tidying up.<strong><strong></strong></strong>"</p><hr/><p>So could her philosophy help dancers with their often packed, exhausting dance lives? Try a few of these adapted strategies from her KonMari Method, and decide for yourself. </p><h3>Category 1: Clothing</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="W4PWD51553202327" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="73a8b" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19302803/980x.jpg"/><p>First, for the classic KonMarie: Take all of your dance gear out of your closet and dance bag, and pile it into one big mountain. Have a good look at how much you own. Pick each item up one-by-one and ask yourself Kondo's favorite question: "Does this spark joy?<strong>"</strong> Maybe it gives you confidence, maybe it serves you as the required uniform for class, maybe it keeps your knees safe for floorwork.</p><p>Or maybe it's not something you love. Physical clutter has been shown to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/well/mind/clutter-stress-procrastination-psychology.html" target="_blank">make us more stressed out</a>, so if an item doesn't spark joy when you hold it in your hands, take a moment to appreciate how it's served you in the past, and then let it go. Donate it if it's still useable, or consider recycling old fabrics (we're looking at you, smelly ballet slippers). This will give you more physical and mental space to cherish the dance gear you use regularly.</p><h3>Category 2: Classes</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="PIGN8J1553202327" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="6c7ba" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19302830/980x.jpg"/><p>Write down what your ideal week of training would look like. What classes would further your career and get you excited to enter the studio every day? Envision your best lineup, then ask yourself: How does this compare to the classes I actually take? </p><p>Maybe you find yourself avoiding the ballet classes you know you need in favor of fun hip-hop classes with friends. Maybe you're going to the same teacher every week, even though you know a new instructor could challenge you in new ways.</p><p>Tidy up your schedule to focus on what matters most. If there are classes that you know you should drop, recognize what you've gotten out of them, maybe even thank the teacher in person, then make a conscious decision to let them go in favor of training that will push your career forward.</p><h3>Category 3: Cross-Training</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="CKZOI71553202327" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="73514" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19302816/980x.jpg"/><p>There are many ways dancers can cross-train to grow stronger and more resilient in the dance studio. But not all exercise is created equal. </p><p>Take stock of all the workouts you're doing, and list what you love about each one. Does anything come to mind for those 30 minutes you force yourself through on the elliptical? If not, abandon it and experiment with new ways to build your cardio—maybe it's running, rowing or biking. You'll get more out of your cross-training when you're not phoning it in. And remember: Sometimes you're better off using that extra hour to rest and recover. </p><h3>Category 4: Jobs</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="804ZHI1553202327" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="d8646" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19302806/980x.png"/><p>Dancers have a habit if saying "yes" to just about every opportunity offered. Even if it doesn't add value to your career, or life, or bank account, it can feel like you're missing out if you decline. Too many of us feel like being busy equates to being successful. So we dance for the friend who asks us to perform in her festival, we take part in that film shoot "for the experience." </p><p>But the more you've got going on, the less energy and time you can devote to what matters most. Make sure every gig you take on is something that drives your career in the direction you want (and, yes, it's totally fair if that direction is "more financially stable"). Dance is a career you pursue out of passion, so each job should be something you treasure. <br/></p><h3>Category 5: Friends</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6M6RAK1553202327" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="4090b" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19302809/980x.jpg"/><p>Research shows that <a href="https://www.outsideonline.com/2391572/send-good-vibes" target="_blank">emotions ripple</a> throughout groups of people. It doesn't matter whether it's<strong> </strong><a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2338" target="_blank">happiness</a>, <a href="https://www.dancemagazine.com/prime-your-mind-to-perform-2517495319.html" target="_self">nerves</a> or <a href="http://www.goallab.nl/publications/documents/Friedman%20et%20al%20Motiv%20Emot.pdf" target="_blank">feeling motivated</a>,<strong> </strong>we very easily pick up on the vibes of those around us. Even just placing yourself <a href="https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/sitting-near-a-high-performer-can-make-you-better-at-your-job" target="_blank">near a high-performing colleague</a> can improve your own performance—but the opposite is equally true, with toxic co-workers' attitudes being dangerously contagious.</p><p>Be picky about who you spend your time with in and out of the studio. Of course, you can't simply ignore all your negative colleagues, but prioritize those who bring out the best in you. Place yourself next to the most driven dancers at the barre, and choose to spend your free time with inspiring friends. You'll pick up on positive energy without even realizing it—and find joy sparked when you least expect it.</p> #TBT: Tamara Rojo in “La Bayadère” (2009) https://www.pointemagazine.com/tbt-tamara-rojo-in-la-bayadere-2009-2632279906.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:7b129492-b56a-37aa-7da1-aadd72ae4f00 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 14:30:09 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19302973/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p><a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/tamara-rojo" target="_blank">Tamara Rojo</a> joined the elite, though thankfully growing, roster of female ballet company directors seven years ago when she took the <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tamara-rojo-english-national-ballet-2412833689.html" target="_blank">helm at English National Ballet.</a> Since then she's managed the even more uncommon feat of continuing to perform as a leading principal dancer for ENB while directing the company. Rojo began her remarkable career in her home country of Spain, but at 22 years old she left for the UK, dancing with Scottish National Ballet, ENB, and then The Royal Ballet, where she spent 12 years as a principal and earned international acclaim for her assured technique and passionate stage presence. Her performances, like this 2009 <em>La Bayadère, </em>show an artist truly in command of her craft.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-youtube"> <span class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="RL48FX1553187985" 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/sYdULDYPwRc?list=PL-hSAGAMN3Ds9WYFoWQFsRxxcSZ3j6PuM&rel=0?enablejsapi=1" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" width="100%"></iframe></span> <small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="add photo credit..."><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYdULDYPwRc&list=PL-hSAGAMN3Ds9WYFoWQFsRxxcSZ3j6PuM&index=55" target="_blank"><br/></a></small> </p><hr/><h3>None</h3><br/><p>As Nikiya in final scene in Act I, Rojo is mesmerizing and heartbreaking, going through a full gamut of emotions from wounded, to joyous, to utterly betrayed. She enters to discover that she must dance at the engagement celebration of her beloved Solor and the conniving Gamzatti (played by <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/prix-de-lausanne-2019-livestream-2627978302.html" target="_self">Carlos Acosta</a> and <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/marianela-nunez" target="_self">Marianela Nuñez</a>, whose superb acting in their small moments of mime are also a highlight.) The somber adagio that follows is a stunning display of Rojo's flexibility and control. At 2:30, her développé into penché is achingly slow, yet also smooth and suspended. Her pure movements reflect Nikiya's purity of heart, stirring up our compassion when she ultimately sacrifices herself. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!</p> The quality of mercy https://parterre.com/2019/03/21/the-quality-of-mercy/ parterre box urn:uuid:3671b2ae-80ce-1855-3e8e-40372d127015 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 14:00:44 +0000 "Trove Thursday” offers Mozart’s late opera seria in a Paris “pirate” featuring the high-voltage diva-duo of Anna Caterina Antonacci and Elina Garanca. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61407" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/antonacci-clemenza-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/antonacci-clemenza.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/antonacci-clemenza-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><em>La Clemenza di Tito </em>is lately enjoying unusual prominence with a <a href="https://parterre.com/2019/03/05/take-the-long-way-rome/">new production</a> in Los Angeles followed by the Met reviving its <a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/2018-19-season/la-clemenza-di-tito/">venerable</a> Jean-Pierre Ponnelle staging later this month, so “Trove Thursday” offers Mozart’s late <em>opera seria </em>in a Paris “pirate” featuring the high-voltage diva-duo of <strong>Anna Caterina Antonacci</strong> and <strong>Elina Garanca</strong>, plus rare glimpses of <strong>Janet Baker</strong> as Sesto and <strong>Joan Sutherland</strong> as Vitellia. <em> </em><span id="more-61406"></span></p> <p><em>Clemenza </em>had to wait until 1984 to make its Met debut; when I saw it there a month after its opening my wonderful cast was completely different from the premiere’s: <strong>Carol Vaness, Tatiana Troyanos</strong> (who had canceled the first night), <strong>Ann Murray, Hei-Kyung Hong</strong> (in only her third Met performance), <strong>John Alexander</strong> and <strong>Julian Robbins</strong>.</p> <p>Since then I’ve attended a number of outstanding <em>Clemenza</em>s there although the last one was the least impressive.</p> <p>In 2012, Garanca sang her last-ever run of Sesto but, unfortunately, she was partnered by <strong>Barbara Frittoli</strong>’s worn and effortful Vitellia. How much better if the house had instead engaged the fiery Antonacci, but the still-active Italian soprano seems destined for inclusion on the Met’s long list of those who got away.</p> <p>I have a vague recollection that Kuhn was not the originally scheduled conductor for this Paris performance. Was the first protested by the orchestra and replaced?</p> <p>Baker controversially took on the part of Vitellia at Covent Garden in the mid-1970s when conventional wisdom suggested that her true part was Sesto. Her assumption of the villainous would-be empress was widely judged to be successful but many still wished she had foregone skirts for trousers.</p> <p>However, she did once perform Sesto: for a BBC broadcast in 1967 opposite her frequent collaborator <strong>Heather Harper</strong> as Vitellia. Twenty years later, Baker sang “Parto, parto” the first time I heard her live and even by 1987 it was expectedly thrilling—her coloratura passages at the end were positively electrifying.</p> <p>Although one might normally associate Sutherland with a single Mozart role—Donna Anna in <em>Don Giovanni </em>which she recorded twice—she sang a number of others including three in <em>Die Zauberflöte </em>alone—the First Lady was her debut with the Royal Opera with whom she also performed Pamina followed by a controversial Queen of the Night under <strong>Otto Klemperer</strong> in 1962.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBt7_VR3cpQ&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBt7_VR3cpQ</a></p> <p>In the 50s she also did the Countess as well as Mme Herz in <em>Der Schauspieldirektor </em>but unfortunately she never touched Konstanze; her “Marten aller arten” from <em>The Art of Prima Donna </em>collection remains one of my very favorite versions.</p> <p>Her sole Vitellia from a 1956 BBC broadcast can be rather drippy when one considers some of the more fire-breathing interpretations we’ve heard in recent decades. She did much later take on Elettra in <em>Idomeneo </em>and showed a bit more temperament.</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G1awxqygFM&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G1awxqygFM</a></p> <p><strong>Mozart: <em>La Clemenza di Tito</em></strong><br /> Paris Opera<br /> October 2006<br /> In-house recording</p> <p>Vitellia – Anna Caterina Antonacci<br /> Sesto – Elina Garanca<br /> Annio – Hannah Esther Minutillo<br /> Servilia – Ekaterina Siurina<br /> Tito – Christoph Prégardien<br /> Publio – Roland Bracht</p> <p>Conductor – Gustav Kuhn</p> <p><iframe style="border: none;" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/9085166/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" width="100%" height="90" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Mozart: <em>La Clemenza di Tito </em></strong>– Excerpts<br /> BBC<br /> 1 February 1967<br /> Broadcast</p> <p>Sesto &#8212; Janet Baker</p> <p>Conductor &#8212; Gary Bertini</p> <p><iframe style="border: none;" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/9085169/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" width="100%" height="90" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Mozart: <em>La Clemenza di Tito—</em></strong>In English&#8211;Excerpts</p> <p>BBC<br /> 11 March 1956<br /> Broadcast</p> <p>Vitellia &#8212; Joan Sutherland<br /> Annio – Anna Pollack<br /> Publio – Thomas Hemsley</p> <p>Conductor &#8212; John Pritchard</p> <p><iframe style="border: none;" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/9085175/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" width="100%" height="90" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><em>Clemenza </em>along with the Baker and Sutherland clipscan be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 files will appear in your download directory.</p> <p>Over 200 other podcast tracks are always available from <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trove-thursday/id1039652739">iTunes</a> for free, or via any <a href="http://parterre.com/podcast/trovethursday.rss">RSS</a> reader. A recently published archive listing all “Trove Thursday” offerings in alphabetical order by composer is also <a href="https://parterre.com/the-trove-thursday-archive/">available</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> LSO/Hannigan - Ligeti, Haydn. Berg, and Gershwin, 17 March 2019 http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2019/03/lsohannigan-ligeti-haydn-berg-and.html Boulezian urn:uuid:16477a6a-b623-a7f3-52ad-11c02decf651 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 13:26:47 +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<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;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Ligeti: </span></b><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Concert Românesc<o:p></o:p></span></i></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;">Haydn: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Symphony no.86 in D major<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;">Berg: </span></b><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Lulu Suite<o:p></o:p></span></i></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;">Gershwin, arr. Barbara Hannigan and Bill Elliott: </span></b><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">Girl Crazy</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,serif;">: Suite<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;">London Symphony Orchestra<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;">Barbara Hannigan (soprano, conductor)<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;"><br />I first heard Barbara Hannigan in 2008. She was <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2008/04/scharoun-ensembleboulez-18-april-2008.html">singing songs by Berg and Webern</a> with Pierre Boulez and immediately made a great impression. Since then, she has been one of those artists I should make an extra effort to hear; not once have I been even slightly disappointed. Hannigan is, of course, most widely known as a singer, but she has been building a parallel, or rather complementary, career as a conductor in the meantime too. I heard her conduct the Britten Sinfonia in 2013, in <a href="http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2015/05/britten-sinfoniahannigan-mozart.html">works by Mozart, Stravinsky, and Haydn</a>, for some of which she sang too – and once again proved enthusiastic. This concert, her LSO debut, offered a worthy successor in that line, now performing works by Ligeti, Haydn again, Berg, and Gershwin.<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;">Ligeti’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Concert Românesc</i> is one of those pieces we hear more than we probably ought: not in the sense that there is anything wrong with them, but rather that they seem to offer an early, unrepresentative piece by a composer who might otherwise be ignored. Webern’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Passacaglia</i>or even <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Im Sommerwind</i> would be obvious examples, even Schoenberg’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Verklärte Nacht</i>. Hannigan is certainly not one to neglect Ligeti; one of her most celebrated performances, not least on YouTube, is of his <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0Tvj83xqDw">Mysteries of the Macabre</a></i> (also with the LSO). I could not help, however, but feel that this was a performance-in-progress – although it may simply have been a matter of nerves, of having come first in the programme. Even when it lacked ‘traditional’ incisiveness, as in the first section, there were gains, though, not least a sense of how close the music might sound to early Bartók, even to Strauss. Bartókian ‘night music’ of a later vintage certainly sang forth in the third section, even if the final ‘Presto’ came off somewhat hard-driven. In any case, there was much to relish from the solo work of LSO principals.<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;">Haydn’s Symphony no.86 furthered Hanningan’s growing reputation in Haydn’s music: always a fine indicator of other strengths. The first movement’s introduction offered a grandeur and expectation that Colin Davis (thinking of the LSO) would surely have appreciated, with none of the irritations that, alas, often accompany Simon Rattle’s way with this composer. If its principal tempo were on the fast side, it was not unreasonably so. The music largely spoke here ‘for itself’, however much of an illusion that may be, the development especially well handled, the final coda a joy. Constructivism and lyricism were kept in a fruitful, generative relationship throughout in the second movement, founded, as it must be, in harmony and harmonic movement. This is music to rival Schoenberg in complexity – something most ‘period’ voices, alas, seem entirely to ignore. So too is the minuet – as soon as one listens, which Hannigan ensured that we did. Its trio relaxed harmonically and offered in tandem a winning sense of relative metrical freedom. Delightful, then, as was the finale, one of my very favourites: heard as if Leonard Bernstein had returned, albeit with greater dynamic variegation. It was as witty as it was thrilling, as convincing vertically as horizontally. More please!<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;">Hannigan’s way with Berg’s <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Lulu-Suite</i> was surprising. It took me a while to get used to, and there were unquestionably aspects of the music that went a little uncared for. That said, to hear it performed with such attention to the multifarious melodic strands – heard, I suspect, very much from a singer’s standpoint – was fascinating. So too was the relative lightness, almost Mendelssohnian, with which the first movement ‘Rondo’ was despatched. The big moments certainly told, but they were not everything. I am not sure I should always want to hear the music like this – indeed, I am sure that I should not – but to hear the classic Romantic/modernist dichotomy not so much evaded as avoided brought plenty of its own interest. Transparency is necessary no matter what the interpretative standpoint, of course; here, Hannigan and the LSO excelled. One might have taken dictation, vocal and verbal, from Hannigan’s sung contribution to the ‘Lied der Lulu’, which was ‘concert-acted’ too. Coloratura held no fear for her, but crucially, it was employed dramatically, just as in Mozart. If there were a few rough orchestral edges to the fourth movement, it is difficult to imagine them having bothered anyone but pedants. The final ‘Adagio’ emerged properly <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">de profundis</i>, as eloquent as if its lines were being sung. Hannigan’s melisma on ‘Engel’ truly told. Quite a performance, then, in so many ways. <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;">The Gershwin suite with which the concert concluded proved equally fascinating – and perhaps still more thrilling. Conceived by Hannigan with the express purpose of accompanying the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Lulu-Suite</i>, its ingenious orchestration for identical forces was commissioned from Bill Elliott. As a Bergian, at times Mahlerian, soundworld unfolded, it did not jar. Quite the contrary: t drew one in, not only harmonically but also motivically, to the material of the three songs, ‘But not for me’, ‘Embraceable you’, and ‘I got rhythm’. Then, of course, there was Hannigan’s own star quality as a singer: different, perhaps, from the stars one often associates with this music, but in no sense less bright. It was sung as carefully as Berg had been, without ever sounding ‘careful’. The orchestra joined in with some vocal harmony too, but this was in every sense Hannigan’s show, ‘I got rhythm’ straightforwardly sensational.<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><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><iframe frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&amp;OneJS=1&amp;Operation=GetAdHtml&amp;MarketPlace=GB&amp;source=ac&amp;ref=qf_sp_asin_til&amp;ad_type=product_link&amp;tracking_id=boulezian-21&amp;marketplace=amazon&amp;region=GB&amp;placement=B000025SZC&amp;asins=B000025SZC&amp;linkId=8434b5efbdd40cc666ad992e92dba015&amp;show_border=false&amp;link_opens_in_new_window=false&amp;price_color=333333&amp;title_color=0066c0&amp;bg_color=ffffff" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;"></font></p><p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: 150%"><font face="Georgia, serif">    </iframe><iframe frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&amp;OneJS=1&amp;Operation=GetAdHtml&amp;MarketPlace=GB&amp;source=ac&amp;ref=qf_sp_asin_til&amp;ad_type=product_link&amp;tracking_id=boulezian-21&amp;marketplace=amazon&amp;region=GB&amp;placement=B074128LCH&amp;asins=B074128LCH&amp;linkId=443048c1e87bc1ad662baf75926c1a21&amp;show_border=false&amp;link_opens_in_new_window=false&amp;price_color=333333&amp;title_color=0066c0&amp;bg_color=ffffff" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;"></font></p><p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: 150%"><font face="Georgia, serif"><o:p></o:p></font></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: 150%"><font face="Georgia, serif">    </iframe></span></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Boulezian/~4/pzBsJMjm_To" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Give me a ‘Ring’ sometime https://parterre.com/2019/03/21/give-me-a-ring-sometime/ parterre box urn:uuid:d8de451e-4722-8903-03e1-469f992f5d48 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 13:01:53 +0000 On this day in 1975 the Metropolitan Opera completed its first integral <em>Ring</em> cycle since 1962. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61412" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ring-1975-518x351.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="351" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ring-1975.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ring-1975-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />On this day in 1975 the Metropolitan Opera completed its first integral <em>Ring</em> cycle since 1962. <span id="more-61411"></span></p> <p>William Zackariasen in the <em>Westsider</em>:</p> <blockquote><p>. . . .At this publication, the last &#8220;Rheingold&#8221; and &#8220;Siegfried&#8221; will have been given, but there are still performances of &#8220;Walkure&#8221; and &#8220;Gotterdammerung&#8221; coming up &#8211; the latter featuring Birgit Nilsson in what is conceivably her greatest role. If you can&#8217;t get into the performance Saturday, you can hear it broadcast.</p> <p>Nilsson essayed a new role (for New York audiences at least) when she appeared in the season&#8217;s initial &#8220;Walkure&#8221; Feb. 20 as Sieglinde, replacing the critically ill Leonie Rysanek. It was a notable triumph for her and the music, which probably hasn&#8217;t been more beautifully sung since Kirsten Flagstad. Dramatically, she may have been previously outpointed in my experience by Rysanek for hysteria, Crespin for warmth, and Varnay for authority, but in vocalism and overall realization of the character she needed defer to no one. Indeed, her second-act hallucination scene was a &#8220;Gesamtkunstwerk&#8221; of the highest order.</p> <p>Thomas Stewart sang an amazingly improved Wotan, and Mignon Dunn (Fricka) seems these days to be our paramount Wagnerian mezzo. Jon Vickers was sloppy in note values and rhythm as Siegmund (he was much better in this wise for the broadcast) but he was; as ever; a believable hero. The debutante Brunnhilde: Berit Lindholm; is a young; attractive soprano with a prematurely aged voice which flies all over the place, often nowhere near the notes. The great promise she showed three years ago (in San Francisco, for instance, in the same role) has sadly been unfulfilled.</p> <p>After his brilliant &#8220;Rheingold,&#8221; conductor Sixten Ehrling led a curiously flaccid &#8220;Walkure&#8221; Feb. 20, marked by ragged orchestral work. He and the players did much better for the broadcast March 1 in which Nilsson, however, seemed less at ease as Brunnhilde. The voice rang with its customary sureness, but the sound was hard and dry. But Nilsson will be 57 in two months, and her singing remained astounding for a woman theoretically past her prime.</p> <p>However, Nilsson turned back the clock for the &#8220;Siegfried&#8221; broadcast March 15, singing near as well as she ever has, and mopping the stage with the strained efforts of Jess Thomas in the title role. Doing &#8220;Siegfried&#8221; without a Siegfried is something else, since Brunnhilde doesn&#8217;t appear until Act III. Thomas tried hard and occasionally managed a nice quiet phrase, but the bulk of his singing was unfocused bellowing which was often drowned out, when not by Nilsson, by spunky character tenor Ragnar Ulfung who delivered a Mime which has already become classic. Donald McIntyre was a Wanderer-Wotan of commanding strength and rolling tones, sounding even better than he did on the &#8220;Walkure&#8221; broadcast.</p> <p>Ehrling was much more his better self in &#8220;Siegfried,&#8221; brightly characterizing this, the most varied orchestration in the &#8220;Ring.&#8221; He was particularly successful in the spooky dragon music of Act II, in which he was aided by Herbert Wekselblatt&#8217;s virtuoso tuba playing. Ehrling was somewhat reticent in Siegfried&#8217;s big scenes, probably in deference to the singer, and this was the only &#8220;Ring&#8221; opera presented this season with cuts-maybe for the same reason. The forging and hammer songs were both abridged by half, though this did not excuse the tenor&#8217;s almost epicene handling of the tools of his trade. One could hardly believe Nothung would be the dauntless sword described in the text, so pussyfooting was Thomas&#8217;s visual forging of it.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=U10t-gXRnhI&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=U10t-gXRnhI</a></p> The Magic Flute at the GGS https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/21/the-magic-flute-at-the-ggs/ operaramblings urn:uuid:70de7062-0e94-613a-7e0e-9a8a0495ca68 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 11:47:01 +0000 I went into last night&#8217;s Glenn Gould School performance of Mozart&#8217;s The Magic Flute at Koerner Hall with all kinds of questions buzzing around in my head; partly because of an earlier conversation with director Joel Ivany and partly, well, &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/21/the-magic-flute-at-the-ggs/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>I went into last night&#8217;s Glenn Gould School performance of Mozart&#8217;s <em>The Magic Flute</em> at Koerner Hall with all kinds of questions buzzing around in my head; partly because of an earlier <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/08/joel-ivanys-magic-flute/">conversation</a> with director Joel Ivany and partly, well, <em>Magic Flute</em> &#8211; that most enigmatic of operas.  If only one could go back (more than forty years) to seeing it for the first time!</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25806" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/21/the-magic-flute-at-the-ggs/photo-nicola-betts-17/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D610&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Photo: Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1552938256&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;90&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;5000&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.005&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Photo: Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Photo: Nicola Betts" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25806 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg?w=584" alt="Photo: Nicola Betts" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3273.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p><span id="more-25805"></span>So what did we see?  We saw a much shortened version of the piece; an hour for Act 1, a tad longer perhaps for Act 2.  Tamino&#8217;s &#8220;entrance to the temple&#8221; scene was gone.  So was a lot of the more problematic Monostatos stuff and the Trials were much shortened.  Among other cuts.  At one point I wondered whether Papageno&#8217;s &#8220;suicide aria&#8221; (which I find rather tedious) would go to but we got that.  I didn&#8217;t miss any of the cut bits and I suspect that was the general feeling.  Rather like the COC&#8217;s recent remount of <em>Così</em>, less is more.[1]. The music was sung in German with English dialogue (the Andrew Porter/ENO version I think).  The absence of a male chorus was overcome by using the combined forces of the temple servants, the three ladies and the three spirits plus, I think, some prerecorded, or at least amplified elements.  It worked musically.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25807" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/21/the-magic-flute-at-the-ggs/photo-nicola-betts-18/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;3.2&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D610&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Photo: Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1552938739&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;4000&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.004&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Photo: Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Photo: Nicola Betts" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25807 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg?w=584" alt="Photo: Nicola Betts" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3329.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>Dramatically it was interesting.  Maybe it was the start of the idea to have essentially everyone on stage for most of Act 1.  There&#8217;s a lot of &#8220;observing&#8221; by characters who, canonically, should not be there.  Perhaps surprisingly this was used more sparingly in Act 2 but there were still elements of it.  Perhaps I&#8217;m overthinking it but to me the central concept seemed to be about &#8220;completion&#8221;; Yin and Yang if you will.  And on three levels.  There are three pairs who complement/complete each other.  At the simplest; perhaps just biological level, there&#8217;s Papageno and Papagena.  There&#8217;s a fair bit of egg symbolism in the finale.  At a slightly more elevated level there&#8217;s Tamino and Pamina.  Dutiful young aristocrats with little agency perhaps but each needs the other to be fully human.  These unions are fully consummated in this production.  Then there&#8217;s the highest level where the male and female principles of justice, statecraft, truth itself are embodied by Sarastro and the Queen of the Night.  They need each other just as much as the other pairs but cannot overcome their natures enough to recognise it, so we see them storm off opposite sides of the stage in the triumphant finale.  Egoism trumps egg production?</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="25808" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/21/the-magic-flute-at-the-ggs/photo-nicola-betts-19/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,387" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;2.8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D610&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;Photo: Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1552943278&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;130&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;2500&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.004&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Photo: Nicola Betts&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Photo: Nicola Betts" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25808 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg?w=584" alt="Photo: Nicola Betts" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dsc3570.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /></p> <p>All of this played out on a very simple set constrained by the limited facilities of Koerner Hall.  There are some blue &#8220;menhirs&#8221; with mystical symbols, and a couple of white benches.  Entrances and exits are in full view.  Papageno enters via the auditorium a couple of times.  It&#8217;s all, necessarily, simple though it&#8217;s livened up by fairly dramatic lighting and sound effects.  Costumes too are pretty conventional all round though short on feathers.</p> <p>Casting <em>Magic Flute</em> with young singers isn&#8217;t easy.  Many of the principal roles require vocal qualities that tend to come with maturity.  Sarastro requires a lot of gravitas for example.  Gabriel Sanchez Ortega was actually rather good.  If he doesn&#8217;t quite have the required avuncular quality he has the notes and produces a fair amount of sound.  The Queen of the Night is tricky too; especially &#8220;O zittre nicht&#8221; where the coloratura lies in a tricky place for a high soprano.  Nofar Yacobi smeared that one a bit but she was spot on in &#8220;Der Hölle Rache&#8221; and she acted well.  Katerina Khartova&#8217;s Pamina was accurate and expressive but I think her voice is one you either like or don&#8217;t.  I find it bright but tolerably so.  YMMV.  She was also quite touching.  Zachary Rioux is a very promising Mozart tenor.  He sang his big arias well with just not quite the ideal degree of effortlessness.  It will come.  Katelyn Bird (I didn&#8217;t make that up) made the most of what little Papagena has to do and had excellent chemistry with Noah Grove&#8217;s Papageno.  He&#8217;s really the one who pulls this show together and brings it alive.  He sings very well but it was his characterisation and comic timing in the dialogue that impressed more.  I&#8217;m not sure Magic Flute is supposed to be &#8220;about&#8221; Papageno but that&#8217;s how it felt last night.</p> <p>The supporting roles were pretty good.  I thought the Three Spirits, sung by young female sopranos, were quite charming and the Three Ladies were pretty decent though much of the time I&#8217;d have been hard pressed to say what language they were singing in if I didn&#8217;t know.  The temple servants swapped roles around effectively and Christopher Miller was almost sympathetic as Monostatos (and if this piece is about &#8220;completion&#8221; where does he fit?).  Nathan Brock&#8217;s conducting seemed to emphasise the monumental aspects of the piece with winds quite prominent and a rather restrained string sound.  Pit/stage co-ordination was fine.</p> <p>So, it&#8217;s a much shortened, tight production that copes well with the limitations of Koerner.  There may even be a concept in there!  The singing and acting ranges from pretty decent to much better than that.  It&#8217;s a good student show.  There&#8217;s one more chance to see it; tomorrow night at 7.30pm.</p> <p>Photo credits: Nicola Betts</p> <p>fn1:  In all the (endless) discussions about &#8220;attracting a new opera audience&#8221; cutting canonical works down to size doesn&#8217;t get much of mention.  I think maybe it should.  Many of the classics are too long and have really tedious bits which seem designed solely to spin the work out to the length an 18th/19th century audience demanded.  Why not shorten them to match the expectations of a modern audience that expects a movie to be over in 90 minutes?</p> New perceptions: a Royal Academy Opera double bill http://www.operatoday.com/content/2019/03/new_perceptions.php Opera Today urn:uuid:2500cdbc-cc35-2a86-3ff4-1c96537ea1a3 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 09:07:21 +0000 ‘Once upon a time …’ So fairy-tales begin, although often they don’t conclude with a ‘happy ever after’. Certainly, both Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, paired in this Royal Academy Opera double bill, might be said to present transformations from innocence and ignorance to experience and knowledge, but there is little that is saccharine about their protagonists’ journeys from darkness to enlightenment. Concert Review: Call Her Madeleine http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/03/concert-review-call-her-madeleine.html Superconductor urn:uuid:8fd0f77e-ac91-28e2-2194-e7df6a313005 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 04:14:42 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b>Renée Fleming returns to Strauss at Carnegie Hall.</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/-szAHLybSnwI/XJMN-hk83UI/AAAAAAAAVfQ/mts8iOMT5gYYceLSsqCnbzwkbC0hjKRswCLcBGAs/s1600/90.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="546" data-original-width="970" height="360" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-szAHLybSnwI/XJMN-hk83UI/AAAAAAAAVfQ/mts8iOMT5gYYceLSsqCnbzwkbC0hjKRswCLcBGAs/s640/90.jpeg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">She's not done yet: soprano Renée Fleming. Photo by Andrew Eccles.</td></tr></tbody></table>The soprano Renée Fleming remains a legitimate superstar. So it caused particular turmoil in the operatic world last year when she announced that the performances as the Marschallin in Richard Strauss' opera <i>Der Rosenkavalier</i> would be her last...in that role. Last night at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Fleming returned to Strauss as another heroine, the Countess Madeleine in the composer's final opera, <i>Capriccio</i>.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br />This was the first of two New York concerts this week by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The entire first half was devoted to three excerpts from <i>Capriccio</i>. It started with the string sextet that raises the curtain on this unique opera, labeled a "conversation piece for music" by the composer. <i>Capriccio</i> is an opera about the nature of opera itself, a long conversation between a composer, a poet (both in love with the Countess) and the members of a company plannng to put on a new opera. Characters include an impresario, an actress, two Italian singers and even a prompter.<br /><br />The presence of current BSO music director Andriss Nelsons seemed superfluous in the opening Sextet. Starting with a sweet downward phrase and shifting through a complex series of moods, this music represents Flamand, the composer who is one of Madeleine’s suitors. It turns mercurial and stormy, with the deeper voices of violas and cellos growling under keening violins before settling back into its original theme. After a short pause (the Sextet is played in the orchestra pit in performance and then taken over by a second ensemble on the stage after the curtain rises) Mr. Nelson’s led his small crew through that last bit to a harmonic close.<br /><br />The full orchestra trundled onstage, with Ms. Fleming for the <i>Moonlight Music</i>. This short intermezzo was led by the sonorous voice of the principal horn, before the entire carpet of Strauss orchestration unrolled with all of its gleaming threads. &nbsp;While this piece incorporates some of the themes from the opening sextet, the juxtaposition of the two works was a bit jarring without the fabric of the whole opera to support the transition. The soprano stood silent, waiting for her entrance which was, oddly a little further along in the opera than this listener expected.<br /><br />Madeleine's great monologue is the last piece of vocal music that Strauss wrote for the operatic stage. It serves as kind of a summing up of the vast breadth and length of Strauss’ career, and Ms. Fleming’s choice of this music may have been quite deliberate. Madeleine is reflective on her situation, conducting the opera’s debate of words versus music with herself. She sings the piece "created" during the opera by the team of Flamand and Olivier, but her final decision is appropriately a question mark. In the world of opera, words and music are necessary in equal proportion, and the message of <i>Capriccio</i> is that neither claims victory over the other.<br /><br />She chose to follow with an encore in honor of her friend and collaborator André Previn. This was the penultimate aria from Previn’s opera A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Ms. Fleming played Blanche DuBois. The music was heartfelt, lushly orchestrated supporting Ms. Fleming's voice. While the intent of this performance was noble, Previn's music seemed pallid after the saccharine glories of the Strauss score.<br /><br />The second half of,the concert was devoted to <i>Also Sprach Zarathustra</i>, the Strauss tone poem that stands (thanks to the &nbsp;movie <i>2001: A Space Odyssey</i>) as his best known instrumental work. Here, the opening "Dawn" music was played with sonorous tone and earth-shaking power. What followed was a series of dance movements that went from lumbering to elegant. Finally the Dawn theme thundered forth to a giant cadence. The climax was the <i>Midnight Song of Zarathustra</i> a shattering cascade of notes marked by the tolling of a heavy bell in the percussion section. This led to a short and puzzling coda, an argument between two unresolvable keys, quietly carried out between the woodwinds and double basses.<br /><br />If you enjoyed this article, it's time to click over to <i>Superconductor</i>'s <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor"><b>Patreon page</b></a>, and help support the cost of independent music journalism in New York City at the low cost of just $5/month.</div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/DVj2GKqWGLs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Broadcast: Rigoletto https://parterre.com/2019/03/20/broadcast-rigoletto-4/ parterre box urn:uuid:54aff334-d9d6-d035-6b8f-ef4b4f4c02e3 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:42:34 +0000 The chat is late, but it&#8217;s here! (Photo: Marty Sohl / Met Opera) <p><img src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/frontali-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61404" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/frontali-518x350.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/frontali-250x169.jpg 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/frontali-768x519.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/frontali.jpg 910w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />The chat is late, <a href="https://www.metopera.org/season/radio/free-live-audio-streams/">but it&#8217;s here</a>! (Photo: Marty Sohl / Met Opera)</p> Joyce DiDonato sings Sesto at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time https://joycedidonato.com/2019/03/20/joyce-didonato-sings-sesto-at-the-metropolitan-opera-for-the-first-time/ Joyce DiDonato urn:uuid:da7de6e0-5348-8611-ad4f-db965b796058 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:06:11 +0000 On March 30 &#38; April 3, 6, 11, 16 &#38; 20, Joyce DiDonato stars as Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Metropolitan Opera. A signature role for Ms. DiDonato, this will be her first time singing the role at the Met. Joyce will share the stage with star studded roster of artists [&#8230;] <p>On <a href="https://www.metopera.org/Season/2018-19-season/la-clemenza-di-tito/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">March 30 &amp; April 3, 6, 11, 16 &amp; 20</a>, Joyce DiDonato stars as Sesto in Mozart’s <em>La Clemenza di Tito </em>at the Metropolitan Opera. A signature role for Ms. DiDonato, this will be her first time singing the role at the Met. Joyce will share the stage with star studded roster of artists including Matthew Polenzani as Tito, Elza van den Heever as Vitellia, Ying Fang as Servilia, Emily D’Angelo as Annio, and Christian Van Horn as Publio. Lothar Koenigs conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.</p> <p>Joyce is featured on a recording of <em>La Clemenza di Tito</em> released by Deutsche Grammophon last year, with an illustrious cast under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. More information and links to purchase the album are available via Joyce’s <a href="https://joycedidonato.com/2018/06/03/mozart-la-clemenza-di-tito/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Recordings</a>. In 2014, Joyce starred as Sesto opposite Matthew Polenzani as Tito at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her portrayal was celebrated by the <a href="http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2014/03/didonato-and-polenzani-rule-in-lyric-operas-sleek-stylish-tito/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Chicago Classical Review</a>:</p> <p>“It’s a testament to Joyce DiDonato’s artistry that she can make such a weak, vacillating character as Sesto so riveting and compelling. The American mezzo commanded the stage Wednesday night whenever she appeared, bringing a charismatic presence and dramatic honesty to the indecisive Sesto. DiDonato’s rich, flexible voice was balm for the ears, and the mezzo threw off some dazzling coloratura at lightning tempos. One can go a long time without hearing “Parto, parto” sung with such poised feeling and commitment, and Sesto’s contrite aria in Act 2 was likewise suffused with deep sadness and glowing tone.”</p> Lite Meyerbeer https://parterre.com/2019/03/20/lite-meyerbeer/ parterre box urn:uuid:5c469b60-c085-692c-2043-23224dec6a72 Wed, 20 Mar 2019 19:46:00 +0000 Amore Opera, one of New York’s smaller opera companies, is presenting the first local run of <em>Dinorah, ou le Pardon de Ploërmel</em> since before the war. <div id="attachment_61396" style="width: 528px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img class="wp-image-61396 size-large" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/meyerbeer-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/meyerbeer.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/meyerbeer-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Joy and mental sanity reign at the end of <em>Dinorah</em> for Suchan Kim and Holly Flack.</p></div> <p>Meyerbeer’s name, when remembered at all, is synonymous with <em>folies de grandeur</em>, a veritable Mercedes Benz (or, more likely, Hispano-Suiza) of old-fashioned operatic vehicle. <span id="more-61395"></span></p> <p>His very grand epic operas held the stage for nearly a hundred years around the world before lack of novelty and sheer expense expelled them. That grandeur also kept them obscure: who can afford to produce a very chancy “night of seven stars”? and who can afford the tickets if it’s produced?</p> <p>But Meyerbeer didn’t only write in limousine touring-car mode. There are lighter works in his oeuvre. Amore Opera, one of New York’s smaller opera companies, which would be very unwise to attempt one of the big bad epics, has not done so, but is presenting the first local run of <em>Dinorah, ou le Pardon de Ploërmel </em>since before the war. The Spanish-American War, possibly.</p> <p><em>Dinorah </em>was Meyerbeer’s penultimate stage work (I never miss an opportunity to use the word “penultimate”), an <em>opéra-comique </em>of 1859. By the time his last opera appeared, <em>L’Africaine, </em>in 1865 (nowadays usually called <em>Vasco da Gama</em>), the gentleman was dead. <em>Dinorah </em>had quite a vogue and one palpable, much-recorded hit: the Shadow Song, “Ombres légères.”</p> <p>It was not difficult last night to understand the opera’s erstwhile popularity, at the first Amore Opera performance at the Riverside Theater (on Claremont Avenue in back of Riverside Church): <em>Dinorah </em>brims with terrific tunes and theatrical effects.</p> <p>With a first-rate coloratura soprano (especially a pretty one who can dance while trilling—hey, this <em>is opéra-comique</em>, guys), a decent baritone and an adorable buffoon tenor, the piece was catnip for Parisian sophisticates and those in other cities who aspired to seem Parisian. In 1859, that was everybody, everywhere.</p> <p>The problem is the book. Back then, they loved operas set among naïve country folk, whose piety, superstition and buffoonery—let us assume these are different things—made them enchantingly credulous. Operas like <em>La Dame Blanche </em>and <em>La Sonnambula </em>and <em>La Gazza Ladra </em>succeeded accordingly.</p> <p>The operatic equivalent of <em>Beverly Hillbillies </em>or <em>Green Acres. </em>But these stories don’t play so well nowadays. We don’t get why people who believe old legends of buried treasure (and the death of the first person who touches it) are funny.</p> <p>I loved nearly every musical number in the show, and winced at almost every line of the (much shortened) dialogue. Perhaps performing the airs in French and speaking the dialogue in English was a mistake. If the dialogue had also been in French, we’d have understood less of it, a happy circumstance.</p> <p>There’s a delectable duet for baritone and tenor, singing the same melody just off unison. There are several trios for characters who have little reason to be singing together except that the melody sounds wonderful when harmonized. There are distant bell effects and the usual drinking chorus.</p> <p>Time passed very prettily—a great deal of time—for Meyerbeer, brevity was not the soul of wit. But hang on, ignore the story, wait for the tunes.</p> <p>Too—this must be said—Meyerbeer was composing for Paris at a time when the orchestras playing for opera in that city were the finest on earth, and he took full advantage.</p> <p>There are storm effects, supernatural effects, a religious procession or two and obbligato bagpipes or reasonable facsimile. <strong>Rick Cordova</strong>’s orchestra at Amore didn’t have the strength or, one suspects, sufficient rehearsal time. The string section was often painful to hear, but should improve. (There are two more performances on Saturday.)</p> <p>And then the voices came in, and you forgot the plot in delight at the music, and what decent voices could make of them.</p> <p>The heroine, for instance. Her greedy and superstitious fiancé has abandoned her at the altar and she has gone mad, of course—but instead of locking herself up for 30 years with the wedding cake like a normal person, she has gone wandering through the hills chasing a lost goat.</p> <p>Casting the goat is one drawback to performing <em>Dinorah </em>at all. Amore has chosen to give the role to small children in fluffy goat costumes. Dinorah should be pretty, a pretty good singer, and capable of dancing with her shadow.</p> <p>Keep your eye and ear on <strong>Holly Flack</strong>. She’s easy on the eyes, she can dance and act and say ridiculous lines with total conviction.</p> <p>But the voice! An even, flexible, beautifully produced soprano, more womanly than the “canary” type, with excellent voice control, a genuine trill and a remarkable range, up to an A-flat in alt. Yes, you read that correctly: she knocked the house agog with an A-flat, not an ordinary D-flat, to conclude the Shadow Song.</p> <p>Hoël, her morally compromised fiancé, was sung by <strong>Suchan Kim </strong>with a solid, burnished baritone that made its effect in the many ensembles. <strong>Juan Hernández </strong>contributed a pleasant tenor as the cowardly bagpiper, Corentin, whose antics are meant to carry the scenes and build the atmosphere.</p> <p><strong>Lou Costello</strong>—that’s who we need for this role—someone contemptible but inevitably funny. Hernández spoke his lines clearly and stayed out of everyone’s way, but he evinced no other qualification for the stage. Even if his lines had been funny, he would have deflated them. He made a long night seem so much longer.</p> <p>A coloratura makes <em>Dinorah </em>fly—in years to come, having heard Miss Flack in the role will give one bragging rights—but a bad comic will not do in an <em>opéra-comique.</em></p> <p>Ah, but the score. The score is so good that I’m going back tonight to see how the other cast handles it. Tickets, I’m told, are flying out the door like mountain goats in stampede. That leaves Saturday’s two performances for you.</p> Born to lose https://parterre.com/2019/03/20/born-to-lose/ parterre box urn:uuid:807c5062-7a99-c84b-1641-239334868bcc Wed, 20 Mar 2019 18:48:36 +0000 "<strong>Robert Lepage</strong>'s direction of a crucial scene in the <em>Ring</em> is even worse than <strong>Otto Schenk</strong>'s, if such a thing is possible." <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61392" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Screen-Shot-2019-03-20-at-2.44.23-PM-518x352.png" alt="" width="518" height="352" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Screen-Shot-2019-03-20-at-2.44.23-PM-518x352.png 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Screen-Shot-2019-03-20-at-2.44.23-PM-250x170.png 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Screen-Shot-2019-03-20-at-2.44.23-PM-768x521.png 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Screen-Shot-2019-03-20-at-2.44.23-PM.png 1028w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />So, another way <strong>Anthony Tommasini</strong> <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/arts/music/met-opera-wagner-ring-walkure-lepage.html">might have put this</a> is, &#8220;<strong>Robert Lepage</strong>&#8216;s direction of a crucial scene in the <em>Ring</em> is even worse than <strong>Otto Schenk</strong>&#8216;s, if such a thing is possible.&#8221;</p> Good news bear https://parterre.com/2019/03/20/good-news-bear/ parterre box urn:uuid:20013b8f-2c3d-5360-afad-f20c424d8ed3 Wed, 20 Mar 2019 15:59:43 +0000 Teatro Real continued their 200 years' celebration by premiering a piece that they have never done before, <strong>Francesco Cavalli</strong>’s opera <em>La Calisto</em>. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61388" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/calisto-1-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/calisto-1.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/calisto-1-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Teatro Real continued their 200 years&#8217; celebration on Sunday by premiering a piece that they have never done before, <strong>Francesco Cavalli</strong>’s opera <em>La Calisto</em>. <span id="more-61387"></span></p> <p>Written in 1651 from a libretto by <strong>Giovanni Faustini </strong>(who died during its initial run), <em>La Calisto </em>was premiered in Teatro Sant&#8217; Apollinare in Venice in an elaborate stage production with numerous effects and stage machinery.</p> <p>After centuries of languishing in obscurity, the opera was revived in modern times thanks to the effort of British conductor <strong>Raymond Leppard</strong>, who in 1970 published the score and performed it at Glyndebourne Festival Opera.</p> <p>That performance sparked interest in Baroque operas, particularly in Cavalli’s, and <em>La Calisto </em>is now quite possibly the most performed among Cavalli’s 41 operas.</p> <p>Cavalli was one of the most important composers in the 17th century, and he was a key figure in the development of operas into public entertainment.</p> <p><em>La Calisto </em>is based on the myth of Callisto from Ovid&#8217;s <em>Metamorphoses</em>. Those who are well-versed in astronomy may remember the name as Jupiter’s second largest moon, and likewise, the story of the opera revolves around the seduction of the nymph Calisto by Jupiter (Giove), her tragic fate being turned into a bear by Jupiter’s wife Juno (Giunone), and her subsequent transformation as a constellation in the sky (<em>Ursa Major</em>).</p> <p>For this presentation, Teatro Real borrowed a staging from Bayerische Staatsoper directed by <strong>David Alden</strong>. The well-travelled production, first seen in Munich in 2005 (also in London in 2008), had been very successful and revived many times there.</p> <p>Teatro Real also engaged a galaxy of Baroque opera stars, double cast in nine performances to mark the glitzy occasion. For the opening night, the title role was sung by <strong>Louise Alder</strong>, winner of the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition two years ago.</p> <p>I have never seen Alden’s mounting before, so I had the opportunity to experience with a fresh outlook. Right from the beginning, Alden chose to present the complex work in a highly farcical fashion.</p> <p>The Prologue, where Destiny convinces Eternity and Nature that Calisto deserves her own place with them in the heavens, was set with Eternity and Destiny were in hideous creature outfits, and Nature in drag with long beard, all watching Calisto’s photos projected on the screen.</p> <p>This, in turn, set the tone for the whole opera; it was definitely a whimsical spectacle that while super fun, it came at the expense of sacrificing the more serious or tender moments.</p> <p>The most baffling aspect to me was the juxtaposition of <strong>Paul Steinberg</strong>’s stage, set in ‘70s nightclub/lounge with psychedelic curves and bright colors, with <strong>Buki Shiff</strong>’s costumes and props that were riotous, but most of the time indicative to who the characters were supposed to be (particularly with regards to nymphs and satyrs).</p> <p>I meant, when have you ever seen nymphs with arrows in swanky club? It was almost as if Alden couldn’t make up his mind whether all of the whole opera was some sort of LSD-induced hallucination, or where all the creatures dwelled in the wrong place.</p> <p>I understood that things were so much different in 2005, but personally I would prefer not to see Giove, who supposedly came to Earth to survey the damage of wars, appeared on stage while giant black wings brandishing a machine gun!</p> <p>Coupled with lounge/nightclub set, it created (to me at least) an uncomfortable feeling, in light of recent events! Additionally, the scene where Giunone, while sang her revenge aria, actually helped Calisto gave birth to a bright red baby doll (Arcas supposedly?) by pulling it off her crotch felt pretty unnecessary as well. (This was the second time I saw a title character gave birth on stage in recent months!)</p> <p>I felt that Alden missed the opportunity to finish the opera in a satisfactory way. While Calisto’s transformation into a bear was effective (she put on bear suit that she couldn’t take off), the subsequent scenes where Jupiter decided to cut short her suffering and ascend her as a constellation of stars felt very underwhelming.</p> <p>At the very least, he could have shown us the Ursa Major where Calisto became, instead of merely rows of lights!</p> <p>Nevertheless, the presentation did have a number of clever ideas done right. I loved the fact there was a trench in front of the stage (right before the pit) that was used as an additional stage exit where characters, particularly Satirino, popped up to surprise the audience.</p> <p>This also was the place where the final love duet (“Dolcissimi baci”) between Diana and Endimione took place. That scene, quite possible the most touching moment in the whole opera, was heartfelt particularly because of its simplicity, brilliantly illuminated by <strong>Pat Collins</strong>’ lighting, removed from the hyperactive background.</p> <p>As La Calisto was such an important opera, all what mattered to me was the music, and I was happy to report that the musical aspects were uniformly excellent in pretty much all levels.</p> <p>It helped to have the singers that were very familiar with the staging (as it asked a lot from them), as there was a sense of natural ease with both the singing and acting departments, no matter how outrageous the actual actions were.</p> <p>Alder impressed me a lot as the title role. Although she started a bit wobbly (presumably opening night jitters), she grew more confident and her tone started to get warmer as the night progressed.</p> <p>Calisto undergoes a broad range of emotions throughout the opera, from innocence and resilience, to sensuality and eventually extreme sadness, and it requires great acting to bring them all out.  Alder sufficiently demonstrated all those, although in Act 1 she didn’t strike me as completely innocent, but more of a perky nymph that played with fire and eventually got burned.</p> <p>Her rather dark soprano navigated the score well, and she was devastated to watch in Act 3, as Giunone accused her of adultery and transformed her into a bear, and Giove couldn’t reverse the curse, culminating in that gorgeous duet with Giove “Mio foco fatale/Beata mi sento.&#8221;</p> <p>Veteran mezzo-soprano <strong>Monica Bacelli</strong>, who originated Diana 14 years ago, moved with grace, almost like dancing, throughout the night. Her silvery delivery was on point, and she portrayed, both in singing and particularly in her costumes with a giant Moon headdress, an older Diana being wooed by a young shepherd.</p> <p>Countertenor <strong>Tim Mead </strong>contributed significantly in this interpretation, as he completely conveyed a young and naïve Endimione, particularly with his clear unblemished coloratura. I liked the fact that Shiff dressed him in the most normal clothes on stage that night, as Endimione was pretty much the only mortal in the whole opera.</p> <p>On the other hand, <strong>Karina Gauvin </strong>was completely striking as a jealous Giunone, dressed in bright red gown that stood out from the rest. Unfortunately, I detected some alarming strains at the top of her usually glorious voice that night, although it went well with her violently angry portrayal.</p> <p>As her husband Giove, <strong>Luca Tittoto </strong>sounded authoritative with his booming bass. I had mentioned my reservation regarding his entrance above, luckily, he spent the rest of the time in Diana’s dress, or in a sleek suit.</p> <p>From my seat, I couldn’t tell whether he sang in falsetto as Diana or he just lip-synched it, but he was such a hoot trying to impersonate Bacelli!</p> <p><strong>Dominique Visse </strong>was a mixed bag for me that night. As the horny satyr with prosthetic penis, he worked extremely hard to entertain and he was mostly successful at that.</p> <p>However, his very bright timbre took time to get used to, and he squealed a lot throughout. His counterpart, <strong>Guy de Mey </strong>fared better in his full drag apparel as the lovelorn nymph Linfea. Nevertheless, their comic timing and well-choreographed interactions provided the show many funny moments.</p> <p>The comprimario roles were all handled effectively. Covered completely in gold, <strong>Nikolay Borchev </strong>made a shrewd assistant to Giove.</p> <p>Tenor <strong>Ed Lyon </strong>was almost unrecognizable as the god Pane, decked in full feather costume with high heels (or was it a stilt?), reminiscent of Fasolt/Fafner. Bass <strong>Andrea Mastroni </strong>gave a dignified reading as Silvano, dressed in centaur with wings.</p> <p>We are left with what truly was the star of the show that night for me, Teatro Real’s Musical Director <strong>Ivor Bolton</strong>. Bolton, who also led the premieres in both Munich and London, clearly knew the score like the back of his hand, and it was a great asset for the proceeding.</p> <p>He led the Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla in a reading that was clear, detailed, well-paced, unhurried and yet still exuberant and full of colors. What was incredible to my ears was that there was element of purity, in fact almost sterile, in the sound that he coaxed from the orchestra.</p> <p>It was almost as if Bolton tried to balance the “sublime sex comedy” (as Alden called it) on stage with the playing. Nevertheless, he supported the singers well, there was never any points where they got drown with the orchestra.</p> <p>In summary, the show was truly an entertaining spectacle, if not life-changing, with a superlative music-making. Teatro Real and Bolton should be commended for bringing such a seminal work by an important composer into their repertoire.</p> <p>Photo: Javier del Real</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Meet acute https://parterre.com/2019/03/20/meet-acute/ parterre box urn:uuid:a87eea13-8ab9-396c-ab39-b28c0097fd48 Wed, 20 Mar 2019 15:22:08 +0000 Born on this day in 1890 two legendary tenors. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61384" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/tenors-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/tenors-518x350.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/tenors-250x169.jpg 250w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/tenors-768x519.jpg 768w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/tenors.jpg 900w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Born on this day in 1890 two legendary tenors. <span id="more-61382"></span></p> <p><strong>Lauritz Melchior</strong></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cqnATSWX6I&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cqnATSWX6I</a></p> <p>and <strong>Beniamino Gigli</strong></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewt49c8jwbk&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewt49c8jwbk</a></p> A Dancer's Guide to Time Management https://www.pointemagazine.com/dancers-guide-to-time-management-2627725056.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:c5e6074e-6d9e-81fc-d26e-df597c7f096c Wed, 20 Mar 2019 14:57:21 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19291184/origin.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>Some days, your to-do list might seem like it's a mile long: On top of your dance commitments, do you really have time to sew new pointe shoes, squeeze in cross-training, tweak your resumé for audition season, meal-prep and clean your apartment? Trying to stuff too many things into one day can only leave you frustrated when every item doesn't get crossed off. </p><hr/><p>If this sounds like you, you're what's called a "time optimist." But you could benefit from teaching yourself to be a "time realist," a concept coined by productivity and time management expert Julie Morgenstern. It involves using simple math to figure out how long each task will take and how much you <em>really</em> can do with your time. Here's how it works: </p><h3>1. Prioritize</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="L9TS841553104915" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="cda1a" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19291181/980x.jpg"/><p>If you need to break in new shoes right away for a performance, make sewing on your ribbons and elastics a priority. Set aside 20 minutes—or however long it takes you—and budget it in to your day. And if you don't need printouts of your updated headshot and dance photos for three weeks, put that trip to the printer on hold.</p><h3>2. Plan Ahead</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="CCQ1TV1553104915" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="e9cdd" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19291153/980x.jpg"/><p>Make a game plan for tomorrow, and the next two days, before you go to bed. If you want to take two yoga classes between Thursday and Saturday, see if it's feasible with your other commitments and which days have enough free time.</p><h3>3. Pencil It In</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="M90VD31553104915" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="87b61" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19291159/980x.jpg"/><p>Figure out if you prefer scheduling events on a paper calendar or on your smartphone. Organizing all your activities in one place will make you less likely to overbook yourself.</p><h3>4. Use a Timer</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="UIWQBB1553104915" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="3853d" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19291105/980x.jpg"/><p>If you want to spend an hour updating your dance resumé, hold yourself to it. Don't abandon it 30 minutes in just because you'd rather be watching Netflix.</p> Musique 3 Femmes preview https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/ operaramblings urn:uuid:a2ca6800-6de8-8ede-bd3e-935c15a9ac81 Wed, 20 Mar 2019 14:37:52 +0000 Yesterday&#8217;s concert in the RBA was a sneak preview of the material for a longer workshop/performance in the Ernest Balmer Studio on Saturday night.  The five works involved and the background are covered in this post. We got excerpts from &#8230; <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a> <p>Yesterday&#8217;s concert in the RBA was a sneak preview of the material for a longer workshop/performance in the Ernest Balmer Studio on Saturday night.  The five works involved and the background are covered in <a href="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/06/musique-3-femmes/">this post</a>.</p> <p>We got excerpts from all five works with Jennifer Szeto at the piano and various combinations of Suzanne Rigden, Kristin Hoff and Lindsay Connolly singing.  There were also brief introductions to each piece from the creative teams.  What struck me most was how different the pieces were but how they seemed to reflect regional differences in musical expectations across Canada.  For example, the two works from Quebec both used extended/prepared piano with a bunch of extended vocal techniques in Margareta Jeric&#8217;s <em>Suites d&#8217;une ville morte</em>.  Laurence Jobidon&#8217;s <em>L&#8217;hiver attend beaucoup de moi</em> was perhaps more conventionally lyrical but it wasn&#8217;t a sound world one hears much in Toronto (at least in opera).</p> <div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_25797" style="width: 590px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-25797" data-attachment-id="25797" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.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;&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="2019-03-19-NextWave-2285" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25797 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.jpg?w=584" alt="2019-03-19-NextWave-2285" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2285.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /><p id="caption-attachment-25797" class="wp-caption-text">Suzanne Rigden performing in the Canadian Opera Company&#8217;s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre</p></div> <p><span id="more-25795"></span>By contrast Cecilia Livingstone&#8217;s <em>Singing Only Softly</em>, based on the redacted parts of Anne Frank&#8217;s diary, had a visceral intensity but came out of the sound world that seems to be the common currency for contemporary opera in Toronto; largely tonal, not given to bold operatic statements, etc.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ottawa based Maria Atallah&#8217;s <em>The Chair</em> had elements of both the &#8220;Toronto approach&#8221; and the &#8220;Quebec approach&#8221;.  Also I think here we were to some extent hearing a piano simulation of what will, eventually, be electronics.</p> <div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_25798" style="width: 590px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-25798" data-attachment-id="25798" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg?w=584" data-orig-size="580,870" 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="2019-03-19-NextWave-2291" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg?w=584?w=200" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25798 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg?w=584" alt="2019-03-19-NextWave-2291" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg?w=100 100w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2291.jpg?w=200 200w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /><p id="caption-attachment-25798" class="wp-caption-text">Jennifer Szeto performing in the Canadian Opera Company&#8217;s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre</p></div> <p>The final piece was Kendra Harder&#8217;s <em>Book of Faces</em>; a comedy about social life on the internet.  This one&#8217;s from Saskatchewan and musically is interesting.  It&#8217;s basically a parody of baroque/oratorio style with a highly scatological libretto.  It&#8217;s utterly different from all four of the other pieces which tackle pretty bleak issues/situations.</p> <div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_25799" style="width: 590px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-25799" data-attachment-id="25799" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.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;&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="2019-03-19-NextWave-2307" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25799 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.jpg?w=584" alt="2019-03-19-NextWave-2307" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2307.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /><p id="caption-attachment-25799" class="wp-caption-text">Lindsay Connolly, Jennifer Szeto and Kristin Hoff performing in the Canadian Opera Company&#8217;s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre</p></div> <p>So, not for the first time in the last few years I wish I could spend more time exploring the Quebec/Montreal opera scene.  Toronto is vibrant and fun but there just seems to be a different road being taken in Quebec and I&#8217;m curious.</p> <div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_25800" style="width: 590px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-25800" data-attachment-id="25800" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.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;&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="2019-03-19-NextWave-2343" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25800 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.jpg?w=584" alt="2019-03-19-NextWave-2343" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2343.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /><p id="caption-attachment-25800" class="wp-caption-text">Lindsay Connolly performing in the Canadian Opera Company&#8217;s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre</p></div> <p>The short extracts I heard yesterday have piqued my interest and I&#8217;m looking forward to seeing longer extracts fully staged on Saturday.  I believe the program includes all of <em>Book of Faces</em>. Tickets are available at <a href="https://musique3femmes.bpt.me/">https://musique3femmes.bpt.me</a></p> <div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_25801" style="width: 590px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-25801" data-attachment-id="25801" data-permalink="https://operaramblings.blog/2019/03/20/musique-3-femmes-preview/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399/" data-orig-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.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;&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="2019-03-19-NextWave-2399" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.jpg?w=584?w=300" data-large-file="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.jpg?w=584?w=580" class=" size-full wp-image-25801 aligncenter" src="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.jpg?w=584" alt="2019-03-19-NextWave-2399" srcset="https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.jpg 580w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.jpg?w=150 150w, https://operaramblings.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019-03-19-nextwave-2399.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /><p id="caption-attachment-25801" class="wp-caption-text">Kristin Hoff, Jennifer Szeto and Suzanne Rigden performing in the Canadian Opera Company&#8217;s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre</p></div> <p>Photo credits: Chris Hutcheson</p> Once we thought he’d never grow tall as this fence https://parterre.com/2019/03/19/once-i-thought-hed-never-grow-tall-as-this-fence-2/ parterre box urn:uuid:7860f702-c177-348c-3361-161b373c8003 Wed, 20 Mar 2019 02:21:57 +0000 Our Own <strong>Joel Rozen</strong> is no longer Our Own, except of course in the most important sense that we will always adore him. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-55036" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/joel-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/joel.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/joel-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Our Own <strong>Joel Rozen</strong> is no longer <a href="https://parterre.com/author/joel-rozen/">Our Own</a>, except of course in the most important sense that we will always adore him. The erstwhile parterre box scribe <a href="https://www.metopera.org/discover/articles/eleventh-hour-hero/">is now writing</a> for <del datetime="2019-03-20T02:12:31+00:00">the enemy</del> The Metropolitan Opera. <span id="more-61377"></span></p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U6naQ3MdI0&#038;fmt=18">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U6naQ3MdI0</a></p> Opera Review: Deviled Eggs http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/03/opera-review-deviled-eggs.html Superconductor urn:uuid:65465a94-cc6c-8715-c083-44b51b019310 Tue, 19 Mar 2019 22:32:59 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><b>The Washington National Opera's <i>Faust</i> goes directly to Hell.</b><br />by <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor">Paul J. Pelkonen</a><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></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://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0JCoMpZSFY4/XJFsHfOdTqI/AAAAAAAAVes/TfoLoaSkwIUCYffPoMlGGyWyDfsS3r4sACLcBGAs/s1600/YW7UYFCI3QI6TFTDACWHH5EWMI.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="989" data-original-width="1484" height="426" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0JCoMpZSFY4/XJFsHfOdTqI/AAAAAAAAVes/TfoLoaSkwIUCYffPoMlGGyWyDfsS3r4sACLcBGAs/s640/YW7UYFCI3QI6TFTDACWHH5EWMI.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Hellbound: Raymond Aceto as Méphistophélès in <i>Faust</i>.<br />Photo by Scott Suchman for the Washington National Opera.</td></tr></tbody></table>In the last hundred years, Charles Gounod's <i>Faust</i> has fallen from the pinnacle of the repertory. Its descent has been rapid, almost as fast as that of its protagonist, a searching scholar who sells his soul to Satan in the opera's first act. <i>Faust</i> has fallen into irrelevance in this new century. Its stirring choruses, sweet harmonies and story of demonic love and angelic redemption seem quaint in this dark age. When fascists are defended in the media by the sitting President, and hatred lurks in the corridors of power, <i>Faust</i> just ain't scary anymore.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br />Perhaps it's fitting thoen that the Washington National Opera has offered a revival of this chestnut, swaddled in a "traditional" production that almost feels like period performance. This <i>Faust</i>, directed here by Garnett Bruce, is simple and gorgeous to look at, opening with a show curtain hell-scape, back-lit to reveal Faust at his studies. The middle acts are all cherubic peasants and trompe-l'oiel foliage, with a Disney-style cottage for Marguerite and a bleak snowscape for the fourth act. All this might appeal to even the most cynical opera-goer. However these quaint sets (first seen in 1985 at the Houston Grand Opera) were filled by a cast that might have considered trading in their souls for singing lessons.<br /><br />In Germany, this version of <i>Faust</i> is known as "Marguerite" to separate it and its libretto (drawn from a very sentimental French version of the drama) as far from Goethe's original poem as possible. The renaming is because this version of <i>Faust</i> is really Marguerite's story. She is seduced, impregnated and abandoned by Faust, who is already a soulless monster. Only in the last pages does she pray for forgiveness and escape the Devil's grasp as a heavenly choir sings of her salvation. And yes, while all these events are in Goethe, the opera's focus away from the philosophical implications of the original poem leave it a pale imitation of the original.<br /><br />Here, Marguerite was sung by Erin Wall. She made an effective, pretty entrance and did well by the "Jewel Song" in the third act. However, when it was time for her to sing in the big quartet, she was resorting to hit-and-miss notes above the stave. Matters got worse as the opera rolled on, as Marguerite is one of those roles that gets heavier and more difficult as her situation worsens. She was even wilder in the church scene and in the final trio, delivered an approximation of pitch. On the plus side, her acting was heartfelt.<br /><br />Marcelo Puente has a small but potent instrument, with the <i>squillo</i> quality one associates with Italian opera. The problem is <i>Faust</i> is in French, and his singing lacked the lightness and lyricism needed to carry off this role. Although he was impassioned and convincing in the all-important first scene, his "young lover" persona was sort of blah, hardly the type to sweep a young maiden off her feet. It didn't help that this staging excised the big dramatic moment in the Walpurgisnacht scene, by cutting that entire sequence.<br /><br />The <i>Faust</i> libretto reduces Méphistophélès to a cross between a stage magician and a tour guide, conjuring caskets of jewels and putting the whammy on any character standing in Faust's way. Raymond Aceto had personality to give but his voice sounded smallish when it should have roared. This disparity was emphasized during the church scene, when he boomed condemnations at Marguerite through an amplification system. When his demonic figure finally appeared and sang with his real, small voice, it was like Toto pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.<br /><br />The best performances of the night came in smaller parts. Joshua Hopkins made the most of the brief and ungrateful role of Valentín. This fellow gets to deliver the best tune in the show ("Avant des quitter lieux," added by the composer from a tune in the overture after the opera's premiere), goes off to war, comes back to condemn his sister's pregnancy and then gets killed by Faust. Gounod does give the fellow a great death scene, which Mr. Hopkins sang with lyric power. Allegra de Vita made Siebel's brief appearances in the opera entirely welcome, and Deborah Nansteel did well in the short role of Marthe.<br /><br />In the pit, the Canadian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson took a hit-and-miss approach to the score. The Prelude to Act I was slow and turgid, fawning over the quasi-religious harmonies in the score but lacking in forward thrust. She put the hammer down for the bustling Act II scenes, where the swarm of peasants, tumblers and even a juggler threatened to engulf the leads in a flood-tide of merry-making. The chorus made its welcome return as soldiers coming home from war in Act IV, singing with firm and resonant power to the cheerful snap-rhythms of the score. They also provided solid support in the big heaven-and-hell finale, producing a mighty shout that elevated Marguerite to her celestial reward.<br /><br />If you enjoyed this article, it's time to click over to <i>Superconductor</i>'s <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor"><b>Patreon page</b></a>, and help support the cost of independent music journalism in New York City at the low cost of just $5/month.<br /><br /><br /><div><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/i_BS1IOplsw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Ashley Mayeux: How the Versatile  LINES Dancer Went From Ballet to Modern and Back Again https://www.pointemagazine.com/ashley-mayeux-ballet-2627724425.html Pointe Magazine urn:uuid:2600b37b-ff95-ae87-2694-97061401fabd Tue, 19 Mar 2019 19:23:18 +0000 <img src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19285780/origin.png"/><br/><br/><p>No matter where her career has taken her, Ashley Mayeux has never strayed too far from her first love, ballet. Even while dancing for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mayeux would try to fit in ballet class as often as possible. After two seasons with the modern company, she decided to audition for Alonzo King LINES Ballet, despite not feeling entirely prepared. "Somehow it came back to me and was pretty natural," says Mayeux. Natural enough that she landed the job and, in 2018, moved across the country to restart her contemporary ballet career.</p><hr/><h3></h3><br/><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="LUBCCD1553030208" id="01569"><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/Bs6EkaNg5Rh/" 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">Ashley Nicole Mayeux on Instagram: “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But,…”</a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>After taking a first job with the Broadway musical <em>Aida </em>overseas, her teacher Sarita Allen introduced her to Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/dwight-rhoden" target="_blank">Dwight Rhoden</a> and encouraged her to audition. She got the job and immediately felt at home in the contemporary ballet vocabulary. "It was the best of both worlds: We 'got down' but also used our technique," says Mayeux.</p><p>While getting back into pointe shoes has not been completely painless, Mayeux's unconventional path has built towards this moment. A native of Houston, Mayeux went to a performing arts high school in Texas before graduating with a BFA from SUNY Purchase. "We were classically trained in both modern dance and ballet, and so I have a love for all of those things," she says.</p><h3>"Ashley has an articulate technical command, and she quickly masters new material like I've rarely seen. Soaring above all those qualities is her truth-seeking depth of thought, and expansive heart." —Alonzo King</h3><br/><p>Four and a half years later, she was ready to try a different repertoire. She went to an open audition for Ailey, and, to her surprise, she was offered a contract. "I was thrown into learning 17 different pieces at once," she says. "There were so many styles and choreographers. It felt like I was changing my hat constantly." The transition from Complexions to Ailey required Mayeux to drop her center of gravity and tape up her feet to ease into dancing barefoot. "I also had to take Horton classes to get that feel back into my body," she says. But after two years of grueling work and international touring, ballet was calling her back. "Ballet is my first love because it was the first thing to challenge me."</p><p>But returning to the genre hasn't come without challenges. "Rolling through my shoes and getting control over them is something I'm still working through," says Mayeux. After an early flare-up of Achilles tendonitis, she began working with a physical therapist to build more strength in her lower legs and doing Gyrotonic to strengthen her core and other weak spots.</p><h3>None</h3><br/><img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="MSF1J61553030209" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="0e133" lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rbl.ms/19285868/980x.jpg"/><p>While all of her professional experiences have added something different, Mayeux is currently loving the balance of freedom and direction <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/tag/alonzo-king" target="_blank">Alonzo King</a> gives, the collaborative artistic process with musicians and designers, and the small community atmosphere the 12-dancer company allows. "Alonzo gives you a premise and directs you in a certain way that it is just an idea and not the answer. I get inspired by seeing my colleagues make choices, and it has helped me trust my instincts."</p><p>It's not entirely surprising that the collaborative environment at LINES appeals so much to Mayeux. After all, going with her gut has always been her driving force. "My whole premise is to follow your heart. I did, and now I'm so happy that I listened."</p> Today It Rains Preview https://operatattler.typepad.com/opera/2019/03/today-it-rains-preview.html The Opera Tattler urn:uuid:3a5e4d44-5479-828f-a2a7-316b7c4c3b69 Tue, 19 Mar 2019 17:33:57 +0000 Tons of new operas are being performed everyday, the most successful perhaps are Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick (recently at Opera San José) and Mason Bates’ Grammy-winning The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Closer to home, Howards End, America by Allen Shearer had... Tons of new operas are being performed everyday, the most successful perhaps are Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick (recently at Opera San José) and Mason Bates’ Grammy-winning The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Closer to home, Howards End, America by Allen Shearer had a world premiere only last month in San Francisco. Opera Parallèle, devoted to contemporary works with social relevance, is presenting a world premiere about Georgia O'Keefe called Today It Rains (Blythe Gaissert as Georgia O’Keeffe and Marnie Breckenridge as Beck, pictured) next week at Z Space in San Francisco. The music is written by Laura Kaminsky, who is fast becoming one of the most prominent composers today. Her first opera, As One (2014), about a transgender woman, has been produced dozens of times, everywhere from Honolulu to Berlin, including in Oakland by West Edge Opera in 2015. She's also working on an opera about an ICE raid in Postville which will premiere at San Francisco Opera in 2020. It is interesting that though so many popular operas are centered around female characters - La Traviata, Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly - nearly all are written by men. Here in the progressive Bay Area, San Francisco Opera has only presented three operas by women in its 96 year history. Notably none of these were mainstage performances at the War Memorial. Things are changing. Kaminsky sees this as a faculty member of Purchase College/SUNY, where she is the head of the composition department. "The 15 to 18 composition students are not all male now, and the applications are pretty even" she says when I speak to her and her librettist, Mark Campbell, during an early rehearsal of Today It Rains. "We have to redefine opera" adds Campbell, "otherwise it won’t have a chance to survive." Kaminsky came up with the idea of an opera about O'Keefe and brought the idea to Campbell (also the co-librettist with Kimberly Reed for As One, pictured together: Reed left, Campbell middle, Kaminsky right) and Opera Parallèle, whose Anya17, an opera about sex trafficking, deeply moved her. "I want to tell the stories of strong women," explains the composer, "No losers." This opera takes place in 1929, when O'Keefe takes a train from New York to Santa Fe, a defining moment for her as an artist. The title comes from the end of a letter O’Keefe wrote to her husband Alfred Stieglitz. "She still loves him but is finding herself. The name conveys the feeling of the opera, though really it could have been called O’Keefe on a Train or Georgia on my Mind," jokes Campbell. Opera Parallèle, run by music director Nicole Paiement and creative director Brian Staufenbiel, of course, is no stranger to powerful women. Paiement is a rarity as a female conductor and a force of nature, who came to rehearsal straight from the airport after being at Seattle Opera where she was leading performances of  The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. "It has been the best working with Nicole and Brian," says Kaminsky. "The visual component so important to Opera Parallèle," adds Campbell, which is essential in this piece about a painter and includes film work from Reed who has been given permission to use O’Keefe’s work, no small feat. The chamber opera is only 80 minutes, scored for 11 musicians and 8 singers, without an intermission. "The music is meditative and reflective," says Paiement in a quick interview with me during a rehearsal break. "Laura’s music doesn’t shy away from being textural, she is almost European in sensibility. It is very detailed work." Easily assimilated https://parterre.com/2019/03/19/easily-assimilated/ parterre box urn:uuid:677d52d0-3561-d9a2-3187-d7e24052c48e Tue, 19 Mar 2019 16:43:49 +0000 I’ve never liked the term “crossover.” <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61372" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/isabel-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/isabel.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/isabel-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />I’ve never liked the term “crossover.” It makes it sound like such a big deal—a rite of passage almost, or at least something that requires a roadmap and a visa. Why can’t we just have classical singers doing popular music (also the other way around, though that’s rarer) working with their own sound and instincts to explore another idiom? <span id="more-61371"></span></p> <p>I like to think Leonard Bernstein would agree with me—he was, after all, the King of (oh, alright) Crossover.</p> <p>It would be hard to imagine a concert that better exemplified the goal of seamlessly blending classical song and cabaret than Philadelphia Chamber Music Society’s program celebrating Bernstein’s vocal music, featuring mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and pianist Ted Sperling.</p> <p>The latter also served as a charmingly conversational spirit guide, putting the material in context and giving the occasional vocal assist when duetting was necessary.</p> <p>If the recital was entirely suitable for the chamber-size Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center (and it was), it would have worked as well at Feinstein’s/54 Below or the Café Carlyle.</p> <p>Actually, I wish Leonard had dispensed with one unwelcome vestige of the recital hall: she used a music stand, which should hardly have been necessary for a recital of entirely English-language (and frankly, not exceptionally difficult) material. It put the chatty mezzo, a communicative artist who speaks directly to the audience, at a disadvantage</p> <p>Still, in their very first selection—“A Little Bit in Love” from <em>Wonderful Town</em>—the two made pretty much the best possible case for themselves as natural Bernstein-isti. Sperling’s witty playing brought a tart suggestion of jazz to the accompaniments.</p> <p>Leonard’s smooth, pearly tone, rich but girlish, was a natural fit for Eileen, and her rhythmic flexibility and characterful delivery of the text were very welcome. The closing song of the official program, the ravishing “Some Other Time” from <em>On the Town</em>, was similarly winning.</p> <p>In between there were more hits than misses, though it was a mixed bag. Frankly, some of the low points were Bernstein’s fault—for all his stellar gifts, his songs meant for the concert platform are often cloying and insubstantial.</p> <p>Even in the best moments, the program worked better in individual bites than as a totality. Lovely as Leonard is, she’s not a vocal or theatrical chameleon. She sounds pretty much the same in everything, whether it’s the lyrical “My House” from <em>Peter Pan</em>, which suits her, or the impetuous “Something’s Coming,” which doesn’t. Taken together, there was a too-great sense of homogeneity.</p> <p>Rather ironically, Leonard seemed not operatic enough for the two numbers that came from Bernstein’s classical repertory. “Take Care of This House,” Abigail Adams’ anthem from the 1976 legendary flop <em>1600 Pennsylvania Avenue</em>, now displays a new sense of topicality and urgency in our dire political climate. It’s a powerhouse solo, but it requires grandeur and sweep beyond what Leonard has to offer.</p> <p>A rather different problem was her winkingly coy take on Dinah’s “What a Movie!” from <em>Trouble in Tahiti</em>, which missed the point of the scene. It’s meant to be at least as sad as it is funny: though Dinah may dish the B-movie she’s just seen, nonetheless she’s besotted by it as an escapist dream-come-true—so much more real to her than her own life.</p> <p>On the other hand, Leonard is really <strong>too </strong>operatic for “Carried Away” from <em>On the Town</em>. The piece is meant to be an opera parody—it needs to sound like she’s trying on a costume, as it were. (The great Betty Comden’s delivery is sheer perfection here.)</p> <p>Still—the positive elements outweighed the misguided ones. Leonard and Sperling closed the afternoon with two delightful encores: “I Am Easily Assimilated” from <em>Candide</em>, which allowed the singer to display a mischievous Latin side; and a lump-in-the-throat, sing-along “Somewhere.”</p> <p>The audience went home happy, that’s for sure.</p> Jump for my love https://parterre.com/2019/03/19/jump-for-my-love/ parterre box urn:uuid:5313f02c-a0c5-dea9-fae9-6f7f9283d022 Tue, 19 Mar 2019 14:11:21 +0000 Soprano<strong> Iulia Isaev</strong> proved to be in just about every way a lovely Tosca. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61364" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jump-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jump.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/jump-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Last night at the Met the main event—as planned, anyway—was the debut of the celebrated bass-baritone <b>Wolfgang Koch</b> as Scarpia. But another newcomer, this one jumping on on just a few hours&#8217; notice, to my mind nabbed the show to herself. <span id="more-61351"></span></p> <p>Soprano<strong> Iulia Isaev</strong> took on the title role on less than a day&#8217;s notice upon the announced illness of <strong>Jennifer Rowley </strong>(who, while we&#8217;re on the subject, surely couldn&#8217;t have been the original casting for this revival. Not starry enough.)</p> <p>Anyway, Isaev proved to be in just about every way a lovely Floria, beginning with one of those &#8220;typically Romanian&#8221; warm, soft-grained lyric sopranos brimming with <em>des larmes dans la voix. </em>There was a hint of <strong>Angela Gheorghiu</strong> in the soprano&#8217;s gentle legato and febrile stage presence.</p> <p>The highlight, not only of her performance but of the whole night, was &#8220;Vissi d&#8217;arte,&#8221; meltingly sung in a shimmering mezza voce with a charming sense of humility. It was moving to hear a Tosca who genuinely seems pious rather than wallowing in self-pity, or, as another interpreter of this role did earlier this season, to jettison the religious entirely in quest of flaunting diminuendo effects.</p> <p>The very top of the voice is a bit suspect, with the act two high C&#8217;s all flying wild. The one in the last act, though, landed and lacerated.</p> <p>Isaev proved herself always an adept stage technician. Despite the pointless and distracting rake on <strong>John Macfarlane</strong>&#8216;s fussy period sets, the soprano executed every cross and gesture with accuracy and even a certain ladylike grace.</p> <p>She proved particularly meticulous at rearranging the train on her second act frock, which mysteriously has since the New Year morphed from an anachronistic off-the-shoulder 1960s&#8217;s mother of the bride&#8217;s dress into something suggesting an Empire court gown.</p> <p>If the level of care Isaev took with her stage movement left Tosca seeming a little less than spontaneous, that&#8217;s a fair trade for so expert and error-free a cover performance. For her heroic effort, this artist—and the Met audience—surely deserve a scheduled reprise or two.</p> <p>Koch&#8217;s strong point as Scarpia was a distinctive dramatic take, with a chalky face, sunken eyes and a wearily courtly demeanor. He moved slowly and deliberately, letting his immense size dominate the surroundings.</p> <p>The part is very much in his voice, a cultured snarl in the middle giving way eventually to some veristic half-shouted high notes. The complete effect was perhaps not the most electrifying, but it was consistent and I think all the more menacing for its subtlety.</p> <p>Though announced as having a cold, <strong>Joseph Calleja</strong> was in excellent voice as Cavaradossi; so much so, in fact, that I’m afraid he got a little mannered in &#8220;E lucevan le stelle.&#8221;</p> <p>Those silverly pianissimi are just as pretty as can be, but it&#8217;s a little off-putting to see a man on the brink of death acting quite so self-conscious about spinning our his ravishing tones. The effect was that the condemned man foreswore his final meal in favor of spending his last moments reviewing his Marchesi exercises.</p> <p>On my fourth viewing of this <strong>David McVicar</strong> production I was seated on the house right side, which means I finally got to see Tosca&#8217;s entrance (from a tiny side door tucked behind the proscenium, effectively killing any chance of entrance applause for the diva.)</p> <p>Of course that vantage point also gave me a perfect view of the distracting Te Deum chorus, which for all the world looks like an entire touring company of<em> Pride and Prejudice</em> dropped in to take Communion.</p> <p>Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera</p> In dreams https://parterre.com/2019/03/19/in-dreams/ parterre box urn:uuid:6bf224e6-011d-9c79-5c9a-069e32f81825 Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:18:27 +0000 All these events are simply too big for a one-act opera. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61362" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/american-dream-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/american-dream.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/american-dream-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, he set in motion one of the most shameful chapters in American history: the incarceration in internment camps of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans for the duration of World War II. <span id="more-61361"></span></p> <p>One family’s experience in being torn from the home they loved forms one of the major subjects of <strong>Jack Perla</strong> and <strong>Jessica Murphy Moo</strong>’s opera <em>An American Dream</em>, first performed by Seattle Opera in 2015 and brought to Chicago by Lyric Opera Unlimited.  Set in the Kobayashi family’s home on Puget Sound, the overly ambitious piece covers the period 1942-1945 in a 75-minute chamber opera.</p> <p>The opera begins with the family reading headlines about Japanese-American families being taken by the FBI, and trying to destroy all vestiges of their Japanese identity. Daughter Setsuko refuses to give up a treasured doll, and hides it under floorboards.</p> <p>Meanwhile American veteran Jim Crowley and his German Jewish wife Eva appear, Jim believing he can get the Kobayashis to sell their house to him for much less than it is worth.  When the FBI, finding dynamite in the Kobayashi’s shed, comes for the father, in desperation he signs the document selling the house to Jim.</p> <p>Soon the mother and daughter Kobayashi are sent to the camps, but not before and angry Setsuko steals a letter meant for Eva Crowley, and the Crowleys move in to the house.  In a subplot that really doesn’t work, Eva pines for her mother and father in Germany, and Jim has saved a room in the house for “when they come.”</p> <p>After her mother dies in the camp, Setsuko returns to the house to confront Jim.  Eva has found her doll and returns it to Setsuko, who gives her the letter that she had taken. Eva reads the letter and collapses—her parents had been shot and killed three years earlier.</p> <p>All these events are simply too big for a one-act opera.  The work is at its best as a meditation on the nature of what “home” really means, and at its most moving as the Crowleys and the Koyabashis realize they can’t go home again.</p> <p>But covering the whole story of the internment camp with the addition of Holocaust references really needs at least one full length opera, if not two. Nevertheless, <em>An American Dream </em>tries nobly to illuminate these events in a deeply personal way, and the result is a touching and occasionally moving afternoon.</p> <p>Perla’s music is fluid, transparent, sometimes jazzy, and always intriguing under the incisive baton of conductor Daniella Candillari.  Its best moment is in the overture, evoking the idyllic Puget Sound setting.  At times, a certain sameness creeps in, but the music of the final confrontation scene between Jim and Setsuko powerfully underscores the high emotion of the scene.</p> <p>Ms. Moo’s libretto works well in dialogue, but floats into philosophical platitudes when the characters have moments of rumination.</p> <p>The singing is of a very high caliber.  <strong>Nina Yoshida Nelsen</strong>, who has sung the role of Mama since its first performance in Seattle, gives a touching and heartfelt performance.  <strong>Ao L</strong>i’s soft-grained bass-baritone provides a Makoto Kobayashi of depth and dignity.</p> <p><strong>Christopher Magiera</strong> works hard to make something of the “ugly American” stereotype of the blustering Jim, and finds some success in the later moments of the piece. <strong>Catherine Martin</strong> as Eva has the largest voice of the cast and impresses with superb diction and depth of interpretation.</p> <p>But vocal honors go to the remarkable young singer<strong> So Young Park</strong> as the daughter Setsuko, using her shimmering soprano to move from childish innocence at the beginning to embittered fury after her experience in the camp.  Her tirade against Jim in the final scene is harrowing, Setsuko repeating the phrase “Do you recognize me?” to powerful effect.</p> <p>I’d love to see the composer and librettist expand their ideas into a full-length opera that would allow for further plot and character development than the one-act form allows. It’s already serving an educational function—I learned a great deal that I didn’t know about the internment experience in the pre-show film that played in the lobby.</p> <p>But <em>An American Dream </em>gives us only hurried glimpses into this complex story.</p> <p>Photo: Todd Rosenberg</p> Our heroine https://parterre.com/2019/03/19/our-heroine/ parterre box urn:uuid:51c25a21-a1de-3244-bc0a-894de4c6d5f9 Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:09:08 +0000 Happy 73rd birthday soprano<strong> Diana Soviero</strong>. <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-61358" src="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/soviero-518x350.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="350" srcset="https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/soviero.jpg 518w, https://parterre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/soviero-250x169.jpg 250w" sizes="(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px" />Happy 73rd birthday soprano<strong> Diana Soviero</strong>. <span id="more-61357"></span></p> <p>httpvh:/</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9DJd2vyRuw">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9DJd2vyRuw</a></p> <p>Three Metropolitan Opera premieres on this date:</p> <p>In 1884 Meyerbeer&#8217;s <em>Les Huguenots</em> (Marcella Sembrich, Italo Campanini and Chrstine Nilsson.)<br /> httpvh:/</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=hurto7StPYU">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=hurto7StPYU</a></p> <p>In 1913 Mussorgsky&#8217;s <em>Boris Godunov</em> (Adamo Didur, Paul Althouse and Louise Homer.)<br /> httpvh:/</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnwPanJx028">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnwPanJx028</a></p> <p>In 2001 Prokofiev&#8217;s <em>The Gambler</em> (Vladimir Galouzine, Olga Guryakova and Elena Obraztsova; conducted by Valery Gergiev)<br /> httpvh:/</p> <p><a href="//www.youtube.com/watch?v=icpHzlFVGp0">//www.youtube.com/watch?v=icpHzlFVGp0</a></p> Opera Review: The Wasted Generation http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/03/opera-review-wasted-youth.html Superconductor urn:uuid:435daae7-885f-f6b5-ecec-a96341a86b38 Mon, 18 Mar 2019 20:58:42 +0000 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div><b>The Washington National Opera brings back the Robert Carsen production of <i>Eugene Onegin.</i></b></div><div>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://2.bp.blogspot.com/-L11TIm6GLxg/XI_O3Fbd6dI/AAAAAAAAVeU/lhoCFqjro60tGbe5xaZgRD2n6kEP1GUtgCLcBGAs/s1600/image.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="600" data-original-width="900" height="426" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-L11TIm6GLxg/XI_O3Fbd6dI/AAAAAAAAVeU/lhoCFqjro60tGbe5xaZgRD2n6kEP1GUtgCLcBGAs/s640/image.jpeg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Anna Nechaeva falls hard for the title character in Tchaikovsky's <i>Eugene</i> <i>Onegin</i>.<br />Photo courtesy the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center.</td></tr></tbody></table>You can take a boy out of New York City but you can’t take New York out of the boy. That aphorism seems to apply to Sunday’s matinee performance of <i>Eugene</i> <i>Onegin </i>by the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.&nbsp;This production, the WNO’s first staging of Tchaikovsky’s opera in thirty years, uses the Robert Carsen production that premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1997. It is still handsome and minimalist, playing out the drama in a box of plain white wall.s the characters move through drifts of leaves, elegantly attired and perching on antique furniture in this stark landscape.</div><div><a name='more'></a><br /></div><div><i>Onegin</i>&nbsp;represents a revolution in the history of Russian opera. It eschews historical pageantry and myth for a small, &nbsp;intimate story of frustrated love among the minor aristocracy. Although it starts with a country idyll, matters quickly turn dark, leading to an argument&nbsp;<span style="font-family: &quot;helvetica neue light&quot; , , &quot;helvetica&quot; , &quot;arial&quot; , sans-serif;">between friends that has fatal consequences. Tchaikovsky adopted his text directly from Pushkin's play, and the opera's conversational style can be a challenge to an audience, who are waiting for the flights of lyric beauty that assure this opera's place in the repertory.&nbsp;</span></div><div><br /></div><div>The cast was front-loaded with fine young Russian singers, veterans of the Bolshoi stage. First among these was baritone Igor Golovatenko in the title role. He played the character as a callow idiot, whose spurning of the love of Tatiana sparks the butter tragedy that follows. While it could be argued that he learns about love (the hard way), he winds up with nothing and no-one. His light, pliant baritone smoothed and thickened as the opera progressed, reaching full power in the final Act III confrontation with Tatiana as Onegin realizes what he has lost.</div><div><br /></div><div>Tatiana is the pivotal role in this opera, and one of the finest soprano parts in the Russian repertory. Here, the part was sung by Anna Nechaeva, a veteran of the Bolshoi stage who was making her company debut. This is a sweetish, slightly dry soprano with a lovely way of cutting into a big phrase, her Letter Scene (where Tatiana spills out her feelings by writing to Onegin) held the audience rapt has she arced smoothly into each new lyrical phrase. She sang with power and flexibility in the final act, adding a cold and regal quality to her acting in the third act but the voice lost none of its bloom.</div><div><br /></div><div>The third key character is Lensky, who goes from &nbsp;sidekick to murder victim after he challenges Onegin to a duel to the death. The breakdown of his friendship with Onegin was carefully played, bursting from nowhere in a blossom of <i>angst</i>. In “Kuda, kuda, kuda,” tenor Alexey Dolgov brought a sweet and pensive quality to the famous number, leaving the sad minor-key music with a sense of disbelief that he was about to engage in this stupid and pointless duel.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Following the murder of Lensky, the opera jumps five years between the second and third acts. We see Onegin at a St. Petersburg society party, having traveled far from home to escape justice for killing his friend. He meets Tatiana, now married to the older, wealthy military veteran Gremin. In that role, bass Erik Halfvarson effectively stole the first scene of Act III, singing his aria with resonant power, presence and feeling. Mr. Halfvarson is known for playing bad guys like Hagen and the Grand Inquisitor, and he seemed to relish the opportunity to play a more sympathetic figure.</div><div><br /></div><div>The supporting cast was strong across the board. As Olga, Lindsay Ammann sang with bright tone, contrasting Ms, Nechaeva. Veteran mezzo so Elenz Zaremba and Victoria Livengood were Madame Larina and the Nurse, the latter overcoming a small illness to deliver a credible performance. The chorus, ballet and dancers carried themselves well through Tchaikovsky's waltzes, although the famous Polonaise was staged as an intermezzo between the second and third acts with stage business replacing the typical dance number.<br /><br />If you enjoyed this article, it's time to click over to <i>Superconductor</i>'s <a href="https://www.patreon.com/Superconductor"><b>Patreon page</b></a>, and help support the cost of independent music journalism in New York City at the low cost of just $5/month.</div></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/blogspot/BjiCs/~4/9wFVgYnXLKI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>