Monday, October 15, 2012

Joyce DiDonato Discusses Autumn Release For EMI

Watch a video of mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato discussing her upcoming release on EMI titled Drama Queens. Lots of footage from the recording sessions as well. Order the album by clicking here.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

What the FACH? Christine Goerke Transitions From Mozart to Strauss

"What the FACH?" is a new addition to the Opera Fresh blog that examines the transition from one vocal category to another of a completely different nature. Up first is a performance of Christine Goerke singing "Come Scoglio" from Così fan Tutte by Mozart in 2001 and the other taken from a 2008 performance that honors her upcoming opening at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the title role of Elektra by Strauss.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When One Legend Inspires Another Legend

Madame Callas looms large in the work space of former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland

Be sure to watch the trailer for the new film "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel" by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anna Netrebko Prepares For Verdi Roles and Future Recording

Photo: Ruven Afanador
"The soprano needs no prompting to name the roles she expects to sing in the not-too-distant future. Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" is an obvious one; she is to open the Met's 2013-14 season with it. And having received mixed reviews in Massenet's "Manon" at the Met last season, she will try "Manon Lescaut," Puccini's take on the character, rumored for Munich in 2014. Ms. Netrebko is also promising new roles by Verdi, including Leonora in "Il Trovatore" and the title character in his little-known "Giovanna d'Arco." But the part she seems most excited about is Lady Macbeth in Verdi's treatment of Shakespeare's Scottish play. "It is coming, but not that soon," she said. "As a soprano who sings Lucia di Lammermoor, I have the high notes and the trills. No problems there. But going into the low registers is lots of work." To underscore her commitment, she mentions a recently completed recording of Verdi arias—"my new repertoire"—to be released by Deutsche Grammophon next year." [Source]

Vintage Clips of June Anderson Singing Music of Verdi

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jason Forbach Studied Opera Before Turning to Broadway Career

"Jason Forbach has always had music in his heart. As a child, he enjoyed listening to music with his headphones and singing along. As he grew, he knew that music was the passion he wanted to pursue. He studied Opera at the New England Conservatory and thought that was the musical path he would take. Later, Jason headed to New York City and tried his hand at musical theatre. It wasn’t long after arriving in NYC that Jason got his first big break and later a new opportunity to perform in Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas. After 3 years in Vegas, Jason returned to NYC and landed a role in the U.S. Touring Production of Les Misérable. As Jason continues his role as Enjolras, he sees it as a chance to give back and share the music he loves so much. Jason is in San Francisco for 7 weeks while Les Misérable plays at the Orpheum, I had a chance to speak with him and have him share his interests, talents and passion." Read the interview here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jane Eaglen Passes On Her Wagner Know-How To Young Singers

Soprano Jane Eaglen with young artist Kirsten Hart
"Who knows where the next great Brunhilde may come from? You might want to keep a sharp eye on Kirsten Hart, a Portland-based singer who is one of twelve singers selected for Wagner Intensive, a unique (July 18-28) institute that Jane Eaglen and Tim Mussard co-direct at Baldwin Wallace University for up-and-coming Wagnierian singers. Hart is one of those young singers who has been flying under the radar. With a Bachelors in music from Pacific University and an Masters of Music from Portland State University, Hart has spent the last few years singing with the Portland Opera Chorus. But now she might be onto something really big." Read the interview here.

Russian-American Artist, Elizaveta, Defines Electro-Pop-Opera Sound

Glamour: You combine classical, electronic, and opera so beautifully. What inspired you to mix all the styles of music?
Elizaveta: First of all thank you! Secondly, I think I have a gift for mixing and matching things that would not at first glance--or listen--go together. It applies to my fashion choices, as well. I have a classical background, but I was always in love with good pop. Along came rock, jazz, soul, electronica, and I absorbed all those and I guess my creative output these days mirrors that. As long as the emotion is there and the song is good, I use all the colors in my palette to make the magic happen.
Glamour: What's on your playlist right now?
Jamie Lidell, Selah Sue, Groove Armada, Peter Gabriel, New Order, Frank Ocean, Verdi, Mumiy Troll, Cinematic Orchestra, and Nina Hagen. [Source]

Lesley Garrett Surprises Cyclists With Operatic Rendition of Anthem

"Cycling champ Bradley Wiggins was in visible pain last night – as opera diva Lesley Garrett blasted Paris with the national anthem. Wiggins stood high on the winner’s podium as the classical singer warbled a particularly grating version of 'God Save The Queen.' The 32-year-old cyclist and Mod fan was handed the winner's trophy bowl then, with a pained expression, listened to Garrett, who was clad in a Union Jack dress. Teammate Chris Froome and Italian Vicenzo Nibali, who finished the Tour de France second and third respectively, looked on expressionless." [Source] See an image of Lesley Garrett singing, after the jump.

Domingo, Terfel and Fleming Bring Olympic Spirit to London Opening

Opera singer Renee Fleming performs
"Vissi d'Arte" on stage during the Opening
Ceremony of the 124th IOC Session, prior

to the start of the London 2012
Olympic Games at The Royal Opera House
on July 23, 2012 in London, England.
"It's not often that Placido Domingo is upstaged at the Royal Opera House. Yet flamboyant London Mayor Boris Johnson managed to pull it off at a star-studded Olympic gala on Monday night. Opera stars Domingo, Renee Fleming and Bryn Terfel were the headline performers at the opening ceremony of the International Olympic Committee session at the famous venue in Covent Garden. But it was Johnson who brought the house down with his bombastic recital — in ancient Greek — of a Pindaric Ode for the London Games. After the Greek version, he paused and said 'which roughly translates as' before reading out the ode in English. It included word plays on the names of Olympic champions, including the 'lighting bolt around the track.' Pindar was an ancient Greek lyric poet famous for his victory odes. Johnson, who studied classics at Oxford, commissioned the poem for the games. It was written by Oxford academic Armand D'Angour and consists of six verses in rhyming couplets. Johnson received a huge round of cheers, applause and whistles from the packed theater, a bigger ovation than that received later for Domingo and Terfel's duet performance of Bellini's final opera and Fleming's Puccini aria." [Source]

Couple Reveals How They Make It Work in the Opera Industry

Opera lovebirds in real-life and onstage: Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello.
"Life can be complicated when you have two soaring opera careers under the same roof. Soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Stephen Costello estimate that in their first two years of marriage, they were together for five months. 'We wonder how opera singers and performers used to be able to function without cell phones and Internet,' Costello said last week at Music Hall. This month, the stars don’t need to gaze into each other’s eyes via Skype. They are performing the leading roles of operatic lovers Violetta and Alfredo in Cincinnati Opera’s La Traviata, Thursday and Saturday in Music Hall, to close the opera season." Read more of the article here. Learn about the Cincinnati Opera production of La Traviata and purchase tickets here.

Minnesota Opera Names New President and General Manager

"The Minnesota Opera today made it official and named interim leader Kevin Ramach (right) the company's new president and general manager. Ramach took the reins at the Opera earlier this year after the abrupt departure of Allan Naplan who resigned in March for personal reasons. Naming Ramach to the job gives the organization a little more certainty as it enters its important 50th anniversary season ion the fall. When asked how he feels about taking on the new permanent job at a time of a rocky economy, he said he's already enjoyed the support of the creative team at the Opera, and knows from experience about the enthusiasm of the Minnesota Opera audience. 'I am more excited actually than nervous,' he said. 'I think there will be tough days and those things we will just get through if we all work together.'" [Source]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Echo Klassik 2012 Awards Renée Fleming and Klaus Floridan Vogt

"Die Sopranistin Renée Fleming und der Tenor Klaus Florian Vogt erhalten den Musikpreis Echo Klassik 2012. Fleming und Vogt werden als Sänger des Jahres geehrt, wie die Deutsche Phono-Akademie mitteilte. Als Dirigent des Jahres wird Riccardo Chailly ausgezeichnet. Unter den Preisträgern ist auch die Geigerin Anne Sophie Mutter. Sie wird für die 'Konzerteinspielung des Jahres, 20./21. Jahrhundert' in der Kategorie Violine ausgezeichnet. Die Verleihung findet am 14. Oktober in Berlin statt." [Source]

Watch Renée Fleming sing "Un bel di" at the Queen's Jubilee:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Anna Netrebko Hometown Receives Aid From Valery Gergiev

"O diretor do Teatro Mariinsky de São Petersburgo, maestro Valery Gergiev, tomou a decisão de doar, aproximadamente, R$ 62 mil, arrecadados durante a última apresentação da casa de espetáculos no domingo, 8, às vitimas de enchentes que atingiram a região de Krasnodar. Neste dia, no âmbito de XX Festival Musical Noites Brancas, no palco subiram a Orquestra Sinfônica sob a direção do maestro, os solistas de ópera Olga Sergueeva e Yuri Vorobiov e o pianista japonês, cego de nascença, Nobuyuki Tsiji. A mesma quantia o Teatro irá transferir ao fundo para as vitimas das enchentes na Kuban, depois do concerto da Anna Netrebko que será realizado no Teatro Mariinsky, no dia 20 de julho. Segundo a representante do Teatro, a solista Anna Netrebko também nasceu em Krasnodar e, para ela, esta atitude representa um gesto de apoio aos seus conterrâneos." [Source]

Young Singers Earn Top Prizes in Vienna Singing Competition

"A South Korean tenor beat out 3,000 other up-and-coming opera talents Sunday to win first prize in the 31st annual International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. The bespectacled Beomjin Kim, 22, soared to the top with his rendition of Italian composer Gabriele [sic] Donizetti's 'Tombe degli avi miei,' pocketing a 7,000-euro ($8,600) cash prize in the contest aimed at pairing up young talent with industry contacts. Fellow South Korean soprano Sang-Ah Yoon won third place, with South African soprano Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi coming in second, at the top voice competition named after a former head of the Vienna Chamber Opera. Following preliminary rounds in 50-some cities across the globe from March to June, the best 138 singers took the stage in Vienna in early July before being whittled down to the top 14 in Sunday's finals. Along with her 3,500-euro second-place prize, Mkhwanazi, 26, won both the audience award and the media prize, each worth 1,500 euros. Sang-Ah Yoon, 24, went home with a 2,500-euro third prize." [Source]

British Beer Takes Aim At Young Demographic With Opera

"SABMiller has launched an opera for its Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand in the UK to help take advantage of increasing demand for world beers. The company's Miller Brands unit in the country said Opera Di Peroni, which opened in London's Regent's Park on Thursday, aims to attract interest in the brand for the summer. The open-air opera will tour London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester over the next two months. 'The performances will appeal to Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s key demographic and reach a new generation of opera fans,' said director of customer marketing at Miller Brands Lucy Jordan. 'The world beer category is growing three times faster than the total lager category, showing that beers like Peroni Nastro Azzurro provide the opportunity to maximise profits.' Peroni is the top-seller in the world beer market in the UK, Jordan said. The opera tour will be supported by a partnership with the Guardian newspaper, which will run advertising for the event."[Source]

From the World of Marvel Comics Comes a Rock Opera

The co-creator of superheroes like Spider-Man, the Hulk and the X-Men is preparing a rock opera that will be presented in Macau. Marvel Comics former president Stan Lee recently revealed to American media that his company, “POW! Entertainment”, where he serves as chairman and chief creative officer, was developing a live rock-opera style theatrical musical called Yin Yang: The Battle of Tao. 'It’s a big live-action musical in which the audience actually plays a role—that’s never been done before. It’s so big we may open it up in a theater in Macau, because there’s no theater in the Western hemisphere big enough to handle this show!'" [Source]

Vancouver Receives Grant For Film About Iraq War Opera

"City Opera Vancouver has received US$100,000 to finance a documentary film about its new chamber opera which explores the tragedy of the Iraq War. The U.S.-based Annenberg Foundation has provided the grant for the film about the making of the opera Fallujah, City Opera announced today. The opera was inspired by the experiences of former U.S. Marine Christian Ellis, who took part in the invasion of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004....City Opera Vancouver is a professional company whose other commissions include the Margaret Atwood opera Pauline and Brokeback Mountain based on the Annie Proulx short story. [Source]

Bats, Beetles and Opera Singers Don't Mix Well For Outdoor Concerts

Opera Holland Park at night (Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen)
"As she settled into the rhythm of her aria, Julia Riley, singing Dorabella in our current production of Cosí fan tutte, felt something scramble on to her hand. With a thousand people hanging on her every word, she glanced down to see a small bat hanging nonchalantly from her wrist. Impressively, she continued as if nothing had happened but a nearby chorus member almost levitated sideways into the arms of fellow chorister squealing 'hold me, hold me!'" Read more about the dangers of performing outdoors at the Opera Holland Park by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sydney Opera House Hosts Second Sold-Out Lady Antebellum Show

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

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

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

Anne Midgette Breaks News of Scheppelmann Leaving Post

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

Design Firm aka Hopes to Attract Young Audience with Campaign

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

Conductor Philippe Jordan Sets His Sights on Vienna Opera

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

Orfeo Releases New Strauss CD With Soprano Anne Schwanewilms

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

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

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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Coke Zero Commercial Brings Sweet Operatic Joy For Prisoner Release

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

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TIME Magazine Features Opera Twins Christopher and David Alden

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

Fleming and Boe Sing Bernstein on Buckingham Balcony

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

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Lily Pons

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Resident Artists of Opera San Jose Strike a Glamorous Pose

Click the image to see a larger version. Read more about the young singers here.

This Isn't Bach's "Magnificat" By Any Stretch of the Imagination

"After a difficult day, Paolo rushed from the American offices in Torino, climbing up the hills to Montgenevre just over the French border. Phone dead, car stopping and starting, navigating road construction, he was going to be late for their anniversary dinner at their Palazzo." What is being sold? John Saint-Denis candles. The music is "Magnificat" by Mina (and if you're looking for that Bach, watch "Et exultavit" from the Magnificat here). The star of the commercial is Peter Calandra. This isn't the first time he has sold household necessities. Check out his ad for Johnathon Abrielle sheets after the jump.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Justin Bieber Performs on Top of the Opera House in Oslo, Norway

"The pop star responded to the mass chaos in Oslo, requesting that his fans 'please listen' to law enforcement officers. Bieber fever has reached epic proportions in Norway. Oslo police reportedly are on the verge of declaring a state of emergency after tens of thousands of Justin Bieber fans turned out for the singer’s appearance at the city’s famed opera house. Bieber is scheduled to perform four new songs during the show, which is being filmed as part of his Around the World TV special. TMZ reports that police have lost control of the massive crowd and have asked the pop star to take the stage early in an attempt to control the chaos. Bieber is said to be currently waiting in a secret location before he is helicoptered to the stage. Bieber pleaded with his fans on Twitter, writing, 'NORWAY – please listen to the police. I don’t want anyone getting hurt. I want everything to go to plan but your safety must come first.'" [Source] Watch a video clip after the jump.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Anita Cerquetti

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Santa Fe Opera Makes Vogue Magazine's "30 Days of Summer"

"On the desert’s most enchanting stage, the Santa Fe Opera’s 2012 season kicks off with Puccini’s Tosca, which hasn’t been performed in the open-air theater–against the backdrop of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains—in eighteen years." [Source]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Summer Release to Include Renée Fleming's Greatest Hits

The Art of Renée Fleming
Bellini: Casta Diva (from Norma)
Bernstein: Somewhere (from West Side Story) with Placido Domingo (tenor)
Catalani: Ebben? Ne andrò lontana (from La Wally)
Cilea: Io son l'umile ancella (from Adriana Lecouvreur)
Dvorak: Mesícku na nebi hlubokém 'Song to the Moon' (from Rusalka)
Gershwin: Summertime (from Porgy and Bess)
Gounod: Ah! Je veux vivre dans ce rêve (from Roméo et Juliette)
Gounod: Ave Maria
Handel: Ombra mai fu (from Serse)
Korngold: Glück, das mir verbleib 'Marietta's Lied' (from Die Tote Stadt)
Puccini: Vissi d'arte (from Tosca)
Puccini: Un bel di vedremo (from Madama Butterfly)
Puccini: O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi)
Schubert: Ave Maria, D839
Bonus tracks:
15. Wheels of a Dream [with Bryn Terfel]
16. Amazing Grace
17. Rodgers - Carousel / You’ll Never Walk Alone
18. Hallelujah – [new cut]

Release dates: USA - June 12 / UK - June 4 / Japan - June 20

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mariella Devia Sings Guilietta's Aria "Oh! Quante Volte" by Bellini

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Cristina Deutekom

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Whoopi Goldberg "GLEE" Role Mixes Master Class and Leontyne Price

Whoopi Goldberg joined the cast of Fox's Glee for three episodes in May. The Academy Award-winning actress plays the character of Carmen Tibideaux, a theater veteran and professor at The New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts that Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) have applied to and must audition for entrance. "Carmen is the Dean of
The original turban diva: Ms. Price
Vocal Performance and Song Interpretation at NYADA and is an extremely accomplished performer and singer. She is generally considered to be admonishing and strict, but kind enough and very open to new students and ideas. Carmen makes her appearance being escorted into the hall by Will Schuester to oversee the auditions of Kurt and Rachel. Backstage, both Rachel and Kurt show extreme anxiety over the knowledge of their NYADA educator as she is revealed to be one of NYADA's most infamous alumni, a profound Broadway and opera performed and the recently appointed Dean of Vocal Performance and Song Interpretation travelling around the country to handpick the students for her own inaugural class." It is obvious from her name (a strange
Leontyne Price with Oscar de la Renta
cross between Bizet's opera Carmen and an real life opera-loving pianist Jean Yves-Thibaudet) to her signature turbans (made popular by soprano Leontyne Price), that her character is meant to invoke memories of Terrance McNally's play Master Class which re-tells the story of Maria Callas at Juilliard in the early 1970s. Although not quite on that level of grandiosity (the role was played by the likes of Zoe Caldwell, Faye Dunaway, Patti Lupone, and most recently, Tyne Daly), Ms. Goldberg does a fine job of portraying a diva with an elevated sense of importance bestowing her wisdom of the human voice and its production. Continue watching for more of her fine character through the end of May. [Source, Source] A few more images of Leontyne Price in turban, after the jump.

Remembering Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (May 28, 1925 - May 18, 2012)

Click on the above photo for a wonderful profile by The New York Times.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daphne Guinness Discusses Her Love (and Hate) of Opera

PETER BRANT II: I’m musically challenged. I love music, but I can’t play . . . When I was little, I wanted to be a child prodigy, but I was awful at the piano.
DAPHNE GUINNESS: I had an accident with my right hand, so I stopped playing. It had to do with a lawn mower. Can you imagine? I’ve still got scars. I’m almost ambidextrous as well. So I’ve always had this kind of left hand-right hand problem anyway, but my writing on this hand is almost calligraphical now. I don’t know why, because I didn’t ever learn it. My hands kind of work separately. But singing was always very, very, very easy for me. I know in the last few months it doesn’t look like I’m afraid of putting myself out there, but I also have terrible nerves. I don’t think I’m going to be performing any time soon, but I might join a choir.
DAPHNE GUINNESS: Yeah. It would be kind of fun. I always wanted to join the choir up in Harlem. They really know how to sing! That’s really great. I like certain operas. I’m not very keen on Puccini. If I have to see another La Bohème, I’m going to shoot myself. I mean, really. There are certain ones I love like the Ring [cycle], and I love Tristan und Isolde. I love Parsifal. I love Il Trovatore. I love all the Mozart operas. The Magic Flute bothers me because I just don’t like it when there’s no recitative. They start talking in the middle. I don’t like musicals for the same reason. Because when someone suddenly bursts into song in the middle of a sentence, you just think, That’s weird. But I like it when the whole thing is sung.
PETER BRANT II: I love The Marriage of Figaro.
DAPHNE GUINNESS: I can sing that from beginning to end And the Overture . . .

After the jump, an excerpt of Ms. Guinness singing "L'ho perduta, me meschina" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro[Source]

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Suze van Grootel

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Christine Brewer to Sing at Classical Action Fundraiser in NYC

Michael Palm was a most generous and enthusiastic supporter of Classical Action. He was also, more than anyone, the person who spearheaded the concept of private benefit house concerts, hosting several of them himself at his penthouse apartment 37 floors above Lincoln Center. A supporter of a wide range of performing arts and HIV/AIDS organizations, Michael died in 1998, but his memory will thrive in the spirit and name of The Michael Palm Series, to benefit Classical Action.

Michael Palm Series 2011-2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Christine Brewer, soprano
Craig Rutenberg, Piano
New York City

The events begin with wine and hors d'oeuvres at 6:30pm. Concerts begin at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Get a Taste of Damon Albarn's English Opera "Dr. Dee"

More about the work can be found here and another video featuring the composer discussing the work can be found here.

Maestri Barenboim and Muti to Perform For Concerts With Pope

"Riccardo Muti will be conducting a concert in the Vatican in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. He's the second big-name maestro to be conducting for the pope this spring. La Scala opera house announced last week that Daniel Barenboim would conduct Beethoven's Ninth symphony when the pope visits Milan on June 1. According to a statement on his Web site Sunday, Muti will lead Rome's Teatro dell'Opera in selections from Vivaldi and Verdi in the May 11 concert, which is being offered to the pope by Italy's president in honor of the seventh anniversary of his election to the pontificate. Benedict is a classical music aficionado and himself plays the piano. It's not the first time Muti will conduct for a pope: He conducted selections of Verdi in 1983 when Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to attend a performance at La Scala. Muti left La Scala in 2005 amid bitter controversy over artistic and programming differences and is currently music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra." [Source]

Was Bianca Jagger Flashing at Barbican "Einstein on the Beach"?

Bianca, seen here at the Théâtre de France,
in a March 1974 photo shoot for Vogue UK.
"Last Friday, the theatre critic Mark Shenton was distracted from a five-hour performance of Philip Glass's opera Einstein on the Beach by a woman in his row taking photographs with a flash. It turned out to be Bianca Jagger. She had been snapping in defiance, Shenton claims, of complaints from those around her. Jagger has since said that others were taking pictures, too, adding that Shenton insulted and assaulted her. (He denies the latter, but admits the former with some pride.) The rules of behaviour in today's theatre audiences certainly seem to have changed. So, in the spirit of public service, and after consultation with Guardian critics, here is a new code of conduct." [Source] Read more details about the evening here.

Future Warning to All Critics Who Want to Become Composers

"Composer Michael Nyman, who wrote the music for Jane Campion’s 1993 film The Piano and is a long-term collaborator with Peter Greenaway, is furious that the Royal Opera House has rebuffed his approaches to stage a work in Covent Garden — and he has threatened to withdraw his tax in protest. Writing about himself in the third person on Facebook, he comments: 'Michael Nyman has just been informed that the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, will never commission an opera and will therefore spend whatever remains of his creative life without a single note of any of his operas, written or unwritten, represented on the stage of any opera house in the UK, ever. Maybe I should withdraw my tax.' Nyman, whose operas include The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, now lives in Mexico City. He laments: 'They are continuing to pay for new work, but not my work. Maybe they remember when I was a music critic in 1971, there was a laughable production of Rigoletto, which my companion and I laughed at throughout, and John Higgins, arts editor of the Financial Times, complained about ‘two badly behaved people in the Spectator seats’. Enough to kill a career as a composer, I guess.' Over to the Royal Opera House: 'Michael Nyman came to ROH with the proposition for a major operatic piece. Having given serious thought to his suggestion, and listened again to his operatic music in depth, we have decided that for us his musical language is not what we want to pursue in our next commissions. This is not a dismissal of Michael Nyman as a composer in general, nor a statement about the quality of his music, as such things can, of course, not be discussed objectively. In the end, it is a question of taste.'" [Source]

Maurice Sendak, Dead at 83, Remembered For His Work in Opera

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lyric Opera of Chicago Young Artists Leave Crowd Wanting More

Joseph Lim, Tracy Cantin and Kiri Deonarine in Act 2
from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro" (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)
"There can be no higher praise for a concert performance of an isolated opera scene than that it leaves you disappointed not to be hearing the remaining two acts. Such was the case Monday night at Symphony Center, when the Civic Orchestra collaborated with Lyric Opera music director Sir Andrew Davis and singers from the Lyric’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center in a pair of Mozart and Puccini scenes. And while the final act of La boheme had its moments, it was Act 2 of Le nozze di Figaro that was the clear highlight of the evening, and left one wanting more. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that so stellar was the vocalism and spirited portrayals of the principals that any regional American opera house would be lucky to field this group of gifted young singers for their next Figaro production." [Source]

Sierra Casady, of CocoRosie, Has a Classical Background in Opera

"CocoRosie is a musical group formed in 2003 by sisters Bianca 'Coco' and Sierra 'Rosie' Casady. The sisters were born and raised in the United States, but formed the band in Paris after meeting for the first time in years. Their music has been called "freak folk", and incorporates elements of pop, blues, opera, electronica, and hip hop. CocoRosie began as a duo, with Sierra singing, playing the guitar, piano and harp, and Bianca singing and manipulating various children's toys, electronic and percussion instruments, as well as other exotic noisemakers. They subsequently added various backing musicians, usually a bassist, keyboardist, and beatboxer. They have been a very active touring group, playing across Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. They have released four full-length albums: La maison de mon rêve (2004), Noah's Ark (2005), The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn (2007), and Grey Oceans (2010). Sierra Casady was born in Iowa, and Bianca was born in Hawaii. When Sierra was about 5 years old and Bianca 3, their parents separated. The girls lived with their mother, Christina Chalmers, an artist and singer of American Indian and Syrian ancestry who grew up in Iowa. They moved to new towns almost every year, living in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. Because their mother believed that the girls would learn more doing art in the 'real world' than in school, neither sister finished high school. Chalmers nicknamed her daughters 'Rosie' (Sierra) and 'Coco' (Bianca), from which the musical act takes its name. The Casady sisters are now estranged from their father, an Iowa farmer who became interested in American Indian religion. As children, the sisters spent summers with him, while he visited Indian reservations and took part in vision quests. The girls did not enjoy these experiences at the time, but later came to appreciate some of the things that interested him. In 1998, at about age 18, Sierra moved to New York City. Two years later, she moved into a tiny apartment in the Montmartre district in Paris, France, to pursue a career as an opera singer, studying at the Conservatoire de Paris." [Source]

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Margherita Carosio

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Buried (MP3) Treasure: Teresa Berganza

As record labels explore the cost effectiveness of the MP3 format, many are digging deep into their archives to find recorded material to re-issue from previous CD incarnations or in some cases for the first time since their original LP release. Click on the Amazon widget to hear MP3 audio samples.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nicki Minaj Does Her Best Kimera Impression on "Starships"

Well, in the day-glo makeup department at least. Click on each photo to launch a sample of each respective artist's musical "art":

Friday, April 27, 2012

BBC Proms "Classical For Starters" Features Kylie Minogue and More

Saturday, September 8, 5:15 - 10:30 PM in Hyde Park, London
"Join in the Last Night of the Proms celebrations in Hyde Park, as pop superstar Kylie heads a spectacular line-up including English tenor Alfie Boe, operatic pop group Il Divo and the London Community Gospel Choir, with Proms in the Park favourites the BBC Concert Orchestra. Sir Terry Wogan presents the festivities." [Source]

Scientist and Santa Fe Opera Board Member Passes Away

"George Cowan, a chemist who influenced everything from the Manhattan Project and the hunt for evidence of the Soviet Union's first nuclear tests to the iconic Santa Fe Opera, died Friday at his home in Los Alamos. He was 92....Enloe ticked off a list of Cowan's accomplishments that ranged from his scientific accolades and the start of the scientific think tank to the early childhood development programs in New Mexico that he influenced....Then there was Cowan's love of travel, food, wine and music. He served on the board of the Santa Fe Opera and was the first treasurer of the opera's foundation. The venue today draws thousands of visitors from around the world to its unique outdoor stage." [Source]