Friday, May 31, 2013

American Lyric Theater Founder Lawrence Edelson Interviewed

Lawrence Edelson talks with composer Jeremy
Howard Beck (Photo: Steven Meyer)
"I asked ALT founder Lawrence Edelson (who was an apprentice with Boston Ballet before going on to work with Ballet West and Ballet Met Columbus) about the differences between the creation of new works Opera as opposed in Dance. 'Choreographers start as dancers, and dancers spend a lot of time focusing on technique. It's from that solid grounding in technique and exposure to different choreographers' work that new choreographers begin to blossom, pushing what is merely technical, to develop their own vocabulary and their own voice. But it starts with technique. Opera composers and librettists need the opportunity to build skills directly related to Opera that they might not get in a University or Conservatory setting.' Since 2005 when he founded ALT, Edelson has created an organization that focuses on identifying gifted emerging operatic writers, providing those writers with unprecedented professional mentorship, commissioning their first major operatic works, and helping place those operas with producing companies across the country. 'There is no clear path to becoming a writer for the opera stage. Aspiring librettists usually come from playwriting or poetry backgrounds, often with wonderful ideas, but a significant lack of experience and exposure in Opera.' The first year of the program, students are focused on the skills and process of creation -- not the end product. They receive over 60 classes and workshops, totaling over 200 hours over a 10 month period. There are group sessions as well as private mentorships." [Source] Learn more about ALT by clicking here.

Former Home Of Jess Thomas Hosts Golden Gate Opera

The late tenor Jess Thomas seen here in Wagner's Lohengrin.
This evening an event called "Arias on Top of the World," to benefit the Golden Gate Opera's Educational Outreach to School Children, was held at the Tiburon hilltop home originally owned by opera star tenor Jess Thomas. Guests were treated to delicious hors d'oeuvres and wines, mingled with opera fans and friends, all amidst spectacular views of San Francisco Bay. "The featured soprano is Olga Chernisheva, whose spectacular voice moved the crowd when she sang the 'Ave Maria' at Supervisor Charles McGlashen’s memorial service. Rising star Mezzo Anna Yelizarova, another beauty whose voice can move one to tears, will also headline this special gathering. They are accompanied by Maestro Robert Ashens to perform favorites from classic operas including La Boheme, La Traviata, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca. Golden Gate Opera is a tiny local non-profit with a huge outreach mission – to bring the joy and music of opera to Marin’s schoolchildren. General Director Roberta Wain-Becker and the all-volunteer group work tirelessly to raise funds to bring mini-performances of live opera to every school in Marin." [Source] For more about Golden Gate Opera, click here.

Eglise Gutiérrez And Angela Mortellaro Share Thaïs Role At FGO

Susan Janis: FGO General Director & CEO (Photo: Nick Garcia)
"The 2013-2014 season marks the start of a new vision for Florida Grand Opera (FGO) with provocative repertoire curated by Susan T. Danis, the company’s General Director and CEO. With an unyielding commitment to bringing the highest artistic product to South Florida and limited availability of such productions, FGO has decided to postpone Tristan & Isolde for one season and present Jules Massenet’s Thaïs in its place during the 2013-2014 season. 'Since I accepted the position of General Director of Florida Grand Opera I have stated repeatedly and unequivocally that my goal is to present great opera, including exciting productions with world-class singers and thought-provoking repertoire. This community deserves nothing less,' said Danis. 'We have had to postpone Tristan & Isolde for one season due to the challenge of finding a production that fits the stages both in Miami and in Ft. Lauderdale. With the production team making it a priority to find a great production, we will be able to present Tristan & Isolde in all its glory in 2014-2015.'" [Source] The entire cast list and performance dates are after the jump.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Double Lung Transplant Doesn't Stop Soprano From Singing

Read more about Charity Tillemann-Dick by clicking here.

Susan Graham Receives Prestigious Maria Callas Award in Dallas

The winning mezzo-soprano striking
a very Maria Callas-esque pose.
"The Dallas Opera has announced the result of this year's balloting for the 2013 'Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award': American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who made an unforgettable Dallas Opera stage debut in the Winspear just a few short weeks ago. This prestigious award is given to a single performer each season to honor a particularly memorable and outstanding company debut. The selection of Miss Graham, who amazed audiences with her exceptional vocal qualities and powerfully moving portrayal of the inexperienced Tina in Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers, was announced earlier this evening at the annual Board and Trustee Appreciation Dinner, sponsored by Sentient Jet and held in the Crescent Ballroom of the Rosewood Crescent Hotel." [Source]

1890 North Dakota Opera House On Sale For $1.2 Million

"The historic Metropolitan Opera House in downtown Grand Forks might soon have a new owner. The Grand Forks Herald reports that building owner Oriental Avenue LLP is negotiating a sale to Rhombus House of Pizza, the company behind Rhombus Guys pizzerias in Grand Forks, Fargo, and Mentor, Minn. It's not known why the company is interested in the building. The opera house was built in 1890 and is on the National Register of Historic places. It was severely damaged in the 1997 Red River flood and under threat of being demolished before Oriental Avenue bought it and completed renovations. It has 21 apartments on its upper two levels but the 5,000-square-foot first floor has remained vacant. County records show that the building and lot are valued at $1.2 million." [Source] Read more about the history of the opera house here and some information about the current opera lofts here.

Cairo Opera House Protest Causes Cancelled Aida Performance

"Disgruntled artists staged a protest on Tuesday outside the Cairo Opera House in Zamalek, condemning the culture minister's decision earlier in the day to sack head of the opera house, Ines Abdel-Dayem. With car-drivers honking in support, the artists chanted against the ministerial decision, as well as against the minister himself. Alaa Abdel-Aziz was appointed culture minister earlier this month as part of the cabinet reshuffle, and artists responded with concerns about the Brotherhood-affiliated minister. Later in the evening, the audience in the Main Hall of the Cairo Opera House, expecting to watch Verdi's Aida on its closing night, were taken by surprise when the curtains opened to reveal not a performance, but a protest. The

Roman Bath Setting For Purcell's Dido and Aeneas

Katherine Jenkins Dropped By Warner Music Entertainment

Welsh "opera singer" and millionairess Katherine Jenkins
will be left to count her money.
"Katherine Jenkins has been dropped from her record label following a slump in sales and a string of 'diva demands'. Executives at her record company are said to have lost patience after the singer requested up to £1,500-a-day be spent on her styling, hair and make-up during promotional and live events, while the label are understood to have lost around £2m on the star. The move comes just five years after the 32-year-old signed the biggest classical recording deal in history. However, sources have said that the singer was left angered at what she sees as a failure to market and promote her properly. The Welsh mezzo-soprano signed a £5.8m three-album contract with Warner Music Entertainment in 2008 in a bid to try and crack the US market and become a global superstar. Her last album, This is Christmas, was released last year, but peaked at number 26 in the UK album charts, while her previous album for the label, Daydream, reached number six." [Source]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Anna Netrebko Dances Her Ass Off Watching Adam Lambert

Anna Netrebko attended the Life Ball in Vienna on May 25, 2013, draped in €7 million worth of Chopard jewels. The highlight of her evening, however, may have been the Adam Lambert performance. Watch a brief clip of the opera singer dancing to the pop star's song "Love Wins Over Glamour" by clicking here.

Angela Gheorghiu Sings Romanian National Anthem In Celebration

Romania celebrates a Guiness Book of World Records victory as it drapes the largest flag out over
Clinceni Airfield just south of Bucharest. Read the story here and check out two more photos of
the soprano after the jump.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Erwin Schrott Entertains With Lifetango At Life Ball In Vienna

The star baritone sings at the Life Ball 2013 in Vienna. Other guests included Adam Lambert, Roberto Cavalli,
Hilary Swank, Barbara Eden, Greg Louganis, Azealia Banks, Fergie, and Bill Clinton. Find more information
and photos click here (Photo: Facebook).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mario Andretti Takes Puccini For A Spin Around The Track

Watch as racing legend Mario Andretti promotes two perspectives, driver and passenger, as he tops out high speeds with "O Mio Babbino Caro" as the soundtrack.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Edda Moser Recorded Legacy Unearthed By EMI Classics

EMI Classics recently released a 9-CD compilation of many previously unavailable recordings of the German soprano Edda Moser. Following suit of other classical labels, the box-set (Edda Moser - Electrola-Recitals: Oper & Lied) will feature original LP artwork for each disc. A sampling of photos, as well as a review of the deluxe package contents, is after the jump. The item can be found on for an outrageously affordable price of $35.55. Order your copy by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Harolyn Blackwell To Be Part of Kennedy Center Honors Committee

"Under the revised process, the Kennedy Center will begin seeking recommendations from the public for the first time in the award's 35-year history. Recommendations can be submitted online beginning Thursday. The center will also seek more recommendations from a committee of artists. To narrow the roster of potential honorees, the center is forming a new Special Honors Committee. Former honorees Chita Rivera and Yo-Yo Ma will serve on the panel, along with opera singer Harolyn Blackwell, dancer Damian Woetzel and two center board members, Elaine Wynn and Cappy McGarr. From there, the Kennedy Center chairman, president and award producers will create slates of potential honorees to balance the selections across artistic disciplines, and the executive committee of the center's board of trustees will make the final decision." [Source]

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Art of Christiane Eda-Pierre Finally Gets Its Day on Decca

Nearly 2 years ago, a post was developed in the "From the Vault" series on Opera Fresh complaining about the lack of releases from soprano Christiane Eda-Pierre's discography. Well, at long last the public will be able to savor this wonderful artist's catalog drawn from Philips Classics recordings that will be issued now on the Decca label for a launch date of May 27, 2013. Pre-order by clicking here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Renée Fleming in Conversation with Leon Botstein and André Previn

Last night was the finale of Renée Fleming's Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall called "Vienna: Window to Modernity," a thoughtful tribute to the time and place where the European musical tradition, under the influence of literary and visual arts, gave way to the 20th century. Here, Ms. Fleming, composer and conductor André Previn, and conductor and music historian Leon Botstein discuss how several of the major Viennese composers of the period—Korngold, Schoenberg, and Zeisl—spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and how their experiences there differed widely. More information about Renée Fleming's Perspectives at Carnegie Hall is available: and Watch the video clip, along with two previous others, after the jump.

First Public Performance of Anna Netrebko Singing Lady Macbeth

As part of the opening night gala for the new Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, soprano Anna Netrebko sang selections from Macbeth (Verdi), Don Giovanni (Mozart), and Iolanta (Tchaikovsky), extraordinarily back-to-back. Many more pictures, and a video of the entire gala, are after the jump.