Friday, November 9, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

He Sang She Sang – Podcast Reincarnated as Live Facebook Videos

I've  periodically harassed WQXR to ask them to bring back the one-season podcast He Sang She Sang, which presented wonderful insights into upcoming Met opera broadcasts. They've steadfastly ignored me.

Meanwhile, He Sang She Sang sneakily reappeared as video feeds on Facebook. They're now focused more on behind-the-scenes conversations with opera singers. They're a lot of fun; and they're informative. I think they're available only at Facebook; do check them out!

Thomas Hampson on the Singing "Industry"

In a recent interview on a new (to me, but it's been around for about five years) blog, Thomas Hampson talks about how the opera singing industry has changed since he started his career. Back then...

“There was this foregone conclusion that with every operatic role and experience, you should develop into something vocally and theatrically better,” Hampson says. “I don’t see that kind of emphasis today.”
What he does see is a focus not on developing opera singers, but on developing opera productions. With the integrity of a singular production a growing priority, companies are on the hunt for singers who fit a specific aesthetic – be it musical or visual; and in response, singers are training not to become autonomous and unique artists, but to become useful to the operatic industry. In fact, they’re persuaded to do so, Hampson argues. “We no longer encourage young singers to become singers. We teach them how to become voices that are useful for an industry purpose. That bothers me a lot, as a pedagogue.”

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Rush to Judgement – A Reflection Sparked by 2018 Bayreuth

An excerpt from the latest Bayreuth Lohengrin provoked critical comments from opera fans. We know there are many who are willing to criticize a production sight-unseen. Others will reserve judgement till they at least see photos or maybe a 5-minute video.

My readers know by now that I will argue that it’s not fair to pass judgement on a performance without seeing/hearing/experiencing the whole thing.

With most "non-traditional" stagings, it's very hard to grasp a production from excerpts. (Granted, this Lohengrin bit is a nice long excerpt.) Neuenfels' Lohengrin just seems gimmicky if you only see one scene, aria, or chorus; but it made sense (to me) once I watched it through. Decker's Traviata (like it or not) makes a lot more sense when you see it from start to finish, rather than just the Brindisi. And, (one of my unsung—so to speak—favorites) Richard Jones' Boheme from Bregenz (2002) kind of weirded me out until I saw the whole thing.

All we are saying is, “Give (the) Piece a Chance.”

P.S. At this moment, while writing about Lohengrin, I'm listening to a stream of Die Meistersinger, and experiencing what my granddaughter would call "cognitive dissonance" (even though I am pretty certain she's not quite sure what cognitive dissonance means!)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

James Jordan’s Afternoon Delight – Parterre Saturday Webcasts

Those of us who feel lost in the summer without our Saturday Met broadcasts, look no further. Parterre Saturday Afternoon (now playing its ninth show as I type) offers rare/historical/interesting/beautiful (choose all that apply) performances streamed in real time from Parterre Box Presents La Cieca blog site and on YouTube as operazine

Even better, the streams remain on YouTube for future listening. I just caught up with the stream from last week featuring Beverly Sills singing Mozart and Strauss.

Today, in between acts of Gounod’s Faust (an opera I rarely seek out, but always love when I come across it), James offers a two-part interview with tenor Michael Fabiano. James is a font of operatic knowledge to begin with. And Parterre's followers offer humorous and informative thoughts, opinions, gossip, and trivia in the comments sections.

If you're looking for me next Saturday, I'll be at my computer (or on my phone) lisetning to Parterre Saturday Afternoon! Bravo James!! 

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