Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Gratuitous Wednesday – Jakub Józef Orliński at the Eiffel Tower

...and because I need to get a post in before the end of July. This is exquisite, especially considering he is: (1) singing outdoors; (2) miked to death; (3) in a huge, open space; (4) with a giant symphony orchestra (why is there even a harpsichord there?); (5) to an audience who may not have heard of Vivaldi; (6) beneath the Eiffel Tower (I'm not distracted, you're distracted!) The man is charming to watch as well as to listen to. No breakdancing this time, but, oh, what singing!
Thanks to the YT poster who shared this.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Operas Online (Arte Concert Edition) – Some Last Chance Opportunities

Arte Concert has some goodies for us online this summer; and some are going away very soon or sooner. Take some time to enjoy these while they last. In order of disappearance: 

08/20/2019 – Leoncavello: I Pagliacci
08/30/2019 – Gluck: Alceste (not available in U.S. but can be viewed using VPN)
10/26/2019 – Mercadante: Il Bravo
12/13/2020 – Mozart: Thamos

Friday, January 25, 2019

Thomas Hampson – Schubert Master Class in Heidelberg

Schubert master class in Heidelberg. Much good advice for singers. And Mr. Hampson also provides great guidance for the accompanist. I always find a few tidbits I can apply to my own music-making and/or life as well. Highly recommended! And there will be another one tomorrow morning. 

Check here for more information, too. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Aria Code – Redial and Review: Ah fors'è lui...Sempre libera

I finally listened to the first installment of  Aria Code, the new podcast coproduced by WQXR and the Met. Each podcast addresses just one aria, giving it in-depth thought and consideration. Based on this episode, they don't just consider the music or explain the plot; they delve into how the music reflects the character's thoughts and feelings in relation to the story.  

This episode is a refreshing glimpse into the mind of the singer and character as Diana Damrau narrates Violetta's big Act 1 finale. She discusses how the music reflects Violetta's thoughts and emotions. I felt like I was being let in on the musical process, as well as Ms. Damrau's thought process as an actor/singer.

Host Rhiannon Giddens, who studied opera at Oberlin before embarking on a folk music career, called on two additional commentators to reflect on the cultural setting of the opera and the mindset of a woman in Violetta's position: Cori Ellison is the company dramaturg for Santa Fe Opera; and Brooke Magnanti, a writer and former escort (yes, that kind of escort).

The discussion is insightful, thoughtful, and informative; and it’s not overly scholarly or "arch," as some of the official Met podcasts can be. It feels more like a personal analysis than “this is high art” musicology or someone simply describing the plot (which most of us already know, anyway.)

Maybe best of all, this episode concludes with a complete performance of  Ah fors'è lui...Sempre libera by Ms. Damrau. (Each podcast will feature a complete peformance of the aria under discussion.) The only quibble I have with the whole production is the "title" of the episode, which (maybe in my own snobbery) I think: (1) is inaccurate, because Violetta seems classy already; and (2) unnecessarily cheapens the podcast's image. But that is a very minor quibble.

So, I finally listened, and I am glad I did. And now I cannot wait for the next episode. Take a half hour (plus or minus) and check out this wonderful podcast!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Aria Code – A New Opera Podcast

A new opera podcast; one that sounds like it will be a smart, down-to-earth podcast. Rhiannon Giddens hosts: 

"Each episode dives into one aria — a feature for a single singer — and explores how and why these brief musical moments have imprinted themselves in our collective consciousness and what it takes to stand on the Met stage and sing them."
Produced in cooperation with the Metropolitan Opera, the podcast will feature interviews with singers, other musical folks, writers, and other music lovers. This sounds like it will be a lot of fun, and a nice companion to He Sang She Sang and the official Met podcasts.
There's a two-minute intro up now; the first official episode will be available on December 2.

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