Saturday, June 29, 2013

Is a beautiful voice enough?

Brava Jamie Barton!
More than just another
pretty voice!
I would say no, but it's said much more eloquently in this recent article from the Guardian:

As the 30th Cardiff Singer of the World competition nears its climax, we ask the experts what it takes to triumph
The piece includes commentary from singers, coaches, directors, conductors, etc, plus a few audio/video clips. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

First Review (and some audio): "Il Trovatore" bei den Münchner Opernfestspielen

Well, I managed to hear most of the premiere performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore from the Bayrische Staatsoper yesterday (even though: (a) my iPhone died mid-way through the second half; and (b) my boss kept expecting me to be productive). And someone already managed to post a clip (see below).

Bayrische Radio’s reviewer Annika Täuschel notes that Trovatore is full of well-known melodies (at least that’s my translation. The German is ohrwurm-trächtigste; and Google translates that as catchy-gious. Maybe we could say “the most earworm-filled.”) That certainly makes sense, as every other aria, trio, duet, or chorus sounds achingly familiar. And I kept thinking, “Aha! So that’s where that came from!”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

(Early) Gratuitous Friday – Kaufmann and Netrebko sing Verdi

OK, know it's only Thursday, but if I wait till tomorrow to post this, it'll be too late to hear the radio broadcast (unless BR archives it)! Anyway, since it seems to be JK week again here at RnR:

In the spirit of Tuesday's post and as a semi-preview of today’s audio webcast (7 PM CET; around 2 PM Eastern) and next Friday's video webcast from the Bayrische Staatsoper, here are Jonas Kaufmann and (mostly) some soprano (who isn't Anja Harteros) singing an excerpt from Act 4 of Il Trovatore. Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kaufmann Recognized by the Bündnis für Kinder Foundation

Awarded by the Foundation "Alliance for Children" for his commitment to children and young people in particular in the promotion in the field of classical music, Jonas Kaufmann received the "Commitment Award" of the "Alliance for Children" Foundation. The ceremony was on 25 June in the Hubertus Hall on Nymphenburg Palace in the presence of Secretary of State Christine Haderthauer; the award was presented by Nikolaus Bachler, the artistic director of the Bavarian State Opera. 

Daniel Behle’s Lieder Surprise – Schubert's Nachthelle

No, it's not Schubert's hell-night! In German, hell means bright! I know; it's confusing. But the point is, imagine listening to a lovely recording of popular Schubert Lieder sung by a light romantic, lyrical tenor, and all of a sudden...there is a chorus singing—a four-part men’s chorus! 

I’d never heard this piece before and I think it's a beautiful gem. And it certainly was an unexpected surprise in a recording of Schubert Lieder for tenor and piano.  (Is it just me, or is Daniel Behle channeling a bit of  Daniel Craig in this photo?)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Self-Appointed Censors – the Good News and the Bad News

Py's Trovatore with Jonas Kaufmann,  Alexey Markov, and Anja Harteros
The Bad News

They're baaaaack! Intermezzo reports that narrow-minded, Lebrechtian, I-haven't-seen-it-yet-but-I-already-hate-it operati (and most likely non-operati as well)
with tiny brains and too much time on their hands have been ranting that a new opera production nobody's even seen is 'not what the composer wanted'
The Bayrische Staatsoper’s new production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore hasn’t even opened yet, but nay-sayers flooded the Opera’s Facebook page not only with negative feedback about this production but also with ugly personal attacks on the artists and administrators.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gerald Finley is Il Prigioniero (NY Philharmonic Performance Now Available)

I have admired this work since I first heard the Dorati recording with the National Symphony (right). What drew me to this opera was its thematic connection to Dallapiccola's choral work Canti di Prigioni—both textually and musically. 

I think of Il Prigioniero as Puccini meets Berg. Dallapiccola has taken Berg's heavy romantic approach to the 12-tone system and Italianized it. As 12-tone music goes, it's pretty darned lyrical; and Patricia Racette, Gerald Finley, and Peter Horare make the lyrical most of it in this dramatic performance. 

The NY Phil radio broadcast with Gerald Finley is finally available at InstantEncore. I could not find an English translation, but here is the original Italian libretto. And here are the NY Phil program notes by Alan Gilbert. For more background, here are two reviews: Zerbinetta’s for Bachtrack, and Anthony Tommassini’s for the New York Times

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Watch the Luca Pisaroni and Karita Mattila Gala Online

Reblogged from Barihunks this morning, since I just moved and have no new news of my own!

Barihunks: Watch the Luca Pisaroni and Karita Mattila gala from Graffenegg, Austria.

If you missed the Summer's Night gala broadcast from Grafenegg, Austria on June 20, it is now available online in its entirety. The concert features barihunk Luca Pisaroni and soprano Karita Mattila.

Pisaroni sings Leporello's catalogue aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni, La Calunnia from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, Cole Porter's Night and Day and then joins Mattila for Tonight from Bernstein's West Side Story. 
Click HERE to watch the broadcast.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Kaufmann Sings Wagner (what? again!?)

A few weeks ago I published a notice about the radio broadcast of the Wagner birthday concert in Dresden. At the end of the post I wrote: 
There's also a video at ...I'm sure [someone] will get it out to a broader audience soon.

Of course, it was actually already there on YT. Here are the three Jonas Kaufmann excerpts from that concert: 

Allmächt'ger Vater, blick' herab! (Rienzi)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More About Snobbery

Following my recent snobbery post, Monday's bloggery post, and a wonderful commentary a few weeks back by our Yankee Diva*, I want to a share marvelous piece from John Terauds at Musical Toronto

Mr. Terauds based his list on a book snob list, substituting the words “classical music” every time he saw the word “book.” 

I think it works equally well, or even better, if you replace “classical music” with “opera.” (I will let you do that little mental exercise yourself.) Here are a few excerpts:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Riding the Magic Flute Bandwagon – Q&A with Mr. Branagh

Well, even though there are no showings of this film within 250 miles of my home, I still want to get in on the Branagh Magic Flute boom. There was a version on YouTube for a while. There is a different one now, a video for each act with Russian (?) subtitles (links below.) It seems we also can watch it via YouTube's new PPV setup. They say it's priced "From $3.99" That version probably looks and sounds better.

But maybe best of all (for now, anyway, till the U.S. DVD comes out), Kenneth Branagh recently fielded questions in conjunction with the U.S. screenings. This Q&A session is available on the Emerging Pictures website.

Meanwhile, here's the official trailer:


Monday, June 17, 2013

“And another thing...” – More Thoughts about Blog Comments

Just don't. 

Don't go back with another comment. 

Don't go back to check to see who responded to your comments and what they said. 

Don't engage. 

Unless you really, really want to.

But (for me, anyway) this is where the stress starts—if you're not already stressed by the ridiculous comments others have made. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rossini: La Donna del Lago on BBC Radio 3

I highly recommend heading over to BBC Radio 3 some time within the next six days to listen to a complete performance of Rossini's La Donna del Lago from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Before you do, take a look at this preview. The featured singers (Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Florez, to name two) offer an overview of the plot, and you get to see some behind the scenes rehearsal footage. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon (or Tuesday evening, or whatever)!

Cool, huh? But wait, there’s more. Here’s JDF singing O fiamma soave:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Beverly Sills is Queen Elizabeth I

So, I picked up a used DVD (very cheaply) of the 2006 PBS Great Performances Special: Beverly Sills: Made in America. She passed away in 2007, so this bio-overview is free of maudlin stuff that leaves you sad and wistful at the end. We watched it last night and fell in love with Bubbles all over again!

The good thing about this program is that it’s a great retrospective of her life and career, and there are many snippets of her recorded performances: from her earliest radio appearances to her final farewell recital. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Because There's No Such Thing as Too Much Joy(ce)

The Earworm just shared another video from Joyce DiDonato in which she answers questions from kids. This time it's about The Enchanted Island. Apparently the kids were preparing to see the HD broadcast, so Joyce took time during intermission of a performance of said TEI to make this video. As Joyce often does, she has a guest: Luca Pisaroni. JDD just makes opera seem like so much fun!  You know and I know that opera is fun, and we are lucky to have Joyce as an ambassador for this wonderful art form. 

Joyce is so cool. Recently, teen opera blogger non piu di fiori interviewed Joyce via email. She is that approachable. As he writes, JDD's "answers are concise, articulate, and very thought-provoking." 

Finally, don't forget to check out the progress on JDD's latest fan-inclusive project:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Britten's Spring Symphony in Sweden - Radio Broadcast

Anne Sofie von Otter, Daniel Harding, Mark Padmore
They're celebrating the Centenary of Benjamin Britten in Sweden, too (and they even imported some Brits to help them out.) Under the direction of Daniel Harding, the Swedish Radio Chorus and Symphony presented Britten's Spring Symphony on May 24th this year.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Christian Gerhaher Sings Mahler's Urlicht

Urlicht is the fourth movement of Gustav Mahler's Symphony no 2. It is a setting of a poem from Des Knaben Wunderhorn; the title means Primal Light or Primordial Light. 

It’s not often heard apart from the symphony, and almost never (this is my first time, anyway) sung by a baritone.

Christian Gerhaher gives us a reason to reconsider this practice.  It’s been said that Herr Gerhaher’s voice is unremarkable, but that his interpretations compare favorably with those of the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I'm not sure I'd call it unremarkable—I find Gerhaher’s singing spellbinding.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Super-Sized Gratuitous Friday – Gerald Finley Sings Schubert at Wigmore

Gerald Finley, baritone
Julius Drake, piano

Live from Wigmore Hall
January 15, 2013
Vocally, the bass-baritone was on fine form, rising above an occasional slight throatiness lower down and the odd moment of insecurity in his softer singing to deliver quality tone deployed with a full range of colour and dynamics. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Additional Stupid Reviewer Comments

face palm by ~dancerher

OK gang, it's time for another round of Stupid Reviewer Comments. Have you been practicing your eye-rolls and face-palms? 

In Brief

A Hugh Disappointment
So sorry that Hugh didn’t like it.

…his aria is Picture Perfect
            Welcome to mixed-metaphor land.

Excellent review – I agree wholeheartedly, a great rectal.  
Proofread, proofread, proofread.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

#AskJoyce – Our Yankee Diva Answers More Fan Questions

Joyce DiDonato & Juan Diego Flórez in La Donna del Lago

Q: What are your thoughts on regietheater?
Joyce: The only thing I want from a director is to help tell a story and for it to be clear. I think regietheater can really work. #AskJoyce

Q: How important is acting in your enjoyment of what you do?
Joyce: Acting is everything because the music and drama is all one. The acting is intrinsic. The music communicates/tells the story. #AskJoyce

Read More Q&A with Joyce DiDonato at the Royal Opera House website.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées : Wolfgang-Amadeus Mozart

       Symphonie N°41 

      Regular readers know why this drew my attention. This Mozart concert was recorded at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on May 22, 2013  (Don’t be startled when you first click. Yes, that’s Bernstein right at the start.)

      Miah Persson is in good voice, as always. I wonder, is her voice darkening somewhat? Not in a bad way, mind you. Maybe it's because, or perhaps why, she's moving into Donna Elvira territory. Jeremy Ovenden and Nahuel di Pierro are known quantities in Mozart (NdP most recently as Masetto in that Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Don Giovanni.) Renata Pokupic is a Croatian mezzo-soprano who  “has developed a global reputation for her performances of baroque, classical and coloratura music.” I am sure we’ll be hearing more from her.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Dorothea Röschmann Sings Bach

Bach B-minor MassLaudamus Te  
Alan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic
March 2013

It's interesting to note that DR started out singing early music. These days, her voice is not what I would usually expect or prefer in Bach. Her voice has become darker, fuller, and more vibrato-y. (Also, Maestro Gilbert seems to have more influence over his ripieno strings than his soloist. The solo violinist gives us Bach via Mendelssohn. Not wrong per se, just different.)

On the other hand, DR's singing is never less than musical, thoughtful, and artistic(al). What a joyful performance! 

Laudamus te – Soprano II

Laudamus te, 
benedicimus te,
Adoramus te, 
glorificamus te.
We praise You,
we bless You,
We worship You,
we glorify You.

Complete Recording Here
Dorothea Röschmann … Soprano
Anne Sofie von Otter … Mezzo Soprano
Steve Davislim … Tenor
Eric Owens … Bass
New York Choral Artists, Joseph Flummerfelt, Director
New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Keenlyside, Stoyanova, Breslik in Eugene Onegin on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts the Royal Opera House production of Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin today at 1:00 PM New York time; 6 PM London time. If, like me, you're not able to listen today, the recording should be available for replay for about a week.

Tatyana ..... Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano)
Eugene Onegin ..... Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Madame Larina ..... Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
Filipyevna ..... Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano)
Olga ..... Elena Maximova (mezzo-soprano)
A Peasant Singer ..... Elliot Goldie (tenor)
Lensky ..... Pavol Breslik (tenor)
Monsieur Triquet ..... Christoph Mortagne (tenor)
A Captain ..... Michel de Souza (baritone)
Zaretsky ..... Jihoon Kim (bass)
Prince Gremin ..... Peter Rose (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Robin Ticciati, conductor

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