Saturday, November 30, 2013

Die Frau Ohne Schatten in Munich – Online Tomorrow

One Night Only*: the Bayerische Staatsoper's new production of Die Frau Ohne Schatten starting at 6 PM (CET), which is around noon New York time on Sunday, December 1. 

*If you are now singing a number from Dreamgirls in your head, you may be ga... a fan of Broadway musicals.

Post Number 500* – What's Up with Mojca Erdmann?

Yes, she's gorgeous; but 
can she sing (this week)?
This fall, Mojca Erdmann (recently named the "Hottest Female in Opera" by Operagasm) quietly disappeared from two different productions of Der Rosenkavalier (in Vienna and most recently in New York), and I'm wondering: what's up with that? 

I did see one reference to her being "sick" (yes, "sick" in quotation marks).  So, I searched for Mojca Erdmann sick, Mojca Erdmann illness, Mojca Erdmann cancellation, and Mojca Erdmann replacement, with no results. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratuitous Friday (Otterphile Edition) – Une soirée avec Kurt Weill

Available on demand at France Musique until December 15: Anne Sofie von Otter and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the direction of HK Gruber present an An Evening with Kurt Weill, including The Seven Deadly Sins, and selections from One Touch of Venus and Lady in the Dark.

The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music websitesays:
Ever since she recorded Die sieben Todsünden for Deutsche Grammophon in 1994, Anne Sofie von Otter has made the work her own. 
© 2012 The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reminder of Online Operas to be Thankful for (Some for a limited time!)


If you haven't watched La Clemenza di Tito from La Monnaie yet, you have only a few more days to do so. Go watch it. Now!

And, for one day only, the Bayerische Staatsoper's new production of Die Frau Ohne Schatten starting at 6 PM (CET), which is around noon New York time on Sunday, December 1.  


Next Monday and for seven days thereafter, you can hear the recent Wozzeck from Covent Garden with Simon Keenlyside and Karita Mattila on BBC Radio 3.

Dvorak's Armida is still available for listening (for a few days) at Sveriges Radio, who also have a recent performance of Britten's Gloriana (also Covent Garden, with a cast including Toby Spence and Kate Royal) for about a month. 

Finally, the latest Orfeo ed Euridice from Paris with Franco Fagioli as Orfeo and Malin Hartelius (sigh) as Euridice (yes, it's in Italian, which actually sounded rather odd (but awesome) to me, since the most recent performances I've heard were in French) on This wonderful performance is available for about four weeks. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Gerald Finley; More Master Classes

Gerald Finley takes a more technical approach in this master class at the Royal College of Music (Sept. 2013) than some (say, JDD, for example) other artists might. I think he's brave to mess with a singer's technique. He does seem to approach gently, but personally, I think he talks too much. I'd rather hear the singer spend more time working with his concepts than hear the concepts stated over again. 

On the other hand, as he goes along, building on the work that's been done, we begin to understand where he's going: "Be careful. Remember that your instrument is already beautiful, if you don't get in the way." 

One thing Mr. Finley reminds me is the irony of music:  singers frequently are encouraged to emulate a violin or cello, or clarinet; and instrumentalists are always exhorted to sing!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Additional Agrippina from Liceu

Here are three "fan" videos from Handel's Agrippina from Liceu. Aren't smartphones wonderful? (although the sound is a bit wonky on the Danielle clip.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shadow Envy

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Two of my blog buddies (and many others) have recently seen Die Frau Ohne Schatten at the Met in NYC, and I am feeling a bit left out. Like the Empress, I am looking for a shadow. Actually, I found a not-too-awful transfer on the TOOB of the rather amazing 1992 Salzburg production conducted by Sir Georg Solti and directed by Götz Friedrich. (A very Yenta-y Nurse, and strikingly heroic Emperor are just two of the delights of this recording!) This will tide me over for a bit. Here’s Act 1:

Photo: Wilfried Hösl
Meanwhile, next Sunday (December 1), there's a must see live broadcast from the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Miah Persson's Pie Jesu (Hidden Gems in my iTunes Library)

I was looking up Miah Persson in my iTunes library the other day for a "Nachtigal" reference (yes, I had to look up the quote, so I knew to look up Nachtigal (nightingale). And in doing so, I came across a recording I didn't realize I had! Miah Persson singing Pie Jesu from the Faure Requiem.

Sometimes I am  a sucker for these cheap collections from This one is called The 99 Most Essential Relaxing Classics. You get 99 tracks (as the title implies) and it costs less than six bucks (I think it was $1.99 when I bought it).

Most of the recordings are from Naxos or BIS, so there are some really decent performances. Sure, there is some flotsam and jetsam in the collection, and often bits and pieces of larger works that I'd rather listen to in full. But then there are these gems...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Röschmann and Chance Sing Handel

Handel: Rodelinda

Dorothea Röschmann – Rodelinda
Michael Chance – Bertarido
Umberto Chiumo – lurking about as Garibaldo

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More Agrippina from Liceu

What I didn't mention in my last Agrippina post is that the staging in Liceu is by David McVicar. (Partly because that’s not as pertinent when listening on the radio.) So far, I haven't seen any naked executioners, but there is cocaine use, some smooth Gene Kelly style hoofing, and an amusing vignette in which Sarah Connolly (not in pants, for a change) and Danielle de Niese show up at a party wearing the same gown. 

Danielle De Niese i Sarah Connolly. (foto: A. Bofill)
These are among the videos (below) that the Gran Teatre del Liceu have shared for us on the Toob of Yooo. Can there be a full video out there on the horizon? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ROH on BBC (Radio 3)

Royal Opera House, Convent Garden performances on BBC Radio 3:

·         Les Vêpres siciliennes Monday  18 November (Available Now!)
·         Wozzeck – Monday 2 December, 7.30pm
·         Parsifal (Live) – Wednesday 11 December, 4.45pm
·         Capriccio – Saturday 4 January, 7.30pm
·         Elektra – Monday 17 February, 7.30pm

All broadcasts will be available afterwards on BBC iPlayer. (Usually for about a week.)

Thanks to baritone (Official) Gerald Finley for calling our attention to the broadcasts, particularly his upcoming performance as Amfortas in Parsifal. Mr. Finley discusses Parsifal in this clip:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why We Watch Other People's Blogs (or: More Opera Online)

radio alert: agrippina! ...from thadieu's opera rambling outlet

Händel’s Agrippina will be broadcast tomorrow from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, with a basic who's who of early music: Sarah Connolly, Malena Ernman, Danielle De Niese, Franz-Josef Selig, David Daniels, Ian Henry Waddington, Dominique Visse, and Enric Martínez-Castignani conducted by Harry Bicket.

Tha deiu flagged this broadcast for us at World Concert Hall, which boasts: "every online concert in this world." This may be a bit of hyperbole; but,  if not every concert, they sure do have a lot of concerts, and they provide handy links directly to the programs. They don't archive performances, but as often happens on the internet, you can find the source of the broadcast, and discover what other pleasures are available from that same station. 

For example: Agrippina is being broadcast by Catalunya Musica, a Spanish radio station that archives many of its broadcasts. Among those archives, I found a replay of this year's Edinburgh recital by Dorothea Röschmann and a recital by Angela Meade, among many other instrumental and vocal gems. 

World Concert Hall also has a great (and pretty thorough) listing of classical music station websites from around the world at their Channels page. More online music! Who needs to work or sleep?

Dvorak's Armida and other Operatic Delights from Sveriges Radio

Dvorak: Armida
Dvorak wrote an opera about Armida and Rinald(o), too? Well, why not? A whole boatload of other composers did (most notably Handel and Rossini.) This month on Sveriges Radio (Sweden) you can hear a performance from the Czech Republic of Dvorak's relatively rare opera. Rumor has it he modeled his work on Wagner's Tannhäuser. Maybe so, but I Dvorak also drew a lot from his "New World" influences.  

Dvorak's music is really lovely (I still need to sit down seriously with Rusalka!) and I'd like to explore this opera further. It turns out that the blog Operalia has a link to a video of this same Czech performance. (I have yet to successfully download anything from that site; any tips would be greatly appreciated.)

Nina Stemme
Sveriges Radio broadcasts operas weekly, and most of them (except for the ones from the stingy Peter Gelb) are archived for 30 days. Dvorak's Armida is available for about three more weeks. November offerings are listed on the Sveriges Radio website

Of particular interest this month is the live broadcast (on November 30) of the Stockholm Royal Opera premiere of a new production of Salome, starring Nina Stemme.

In between is a L'Elisir d'Amore from Gothenburg and Britten's Gloriana from Covent Garden. When seeking intersting opera broadcasts, don’t forget Sweden’s Sveriges Radio!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Concerts Courtesy of France Musique

In case you missed them, is giving us another chance to hear Werner Güra’s Edinburgh Recital (till Nov. 29) and Christian Gerhaher's all-Schumann program from Salzburg (till Nov. 23).  

I was directed to France Musique, which makes most concert broadcasts available for about 30 days, by Lydia from Toronto, who tweeted me about a very special concert that will be broadcast on November 26, and be available for about 30 days after that: 

Photo courtesy of Eden Jonathan, who was
fortunate enough to attend the concert live.
Thanks Eden!
Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice from l'Opéra Royal de Versailles.

Franco Fagioli,  Orphée
Malin Hartelius, Euridice
Emmanuelle de Negri, Amore
Ensemble vocal Accentus 
Insula Orchestra
Laurence Equilbey, Direction

The France Musique website is a great new (to me) resource for recorded music online! Other program listings can be found for on the Concerts page at I just love teh interwebz!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Diana Damrau – A Harlot's Progress on Ö1 Radio This Weekend

No, I am not on the advertising team for Ö1  Radio. They just happen to be broadcasting a lot of great music that I want to make sure my readers don't miss. 

Tomorrow night (Saturday November 16th, Diana Damrau is featured in Iain Bell's A Harlot's Progress. Like Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress, the opera is based on Hogarth paintings and engravings. said, in part: "Bell's score—while not particularly individual or original in character—shows an evident grounding in writing for the voice, as well as an ability to underscore the libretto and produce dramatic effect. Moll, tailor made for Diana Damrau, is a fabulous vehicle for this artist's exceptional talents."

Fingers are crossed for a video someday; but meanwhile, we have this audio recording. The performance was recorded in October at the Theater an der Wien. The cast includes Diana Damrau (Moll Hackabout), Marie McLaughlin (Mother Needham), Tara Erraught (Kitty), Christopher Gillett (Mr. Lovelace), Nathan Gunn (James Dalton), the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Mikko Franck. 

For further reading:

Gratuitous Friday – Lucia Popp Tribute on Stimmen Hören (Ö1 Radio)

It's hard to believe that Lucia Popp left the opera world 20 years ago, succumbing to brain cancer at the tender age of 54 (some say that's our vocal prime!) This week, on the Ö1 Radio program Stimmen Hören, Chris Tina Tengel reviews Ms. Popp's career with opera and Lieder recordings—mostly taken from live performances. 

The program opens with quotes of praise for her from Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Gundula Janowitz, and Brigitte Fassbaender (heady company indeed).  Here is a rough (mostly thanks to Google translate) translation of part of the program description:
There are artists who draw curiosity and interest, perhaps admiration and reverence. Others are loved. Among the well-beloved was Lucia Popp, soprano from Bratislava, whose career began with the Queen of the Night and led to Elisabeth in "Tannhäuser, Eva in Die Meistersinger. In memory of Lucia Popp, this program offers her performances from London, Cologne, Zurich, Vienna, and Salzburg. 
About 30 minutes in, we hear the "presentation of the rose" scene from Der Rosenkavalier with Brigitte Fassbaender. Heavenly! 

Reassurance for the non German speakers/understanders: There's not too much chat; it's almost all music. The program was broadcast this Thursday (yesterday) evening, and should be available for another week for replay. Thanks, Ö1 Radio!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

La Clemenza di Tito (Part 2: Personal Drama Played Out in Public)

Act 2 Finale
In some productions, Sesto is on the verge of a nervous breakdown (same for Vitellia and Tito, too, in other productions.) I think this Sesto is just a wimp. Anna Bonitatibus sings and acts gorgeously, but all I want to do is slap Sesto and sign him up some self-esteem classes. 

Kurt Streit portrays the Tito’s stress and exasperation, but sounds strained. (Actually most tenors do. It must be true that Mozart hated tenors. The slow rising of standard concert pitch over the years can’t take total blame for the awkward tessitura of Mozart’s tenor roles.)

Miah Persson Hot

These three words recently have brought several readers to my humble little blog:

miah persson hot

Why, yes. Yes she is. 

And here is a photo (with Isabel Leonard) that also comes up with this search phrase:

Cosi Fan Tutte 



We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Servilia and Annio – The Strongest Characters in La Clemenza di Tito? (Part 1)

Act 1 Finale
Are Servilia and Annio the strongest characters in La Clemenza di Tito? Not usually, but in this production, they seem to be the ones who have the most focus and most drive. I last saw Simona Šaturová as a strong Violetta in La Monnaie's rather kinky La Traviata. Here, she is a Servilia who really has her shtuff together, knows who she is, and doesn't take crap from anyone, not even Vitellia! Her Act 2 aria, Se altra lagrima is not just a simple plea in a pretty waltz time. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Three Hours of the 2013 Bayreuth Ring on Ö1 Radio

Catherine Foster as Brünnhilde @Bayreuth
Last Saturday, Ö1 Radio presented about three hours' worth of substantial chunks from the latest Bayreuth Ring Cycle. (The complete operas were/are available here and there from previous complete broadcasts.)

(For an archived recording of this broadcast, click here.) 

The performances feature Catherine Foster as Brünnhilde, Johan Botha as Siegmund,  Wolfgang Koch as Wotan/Wanderer, Lance Ryan as Siegfried, and Anja Kampe as Sieglinde, and others.

Of course, we'd love to see it, but while we wait (maybe in vain) for the videos, this might tide us over. Ö1 archived this program in its 7 Tage Ö1 archive, which means we have just a few more days to listen. (I was in such a hurry to post this, I forgot to add the link, so here it is again, just to be sure!)

The Two New War Requiem Recordings (Plus One)

On the (near) eve of the U.S. release Antonio Pappano's recording of Britten's War Requiem (November 19), we can hear the entire performance online at NPR for about a week. The soloists are Anna Netrebko, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Hampson. Pappano leads the Coro e Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. (Thanks to Mr. Hampson for the heads-up.)

Meanwhile, the Mariss Jansons recording with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, the Tölzer Boys Choir, soprano Emily Magee, tenor Mark Padmore, and baritone Christian Gerhaher is available now. And you can download it from for less than six bucks!

Update: Thanks to Stray (see below) we also have a link to a recent Boston Symphony Orchestra broadcast. Soloists are Tatiana Pavlovskaya, John Mark Ainsley, and Matthias Goerne, with Charles Dutoit conducting. The BSO Media Center is a super resource, with lots of great information, videos, broadcasts and podcasts, including an 11-minute video that offers background on Britten and the War Requiem.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Mozart – Ach Belmonte! Ach mein Leben!

This is Christof Loy’s interpretation of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Loy’s visions don’t always work for me (sometimes they just look low budget), but this performance does work on several levels. I also like the HIP feeling from the Ivor Bolton and the orchestra.

This quartet is the finale of Act 2  (and one of my favorite parts of the opera—it’s almost a little opera by itself), when the lovers are reunited for the first time. We know Konstanze has mixed feelings about seeing Belmonte again (as usual). She starts to go to him, then goes past him; he has to catch her. It seems Belmonte may not be too far off the mark when he asks if she’s in love with Selim. Pedrillo and Blonde seem to be on better terms, and they make up quickly (Pedrillo seems a lot more contrite than Belmonte). Meanwhile, Konstanze is not happy with Belmonte, even as they sing "Viva Love!"

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Brunch, Expanded Edition – Mezzos in Pants

This is a great U-TOOB playlist featuring one of our favorite opera phenomena: mezzos playing men. This playlist includes Sarah Connolly (a lot), Alice Coote, Joyce DiDonato, Vesselina Karasova, Angelika Kirchschlager, Elina Garanca, Isabel Leonard, Helene Schneiderman, and Kate Lindsey and costars some of our favorite sopranos, too (Miah Persson in at least two!!!)!

And then check out La Clemenza di Tito from La Monnaie for more mezzos in pants. (I have a crush on Swedish mezzo Anna Grevelius as Annio, but I am not sure if I have a crush on her, or on him.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

La Clemenza at La Monnaie

Check out this new production of La Clemenza di Tito online at La Monnaie's website for a limited time (through Nov. 30*). Kurt Streit is Tito, Veronique Gens is Vitellia and Anna Bonitatibus is Sesto. 

I've only seen the first two scenes. The set is a big bedroom/office (maybe a hotel room?) There's a big video screen over center stage that shares intriguing and/or significant closeups (often of someone who is not singing, but usually reacting to whomever is singing). Both Sesto and Annio look and move convincingly like guys, and Tito is on stage at a desk stage left from the start. I haven't gotten far enough in to find out how that's going to play out. 

Sometimes videos from La Monnaie appear elsewhere later. Sometimes not. So watch it now!

*Update 11/10/13 My original intelligence said Nov. 21, but I just noticed on the La Monnaie site it says the 30th. (Also, I now have a crush on Swedish mezzo Anna Grevelius as Annio, but I am not sure if I have a crush on her, or on him.)

Related Posts:
Servillia and Annio (Review, Part 1)
Personal Drama... (Review, Part 2)

Gratuitous Friday – Rosenkavalier Finale (Kirchschlager, Isokoski, and Kühmeier)

A heavenly Rosenkavalier finale with Angelika Kirschlager, Soile Isokoski, and the lovely Genia Kühmeier.  

Angelika Kirchschlager  (Octavian)
Soile Isokoski   (Marschallin)
Genia Kühmeier  (Sophie) 
Georg Tichy  (Faninal)

Wiener Staatsoper Anniversary Gala (5.11.2005)
Christian Thielemann, conducting

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

More Joyce – The Julliard Master Class 2013

Julliard baritone Emmett O'Hanlon with JDD
Now online, the wonderful, generous, funny, intelligent, (and, as always, super-humble*) JDD, offering wonderful advice via her wonderful (and fun...and educational) 2013 Julliard Master Class. My new favorite fantasy role for JDD is Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro).

Thank you, Joyce. And thank you, Julliard!

*Yes, I am a totally head-over-heels Joyce Fanboy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

There’s an App for That – Arte Live Web

Thanks to the magic of technology, you can now watch/listen to Arte Live Web programs on your Smartphone (iPhone, Android, or Windows.) All of the same programming is available on the go—if you can pick it up online, you can pick it up on your phone.

Obviously, the tiny screen is a disadvantage, but the sound quality is good, and it’s handy for those times you cannot sit glued to your desktop or laptop. Generally I am happy with this app (it’s free, so it’s hard to complain too much!)  However, currently, on my iPhone app, the image does not shift when I turn the phone to watch in landscape aspect—it stays in tiny letterboxed portrait. This may be an iOS 7 glitch, since it worked before the update. (Is that a familiar song, or no?) This is not as big a deal with instrumental concerts, but it absolutely suc is a pain in the neck when trying to watch an opera.
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