Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Markus Werba at Wigmore Hall – on BBC3 (only 5 more days)


Austrian barihunk Markus Werba (with Gary Matthewman, piano) sings Schubert, Wolf, and Schumann live from Wigmore Hall, London. 

This one-hour program will be available on BBC3 iPlayer for about five six more days. (updated 3/2/31)


  • Schubert Gesänge des Harfners Op. 12, Nos. 1,2,3
  • Wolf Michelangelo Lieder
  • Schumann Dichterliebe


The Met in HD vs. Life (Plus the New Season and Wagner Monologues)


Wagner Monologues: When exactly did Richard Wagner stop writing operas that open in mid-action (Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin), and start writing operas that open with lots of narration (Parsifal, any Ring Opera)? I am sure I could figure this out with a little bit of research.

...vs. Life: But the point of the question today is the inconvenience I created for myself, and what kind of workaround I can make. I scheduled the big Lenten church choir rehearsal for this Saturday 10 – 1. And guess what else is happening (starting at noon) this Saturday? That’s right, JK in Parsifal.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

JDD's Master Classes Are Not Just for the Students

I mentioned Joyce DiDonato’s Julliard master class back in January. The class was streamed live by Julliard, and in February, they posted clips on their YT channel. Julliard has already removed some videos, which is a shame, because there is a lot for us to learn (even us opera buffs who are not necessarily planning on a great singing career.) Julliard posted each student’s session separately, and so far I have watched only the first two sessions. (Unfortunately I think those are the only two still online.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Met Season Leaked

Over at the clever, stylish, sometimes b*tchy, and always up-to-date Parterre Box blog, La Cieca shares the 2013 – 2014 Met Opera Schedule with the world. Thank you Opera Lady!

Click on over to the post at Parterre Box for full coverage, complete with dates & casts (including frequent appearances by that ubiquitous singer, TBA). But before you go I’d just like to highlight a few items of special interest (to RnR, anyway): two English National Opera productions: Eugene Onegin and Two Boys (those are two separate operas, by the way), Werther with JK, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Robert Carsen’s Falstaff, Rusalka with some top-shelf girl singers, Prince Igor, a handful of Strauss operas, and of course, a host of the usual suspects (Boheme, Butterfly, Tosca, etc.)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Ruby Hughes Sings Richard Strauss (and Mahler)

Listen to this broadcast on the BBC 3 iPlayer as soon as you can (before they take it down!) British soprano Ruby Hughes and the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda present four songs by Richard Strauss: Freundliche Vision, Waldseligkeit, Befreit and Zueignung, which Strauss himself orchestrated. (Not the Four Last Songs as I first thought I read. I really need to learn to stop skimming!) 


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nina Stemme is Turandot


Nina Stemme is the new Turandot. It only makes sense. Here is her "big aria." From his brief participation in this scene, it sounds like Riccardo Massi is a smooth, powerhouse Calaf, too. Below the YT clip is a link to the complete performance at Sveriges Radio. I have not heard the whole performance yet, but I need to do so soon, and so do you. It will be online only for about 20 more days.

(Update, 08/14/2016 - this is from a 2015 performance at La Scala -- the Stockholm recording was "disappeared." This is actually better, since it's video!)


In questa reggio

Puccini: Turandot Live performance from the Royal Opera, Stockholm. Recorded February 16, 2013 on SverigeSRadio. Thank you, Sveriges Radio!

(also, hear the riddle scene)

More Stuff Overheard at the Opera Cinema

I think all people who want to talk to each other
on the bus, 
the metro, in a restaurant, in a theater (film, concert or opera), whether friend or stranger, should have to sit next to each other. 

And their speaking voices should inaudible more than five feet away from them.

Front row conversation snippets overheard from the back row at the La Boheme screening:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – David Bižić Sings Brahms and Mozart

One of the standout young singers in the La Boheme we saw from ROH is Serbian bass-baritonehunk David Bižić as Schaunard, the only one of the boys who’s actually making any money. Research reveals that Mr. Bižić is one year younger than the ROH Boheme production, and so far he has sung mainly in Israel and France. In 2007 he won second prize at Domingo’s Operalia competition. Today we get double gratuitousness—one clip is audio only and the other is a full-on video.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More About the New Met Parsifal

One of the things I missed by skipping the Met in HD Rigoletto on Saturday was Renee Fleming’s interview with Jonas Kaufman and Katarina Dalayman. 

The two stars just happened to be hanging around backstage during intermission. So Renee asked a few questions about their experiences in Parsifal. Sometimes these interviews are really, really dumb  stupid empty  vacuous uninformative. But this one was a bit above the average.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Joyce DiDonato and Opera21


Our Yankee Diva Joyce DiDonato, who is so supportive of young singers and young opera lovers alike, has brought our attention to a new online magazine called Opera21 (a Magazine for the 21st Century Opera Enthusiast.) In doing so, she shared a letter she wrote to the editors of Opera21 that reflect the thoughts of many opera lovers (and possibly even more those of opera singers) as well as those of Regie, Not Regie about opera and life in general. In her articulate, warm, and funny letter, JDD advises in part (italics are mine): 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Philip Glass: The Perfect American – World Premiere


It's like they say in Richard Strauss' Capriccio: it's hard to tell the arias from the recitatives. What Strauss noted of Gluck is true of Philip Glass. Many of the orchestral effects are wonderful, and there is more variety of sound and texture here than in many of Glass' other works. There are some lyrical moments and massive choral movements. Unfortunately, dialog that is more recitative-like is in an awkward, sing-song style that sounds like a comedy improv group pretending to sing opera.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Other People's Blogs

Gratuitous Cat Photo
Now and then I share some blog posts I wish I had written. Sometimes they're deep, thoughtful, spiritual, analytic, or just silly. I try to be as up to date as possible, but I also rely on fellow bloggers for the most up-to-date information, conversation, and entertainment. Today I am sharing links to posts in which other bloggers have simply scooped me. So here is some stuff  I recommend for your blog-reading enjoyment and enlightenment.  


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Nina Stemme Singt Wagner


OK, no more JK (or Lohengrin) for a few days, 
but here is more Wagner. This clip is a gorgeous performance of the third Wesendonck Lied, Im Treibhaus, in its original guise.

Nina Stemme is accompanied at the piano by Josef de Beenhouwer. 




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Parsifal at the Met – Previews from the Dress Rehearsal

The Met released two videos from the final dress rehearsal of their new Parsifal. 
Amfortas! Die Wunde! (JK)

Maybe it WAS all a Dream – Elsa, Ortrud, and Gottfried


Before I enter my 12-step Lohengrin detox program, I have one (or two) more thought(s) and a theory to share about the La Scala Lohengrin.

Some productions of this opera are about Lohengrin; some are about Elsa; and some are about the people of Brabant. But, like the Bayreuth rat version, Guth’s Lohengrin for La Scala is mostly about Ortrud’s quest for power.

The first characters we see on stage are Ortrud, Elsa, and Gottfried (represented by his boot and jacket.) Ortrud appears near the end of the Prelude, carrying the boot and jacket. She turns over the boot and pours water out of it. She hands Elsa the jacket, and Elsa, believing her brother has drowned, collapses in a silent scream.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Jonas Kaufmann sings Wesendonck


So here is this song cycle for female voice and piano, sung by a tenor with full orchestra. Wagner composed this cycle while he was working on Tristan und Isolde, and referred to the third song, Im Treibhaus (In the Hothouse), as a study for the opera. This song has musical material that was later developed into the Prelude to Act 3 of Tristan.

There are more than a few acclaimed recordings by mezzos and dramatic sopranos (Christa Ludwig and Jessye Norman, to name two.) Though the poetry is by a woman, the texts are not gender-specific. A few tenors have performed individual songs but rarely has any tenor performed the full cycle. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lohengrin at La Scala – A Few Thoughts about Elsa and Gottfried


Like many in the cinema audience last weekend, I wished for a less twitchy Lohengrin, or at least a more clear explanation of why he is this way. It causes more confusion than clarity. It certainly is disturbing; of course, I’m sure that was deliberate on Guth’s part.

So, Elsa has suffered a rough childhood. Her brother mysteriously disappeared and she gets blamed for it. Does Gottfried even exist, or is he part of the fantasy? The younger versions of Gottfried and Elsa, seem to reinforce this question.  And of course she sees Gottfried many other times in the opera (she seems to be the only one who can see him.) She goes into her fantasy world and conjures up a savior who turns out to be a little more real and wilder than she expected.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lohengrin at La Scala – Impressions from the Cinema


Not surprisingly, one picks up a lot more of an opera performance when sitting attentively in the theater and paying attention to the screen; not checking email; not looking up odd words in the subtitles; not googling the baritone to see what else he’s done, etc. There was a post not long ago over at operaramblings about this phenomenon. 

This production is way more powerful than it was on YT. Guth’s ideas about this story are predictably dark, but not necessarily as weird as some of his other productions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kaufmann Kwandry (The New CD has Arrived)

Lunchtime today:

I just received my copy of Jonas Kaufmann’s new Wagner CD. Do I tear it open, and listen to a bit now, a little in the car, and the rest at home? Do I rip it to my iPod right away, and hide in the restroom to listen to the whole thing now? Or do I hold it till late tonight, when I can focus completely on it? Ah the first-world problems we suffer. 

(One thing I should not do is listen in the car!)

*********

Much later this evening:

I tried a bit in the car. As soon as the Wesendonck Lieder started, I knew I couldn't listen and drive. Finally, after dinner out and the State of the Union Address, it's nearing bedtime. I am ripping the CD to my iPod for a late-night listen. Ahhh!

La Boheme – ROH, 2013 (OK Tevye, Tradition Ain’t All Bad)

Dmytro Popov, Stefania Dovahn, David Bižić, 
Nahuel Di Pierro, and Audun Iversen
There is something to be said, I guess, for a nice literal traditional opera production. Even more so for one performed by a non-superstar cast. It allows one to become more engaged in the story. My Dad and I went to see this at the local indie/arts cinema last night, mainly because they announced it when we were there on Saturday for the Lohengrin transmission (more about that in a separate post…yes there’s always more for me to say about that Lohengrin!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More Stabat Mater – Hartelius & Bonitatibus sing Rossini

Not singing the Stabat Mater. (This is Cosi Fan Tutte.)
Malin Hartelius and Anna Bonitatibus sing the beautiful Qui est homo  from the recent radio broadcast performance of the Rossini Stabat Mater, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus directed by Franz Welser-Möst. 

It's called "Reggie" (and other things overheard at the opera cinema)

Cissy, Wilf, and Reggie (in the film Quartet)
Seriously, in the lobby after the first act, while everyone was complaining that Lohengrin was a twitching neurotic (possibly morphing from swan to human) mess, someone said, "It's called Reggie Opera." I thought I must have heard wrong, but he repeated it, at least three more times. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Dangers of Listening to Rossini While Driving

About a week ago the Earworm hosted a brief discussion about the dangers of listening to classical music while driving. I now have practical living proof that it is at least inconvenient, if not downright dangerous. So, I was listening to this track while driving to the airport to pick up my Dad. Tenor Martin Mitterutzner is a new name and voice to me, and I listened thoughtfully as he sang.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Jonas Kaufmann is Lohengrin

Someone snuck a video of JK singing In fernem Land at the “Young People Preview” at La Scala in December. The camera work is not great (not unexpected), and the audio balance is a bit orchestra-heavy, but the singing is amazing. 

Listen to how Herr Kaufmann shapes the word Taube (dove). The other words sound good too. Enjoy this as we wait for the DVD to be released. I haven’t heard anything, but since they are showing it in cinemas around the U.S., I feel like that’s a good sign. (In fact I am going to see it in a downtown movie theater tomorrow—it starts at 11 AM, and I don’t get up early on Saturday for just anybody!)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eugene Onegin Rehearsal at the ROH

Mr. Breslik is in
the production
but does not
appear in this clip.
On Monday 7 January 2013, the Royal Opera House streamed live rehearsals, interviews and master classes. In addition to showing us behind the scenes at a Wagner performance, they shared rehearsals for the upcoming Eugene Onegin. In this clip, Kasper Holten directs Simon Keenlyside and Krassimira Stoyanova as they rehearse a scene for the first time. 

At the YT site, the ROH adds this warning: 
Guidance - please note this film contains strong language.
(Oh no!! Opera singers swearing!??!?)



Find out more about the production and the upcoming broadcast at the ROH website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BBC 3 Offers Mass Gratuitousness – Rossini’s Stabat Mater


My colleague Eyesometric, over at The Eyes Have It, has been watching out for me. Franz Welser-Möst (left) and the Cleveland Orchestra are presenting a series of four programs on BBC 3 this week. (Yes, we have to listen to British radio to hear the Cleveland Orchestra in concert.) 

That's nice to know, but the truly awesome part is that today, the Cleveland Chorus joins the orchestra to perform Rossini’s Stabat Mater, with soloists:  

[Dramatic Pause]  
  • Malin Hartelius 
  • Luca Pisaroni
  • Anna Bonitatibus (Dorabella to MH’s Fiordiligi at Zurich)
  • and (last because I don’t know who he is…yet) Martin Mitterutzner.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bootleg Diva – Thoughts While Cleaning a Cupboard

Vintage Nagra portable
You know how sometimes two things that are totally unrelated (or nearly so) suddenly seem to connect?

Thing #1
I recently came across a pirated recording of two singers I love starring in an opera they’ve never recorded commercially. So of course, I needed to have it. Now, sometimes these “bootlegs” are recorded off the air, off the net, or with some in-house sound system, and the sound is pretty decent. This one, however was clearly recorded with a smart phone or teeny-tiny digital recorder. It was clearly in someone’s breast pocket, and the sound is worse than dismal. (Imagine listening to an opera performance with a coat over your head, perhaps with cotton stuffed in your ears, too.) But sometimes that’s ok when you really want to hear a performance no matter what. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

More Live Broadcasts – JDD’s Drama Queens Today


Clearly I need to take the day off and stay home to listen to European radio broadcasts. In addition to the Dorothea Röschmann program from Italy, now we find that Joyce diDonato’s Drama Queens program will be broadcast live from Brussels by RTBF Musiq3. My French is worse than elementary, but it looks like they archive many of their programs (Réécoutez les podcasts de l'émission).  So enjoy live (8 PM Brussels time) or hope they do actually post a podcaste de l'émission of this concert. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Extra – Dorothea Röschmann Broadcast Monday 2/4/13

From the Dorothea Röschmann – an Appreciation website:
Concert from Rome broadcast by RAI Radio 3 On Monday, 4th February, at 9:00 p.m. CET RAI Radio 3 will broadcast the concert conducted by Antonio Pappano featuring Dorothea Röschmann with Vier Letzte Lieder by R. Strauss. More details about the broadcast [here].
According to my calculation, based on my world clock source, this should be at 3 PM Eastern U.S. time.


Sunday Brunch – Keenlyside & Breslik are Onegin & Lensky

Pavol and Simon
rehearsing at the ROH.
Simon Keenlyside is Onegin, and Pavol Breslik is Lensky. They will be performing together at the ROH this month, but it's not the first time they've sung Eugene Onegin together.  The clip below [removed per request of the Bayerische Staatsoper, but I'm sure it will turn up again somewhere!] is from their performance in Munich. The director had an interesting (and not unconvincing) take on the relationship between these two friends. Sadly, the production was rather unattractive. And if you're going to have cowboys two-stepping to the Polonaise, at least find cowboys who know how to two-step. But that's in a different clip.

I've a feeling their ROH friendship will be much more platonic! 


Meanwhile, here is the official ROH trailer:

See an ROH rehearsal clip here and find out more about the new production and the upcoming broadcast at the ROH website.

Also, see a clip of PB singing Kuda kuda in Vienna
Post updated 02/12/2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Philip Glass World Premiere – Webcast from Spain (Feb. 6)

Philip Glass – one of the most sought-after American contemporary composers – presents his latest opera, The Perfect American, telling the story of a 20th-century character of huge cultural influence, Walt Disney. A world premiere at the Teatro Real de Madrid.

 –  From Le Blog at Medici TV

I am tempted to remark on the irony of an American composer having to go to Europe (it's a co-production with the English National Opera) to premiere an American opera about an American icon that's called The Perfect American. But I think for now I'll just look forward to seeing/hearing the new work. I assume there will be Spanish subtitles for the broadcast.  Medici usually archives and shares their videos for a few weeks before moving them into their subscription-only catalog. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Malin Hartelius is Rosina (No, Not That One)



Here is a recitative and aria from Act 2 of the M22 production of Mozart’s La Finta Semplice. Whatever you think about the quality of this opera, or the strangeness of the production, or the bizarreness of the set, you have to admire Malin Hartelius' willingness to go for it, even in what is possibly the most unflattering dress ever made. 

The recitative pantomime is either hysterical, or slightly embarrassing. I vote for hysterical. And the aria is pretty. Ms. Hartelius does a good job of working her colleagues and working the audience—the gist of her aria is that a woman should never be content with just one lover. Happy Gratuitous Friday!


Recitativo: Me ne vo' prender spasso
 Aria: Ho sentito ha dir da tutte
Josef Wagner is Don Cassandro
(the Italian text is in the notes section at YT)

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