Thursday, May 29, 2014

Surprising (and Not so Surprising) Search Keywords

I just upgraded my stat counter (beyond the Blogger freebie to a product called, interestingly enough, StatCounter*). I do like to check my blogger stats to see which posts are getting the most clicks. 

While I am waiting for StatCounter to start tallying fun stats about my blog, I decided to take a look at what search terms are leading people my way.

Not surprising (in no particular order)

Tara Erraught
Jonas Kaufmann
Peter Mattei
Malin Hartelius
Miah Persson
Diana Damrau
Nina Stemme
Rolando Villazon
Alison Hagley
Ian Storey
Anja Harteros

Somewhat surprising (people are actually searching the title of the blog!)

regie or not regie

Totally surprising (I need to find this version of Idomeneo)

arbace porn videos

*Thanks to stray for directing me to StatCounter.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Glyndebourne, von Karajan, and Joyce DiDonato from France Musique

Because my French comprehension is less than optimal, I listen to France Musique less frequently than British and Austrian online radio. But France Musique offers many musical gems.

Lirico Spinto is the French equivalent of the Austrian Stimmen Hören. The episodes are available for much longer after their original broadcasts than their Austrian counterparts, and they are available as podcasts from iTunes, which you can subscribe to for auto-downloading—much handier than trying to record them with Audacity!) The most recent two programs are wonderful compilations:

In English with English Subtitles

It keeps cropping up, then disappearing again. There seem to be three different posts this week. This one has subtitles. Watch (and especially listen) while you can. 

Featuring R. Croft, D. Daniels, L. Hunt, D. Upshaw, and F. Olsen

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

There's an App for That – Audacity Audio Editor/Recorder

Sometimes I just don't have time sit and listen to a radio broadcast when it's broadcast, or even when it's held in archive for a week. So, if I come across a can’t-miss performance, I cue it up and record it with audacity. Yes, it's audacious to record online music broadcasts, but what I am talking about here is the software app called Audacity

The advantages of this app are it's free and fairly easy to use, as long as you're not trying to do anything too complex. The downside is that (at least with my limited knowledge of the software) it records absolutely every sound your computer makes. So if you get an email, connect/disconnect your smartphone, e-reader, or music player, or try to close a Word document without saving it first, it records all those little chimes, chirps, and beeps. (This can be slightly disconcerting during replay—especially in the car—when I check to see what email (hasn’t) come in! But hey, the software—and broadcast—is free!) I try to shut everything down and record stuff only when I plan to be away from my computer for an hour or so.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monteverdi Monday – Nerone in Love (Another Clip for the Otterphile)

Anne Sofie von Otter in pants again; this time as Nerone. She/he is so seduced...and we can see why. Mirelle Delunsch is a pretty irresistible Poppea! This performance was recorded in 2000. I haven't found a  recording of the whole performance yet, but there are more excerpts on the Toob. Look for them!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

200th Anniversary of the Premier of the Final Version of Fidelio

Knowing how persnickety Beethoven was, and how many permutations his poor opera went through, it’s surprising that anyone was able to determine an actual date of an actual premier of an actual final version. 

Be that as it may, Chris Tina Tengel figured it out, and presented an edition of Stimmen Hören on Fidelio and a few other Beethoven works. The 90-minute program features a multitude of singers, including Theo Adam, Sena Jurianc, Rose Pauly (the most celebrated Elektra of the 1930s), James King, Wolfgang Windgassen, Jessye Norman, and Helge Rosvaenge, to name a few.

The program was broadcast yesterday, so we have about six more days to listen. O namenlose freude!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Just Curious...

...about all the traffic from Facebook to this morning's Rosenkavalier post. (Mr. Regie, we've noticed some unusual activity in your account.)

Mind you, I'm not complaining. Just wondering who posted it where on Facebook? Hmmmmm...

Gratuitous Friday – Anne Sofie von Otter, Barbara Bonney, and the Rose

Our instinct is to look at the person who's singing. But this time, watch Anne Sofie von Otter as Octavian while Sophie (Barbara Bonney) goes on about how pretty the rose smells. ASvO's emotion is electric and honest. I never ever forget that she is a girl playing a boy, but I totally believe she is totally fascinated, turned on, and perhaps even already in love with this lovely girl. And Barbara B. helps by being totally adorable. It sounds cliche, but I actually get chills watching ASvO in this scene. The singers and director make this work!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tara Erraught: Eines der größtenTalente der Opernwelt

I wouldn’t even have heard about this if the director of the Wolf Trap Opera Company Kim Pensinger Witman, hadn’t blogged about it. (I wasn’t thrilled with the title of the post, but hey, whatever.) 

Lord knows I don’t/won’t read that blogger-who-shall-not-be-named-at-my-blog, who made a point of firing everyone up. (I used to post a link to his blog but I decided I don’t want to encourage all his nonsense.) But then, I was curious about why this post here at RnR was suddenly getting (relatively) heavy traffic again. 

Size-ism is so 1990s! So much has been said, that I have little to add; but I do have two things to say about all the Tara Erraught hoopla:
  1. It's the director's fault.
  2. They love you in Germany, Tara! And I think you're great, too. Don't let the British press b*ast*rds get you down.

And then I found this video posted by the Bavarian Radio at YouTube on May 16th. Tara Erraught: One of the greatest talents of the opera world! 

Indeed! Brava Tara!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Two-Countertenor Tuesday – Purcell's Sound the Trumpet

I used to have the old David Munrow-led recording of Purcell's birthday odeson the Seraphim label, I think! It’s still available from Virgin Veritas.

Anyway, this little duet always makes me smile. There are other recordings, both more and less successful in my mind. No matter how marvelous the current French and German countertenors are, to me this music calls for Brits! Michael Chance and James Bowman just have this in their blood (and voices); and they even impart a bit of (very reserved) British humour to this happy music. 

Speaking of Paul Esswood*, here is a Bach duet (audio only) with Austrian tenor Kurt Equiluz—both Bach specialists who were featured on tons of recordings, especially under the direction Harnoncourt and Leonhardt.

*I guess I wasn't speaking of Paul Esswood, but when I think of important British countertenors of the recent past, he always comes to mind.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Watching the Radio – More Vocal Treasures on Ö1

On Radio Ö1 this week, Chris Tina Tengel hosts two programs of vocal interest.

Apropos Musik from Sunday afternoon is an appreciation of French baritone Gabriel Bacquier, who would have been 90 this year. (He sounds gooooood!)

Stimmen hören provides an overview of recent Lieder recordings featuring clips from Jonas Kaufmann, Paul Armin Edelmann, Maximilian Schmitt, Norbert Ernst, Christian Gerhaher, and several others. Lieder are by the usual suspects, plus Fanny Mendelssohn, Paul Hindemith, and Joseph Marx, to name a few.  Listen to this one first, since it’s only available on 7 Tage Ö1 for a few more days. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Gratuitous Friday Part 2 – Jonas Kaufmann's Other Test Drive

Apparently, the video in my previous post was not the first time JK test-drove a Bimmer. This clip was posted to YT in 2010 and by all appearances, it was filmed that year. It seems that driving helps him learn his music. 

I have to admit I melted a bit when he started singing the flower aria from Carmen (that and when he patted the car on it's rear fender). Thanks to reader Cecily K for sending me the link to this clip.

Gratuitous Friday – Jonas Kaufmann's Test Drive

Finally! My two favorite obsessions—cars and opera (and JK in particular)—in one place: In this six-minute clip, Jonas Kaufmann test-drives the latest top-luxe BMW 7 series limo. (Although I think this clip actually is a few years old, as JK seems to still be wearing braces and they show a clip of his concert with Erwin Schrott and Anna Netrebko.) 

Why didn't someone think of this sooner? Cars and opera! Perfect!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

From Kasarova to Lehtipuu via Other People's Blogs

Today, for some reason (probably because I saw the CD on the shelf), I decided to listen to Vesselina Kasarova's Lieder recital from 1999. Then I decided to see if I had ever gotten around to ripping it to iTunes. 

Aha! There it is in iTunes, but there's no cover photo (iTunes is not great at tracking down classical album covers.) So, of course, I Google images for "Kasarova Lieder."

The first image was the CD cover (now duly saved and linked to the files in iTunes). The fourth image linked me to a blog post by Smorgy called Why I Love Vesselina Kasarova. That Smorgy loves Kasarova is not news, but why Smorgy loves Kasarova was a new story for me. And it's a wonderful story. Her post also touches on indiscriminate "music criticism" that has little to do music or with actual criticism.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Placido Domingo – Both Baritone and Tenor in Verdi (Now and Then)

Nabucco, Vienna 2014
Ö1 Radio is allowing us a "what a difference 30 years makes" comparison. We have Placido Domingo in his tenor heyday (1984) as Manrico in Il Trovatore, and in the new Wiener Staatsoper production of Nabucco (2014 47 years after his Vienna debut!) in his new career as a baritone.
Il Trovatore, Rome 1984

Some might wonder if Domingo 2.0 would be singing at all if not for the fabulous career of Domingo 1.0. Is he stealing roles from other deserving baritones? Are the opera houses using him as audience bait? There's no doubt he's an excellent musician, and he still sings pretty darned well, so debate may be beside the point. 

We have lots of time to ponder these and other possibly imponderable questions (and to listen to that Trovatore—a commercial recording—which is his second, I think). But we have only a few more days to listen to the Nabucco on Ö1 .  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nixon In China at the Met

John Adams' Doctor Atomic (2005) just received a brand new production by the Opéra National du Rhin. Here's the first opera by John Adams—essentially the original 1987 production revived at the Met in 2011.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

As Seen on Facebook – JDD's Newsletter and LP's Pep-Talk Video

Our Yankee Diva now has a newsletter! What are you waiting for? Go sign up!!

Liked · May 5 

As I continue to embrace the 21st Century, I invite you to sign up for a not-too-frequent Newsletter that will bring you up-to-date news, fabulous miscellany, and the chance for you to share the word with friends and family! Please sign up HERE (and rest assured, we will not share your information with ANY other sources.)

And Luca Pisaroni posted this short and sweet video right before today's Met in HD broadcast of La Cenerentola

Weekend at the Opera with Radio 4 Concerthuis

Baroque, Classical, and 20th Century opera are all on the menu at the Netherlands Radio 4 Concerthuis. Each recording will be available for about 2 to 3 months.

Vivaldi's Farnace from June 2012, with a cast that includes Max Emanuel Cencic, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Daniel Behle, and Vivica Geneux with Diego Fasolis conducting.

Die Zauberflöte from 1958, with a young, vibrant Fritz Wunderlich, and an otherwise all-Dutch ensemble that includes the young Elly Ameling as the First Boy, and a young Bernard Haitink at the helm. 

The Magic Flute

Richard Strauss' Arabella, from April 2014 with rising star American soprano Jacquelyn Wagner (who seems to be making a specialty of the title role), Agneta Eichenholz as Zdenka, and Marc Albrecht leading this performance from the Netherlands National Opera.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Unapologetic Awesomeness

The headline below from the Washington Post is not about Emmanuelle Haïm, the conductor (of opera blog Haïm Hair fame);  it's actually a review of the rock group, who performed at the 9:30 Club last night. 

However, I think "unapologetic awesomeness" is a perfectly appropriate way to describe the way Emmanuelle Haïm makes music!

Screen cap from her recent Monteverdi concert.

Gratuitous Friday – Richard Croft Sings Handel (audio only)

Richard Croft sings I Must With Speed Amuse Her, Jupiter’s aria from Act II of Handel’s Semele. (He’s Jupiter! See, I told you he was god-like!) This clip also includes the chorus: Now love that everlasting boy invites.

Bonus track: Where’er you Walk, also from Semele (lightly and tastefully ornamented).

Both clips feature Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset from a performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, 07/02/2010.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Carlos Kleiber und Der Rosenkavalier (The Conductorcam Edition)

Anyone can watch what's happening on the stage, including the conductor. But during an opera, the only people who can (or need to) watch the conductor are the musicians—the singers and instrumentalists.

Here are about 90 minutes of the orchestra-eye view of the great maestro Carlos Kleiber in action—not a rehearsal (there are a lot of those clips around, too), but a live performance; not “just” an orchestra concert, but an opera. I am a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. If I can see into the wings from my seat, I watch what’s going on backstage almost as much as what’s on stage. If I am sitting high enough to see into the pit, I watch the orchestra a lot, too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Speaking of La Clemenza di Tito... (Tito Tuesday – Audio Only)

As if I am ever NOT speaking of La Clemenza di Tito (well, except when speaking of Idomeneo, Orfeo ed Eurydice, Le Nozze di Figaro, etc., etc.) 

But...Holy Cats! How did I miss this? We know I love Joyce DiDonato and Matthew Polenzani. And it turns out Amanda Majeski is no slouch either—a very mezzo-y sounding Vitellia indeed (and that’s not a bad thing)! 

My blog buddy Earworm saw this production in person and reviewed it. Would that there were a video, too!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Doctor Atomic Streaming Live from Strasbourg – May 6, 2014

A new production of John Adams' Doctor Atomic will be streamed live on Culturebox and Medici TV tomorrow at 2:00pm Eastern time; 8:00pm in France).

Doctor Atomic arose from a series of commissions by the San Francisco Opera House on the theme of Faust, and more precisely on what relevance this mythical topic could still have in a country like the United States. John Adams and his librettist Peter Sellars had the idea of linking up Faust's demiurge utopia with one of the greatest scientific and human adventures of the 20th century – the Manhattan Project, which was to end in developing the most excessive, most Mephistophelean weapon in history: the atomic bomb. Mastering matter to make a weapon of destruction – what more could inspire these two artists who were so close to the daily reality of their contemporaries and the excesses of our world...
 – from the Opéra national du Rhin website

Update 5/7/2014: This is will be available for free on MediciTV for about a month or so, and for about a year on Culturebox. 

Dr. and Mrs. Oppenheimer will be sung by RnR favorites: Baritone Dietrich Henschel, seen and heard in Pelléas et MélisandeIl ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, and Capriccio, to name a few; and mezzo Anna Grevelius, who we developed a crush on when she appeared at La Monnaie as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito.

Monday Mozart – Charles Castronovo is Tito (Audio Only)

Big-voiced, but still agile, CC is a convincing and impressive Tito. Oh, and by the way this 2006 recording is commercially Europe. Looky who else was in this performance!  (sigh)

Tito's other two arias are after the jump. Thanks, tenorgoodfellow (clearly a Castronovo fan – and why not?), for posting these arias!
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