Friday, October 31, 2014

Wiener Staatsoper Live

About a year ago the Vienna State Opera started streaming live broadcasts on the web and to specially equipped Samsung TVs. It seems they've noticed that not everyone who is interested in their programming speaks German. So this fall they broadened their advertising to reach the English-speaking audience. It is now somewhat easier to figure out how works the website. 

Unlike some organizations, the Staatsoper does charge for their streamed performances, but they also offer benefits such as delayed streaming so you can see the opera at 6pm in your own time zone. Right now you can also get a free pass to an opera of your choice just by registering at their websiteAnd there are some goodies coming up just within the coming week:

Sunday, November 2 
Wagner: Tannhäuser

Friday, November 7
Puccini: La Boheme 

Le Nozze di Figaro
La Cenerentola
La Traviata
Die Fledermaus

...all before the clock strikes 2015!

Check out the webpage, to get the free offer, and go to to see the full schedule. And click below to see a preview:

I have to add, whether in the interest of full disclosure, or just to brag, that I received an email a few days ago from the Staatsoperlive folks asking me to post this video on my blog. I have posted about their broadcasts before, so I don't feel I am pandering. On the contrary, I am flattered that they found me and thought my little blog was worth their effort!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

JDD Hits a Home Run at KC

OK, so I am not the first blogger to post this; and I know I won't be the last. But here it is. Thank goodness for the intrepid viewer who captured and already posted this clip!

JDD did a few interpretive things I'd disagree with. However, (1) JDD does not need my approval; and (2) overall, this is an awesome performance and a model of how to "properly" sing our National Anthem! Brava Joyce!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anticipation – What I Downloaded Today...

...but don't have time to listen to till tomorrow:
Mitridate, rè di Ponto, K. 87 (74a)

Barry Banks (Mitridate)
Sophie Bevan (Sifare)
Lawrence Zazzo (Farnace)
Klara Ek (Ismene)
Robert Murray (Marzio)
Anna Devin (Arbate)
The Orchestra of Classical OperaIan Page, conductor
Recorded at St Jude-on-the-Hill, London, England, UK, 12 – 26 July 2013

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Joyce/More Medici

Tuesday November 4, 2014 @ 8:00pm (New York time)
Be there!
(at least in front of your computer, if you can't make it to NYC)

Other People's Blogs

The Eyes Have It points us to a great interview with conductor Marin Alsop on BBC's Desert Island Discs. (You can download this show as a podcast, too.)

Dorothea Röschmann – An Appreciation alerts us to a new recital recording guessed it: Dorothea Röschmann!

Over at opera, innit, dehggial didn't like Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges; but at least now we know where to find it at YT.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Laurence Equilbey Conducts Mozart, Beethoven, and Weber

Live broadcast on October 11, 2pm (Eastern U.S. time) 
and in archive for a while thereafter.

 I just acquired LE's Mozart Requiem recording. Of course, it's amazing. 
More to follow about that. But meanwhile be sure this concert is on your to do list!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What Was I Thinking? Wunderlich's "An die ferne Geliebte" Revisited

About a year and a half ago, I did a column on Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte. In it, I reviewed several tenor performances, and promised to talk about the baritones next. Well, this is not about the baritones. (I did recently hear one baritone version I was not too thrilled about, but I’ll save that for later.)

Anyway, in my review, I said of FW, "He may seem slightly less involved in the text than the other performers."* 

What was I thinking? I don’t know. Maybe it was Beethoven Burnout. Today, I happened upon this version again and it moved me nearly to tears. I felt Fritz was really inside both the music and the text. The way he paints a phrase here and there, and stretches and inflects, and caresses certain words. 

You can hear it right in the first song. Some singers make this strophic song sounds so...strophic. (Here's stanza 1, OK now we're repeating the music with different words, ah one note is changed... maybe...) Fritz makes every stanza sound fresh, almost as if the song is through-composed; and when he bends it like Beethoven in the third stanza, he is definitely involved in this Poet's story!

The man is a genius—Fritz I mean. (Beethoven is generally acknowledged, so I wasn’t going there again.) Fritz’s poet is wistful yet hopeful about seeing his love again. But as the cycle continues, he gradually realizes he really isn’t going to see her ever again. 

Here it is again, for your consideration:

*To be fair to myself, I did add, "But in reality, he is just way more subtle."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reading the Fine Print – Miah Persson Singing Mahler

A few years back I was caught up in a Mahler craze (right before the opera craze took hold) and I listened to quite a few different recordings of each of the symphonies. I decided to check out a few today, and as I was scrolling through my iTunes library, I saw a Mahler 4th and wondered, "hmmm, who might the soloist be?" Squinting, I read the name I love to see of the soprano I love to hear: Miah Persson!

I am always intrigued to hear what kind of soprano a conductor chooses for this movement. Maybe it’s whoever he/she can get, but I always hope that they choose a soloist for this song based on the sound of the voice and the soprano’s approach to the text.

Some sopranos sound a bit too grown up and worldly-wise for this text. I mean it’s a pretty ironic text, but I think the singer should sound a little child-like (maybe child-like with an edge) without actually sounding childish.

I think Miah Persson nailed it on this one. Listen and see (hear) if you agree.

For a contrasting  (more ominous) interpretation from another beloved (by me) soprano, check out this version with Dorothea Röschmann.

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