Saturday, October 29, 2016

Opera Rocks – and so does Joyce DiDonato

It's no secret that I think Joyce DiDonato is a beautiful person—inside and out. She gives so freely of herself, her art, her experience, and her insight. Observing her masterclasses, one learns about singing, breathing, acting, thinking, and yes, life itself! I also have said more than once that she could seriously have a successful career as a stage director and/or life coach.

Not too long ago she started a newsletter called Opera Rocks, which is aimed at high school students interested in singing and other performing arts. I hope she doesn't mind that some of her subscribers are well beyond our teen years; for we are still eager to learn as much as we can from her—about singing, opera, music, and life.

You can read the latest issue of Opera Rocks by clicking on the link. Her Caregie Hall master classes start today at 4:00PM New York time, live (and later archived) at

Friday, October 28, 2016

As Seen on Facebook – Devil, Dogs, and Discomfort

The devil you say!
Just when you thought Luca couldn't get any hotter.
(In Faust at the Houston Grand Opera.)
It's a dog's life.

Lenny and Tristan chillin!

This looks like it will be a dramatic and appropriately uncomfortable rendering of Mozart's problematic opera (though probably not as icky as the Bieito production!) After all, the it's not the Rescue from the Seraglio, it’s the Kidnapping (abduction is too romantic a word). This blogger looks forward to a video!

Pavol Breslik "rescues" Olga Peretyako in the new
Zurich production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

More Master Classes from Joyce DiDonato

Hooray!  Joyce is back at Carnegie Hall with another series of master classes. The first one is live on October 29 at 4:00pm, New York time. 

These classes are always fascinating, exciting, and enlightening for singers and lovers of singing. It's exciting to watch these young singers grow throughout the three day class. The only thing that would make these classes better would be if you could be there in person. That and be able to see the morning sessions that they don't broadcast!

Don't worry if you can't catch these live. The good folks at keep these archived for quite a while, so we can watch and rewatch; learn and relearn; Joyce and rejoice!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Overheard at the Cinema – What we all were thinking

"Just give it a rest, caro!"
Met in HD Don Giovanni Finale

Octavio: Marry me
Anna: Let's wait another year
Woman two seats over from me: Oh Jesus!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tristan und Isolde in HD – I love you so much I could die!

Stuart Skelton and Nina Stemme as Tristan und Isolde
This post/review of the Met in HD performance of Tristan und Isolde is a slightly expanded (and better proof-read) version of a comment I posted at The Earworm's review of last Monday night's performance. 

I enjoyed the Met broadcast on Saturday. I have to confess it’s my first time sitting straight through Tristan und Isolde; and I found myself drifting a bit during Act 3. That said, I confirmed my conviction that you really just need to “give in” to Wagner’s pace; let time stand still, as it were; and the piece doesn’t seem quite as long as it really is.

All of the singing was glorious; but I wished for better acting from Tristan and Kurwenal (and less barkiness from K). I find I have a tendency to close my eyes during these broadcasts, not because I don't want to see the scenery or the singer but because it allows me to wallow in the sheer sound of both voice and orchestra! Nina Stemme...well, she's awesome; I do need to open my eyes when she sings, because she also is an engaging actor. Stewart Skelton and Ekaterina Gubanova also sang beautifully; and of course René Pape is in a class of his own as King Marke. Really, everyone sang well. 

I was not bothered by the updated setting, though the set was nothing if not dreary. For me, the cargo ship setting enhanced the feeling of Isolde being kidnapped. The sailors menacing the women was creepy but appropriate. A little part of me wanted Isolde to be a bit dressier; but, her dress and demeanor accentuated the “captive” aspect.
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