Monday, December 12, 2016

Mozart Monday: Sesto as Vitellia – Frederica von Stade

Frederica von Stade seems so nice it's hard to imagine her being Vitellia; but then again, she could show us a gentler side of the character. She certainly makes a good musical case for one angle I’ve suggested now and then: Vitellia as a hurt little girl. 

Gratuitousness Updated: meanwhile, I finally caught up with my indexing. I thought I was way behind, but I didn't post many (any) random clips in 2016, so catching up didn't take long. I think I now have all the aria/duet clips cataloged (clearly I am someone with too much spare time!) The next step is to go back and un-index stuff that's been deleted from YT (or update links). That may take longer!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dmitri Hvorostovsky – no opera "for the foreseeable future"

Sad news noted by fellow bloggers Parterre Box and Kinderkuchen for the FBI: Dmitri Hvorostovsky will not be participating in any opera performances in the near future. The good news is that, in spite of complications associated with his illness, he'll still be recitalizing and recording. However, this means he will not be singing in the Met's Eugene Onegin this season. 

The consolation prize (for many of us) is that Peter Mattei is slated to cover for DH in the April 22 Live in HD broadcast of EG. 

Meanwhile, best well wishes to Maestro Hvorostovsky for skilled doctors, effective treatments, and a speedy recovery.

Conversation about Carsen's 'Kavalier with Renée Fleming (and others)

We won't see it till next spring, but it's happening now in London. Here is an early preview of another new Met (and ROH) production: Robert Carsen's production of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Kaspar Holten and Renée Fleming (and a host of others, including Andris Nelsons, who is conducting in London, and the Man Himself, Mr. Carsen.) chat about the current performances in London at the Royal Opera House. 

12/09/2016 – In my original post I neglected to credit Anik, who blogs at Eye Bags, for alerting me to this program. Thanks Anik!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

L'Amour de Loin Preview from the Met

If you're like me, you know next to nothing about this opera. And, if you're like me, you may be wishing the Met chose their Guillaume Tell instead of this for the Live in HD series. But with my luck, it would have been the ash-abbreviated performance that made the broadcast.

The point is they didn't, and what we have coming up on Saturday is L'amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho. Even though I never heard of it, the opera was premiered in Salzburg in 2000, and it's been around the block a few times; and it's gotten some good notices along the way, too.  There is a DVD of the Salzburg production and at least one audio recording.

The plot seems both Tristanesque and Pelleas-esq, while the music is more evocative of Debussy than Wagner—and not just because it’s sung in French—but much more 20th Century-sounding, of course. With Robert LePage directing, and the billions and billions of LED lights  (but no machine this time), it promises to be an interesting afternoon.

If you heard the first Met radio broadcast of Manon Lescaut last Saturday (which was not half bad), you got to hear a preview of sorts of L'Amour de Loin—an interview with the composer, librettist, and conductor. It’s not in-depth, of course, but it provides a bit more background, and I found it helpful. If you missed this discussion (with musical excerpts), I just happen to have recorded it for you: 

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