Thursday, February 20, 2020

Upcoming Opera Online from Belgium (Especially Mozart!)

Here's my semi-annual blog post. I am putting it here mostly for me, because I really want to be sure to see these three Mozart/Daponte operas!

I just experienced the Tales of Hoffmann from La Monnaie as well. I was a bit disappointed in the concept with most numbers sung in front of a microphone (I get why they did it, but I found it annoying after the fifth or sixth time), and by Patricia Pettibon, who seemed very stressed. 

Love, like, or hate them, I am always glad to experience productions from La Monnaie. And, as I said, I am looking forward to these Mozarts (and Pique Dame and Rosenkavalier.) Their video streams usually are up for about six weeks, starting right after closing night. Some are available on other platforms. Hoffmann is on, and it's geoblocked in the United States; but you can access it with a VPN.

Here's the trailer for the upcoming Figaro.

Thanks to anyone who's still reading me. I will try to update my little blog a little more often!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Gratuitous Wednesday – Jakub Józef Orliński at the Eiffel Tower

...and because I need to get a post in before the end of July. This is exquisite, especially considering he is: (1) singing outdoors; (2) miked to death; (3) in a huge, open space; (4) with a giant symphony orchestra (why is there even a harpsichord there?); (5) to an audience who may not have heard of Vivaldi; (6) beneath the Eiffel Tower (I'm not distracted, you're distracted!) The man is charming to watch as well as to listen to. No breakdancing this time, but, oh, what singing!
Thanks to the YT poster who shared this.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Operas Online (Arte Concert Edition) – Some Last Chance Opportunities

Arte Concert has some goodies for us online this summer; and some are going away very soon or sooner. Take some time to enjoy these while they last. In order of disappearance: 

08/20/2019 – Leoncavello: I Pagliacci
08/30/2019 – Gluck: Alceste (not available in U.S. but can be viewed using VPN)
10/26/2019 – Mercadante: Il Bravo
12/13/2020 – Mozart: Thamos

Friday, January 25, 2019

Thomas Hampson – Schubert Master Class in Heidelberg

Schubert master class in Heidelberg. Much good advice for singers. And Mr. Hampson also provides great guidance for the accompanist. I always find a few tidbits I can apply to my own music-making and/or life as well. Highly recommended! And there will be another one tomorrow morning. 

Check here for more information, too. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Aria Code – Redial and Review: Ah fors'è lui...Sempre libera

I finally listened to the first installment of  Aria Code, the new podcast coproduced by WQXR and the Met. Each podcast addresses just one aria, giving it in-depth thought and consideration. Based on this episode, they don't just consider the music or explain the plot; they delve into how the music reflects the character's thoughts and feelings in relation to the story.  

This episode is a refreshing glimpse into the mind of the singer and character as Diana Damrau narrates Violetta's big Act 1 finale. She discusses how the music reflects Violetta's thoughts and emotions. I felt like I was being let in on the musical process, as well as Ms. Damrau's thought process as an actor/singer.

Host Rhiannon Giddens, who studied opera at Oberlin before embarking on a folk music career, called on two additional commentators to reflect on the cultural setting of the opera and the mindset of a woman in Violetta's position: Cori Ellison is the company dramaturg for Santa Fe Opera; and Brooke Magnanti, a writer and former escort (yes, that kind of escort).

The discussion is insightful, thoughtful, and informative; and it’s not overly scholarly or "arch," as some of the official Met podcasts can be. It feels more like a personal analysis than “this is high art” musicology or someone simply describing the plot (which most of us already know, anyway.)

Maybe best of all, this episode concludes with a complete performance of  Ah fors'è lui...Sempre libera by Ms. Damrau. (Each podcast will feature a complete peformance of the aria under discussion.) The only quibble I have with the whole production is the "title" of the episode, which (maybe in my own snobbery) I think: (1) is inaccurate, because Violetta seems classy already; and (2) unnecessarily cheapens the podcast's image. But that is a very minor quibble.

So, I finally listened, and I am glad I did. And now I cannot wait for the next episode. Take a half hour (plus or minus) and check out this wonderful podcast!

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