Tuesday, January 28, 2014
"How did you get involved in opera? I started piano lessons when I was five, and I always loved music. My mom was a classically trained pianist and flutist, and my dad was a minister. She gave me a lot of the classics and he gave me his stage presence. He also has a beautiful natural singing voice. I grew up in Louisiana near New Orleans. I ended up going to a small Baptist university in Alabama…and had a wonderful mentor, my first voice teacher, Eleanor Owsley, who was the one who really encouraged me. She had the vision for me…she’s been a great friend over all these years. Then I went to Indiana University in Bloomington to graduate school, which is the big opera factory of the Midwest. It’s a huge music school and they have a really big opera program. From there, I went to Chicago’s Young Artists Program, and afterwards I just stayed there. I kind of kept going through the doors that were open to me, and they luckily were opened, and I had good activities along the way. I’m very fortunate." [Source] Read the full interview by clicking here.
"Kim Kardashian is headed to Austria! Kanye West's other half will be attending the annual Vienna Opera Ball next month. The gala will take place on Feb. 27 at Vienna's State Opera House. The 33-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star and new mom will be the guest of Austrian director and producer Wolfgang Santner. Santner, 44, tweeted this morning, '@WolfgangSantner: Bringing @KimKardashian to the #world #famous #Opera #Ball in #Vienna #Happy #Ballroom #Dancing.' Kim retweeted the post, adding, 'Can't wait!' Santner replied, '@KimKardashian You will be the #princess in this #fairy #tale! It is sooo #beautiful.' The Vienna Opera Ball, which is usually held on the Thursday preceding Ash Wednesday, is one of the highlights of the Viennese carnival season and has been held each year since 1935." [Source]
Sunday, January 26, 2014
The original video posted on YouTube by August Schram a year ago has garnered nearly 1 million page views. It was chosen as an "Official Selection" in the Shorts Competition at the Sundance Film Festival 2014 and has won countless accolades at other festivals in other countries. From their website: "George Bizet`s 'Habanera' from Carmen has been reinterpreted and enhanced with electronic sounds for MeTube, a homage to thousands of ambitious YouTube users and video bloggers, and gifted and less gifted self-promoters on the Internet. About the Director: Daniel Moshel was born in 1976 in Offenbach am Main, Germany. During his multimedia studies, he directed the short film komA. In 2003, he founded the production company Moshel Film. In 2009, he produced the short film Der Doppelgänger, which was directed by Stephanie Winter. The film won the Excellence Award at the Busan International Short Film Festival. Login 2 Life (2011) was his first feature-length documentary. MeTube: August Sings Carmen 'Habanera' is his first music video." [Source] Cast, credits, and the video, are all after the jump. Remember, you can't un-see after you have watched it. For more information and photos, click here.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
|(Photo: Ernst Kainerstorfer/ORF)|
"Ludwig was born in Berlin on March 10, 1928 and grew up in Aachen. Her parents were singers and her mother was her first teacher. Her father became a stage director and manager. She grew up in the milieu of music and theater and absorbed it all. When Ludwig was seven, she heard her mother sing in Elektra and Fidelio conducted by a young Herbert von Karajan. Germany soon fell under Nazism and then came the horrors of World War II. When she was 16, her family home was destroyed by bombs. After her nation lost the war, Ludwig sang for American GIs in exchange for cigarettes, which were valuable as currency when money was worthless. Christa Ludwig was able to understand the awfulness of war and allow her emotional development to deepen without being derailed from her goals. She kept learning music, reading literature, thinking about characters. When German opera houses reopened in 1946, they needed good singers and few were in supply. Ludwig, at 18, was talented, attractive, tall and well-prepared. She was in the right place at the right time. She sang Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus in Frankfurt and was on her way, ultimately to Vienna, where she became a beloved star." [Source]
"Not everyone's stoked about the opera singer who's booked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl ... especially rapper French Montana who tells TMZ Sports, 'F**k that sh*t.' People have been divided about the decision to have renowned soprano Renee Flemming [sic] belt out the anthem before the big game on Feb 2 ... and Montana says he understands it's important to try something different. But at the end of the day, French says he's entitled to own opinion ... and his opinion is that opera music SUCKS." [Source] Watch the video of the rapper by clicking here. This all seems so ironic considering he and Maria Callas share the same taste in fur coats.
|Anna Netrebko, wearing Oscar de la Renta, sits in the "Diva Chair" from Mackenzie-Childs with a painting by SoHo artist Hulbert Waldroup in the background on Beaujolais-colored walls. Read the full New York Times story by clicking here. (Photo: Fred R. Conrad)|
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Following on the heels of a night of Russian exoticism featuring Anna Netrebko, soprano Diana Damrau will perform at Le Poisson Rouge on March 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM. No word on whether the theme will be Bavarian. Purchase tickets by clicking here. During March, the coloratura is in town singing La Sonnambula at the Metropolitan Opera and a concert at Carnegie Hall with Zubin Mehta. The little New York City village hot spot Le Poisson Rouge is becoming a regular hangout for stars of the MET. In addition to the most recent concert that also featured Ildar Abdrazakov and Anita Rachvelishvili, past performers have included Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, Kathleen Kim, and Patricia Racette. To learn more about Diana Damrau, visit her website by clicking here.
Click here to start filling out the application. Grand-prize winner will walk away with 15,000€. Start brushing up on your Liszt, it's part of the audition requirements. Good luck!
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
|Claudio Abbado backstage with Renata Scotto after I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Teatro alla Scala in 1967|
Monday, January 20, 2014
"New Zealand soprano comes up with a staid celebration of 50 years in the recording studio. Te Kanawa's creamy lyric soprano was not made to evoke the malevolent sea monsters of Te Taniwha. Max Cryer's liner notes for Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's Waiata make an engaging read. He provides another succinct introduction to the thorny issue of "Maori song" (as he did for Te Kanawa's 1999 Maori Songs) followed by notes on individual tracks. This is a celebration of the soprano's half-century recording career, enlisting the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the University of Auckland Chamber Choir, in arrangements by Carl (Piano by Candlelight) Doy. In time for Christmas, Waiata is an unabashed stocking-stuffer, offering minimal rewards for those with a respect for the achievements of this singer. Beside it, her earlier Maori Songs CD, which occasioned a few giggles and squirms in its time, takes on classic status. It had stronger songs and Te Kanawa's voice was 14 years younger. Its ethnic trimmings of kapa haka groups (including Mahinarangi Tocker and George Henare) and a wash of taonga puoro now seem positively piquant. Waiata is a staid affair. Doy's arrangements have fleeting moments of inspiration, with a few impressive Mantovani string clusters, but tinkling piano and churning rhythmic ostinati try the patience, along with overlooked production glitches."[Source] In addition to the new release of Waiata by Sony (set globally for March 2014), other labels such as Warner Classics (featuring former EMI Classics material) and Decca (featuring former Philips Classics material) are reissuing box-sets of their own to commemorate the occasion. Check out the beautiful editions after the jump.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
|(Photo: White House)|
|Netrebko and Bass post-concert at|
Le Poisson Rouge (Photo: Facebook)
Thursday, January 16, 2014
|Basking in the Sun: TV contestant on America's most popular dating television show (Photo: Andrea Joynt)|
|Juan Pablo Galavis seems under the spell of soprano Sharleen Joynt (Photo: Rick Rowell/ABC)|
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
In an interview with Il Tempo, Sumi Jo discusses her life-long love of Italy. After attending Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia she quickly ascended to performing Un Ballo in Maschera with Plácido Domingo and Herbert von Karajan. She discusses her love of Rome, advice from Maestro von Karajan, Koreans in Italy, music education in the country, and her favorite roles. Read the full interview here.
|The soprano today spreads|
knowledge through teaching
|Edith Wiens with conductor Kurt Masur in earlier days|
Saturday, January 4, 2014
As previously announced, Decca's latest artist-signing was African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza. Her debut album, Voice of Hope, is set for release in March 2014. In the meantime, the label has released three traditional african songs in advance. Click here to sample and purchase the MP3 album.
For more information about the soprano, check out a video from the recording studio with the artist discussing the concept by clicking here.
For more information about the soprano, check out a video from the recording studio with the artist discussing the concept by clicking here.
"Olga Peretyatko, in der Branche mit ihren Schubladen längst als Netrebko-Nachfolgerin gehandelt, lässt in der Rosenarie der Susanna ihr russisch-dunkles Stimmtimbre aufblühen, das auch schon andeutet, auf welche Reise diese Stimme gehen könnte. Im Augenblick sind’s noch die Koloraturen, mit denen sie reüssiert. Bei den beiden Mozart-Konzertarien gleichwohl überzeugt nicht alles. In 'Ah se in ciel', in der Mozart schon seine Königin der Nacht andeutet, kämpft sie mit den Höhen, und mitunter bekommt auch die Intonation leichte Blessuren. Die großen Koloraturarien der französischen Romantik dagegen sind für diese Stimme wie geschaffen. Sei es die Schwalbenarie aus Gounods Mireille oder die mit hinreißender Koketterie in Szene gesetzte Gavotte von Massenets Manon: Hier brilliert sie als Rossignol – als Nachtigall, silbern, kokett und handwerklich sauber in den Spitzentönen. Auch Roth und das animiert spielende Orchester stürzen sich mit Begeisterung ins Abenteuer Opéra comique: Ambroise Thomas’ herrliche Mignon - Ouvertüre gerät zu einem musikalischen Rausch der Klangfarben. Was ebenso für Gershwins transparent aufgeblätterte Kubanische Ouvertüre gilt. Bei dessen 'Rhapsody in Blue' zeigt Gabriela Montero noch einmal ihr hohes Maß an Eigenwilligkeit, wobei ihrem Anschlag hier oft eine Prise Nonchalance und Glanz fehlt, den sie dann in ihren Dialog mit Olga Peretyatko und dem Orchester bei Puccinis Operettennummer 'Chi il bel sogno' aus La rondine legt. Eine von drei Zugaben: Arditis Kuss-Walzer 'Il bacio', Paradestück für charmant-virtuose Sopranistinnen und eine Improvisation aus Bernsteins West Side Story gehören auch dazu. Das Thema gibt Konzertmeister Christian Ostertag vor, die Pianistin entführt es dann in den romantischen Salon und die Welt der Habanera. Ein klein wenig Jam-Session zum Jahresausklang und ein träumerisches Thema: 'There’s a place for us' – vielleicht ein Hoffnungsschimmer für das SWR-Sinfonieorchester?" [Source]
Marilyn Horne Song Celebration
Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Zankel Hall"Marilyn Horne, founder and guiding voice of The Song Continues series, has long demonstrated a commitment to nurturing gifted young vocal talent. The legendary songstress is honored on her 80th birthday in a festive evening of songs performed by an all-star lineup of special guest artists." Performers
Samuel Ramey, Host
Frederica von Stade, Host
Barbara Cook, Vocalist
Renée Fleming, Soprano
Brenda Rae, Soprano
Jamie Barton, Mezzo-Soprano
Isabel Leonard, Mezzo-Soprano
David Daniels, Countertenor
Piotr Beczala, Tenor
Lester Lynch, Baritone
Martin Katz, Piano
Warren Jones, Piano
Lee Musiker, Piano
Thursday, January 2, 2014
"Taranaki favourite Dame Malvina Major will take to the stage at the Bowl of Brooklands next year. Reporter Taryn Utiger spoke to the opera singer to see how life has been since she moved away from the province. Dame Malvina Major is a world-class opera singer but the former Coastal Taranaki dairy farmer misses seeing cows every day. After winning the New Zealand Mobil Song Quest in 1963 and studying in London, the Hamilton- born singer, her husband Winston Fleming and their young son Andrew settled on a farm at Pihama in Coastal Taranaki. Before the 70s finished the rising international star had two more children, Alethea and Lorraine, fell in love with life in Taranaki and declared herself content with being a farmer, wife and mother. Despite her contentment, overseas conductors asked for the gumboot-wearing diva when they came to tour New Zealand and by 1986 she was back on the international stage. It seemed, for a while, she could have her career, her family and her farm. That ideal was shattered four years later when tragedy struck the
family. In September 1990 her husband died suddenly at home. He had come back from the milking shed complaining about pains in his chest. Although she rushed to phone the doctor and get her husband into bed, he died right after telling her, 'I love you.' She left Taranaki soon after. Since then she has gone on to dominate the opera world, perform for kings and queens and amass a series of concerts many would envy. Next year she celebrates 60 years as one of the world's top opera singers and she is eagerly awaiting her concert at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands." [Source]
|In concert with fellow New Zealander Kiri Te Kanawa|
"Gianna D'Angelo (18 November 1929, some sources say 1934- 27 December 2013), was an American coloratura soprano, primarily active in the 1950s and 1960s. Born Jane Angelovich in Hartford, Connecticut, she studied first at The Juilliard School in New York City with Giuseppe De Luca. In the early 1950s, she moved to Venice, Italy, where she became a pupil of Toti Dal Monte, who also advised her to italianize her name. She made her debut in 1954 at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome as Gilda in Rigoletto, a role she would remain closely associated with throughout her career. She was rapidly invited at all the major opera houses of Italy, Naples, Florence, Bologna, Trieste, Parma, Milan, etc. She also made appearances at the Paris Opéra and the Glyndebourne Festival as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and at the Edinburgh Festival as Norina in Don Pasquale. She made her American debut at the Cosmopolitan Opera in San Francisco, in March 1959, in the title role
of Lucia di Lammermoor (opposite Giuseppe Campora and Norman Treigle), and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, on April 5, 1961 as Gilda (with Robert Merrill as Rigoletto), and remained there for eight seasons, appearing in roles such as: Lucia, Amina, Rosina, Norina, Zerbinetta, the Queen of the Night. She also appeared in Philadelphia, Houston, New Orleans, etc. D'Angelo made few commercial recordings. The most notable was Musetta in La bohème with Renata Tebaldi, Carlo Bergonzi and Ettore Bastianini under Tullio Serafin, recorded in 1959 in Rome. Other recordings include Il barbiere di Siviglia and Rigoletto both with baritone Renato Capecchi, as well asSource] Videos after the jump of the soprano singing "A vos jeux, mes amis" (Hamlet by Thomas) and "Il dolce suono" (Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti).
|As Gilda, with Renato Capecchi, for|
the recording of Rigoletto
|Anna Netrebko, with Plácido Domingo, photographed by Benno Kraehhan in Berlin during December 2013|
|Tenor Michael Fabiano, with his mother Carole, at the opening night reception for the|
MET's new production of Die Fledermaus (Photo: Facebook)
"'Renee Fleming has been very good to me. During the Paris [run of Otello] she took a big leap of faith with me,' he stated. 'And there were moments when we would have time to talk and I would be able to listen to her and learn. Even small moments, three minutes or six listening to an expert is magnificent. It is something that you don't get with others. To talk
|Singing Lucrezia Borgia|
with Renée Fleming at the
San Francisco Opera in 2011
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
|Susanna Phillips (Rosalinde) and Christopher|
Maltman (Eisenstein) in Johann Strauss, Jr.'s
Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera
(Photo: Nick Heavican)
|La Fleming and Maestro Thielemann Toast|
(Photo: Matthias Creutziger/DG)