The Metropolitan Opera [30 March 2014]
After a months-long series of competitions at the district, regional, and national levels, a panel of judges has named five young singers the winners of the 2014 National Council Auditions, the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. Each winner, who performed two arias onstage at the Metropolitan Opera this afternoon with conductor Marco Armiliato and the Met’s orchestra, will receive a $15,000 cash prize and the prestige and exposure that come with winning a competition that has launched the careers of many of opera’s biggest stars.
By Maria Nockin [Opera Today, 20 March 2014]
After forty-nine years of delivering fine performances, usually with outstanding casts, San Diego Opera will shut down permanently on June 30, 2014. The population of the city has changed markedly and the opera has had increasingly greater difficulty attracting donations. As with most opera companies, ticket sales for the company’s performances could only cover half the cost of its productions.
The rest of the money had to be made up by donations and they simply were not forthcoming. The opera’s board of directors, many of them large donors, voted thirty-three to one in favor of discontinuing operations. We can only hope that eventually another company will bring opera to San Diegans.
[3 March 2014, Science Daily]
Walter Clark was a graduate student researching his dissertation when he stumbled upon a mystery that would haunt him for more than two decades: What happened to an unpublished opera written by Enrique Granados, one of Spain's greatest composers, at the turn of the 20th century?
By Kristine Opolais [Classical Singer, March 2014]
It sounds like a fairy tale. A beautiful young girl sings a song, a handsome listener falls in love with her, and in a blink of an eye she becomes a star. Now they travel the world, making music together.
By Georgeanne [Opera Vivra, 5 March 2014]
“Yeah, but isn’t opera a dying art form?”
You can’t browse any classical music blog or arts news section without encountering a thinkpiece on the slow, painful death of opera. These (typically) well-written articles cite sagging ticket sales, shorter seasons, fewer opera companies. They ask readers if an art form with its roots in the late 16th century has any relevance to today’s audiences.
By Zerbinetta [Likely Impossibilities, 4 March 2014]
Massenet's Werther has always been a slow burn opera for me: it’s modest, quiet, it starts slowly. But at some point I notice that it’s got me, and it doesn’t let go. This Met production takes far longer to exert its pull than it should, but it more or less gets there anyway.
By Tim Ashley [The Guardian, 8 January 2014]
The definitive version of Rameau's Les Surprises de l'Amour was first performed in Paris in 1758, though the work began life as a small-scale entertainment of the same name written a decade earlier for Madame de Pompadour's private theatre in Versailles. A big opera-ballet that gives song and dance equal dramatic weight, it never really allows us to forget its initial associations with the most famous of royal mistresses. Exhorting us, almost at the outset, to "hear the voice of pleasure," it's a restrained yet hedonistic celebration of carnality that juxtaposes a succession of contrasting erotic narratives from classical literature.
By Joanie Brittingham [Classical Singer, January 2014]
Marilyn Horne, one of the best known singers in the world and whose singing career spanned four decades, continues to dominate the field of vocal music as a sought-after teacher. Celebrating her 80th birthday this month, Horne has achieved the kind of career longevity that singers dream of accomplishing. Opera News proclaimed that she “may be the most influential singer in American history.”
By Stephen Jay-Taylor [Opera Britannia, 4 November 2013]
If things had gone according to plan, this would have been the second outing for Berlioz’s trail-blazing “dramatic legend” given by a major London orchestra at the start of the 2013/14 concert season.
[Gramophone, 29 October 2013]
The conductor relinquishes his post as music director in 2015 following unconfirmed reports that Riccardo Chailly will succeed him
By Dean Southern [Classical Singer, November 2013]
On a July morning, in the beautiful Klimt-inspired Jugdenstil breakfast room of the Hotel Wiesler in Graz, Austria, I sat with Kammersängerin Christa Ludwig, one of the most notable vocal artists of the last half of the 20th century. Ludwig’s long and celebrated career encompassed both mezzo-soprano and dramatic soprano roles, as well as concert and Lieder performances, all of which are richly documented in her extensive discography.
By José Mª Irurzun [Seen & Heard International, 24 October 2013]
Attending the world premiere of an opera is always a special occasion, and even more so if it is the first opera by its composer. If one adds to all this the fact that the venue is the Theater an der Wien, whose history is filled with premieres of musical masterpieces, the cup of interest cannot be more full of curiosity and expectations.
[Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise, 25 October 2013]
Angela Meade and Jamie Barton both delivered tremendous performances in last night's Norma at the Met, causing some old-school pandemonium in the house. Meade sang with a degree of dramatic involvement that I hadn't yet seen from this greatly gifted soprano.
By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 26 October 2013]
Baden-Baden 1927 is the title Gotham Chamber Opera has given to its evening of four brief operas that premiered together at a festival in, yes, Baden-Baden on July 17, 1927.
San Francisco Classical Voice
Greer Grimsley returns to San Francisco Opera this week to sing the title role of The Flying Dutchman. Grimsley, a bass-baritone who made his company debut in 2002 as Scarpia in Tosca, returned as Monterone in the company’s 2006 Rigoletto and as Jokanaan in the 2009 Salome.
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