Recently in Commentary
Last year’s Strauss anniversary year — 150 years since his birth —
offered, at least in the United Kingdom, a typical number of opportunities and
On 6 June, Jonathan Dove’s Flight touches down in Kensington,
west London. Opera Holland Park is to stage the first London production of
Dove’s operatic presentation of the real-life story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri,
the Iranian exile who, lacking residency rights or refugee status, was forced
to live in the departure lounge of Terminal One at Charles de Gaulle Airport
for 18 years.
San Diego Opera, the company that General Manager Ian Campbell had scheduled for demolition, proved that it is alive and singing as beautifully as ever. Its 2015 season was cut back slightly and management has become a bit leaner, but the company celebrated its fiftieth season in fine style with a concert that included many of the greatest arias ever written.
Kathleen Ferrier may have been one of the world’s finest contraltos but this year’s Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final, held at the Wigmore Hall, was all about lyric sopranos.
East Coast Premiere at Opera Philadelphia next season. Performances from Cold Mountain at the Guggenheim in New York this Monday, March 30.
Five Young Singers Named Winners of the 2015 Met National Council Auditions, America’s Most Prestigious Vocal Competition
Julia Noulin-Mérat is the principal designer for the Noulin-Merat Studio, an intrepid New York City production design firm that works in theater, film, and television, but emphasizes opera and immersive site-specific theatre.
A brand new opera — especially one that is groundbreaking— can really put an opera company on the map. British composer Barry Seaman’s stunning new work, Mirabai, which explores the story of the free thinking, mystic
16th century Hindu princess, Mira, is ambitious on many levels —
artistically, technically and creatively.
Bampton Classical Opera has announced that applications are now open for the
company’s Young Singers’ Competition 2015. This biennial competition was
first launched in 2013 to celebrate Bampton Classical Opera’s 20th
birthday, and is aimed at identifying the finest emerging young opera singers
currently working in the UK.
Anita Rachvelishvili recently performed the title role in Carmen broadcast by The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD. Here she drops by for a little chat with our Maria Nockin.
This is a revised version of my review of the Sept 5th
1991American premiere of The Death of Klinghoffer, at the
Brooklyn Academy of Music. The opera was first performed at Brussels’ La
Monnaie the previous spring.
"Although there are now more people on this planet than there have ever been before, there are fewer dramatic voices. Something is wrong with that equation. I thought there needs to be some sort of helping hand so that dramatic voices don’t fall through the cracks in the system as they advance through their various stages of development."
Anna Prohaska sings Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues des
Carmélites at the Royal Opera House. In the same month, she’s also in
London to sing a recital with Eric Schneider at the Wigmore Hall, and to sing
Henze with Sir Simon Rattle at the Barbican Hall.
Garsington Opera celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Baritone Brandon Coleman’s mother, Linda, knew that 3-year old Brandon
would be a great singer when a stranger who had heard him, predicted it.
Professional opera returns to the Las Vegas Valley June 6th and 8th with performances of one of the best-known comic operas of all time, Gioachino Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
I met with the embattled artistic director of the Opéra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.
Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.
Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80
31 Oct 2004
Obstacles to Celebrity
Brownlee lends voice to the subject of race By Richard Dyer, Globe Staff | October 31, 2004 African-American divas have swept triumphantly across the international operatic stage for decades, and in this country Leontyne Price became a household name and...
Brownlee lends voice to the subject of race
By Richard Dyer, Globe Staff | October 31, 2004
African-American divas have swept triumphantly across the international operatic stage for decades, and in this country Leontyne Price became a household name and a national icon.
On the other hand, male African-American singers, especially tenors, have had a rougher time of it. That's one of the reasons the popular touring concert ''Three Mo' Tenors" was created in 2001. The show is devoted to celebrating the versatility that African-American tenors had to develop because so many operatic doors are closed to them; they sang art songs, spirituals, jazz, gospel, and blues instead. Baritones and basses can play fathers and priests; tenors usually take the romantic lead, which means they have to embrace the soprano sooner or later, and that is still a taboo if the soprano happens to be white.
In the 40 years since Price became a star, the world has applauded Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, and Martina Arroyo. No black tenor has achieved a comparable level of celebrity. Boston's great tenor Roland Hayes broke the color barrier for concert singers early in the last century. Charles Holland was the first African-American tenor to make a career in opera in the 1950s, but he had to go to Europe to do it.
Since Holland, only three African-American tenors have achieved real operatic prominence. George Shirley arrived in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera in 1961. He also regularly sang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. Vinson Cole came onto the scene in the 1980s and he's still going strong; last Monday night he stepped into Ben Heppner's big shoes in the Boston Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony under James Levine in Carnegie Hall. And right now, there's Lawrence Brownlee.
[Please click here for remainder of article.]