Recently in Commentary
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
Matthew Polenzani reprises the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in Jules Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. “I love coming back to London”, he says, “It’s a very good house and they take care of you as a singer. And the level of music making is unbelievably high”.
On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).
The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.
The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global
following with its cinema broadcasts.
On a personal level, I feel that Dolores is almost like Emmeline grown up. Their circumstances are not exactly parallel, but they are both women at very different points in their lives whose stories involve dilemmas with life-changing outcomes.
With the help of Andrew Welch, a London theatrical producer who had adapted several of King’s works for the stage, including this one, I got the rights to both Dolores Claiborne and Misery.
On September 18, 2013, San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera, Dolores Claiborne, which has a libretto by J. D. McClatchy based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.
Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.
What do you get if you cross Benjamin Britten, ‘one-page scores’, an innovative performing ensemble and ‘Wigmore Learning’ — the Wigmore Hall’s imaginative outreach programme which aims to provide access to chamber music and song through innovative creative programmes, online resources and events?
Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).
Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has
conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.
Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.
It would seem a logical step for the mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey to take on
the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.
“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.
When I spoke with Zandra Rhodes, she was in her large San Diego workspace, which she described as having walls decorated with her own huge black and white drawings.
Palm Beach audiences are famous for their glamour, but in recent years a special star has sparkled amid the jewels, sequins, feathers and furs (whatever the weather).
When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.
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.
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