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Das Rheingold launches what is perhaps the single most ambitious project in opera, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.
This live performance of Laurent Pelly’s Glyndebourne staging of
Humperdinck’s affectionately regarded fairy tale opera, was recorded at
Glyndebourne Opera House in July and August 2010, and the handsomely produced
disc set — the discs are presented in a hard-backed, glossy-leaved book and
supplemented by numerous production photographs and an informative article by
Julian Johnson — is certainly stylish and unquestionably recommendable.
Recorded at a live performance in 2012, this CD brings together an eclectic
selection of turn-of-the-century orchestral songs and affirms the extraordinary
versatility, musicianship and technical accomplishment of mezzo-soprano
Once I was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon features an assortment of
songs by Ricky Ian Gordon interpreted by soprano Stacey Tappan, a longtime
friend of the composer since their work on his opera Morning Star at
the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Alfredo Kraus, one of the most astute artists in operatic history in terms of careful management of technique and vocal resources, once said in an interview that ‘you have to make a choice when you start to sing and decide whether you want to service the music, and be at the top of your art, or if you want to be a very popular tenor.’
In generations past, an important singer’s first recording of Italian arias would almost invariably have included the music of Verdi.
With celebrations of the Verdi Bicentennial in full swing, there have been
many grumblings about the precarious state of Verdi singing in the world’s
major opera houses today.
In the thirty-five years immediately following its American première at the Metropolitan Opera in 1914, Italo Montemezzi’s ‘Tragic Poem in Three Acts’ L’amore dei tre re was performed in New York on sixty-six occasions.
Few operas inspire the kind of competing affection and controversy that have surrounded Mozart’s Così fan tutte almost since its first performance in Vienna in 1790.
During his career in film, opera, and operetta, Richard Tauber (1891 - 1948) enjoyed the sort of global fame that eludes all but the tiniest handful of ‘serious’ singers today.
Known principally for its two concert show-pieces for the leading lady, the success of Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur relies upon finding a soprano willing to take on, and able to pull off, the eponymous role.
It would be condescending and perhaps even offensive to suggest that singing
traditional Spirituals is a rite a passage for artists of color, but the musical heritage of the United States has been greatly enriched by the performances and recordings of Spirituals by important artists such as Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry, Jessye Norman, Barbara Hendricks, Florence Quivar, Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, and Denyce Graves.
As a companion to their excellent Great Wagner Singers boxed set
compiled and released in celebration of the Wagner Bicentennial, Deutsche
Grammophon have also released Great Wagner Conductors, a selection of
orchestral music conducted by five of the most iconic Wagnerian conductors of
the Twentieth Century, extracted from Deutsche Grammophon’s extensive
There could be no greater gift to the Wagnerian celebrating the Master’s
Bicentennial than this compilation from Deutsche Grammophon, aptly entitled
Great Wagner Singers.
What better way for Masonic brothers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emmanuel Shikaneder to disseminate Masonic virtues, than through the most popular musical entertainment of their age, a happy ending folktale that features a dragon, enchanting flutes and bells, mixed-up parentage, and a beautiful young princess in distress?
Since its first performance at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo during Venice’s 1643 Carnevale, Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea has been one of the most important milestones in the genesis of modern opera despite its 250 years of unmerited obscurity.
Though 2013 is the bicentennial of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, the releases of Cecilia Bartoli’s recording of Bellini’s Norma on DECCA, a new studio recording of Donizetti’s Caterina Cornaro from Opera Rara, and this première recording of Saverio Mercadante’s forgotten I due Figaro, suggest that this is the start of a summer of bel canto.
Recording Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is for a
record label equivalent to a climber reaching the summit of Mount Everest: it is the zenith from which a label surveys its position among its rivals and appreciates an achievement that can define its reputation for a generation.
Few people who love opera in general and bel canto in particular have never heard the comment made by Lilli Lehmann, veteran of the inaugural Ring at Bayreuth in 1876, that singing all three of Wagner’s Brünnhildes—in Die Walküre, Siegfried, and
Götterdämmerung, respectively, all of which she sang to great acclaim—pales in comparison with singing the title rôle in Bellini’s Norma.
Paul Dukas’ Ariane et Barbe-Bleue, first heard in 1907, once seemed important. Arturo Toscanini conducted the Met premiere in 1911 with Farrar and later arranged some of its music for a 1947 recording with his NBC Symphony.
03 Apr 2005
Caballe: Beyond Music
Monserratt Caballé’s journey to La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera was truly a road of talent, dedication, and will. One of the most beautiful and athletic voices of our generation, declared as Callas’ successor, Caballé dominated both the dramatic spinto and bel canto arenas, transcending the realm of the opera world to influence the popular masses.
Caballe: Beyond Music
TDK DV-DOCMSC [DVD]
Monserratt Caballé's journey to La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera was truly a road of talent, dedication, and will. One of the most beautiful and athletic voices of our generation, declared as Callas' successor, Caballé dominated both the dramatic spinto and bel canto arenas, transcending the realm of the opera world to influence the popular masses.
EuroArts' DVD documentary Caballé: Beyond Music follows Caballé along the singer's path to success. Opening with Caballé entering her childhood conservatory of Barcelona, we witness the very roots that have supported her throughout her career. She talks warmly about memories of her teacher, the endless hours of practice and study, and those rare moments sneaking into the concert hall to sing. Her story is that of Cinderella; growing up in a poor family during post World War II, her family could no longer support her studies until the Betrand family, a wealthy Barcelona family influential in the arts, came to provide for her. On a whim, the family had Caballé sing for Conchita Bodia, a famous Lied singer and prized student of Granados. Bodia became her mentor and teacher, instilling in her a love for the songs of Strauss.
We follow Caballé as she recounts her first audition tour at the age of 23. Though told to go home and have children, Caballé found the strength in her to continue and secure a place in the opera house of Bremin, Germany. There she developed her prize roles of Mimí, Butterfly, and Violetta, and a firm foundation as a house lead singer. Her overnight success is attributed to a quick cover for a pregnant Marilyn Horne singing Lucrezia Borgia at the Met. From there, Caballé moves on to Covent Garden, singing Zeffirelli's Tosca, Norma at Paris Opera, and Semiramade at the Festival Aix-en-Provence.
This documentary delivers video footage of scenes from Adriana Lecouvreur, Tosca, Norma, and a duet with Marilyn Horne from Semiramade. We also hear from established artists and close friends of Caballé, including Claudio Abbado, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Zubin Mehta, Freddie Mercury, Mstislav Rostopovich, Cheryl Studer, Giuseppe di Stefano and Joan Sutherland. EuroArts also includes footage of live concerts with her daughter, soprano Montserrat Marti, as well as a performance with Freddy Mercury at the opening of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
It is clear that Caballé was truly one of the top performers of our time. She says, "When a singer truly feels and experiences what the music is all about, the words will automatically ring true." With a voice of angel, executing a pure, spinning piano at the top of her range with endless phrasing, she always aimed to be of service to the composer. Yet, EuroArts is able to take us beyond the performance to find the warm and endearing woman that is Caballé.