Recently in Commentary
Kathleen Kelly is an internationally renowned pianist, coach, conductor, and master teacher. She was the first woman and first American named Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera.
Atsuto Sawakami is a slightly built man in his late sixties with impeccable, gentlemanly manners. He communicates a certain restless energy and his piercingly bright eyes reveal an undimmed appetite for life.
‘Lieder v. Opera’? At first glance it might seem to be a pointless or nonsensical question.
Extreme Dolly Parton fans may sound like unlikely subjects for an opera, but they are the major characters in Heartbreak Express, a collaboration of composer George Lam and librettist John Clum.
Last year's Oxford Lieder Festival made something of a splash when it encompassed all of Schubert's songs, performed in the space of three weeks. This year's festival, the 14th, which runs from 16 to 31 October 2015 has a rather different, yet still eye-catching theme; Singing Words: Poets and their Songs.
The First of Three Donizetti Queens She Will Sing at the Met This Season
For a company founded in 2013, Odyssey Opera has an astounding track record. To take on Korngold’s Die tote Stadt is ambitious enough, but to do so within only a year of the company’s founding seems almost single-minded.
The name of Hibla Gerzmava has been famous in the opera world since 1994,
when at age 24 the Abkhazian-Russian soprano won the Grand Prix at Tchaikovsky
International Competition, entering its history as the first and only vocalist
to have been awarded the highest prize.
American tenor René Barbera is fast making a name for himself as one of the
top bel canto singers in opera houses around the world.
(Boston, MA) — Odyssey Opera, a Boston-based opera company dedicated to exploring the full spectrum of adventurous repertoire, presents the Boston premiere of one of France’s great operas, Le Cid (1885), composed by Jules Massenet (1842–1912).
I’m interviewing Stefano Mastrangelo in the immediate aftermath of his conducting La Traviata for the Chofu City Opera in Tokyo on 22 November 2014; he conveys an air at once of tiredness and exhilaration.
Apotheosis Opera is proud to announce their inaugural production
will be a fully-staged English translation of Richard Wagner’s early
masterpiece TANNHÄUSER on Friday, July 31, 2015, at 7pm and Sunday,
August 2, 2015, at 3pm at the theatre of El Museo del Barrio (1230 5th Avenue)
‘Competitions are for horses, not artists.’ The words of Béla Bartók seemed apposite on Sunday night at the Royal Opera House, as 11 soloists walked swiftly onto the Covent Garden stage, performed their chosen aria, briefly acknowledged the applause and then returned summarily to the wings.
Twin sisters – one pensive, the other gregarious – are soon to wed their beau, whose contrasting characters – one earnestly introverted,
the other a boisterous hedonist – perfectly match their respective betrotheds’.
Derrick Wang is a composer who graduated from law school and has an interest in this country’s highest court.
Sara Gartland is an emerging singer who brings an enormous talent and a delightful personality to the opera stage. Having sung lighter soprano roles such as Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata, Gartland is now taking on the title role in Leoš Janáček’s dramatic opera Jenůfa.
Madness descends upon Welsh National Opera for its autumn 2015 season, with three new productions that will explore human turmoil through some of the finest musical expressions of madness and the human condition.
American composer Jennifer Higdon has won many awards for her imaginative music. Her percussion concerto received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Bratislava in Slovakia might seem an unlikely place to come across the opera
I gioielli della Madonna (The Jewels of the Madonna) a 1911 rarity
written by the Italian/German Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, a composer best known for
his one-act opera Il segreto di Susanna ( Susanna’s Secret)
and his comedies based on Goldoni.
Last year’s Strauss anniversary year — 150 years since his birth —
offered, at least in the United Kingdom, a typical number of opportunities and
17 Jun 2007
New Frocks for Old – Cardiff Singer of the World, 2007
Back in the early 1980’s two good ideas came to fruition: the much-needed new concert hall for Cardiff, capital city of Wales, and plans to hold within it the first “Singer of the World” competition.
When one looks back at early videos of the first competition in 1983 and compares
with today’s slick production several things become evident. In 2007 there is a far larger
geographical spread of contestants and there is now remarkable vocal quality-in-depth. On a
more frivolous front, and perhaps indicative of current obsessions with image in the world of
opera, the frocks on display have also become extremely sexy and chic compared to their
distinctly dowdy predecessors. The men’s tailoring has changed rather less, it must be said,
although it is obvious that they, too, are now more aware of their presentation on stage – one
Finalist this year, countertenor David DQ Lee, looking particularly stylish.
Since that first competition (which, incidentally, Karita Mattila won) there have been many
exciting, memorable performances and vocal trials of strength. Who can forget the 1989 “battle
of the baritones” between Bryn Terrell and Dmitri Hvorostovsky? This bi-annual contest has
grown steadily in size and stature over the years, and it is now regarded as one of the premier
singing competitions in the world. Certainly recent Winners and Finalists of both the Main Prize
and the Lieder Prize read like a contemporary hall of fame: Nicole Cabell, Ailish Tynan, Katarina
Karnéus, Lisa Gasteen, Marius Brenciu, Christopher Maltman and Andrew Kennedy, to name
just a few.
This year’s competition will have been hard-fought and exhausting for both juries and
contestants – over 1000 people applied to take part, 677 from 64 countries took part in auditions
held in 44 locations around the globe, and the final 25 singers who have survived the selection
process so far arrived in Cardiff this week. Although the two Prizes are valuable in monetary
terms - £15,000 and £5,000 for Singer of the World and the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize
respectively with £2,500 for each of this year’s other four finalists – it is the world media
exposure that is often the key to future success for these young performers. Cardiff is a shop
window, par excellence.
One very famous face who is there to welcome them is the competition’s Patron, Dame Joan
Sutherland who said “the competition is always a wonderful experience for not only the St.
David’s Hall audience and multimedia audiences across the world, but is also a delight for every
competitor taking part.” Today, Cardiff Singer of the World is very much a global
entertainment, with a TV, radio and online audience of eight million able to watch, listen and
download information on the wealth of young vocal talent on display, not forgetting, of course,
The competition is now under way with the two Finals being decided on Friday and Sunday
nights. Details of timings, tickets, master classes and contestants are available online at
Sue Loder © 2007