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
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