Musings on opera in NC and beyond

NEW Website is LIVE!

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It’s official!  North Carolina Opera has launched its website —!  On the website, you browse all the details of our upcoming 2010-2011 season, read about our various community outreach programs, and even order season ticket subscriptions!  So, be sure to bookmark as it will be continually updated with the latest happenings and going-ons at North Carolina Opera!

Also, check out our new Facebook page!

Written by North Carolina Opera

August 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

CHORUS AUDITIONS! A Message from Chorus Master Nathan Leaf

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Singers – I write to you in great anticipation of our upcoming inaugural season of the newly formed company, North Carolina Opera.  The year promises to have many highlights, and I know that many of you have had to wait a while and are looking forward to the opportunity to perform with the opera chorus again.  The chorus will be involved in three of next season’s productions:

Tosca (performance dates:  Oct. 15 and 17, 2010)

Don Pasquale (performances the second and third weekends in March, 2011)

Faust (performance April 30, 2011)


I will be hearing auditions for the chorus Saturday, June 5, noon – 5 pm, and Monday, June 14, 6-10 pm, at the Carswell Concert Hall on the Meredith College Campus. Please bring prepared an art song or aria in any language to sing, along with two copies of your music (for me and the accompanist).  The accompanist will be provided.  Although I have worked with several on the roster in the last two OCNC productions, there are many that I have not worked with and have not heard sing.  In order to make the best use of our talents and make the best possible chorus, I will need to hear auditions from those whom I haven’t heard before – I’m looking forward to this, as I have gotten to know many of you, but have not had the opportunity to get to know your voices.

So, if you would like to be considered for the chorus this season, please contact me to schedule an audition time, UNLESS you: (1) sang in the chorus or a role in one of the last two OCNC productions for which I was the chorus master, Rigoletto or La Cenerentola; or (2) you auditioned for me last year.  If either of these two apply to you, you do NOT need to reaudition for me at this time.  Scheduling a time in advance is helpful, but I will also hear walk in auditions, working them in as the schedule allows.  Please feel free to pass along this information to others you know who may be interested.  Please contact me also if you have sung with one of the opera choruses in the past, and need to audition but cannot make either of the audition times.

After the auditions on the 14th, I will get in contact with chorus members based on the needs of each show.  You do not need to be available for each show to be considered for this season.  The largest chorus that we will need will be for the Faust performance next April, which is planned to be a semi-staged version in Meymandi.  Obviously, we will need to firm up the Tosca chorus roster fairly soon.  There may be some more flexibility in making commitments to the March and April 2011 productions until we get closer to those dates.

So, again, the audition info:

DATES/TIMES:  Saturday, June 5, noon-5pm; Monday, June 14, 6pm-10pm

LOCATION:  Carswell Concert Hall, Meredith College

REQUIREMENTS:  One prepared art song or aria, any language.  Accompanist will be provided.  Audition will also include vocalizing and typical chorus audition elements.

CONTACT:  Nathan Leaf;; 919-515-8280

Looking forward to a great season.

Nathan Leaf
Chorus Master, North Carolina Opera

Written by Darla

May 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Auditions

Announcing Upcoming Auditions

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The North Carolina Opera announces house auditions in Carswell Recital Hall at Meredith College. If you wish to be considered for an audition, please submit a current biography and one page resume in MS Word or PDF format to Please DO NOT submit audio or video files with audition request. Audition dates and times:

Sunday, May 9, 7 – 10 pm; Monday, May 10, 7:30 – 10 pm; Wednesday, May 12, 6:30 – 10 pm
Please indicate if you wish to be considered for a certain day/time.

There is a $10 audition fee for all artists and a pianist will be provided, although you may choose to bring your own.  Please do NOT submit the audition fee with your request, the fee will be collected at the audition (please bring cash).

Artists should be prepared with four to six operatic selections demonstrating a variety of styles and languages. Artists wishing to be considered for the Britten must offer an aria in English, preferably from the 20th or 21st century.

NOTE: Auditions for the NCO chorus will be held separately, details will be announced at a later date. In addition, these auditions serve as an open call for artists wishing to be considered for education/outreach opportunities with North Carolina Opera for the 2010/2011 season.

The following roles are open for the 2010-2011 season, and qualified artists from the Triangle and southeast region will be given primary consideration:


Available roles: Spoletta, Sciarrone, Shepherd Boy (soprano, mezzo-soprano, or youth soprano), Jailer

BRITTEN: Turn of the Screw

Available roles: Governess, Peter Quint, Miss Jessel, Mrs. Grose, Flora, Miles, Prologue (tenor)

DONIZETTI: Don Pasquale

Available roles: Notary


Available roles: Wagner, Martha

Written by Darla

April 30, 2010 at 10:01 am

Posted in Events

For the Diva in your life

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May 9 is Mother’s Day – how about tickets to the June concert by the new North Carolina Opera at the new NC Art Museum? Part of the Arts in the Museum Park Concert Series, the new North Carolina Opera company will present Opera, Broadway and Zarzuela on Saturday June 12 at 8 PM.

For its debut this season, the North Carolina Opera offers a magical concert under the stars. Three singing sensations of the world opera stage, a full orchestra under the direction of Timothy Myers, and the art-filled woodland setting of the North Carolina Museum of Art create the perfect summer evening for the Diva in your life. Enjoy your favorite arias, duets, and instrumental selections from operas of Puccini, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and others. Kick things up a bit with the Latin passion of well-known Zarzuela songs and rousing hits from America’s Great White Way.

For complete ticket information and to purchase tickets online, visit Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Museum Box Office, or by calling 919.715.5923 or 919.792.3850.

Written by Darla

April 27, 2010 at 5:32 am

Posted in Events

Free download

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I love Opera Chic! She’s so in love with American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky that’s OC is offering a free download/preview of Sondra’s new Verdi All Arias CD coming out later this month on CD. However, I liked it so much I’ve gone ahead and bought it on iTunes.

If you haven’t checked out Opera Chic, now’s the time to do so! Even without a free download, I bet you keep going back.

American soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky

Written by Darla

April 15, 2010 at 9:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Where in the world is our Maestro Myers?

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It’s like playing Where’s Waldo these days with North Carolina’s Artistic Director, Tim Myers! But we’ve got it on good authority that he’s working the March/April season in South Africa at the SA State Theatre and the Joburg Theatre conducting Opera Africa’s stage production of Puccini’s most popular opera, La Boheme. Here is Maestro Myers enjoying a little down time in South Africa.

Tim Myers, enjoying an offstage presence in South Africa

Written by Darla

April 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Humans may be birdbrains.

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"Quando m'en vo, quando men vo soletta per la via..."

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of a songbird–the little Zebra Finch–for the first time, identifying more than 800 genes linked to song learning.

Baby zebra finches learn to sing in virtually the same way as human babies learn to speak — by copying their mom and dad — which means the tiny bird should serve as a valuable model for understanding human learning and memory. 

“Song learning is an excellent paradigm for all types of learning,” said Chris Ponting, a professor with the Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit at University of Oxford, who was involved in the research. “There are experiments that can be done that immediately provide information as to what changes occur in neurons (brain cells) upon the learning of a song. The zebra finch genome provides a tool that allows this exploration,” he told Reuters.

Baby finches, like human infants, start off by “babbling” before the young males learn to imitate their father’s song and eventually pass it on to the next generation. So keep singing Musetta’s Waltz or O mio babbino caro to your little bambinos and pass the great tradition of opera on to the next generation!

Written by Darla

March 31, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

I give. I like to know what they’re saying.

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I love subtitles at operas; I think they’re a great innovation in opera. Does that make me an opera unpurist? Maybe, maybe not. Anyhooo, my opinion holds that it’s the best way to bring more fans into my fav art form. And that can’t be all bad.

But of course, nothing is risk free. For instance, a few years back in a Tosca performance….you might recall the scene in the first act, at the end of the duet between Tosca and Cavaradossi??? The jealous dark eyed Tosca asks her painter boyfriend who is painting a portrait of another woman—who has blue eyes—to paint the eyes black. The translation in the subtitle read: “give her two black eyes”. Mmmmmm. Not exactly Puccini’s intent, I am sure. However, it was pretty funny.

Still, I’m way happier now that there are subtitles at the opera houses. I enjoy the music far more with them than without them. Now, here’s a clip of a Tosca aria that Pavarotti owned–he nails it. So listen, go stream of consciousness and enjoy the music. As well as the subtitles.

Written by Darla

February 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Drop All Lesser Pleasures

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"Drop all lesser pleasures..."

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin had never been performed in Alaska before last Saturday night. And who was conducting? Our own conductor far far from home, Timothy Myers! According to Mike Dunham of Alaska Daily News: “Non-singing counted for much here…notably the contribution of conductor Timothy Myers. Faced with a pared-down orchestra (nine violins total would be about half of the first violin section alone in any of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies), he compensated with masterful precision that paid attention to the composer’s melodies and ingenious deployment of instruments, getting especially crisp work from the winds. The distinct wind and harp voices supporting the letter writing scene came out with elegant clarity. The Anchorage Opera orchestra has seldom sounded this good. Should I ever find myself in a city where this man is directing another production or a concert, I’ll drop all lesser pleasures to attend.”

Let’s read that last line again: “Should I ever find myself in a city where this man is directing another production or a concert, I’ll drop all lesser pleasures to attend.”

Mike Dunham: Consider yourself invited to Raleigh!

Written by Darla

February 9, 2010 at 8:23 am

Posted in Myers, Opera Production

All Glammed Up and Rockin’

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Last night was the coming out party for North Carolina Opera—the resulting company of the merger between OCNC and Capital Opera Raleigh. Formal wear was in order for the annual Opera Ball and Raleigh certainly glammed up nicely despite the frigid temperatures! Thanks to all who came out—what a fab party! Here are a few pics.

Written by Darla

February 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized