Musings on opera in NC and beyond

Archive for December 2009

Ma Meets Myers

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Les Fils: Spano, Myers et Ma

Stravinsky’s complete opera “The Nightingale” unfolds with playful, shining music that tells the story of a beautiful fable. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra featuring Yo Yo Ma presented “The Nightingale” last month, which also featured our own conductor Timothy Myers as the assistant conductor.

Here’s a video of Natalie Dessay–that consummate little nightingale of the opera stage–singing ” The Song of the Nightingale” from Le Rossignol along with the Paris National Opera. A bit of surrealism going on too.

Written by Darla

December 15, 2009 at 9:23 am

Posted in Myers, Opera Video

Singing. Supping. Making Xmas Lists.

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Cue the singalong: ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…dum dum dum de dum.’ And it’s beginning to FEEL alot like Christmas too!! Wow, it’s cold this morning!

Grab a cuppa something today and make a list. With a cuppa tea and my opera moleskine diary, I jotted down a short list. These three CDs made my I-want-Opera-stuff shortlist. (And this t-shirt from the MetOpera store too.)

What’s on your list today?

Numero Uno Grammophone Awards are announced each year for the very best in classical music. This October, the most votes received in the opera category went to Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, released on EMI as a double CD featuring Angela Gheorghiu. Producer David Groves: “It was the right place at the right time with the perfect cast, conductor, orchestra and venue. The orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia played the music as though it was written for them….the soloists Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann and conductor Antonio Pappano was a magical combination”.

Numero Due A classic Stephanie Blythe Singing Mahler, Wagner and Brahms with selections that shows her dark, focused tone alongside her intelligent and musical approach to the texts. On the Virgin Classics label, Blythe is featured with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and conductor John Nelson.

Numero Tre Tenor Jonas Kaufmann excels with Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin. Helmut Deutsch on piano. Released on DECCA, 2009. Here’s the promotional video.

Written by Darla

December 11, 2009 at 8:53 am

Posted in opera gifts

Happy 250th Birthday Handel! Can I get a Hallelujah?

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2009 celebrated the 250th birthday of composer George Frideric Handel so it’s only fitting this Xmas season that the Messiah should rule the airwaves. Handel’s oratorio masterpiece, Messiah, was the triumph of Handel’s composing life, and indeed caused quite an outburst of royal emotion in 1743! Whether his foot fell asleep or the spirit truly moved him, King George II rising to his feet during the Hallelujah chorus has resulted in one of the most enduring Messiah traditions. (Can I get a Hallelujah?)

This past Sunday, the Cary Community Choir performed the Messiah, directed by David Mellnik. You may have seen Mellnik before performing and directing in various orchestras and opera companies here and throughout the east coast. Local solo artists included soprano Leda Scearce and mezzo-soprano Karyn Friedman, both who’ve featured in many opera and stage roles in the Triangle.

Handel’s oratorio is a magnificent piece of music. Messiah rules! For Hours and Hours! For Ever and Ever!  Here’s a clip complete with lyrics so you can sing along and wish Handel Happy Birthday in your own special way.

Written by Darla

December 8, 2009 at 8:02 am

Posted in Classical

Christmas Pressie, Opera Style!

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For my Xmas pressie this year,'s a thought.



Buying a gift for an Opera lover (or a wine connoisseur for that matter) can sometimes be as frightening as that dream where you show up naked at work! So here’s a go at one gift idea for the Opera fan on your list.

How about Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera by one of the world’s foremost opera scholar and musicologist around today, Philip Gossett? We know Gossett as an acclaimed expert on Rossini and Verdi, but with Divas and Scholars, Gossett also shows us his storytelling best in a storyline that’s as entertaining and charming as a novel. Singers, conductors, directors, musicologists, real or ideal characters are portrayed here with just the right irony (and self-irony).

Rupert Christiansen of The Spectator writes: “This enthralling and important book offers vital reading for anyone with a serious interest in opera. Written with unfailing clarity and waspish wit, it charts the musical problems, both theoretical and practical, presented by the autographed manuscripts, printed scores, and performances of this great corpus.”

And this year, you can get it in Italian — for that frighteningly serious Italian Opera fan. Buon Natale!

Written by Darla

December 6, 2009 at 11:46 am

Posted in opera gifts