Musings on opera in NC and beyond

Opera in the News

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Onegin Review (and our own Timothy Myers conducting)
Alaska Daily News

7 Feb 2010….Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” had never been performed in Alaska before Saturday night. It’s a difficult piece in many ways, not least intellectually.Non-singing counted for much here, too. Notably the contribution of conductor Timothy Myers…. Read more here.

Domingo Live as Met Goes Global

9 Feb 2010….Sally Greenhill, who dreams of seeing the Metropolitan Opera in person one day, has found the next best thing: watching it live at a London movie theater. [sic: some of us locals already know this, but no matter. Bloomberg is catching up to Raleigh.] A project by Met GM Peter Gelb to make opera cheaper, more accessible and appealing to younger people has turned into sold-out performances aired live in film theaters worldwide. With an average price of $25 a ticket, it’s easier on the wallet: a top seat at the Met in Manhattan costs $375. Read more here.

Donizetti Returns, Offering Plenty of Chemistry and Nine High C’s

8 Feb 2010….The Argentine composer Ginastera made an unlikely appearance in Donizetti’s “Fille du Régiment” when Laurent Pelly’s lively and broadly comical 2008 production returned to the Met on Saturday evening. More here.

Plenty o’ ‘Porgy’
Baltimore Sun

5 Feb 2010….Seventy-five years ago, the first great American opera – and, many would persuasively argue, the greatest American opera – was born. Not everyone noticed. An eminent critic complained about “a libretto that should never have been accepted on a subject that should never have been chosen [by a composer] who should never have attempted it.” Another bristled at “sure-fire rubbish” in the score. More here.

Met Opera’s Carmen HD Telecast Sets Record
Associated Press

17 Jan 2010….The Metropolitan Opera’s live high definition telecast of Bizet’s “Carmen” to movie theaters has set a record with 240,000 viewers…The Met estimates that the total audience for “Carmen” including delayed showings will be 320,000, bettering the 285,000 for “Butterfly”. Read more here.

Even in Opera, Sometimes Less is More
Washington Post

11 Jan 2010….The Washington National Opera’s most compelling, dramatic offering of last year was presented with no sets, no costumes and very little fanfare….the two concert performances of “Gotterdammerung” in November were viewed in advance as something of an embarrassment, a sad reminder of the complete “Ring” cycle that should have been….postponed indefinitely because of financial constraints. Read more here.

China’s Yimou Delivers Turandot in Taiwan
The Independent UK

10 Jan 2010….Chinese film director Zhang Yimou is expected to stage a version of Turandot in Taiwan in the first leg of a world tour of his acclaimed production. It would be the first stop of a world tour of the Bird’s Nest version of Turandot. Read more here.

Storied Venue To Shine Anew
Raleigh News and Observer

10 Jan 2010….After three years of polishing, one of Charleston’s gems will be back on display during this year’s Spoleto Festival USA. The Dock Street Theatre, whose coziness has enhanced Spoleto plays, operas and chamber music, will welcome audiences again after three years of extensive renovation. Naturally, the festival – to run from May 28 to June 13 – is taking some cues from the theater’s reopening. Read more here.

She Sings in an Opera But Don’t Call Her Fat
The New York Times

8 Jan 2010….The adage says it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. But call the lady fat to her face and it may be over sooner than you expect. The Italian soprano Daniela Dessi has walked out of a coming production of Verdi’s “Traviata,” saying that its director, Franco Zeffirelli, disparaged her weight and her age. Read more here.

A New Prince
The New York Times

5 Jan 2010….The tenor, Salvatore Licitra, took over the role of Calaf, a routed Tartar prince, in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Puccini’s Turandot…One of the most dramatic Met debuts of the last decade was in May 2002, when Mr. Licitra, then 33, substituted for Luciano Pavarotti in Puccini’s Tosca. Pavarotti, who was fading fast vocally and struggling with health issues, had scheduled two Tosca performances that everyone had assumed would be his final Met appearances. Read more here.

Spoleto Will Showcase Historic Dock Theatre
Charlotte Observer

3 Jan 2010….After three years of polishing, one of Charleston’s gems will be back on display during this year’s Spoleto Festival USA. The Dock Street Theatre, whose coziness has enhanced Spoleto plays, operas and chamber music, will welcome audiences again after three years of extensive renovation. Naturally, the festival – to run from May 28 to June 13 – is taking some cues from the theater’s reopening. Read more here.

Vulnerable to Wily to Deranged, With a Voice For Each
NY Times

15 Dec 2009….Years after writing his opera “Elektra”, Strauss admitted that the singing was often ‘handicapped by instrumental polyphony’. He jokingly suggested that the orchestral part be conducted like Mendelssohn’s ‘fairy music’ to allow the soloists to be better heard.
When Otto Schenk’s production of “Elektra” returned to the NY Metropolitan Opera last Thursday evening, conductor Fabio Luisi highlighted startling subtleties in his exciting reading of the complex score, which still sounds as astonishing as it must have at its premiere in 1909. Read more here.

Atlanta Opera Clips Its Budget
Atlanta Business Chronicle

10 Dec 2009….The Atlanta Opera will clip its budget by nearly 22 percent and cut one production next fiscal year due to the recession, the organization said Thursday. Its next fiscal year starts July 1, 2010. Read more….

Staging a Revival For Opera
PBS NewsHour

7 Dec 2009….With opera attendance down some 34 percent over the last six years, New York’s storied Metropolitan Opera is asking how it can help keep a cherished art form not only alive, but thriving. Hear more at NewsHour.

Things That Go Crash In The Night
Raleigh News & Observer

6 Dec 2009….Broadway’s longest-running show arrived in Durham with a bang. The 10-foot-high, 950-pound chandelier that famously crashes to the stage in “The Phantom of the Opera” has been falling with each performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center since the touring musical opened the night after Thanksgiving. Read the rest….

Back On The Podium
BBC News

4 Dec 2009….Conductor James Levine has returned to work at New York’s Metropolitan Opera following a two-month break to recover from back surgery. The 67-year-old, who is also musical director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, had an operation to treat a herniated disc. Levine conducted the first performance of a new production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman. Read More….

A Firmly Middle-Class Wozzeck
NY Times

1 Dec 2009….In 1927 the Mariinsky Theatre in Leningrad became only the third opera house to stage Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck,” after the opera’s 1925 premiere in Berlin and a production in Prague. Berg himself was there and wired his wife that the performance was a “huge, tumultuous success.” He was impressed by the Russians’ appreciation of modern music. Shostakovich, then just 20, met him and attended all the performances – eight or nine, according to his memoirs. Read More….

‘People’s Diva’ Renee Fleming on Turning 50
San Jose Mercury News

20 Nov 2009….Renée Fleming has been described as “the Great American Soprano” and “the people’s diva,” heavy monikers. But then, over the past two decades, few singers have combined majesty of voice and true charisma as has Fleming. She turned 50 this year. Read the interview….

Ballet and Opera: The Odd Couple
The Independent, London

20 Nov 2009….It’s not that the loos at the Royal Opera House are necessarily an ideal barometer of public taste, but attending Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde recently, I had a startling experience: it was the only time I have ever noticed a longer queue for the men’s room than the women’s. But, a few days later, in the interval of a dress rehearsal for the ballet The Sleeping Beauty, there was barely a man in sight. Opera and ballet audiences don’t often mix, and it’s not only about gender. Read More….

An Opera to Admire But Not to Love
The New York Observer

Nov 18 2009….It’s not the Metropolitan Opera’s fault that its first production of Leoš Janáček’s final opera, From the House of the Dead, arouses more admiration than love. Read More….

New York City Opera Rises From the Ashes
Los Angeles Times

Nov 18 2009….Things are finally looking up for New York City Opera. The once-feisty alternative to its imposing Lincoln Center neighbor, the Metropolitan Opera, has an acoustically improved home, is selling tickets and getting very good reviews. None of that was true a year ago — or anticipated. Read More….

An Opera About a Freeway
Los Angeles Times

Nov 17 2009….Los Angeles Opera said today that it will present two workshop performances of a new commission called The 110 Project,  an opera that tells the stories of the communities along L.A.’s 110 Freeway. Read More….

National Opera Week Makes a Noise in Baltimore
The Baltimore Sun

Nov 17 2009….If you didn’t know that this is National Opera Week, a glance at the local scene would make you suspect something of the kind. Read More….

Composer Erin Gee Creates ‘Non-Semantic’ Opera for LVMH
The Wall Street Journal

Nov 17 2009….Clad in all black, one microphone in each hand, Erin Gee performed a portion of her new work, Mouthpiece XIII — Mathilde of Loci, Part 1, at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s New York headquarters yesterday afternoon. Read More….

Banking on Greatness
San Francisco Classical Voice

Nov 16 2009….I have no greater joy than basking in the artistry of a great singer at the top of her form. Read More….

Written by Darla

November 18, 2009 at 9:03 am

2 Responses

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  1. I found this interesting, and thought I’d pass it along.

    Pearl Fisher and Excellence Fitness
    Posted on January 12th, 2009 by elias in Uncategorized

    At the beginning of December two wonderful guys and approached Elias Roberts, personal trainer at Excellence Health and Fitness. They were interested in changing their physiques because they would be on stage, with their shirts off, in front of 2,600 people. Of course the challenge here is the holiday season. How can Elias influence these two guys to stay focused on there nutrition and consistent with their workouts in order to dramatically change their bodies in one months time? Well, these two guys were determined to work as hard as possible, and chisel their nutrition until their performance was over.

    These two guys happened to be the stars of Seattle Opera’s “Pearl Fishers”. William Burden, playing Nadir, the love struck lead, and Patrick Carfizzi playing Nourabad, the high priest.

    Together in the gym, their energy played off each other; cheering and motivating each other on there progress. Elias sets them up a intense circuit, always incorporating one or two heavy exercises (fatiguing at 8 or less repetitions), and a couple endurance exercises. Elias’s routines are balanced to allow maximal exertion at each exercise while not impeding the next exercise in the circuit.

    The routines always starts and end with corrective exercises and stretching to guarantee their comfort during and after their workouts. This allows them to feel lean, strong, yet relaxed and focused during their performance.

    January 10th was opening night at McCaw Hall and the two men looked amazing with defined arms, chest, and abs. Who knew, fit opera singers!?! Oxymoron? Not anymore!

    William Burden sang beautiful and dynamic tenor aria’s and Patrick Carfizzi grabbed the attention of the crowd with his smooth bass vocals. This is a must see performance!

    Nice work guys!


    January 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    • Thanks for passing this along! I’m going to put a link to it on the home page!


      January 16, 2010 at 8:04 am

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