British Politician Recalls Violinist Kennedy's Wild Times

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Conservative Member of Parliament has admitted to taking drugs with violinist Nigel Kennedy and dancing with him at a nightclub in the latest twist in the British phone-hacking scandal.

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A Well-Executed 'Selma' at the Lincoln Center Festival

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reviewing the U.S. premiere of Poul Ruders's new opera, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti writes, "Those who have seen Lars von Trier’s bleak Dancer in the Dark know that an opera based on the 2000 cult film is not going to be a feel-good night of family fun. However, no amount of gut-wrenching, emotional self-flagellation can prepare even the steeliest soul for Poul Ruders’s Selma Jezokvá."

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Soprano Meagan Miller on a Straussian Gold Standard

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tonight, Richard Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae opens at Bard Summerscape. But is it a neglected masterpiece or second-tier Strauss? WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti speaks with the production's star, Meagan Miller.

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Shakespeare and Opera: The Sound and Fury of Macbeth

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Giuseppe Verdi understood the operatic potential of the tragedy Macbeth and made it his first work based on Shakespeare. It may be a rare case of an opera improving upon the original play, notes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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The Play's the Thing

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

As The Silver Tassie enthralls audiences at the Lincoln Center Festival, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti looks at the operatic version Sean O'Casey's play by Mark-Anthony Turnage.

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Alex Steinweiss: Album Cover Visionary

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alex Steinweiss, who dreamed up the concept of album cover art in the 1930s and gave us the first examples of creatively illustrated record sleeves, died on July 17. He was 94. Check out some of his handiwork in this slideshow.

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He Can Sing a Stirring Otello But Can Domingo Stop Piracy?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Placido Domingo, the peripatetic tenor, conductor and opera house impresario, added another feather to his cap on Tuesday: as the new chairman of IFPI, a British trade group representing the recording industry.

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A Little Light Music: How Lighting Design Impacts Opera

Monday, July 25, 2011

There is a generation of people who work in the performing arts, mostly in their 50s and 60s, who are known as “Gilbert’s Children.” All of us had the same master instructor and draw on his wisdom as if it were genetically part of who we are. Gilbert Hemsley (1936-1983) was the kind of inspiring teacher one is lucky to have. He drew the best out of each student and knew how to shine a light on every person’s strengths.

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Glimmerglass Review: If You Build It, They Will Sing

Friday, July 22, 2011

Situated on 26 acres of farmland on the bank of Otsego Lake a few miles north of Cooperstown, NY is the Alice Busch Opera Theater. It’s not where you might expect to find one of America’s largest summer opera festivals, but driving so far out of the way to find the Glimmerglass Festival is one of the biggest reasons why it makes for such a wonderful weekend trip.

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A Triple-Hitter at Opera New Jersey

Friday, July 22, 2011

With three operas in rotation this weekend, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti wonders if Princeton, NJ is becoming a new destination town for summer classical music. Weigh in with your own thoughts.

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Magnificent Maestros: Leif Segerstam

Friday, July 22, 2011

The term maestro has two meanings. It is a conductor, of course, but it also means teacher. To some degree, every conductor is also a teacher, but some few of them so fully embrace pedagogy that it seems to dwarf their other achievements. A few maestros are also composers. Mahler and Leonard Bernstein both belong in this category, as did Mendelssohn in his short life.

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You Can Do That on Television

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Many Americans who have never set foot in an opera house know popular arias through TV shows like Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons and Gilligan’s Island. Read about the top ten operatic references on TV and share your own favorites.

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Pittsburgh Symphony Harmonious, But Struggling with Debt

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is the example of an orchestra for which everything seemed to be going well. Now it's reported that the orchestra is in considerable debt.

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Should Opera Companies Feature More Ballet?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Many of the world's great opera companies double as ballet companies, including those in London, Paris and Russia. But has anyone lately mentioned the Metropolitan Opera Ballet? On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin has a proposal for the Met.

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How to Define the Russian Musical Spirit

Monday, July 18, 2011

Last week, American pianist, Van Cliburn celebrated his 77th birthday. This came just weeks after the Russians gave Cliburn a warm welcome when he returned to their country to serve as honorary juror in the International Tchaikovsky Competition. He was a true hero "returning home" 53 years after winning the country’s premiere musical competition at the height of the Cold War.

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Young Singers Soar in Puccini's La Rondine

Monday, July 18, 2011

"One could make a full-time (and fulfilling) career out of just seeing student and young artist performances in the New York metro area," writes WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti, who reviews one such performance given this weekend.

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When Musical Meets Opera

Friday, July 15, 2011

With the Glimmerglass Festival's production of Annie Get Your Gun opening this weekend, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti looks at the tradition of performing musicals in the opera house.

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Shakespeare and Opera: The Strange But True Story of Verdi's King Lear

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Opera fans know that Verdi wrote three brilliant operas based on Shakespeare: Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff. And then there is the great Shakespeare opera that Verdi struggled to create, but did not: Il Re Lear. Here's why.

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What Difference Does a Cast Make?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"In the course of a highly concentrated twelve days, the Lincoln Center Festival’s A Magic Flute illustrates what happens over the course of a season or multiple years in houses such as the Met," writes WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti: "How do different artists shape and reshape the art?"

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With a Plan in Place, Can City Opera Follow Through?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New York City Opera lays out a promising season divorced from Lincoln Center, writes WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti. But can they also reach a labor negotiation to help get the struggling company back on its feet?

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