Operatic Gods, and God

Friday, April 15, 2011

In polite society, we have been told, it is not nice to talk about religion, politics or sex. This would mean that opera lovers are not polite company, which is wrong. We just happen to be more open to topics that are central to the human experience than people who are confined to talking about the weather.

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Sarah Connolly: Down to Earth Diva

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sarah Connolly talks with Olivia Giovetti about tonight's appearance at the Met Opera, her rocky road to the top, and why she won't put on makeup to meet you at the stage door.

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Iván Fischer Will Seduce Mostly Mozart Audiences with a Fully-Staged Don Giovanni

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Among the 25 Mostly Mozart debuts this season, the one we’re most anticipating is that of the Budapest Festival Orchestra's fully-staged performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Fischer himself.

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The Art of Sleeping at The Opera

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"We sleep at the opera for at least a couple of reasons," writes Fred Plotkin. "One is that we are overtired. The other is the sublime twilight we enter while listening to exquisite music played in a congenial space without electronic transmission."

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Stars Learn to Sing for Roles... Or Do They?

Monday, April 11, 2011

On the WQXR blog, Midge Woolsey observes: "These days, all sorts of performers are willing to go out on a limb and give singing a try – some to good effect, and others not."

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Emoticons are for Lightweights: Opera in Less than 140 Characters

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chances are the following has happened to you at least once. You bring a friend to the opera and, just as the house lights dim, they turn to you and ask: “So what’s this about?” Enter Twitter's popular #operaplot contest, with guest judge Eric Owens.

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Master Class: When Opera Singers Act (But Don’t Sing)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin considers Tito Gobbi, Maria Callas, William Shimell and the notion of opera singers who act in films.

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Wozzeck: Who Knew?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Who knew that Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck would be, hands down, the best all-around performance this year at the Met? (Fred Plotkin, maybe – he posted about it earlier this week on our blog WQX-Aria.)  But I was totally unprepared to be blown away – by the singing, acting, staging, orchestral colors… the total package. The evening began with cheers for James Levine’s appearance in the pit at the beginning of the opera, and ended with a standing ovation. A real one.

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Is $5 Million the End of the World -- Or an Opera Company?

Friday, April 08, 2011

For many, it seems a maddeningly disconcerting that New York City Opera should now postpone its announcement of the 2011-12 season in order to reconcile its financial woes, chief among them a $5 million deficit. But maybe that’s not the worst thing.

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Meet the Composers of This Weekend's 21c Liederabend

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

If you tuned into this week’s show on The New Canon, you probably heard me talking about 21c Liederabend. Producer Beth Morrison (dubbed by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Observer as “the opera lady who likes it crazy”) along with Opera on Tap and VisionIntoArt have created a series devoted to contemporary opera and art song that is continually satisfying—and continually ambitious. It started as a one-night program in 2009 but has since exploded into a three-day festival featuring the works of 20 composers. With so many composers converging April 7th through 9th, we’re here offering a bit of a primer for each one—and what you can expect to hear this weekend. Click on the composer’s name to sample their works off-site.

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Sorry or Grateful: Should Orchestras Play Show Tunes?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

On the WQXR blog, Naomi Lewin is pleased with the trend of orchestras like the New York Philharmonic playing show tunes. "Some may call it crossover, but I call it great musicians giving a performance of great American music," she writes.

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Spotlight: Why Berg's Wozzeck Matters

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

When scaling back his conducting duties this season, why did James Levine choose to conduct Alban Berg over masterpieces by Verdi and Wagner? Fred Plotkin has some theories on WQX-Aria.

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At Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, Sweet Lovers Love the Spring

Monday, April 04, 2011

Despite the bird-like hum of audience hearing aids, tenor Matthew Polenzani portrayed an innocent soul caught up in the throes of passion as part of a Schubert recital on Sunday. Meanwhile, down Broadway, David Daniels played a "Baroque Elvis."

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Review: The Enraged Accompanist's Guide to the Perfect Audition

Sunday, April 03, 2011

In his new book, a seasoned Broadway composer and accompanist offers candid and often helpful advice that goes beyond often clichéd guidebooks on mastering the auditioning process.

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Planet Opera: Nordic Opera Houses

Saturday, April 02, 2011

"If the new operatic Valhalla is in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) or its Nordic cousin, Finland, I would have even more motivation to go," writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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Two Broadway Shows: Which One is More Offensive?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

This last Wednesday I attended The Book Of Mormon, the new Broadway musical from the team who created South Park. Then on Thursday I saw the current revival of the classic musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying staring Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame. Just for fun I’d like to compare the two and make the case that How To Succeed is the more offensive of the two.

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Two Adams Combine their Ribs for an Operatic Eve

Friday, April 01, 2011

Earlier this morning it was announced that composers John Adams and John Luther Adams will be collaborating on an opera—the former’s seventh and the latter’s first. Their proposed subject matter? An opera based on the life of Sarah Palin.

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Carlo Guelfi replaces Nicola Alaimo in the CSO's Otello at Carnegie Hall

Friday, April 01, 2011

With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first trip to New York with its new, busy (and injury-plagued) music director, the one cancellation New York audiences have been collectively dreading is that of Maestro Muti. Which is why, when Carnegie Hall sent out an e-mail with the subject “Artist Update: Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” we momentarily held our breaths.

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Planet Opera: Barcelona

Thursday, March 31, 2011

When I give lectures about opera or meet people at performances, I am asked many interesting questions. I hope that readers of my blog posts will write in with questions and I will try to answer them in future entries. The three questions I am asked most come so frequently that I might as well answer them here so we can move on to others.

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David Robertson, on Taking a Snapshot of Mozart’s Brain

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On WQX-Aria, Olivia Giovetti catches up with conductor David Robertson to talk about Mozart’s unfinished opera, Zaïde. Containing no overture and no third act, it is at once opera seria and opera buffa, melodramatic and comic.

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