The Great(?) Outdoors

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I've sung plenty of outdoor gigs (including WQXR's appearance last summer at the "Play Me I'm Yours" piano near Columbus Circle, where the video producer was kind enough to cut away at the point when I nearly tripped over a tree root in mid "Amour!"). Outdoor performances proliferate in summer -- and so do the hazards that come with them.

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Five by Fiedler

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

In the wake of recent news about Johanna Fiedler's untimely death, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti looks at some of the author and former Met press rep's operatic zingers in Molto Agitato.

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Magnificent Maestros: The Right and Left Hand of God

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

To be a great maestro, less is more, writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. "The best conductors sort out almost all of the stylistic and musical issues in rehearsal, leaving themselves and musicians free to just play and breathe spontaneously."

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James Levine Gets The PBS Treatment

Monday, June 06, 2011

Last week, PBS aired a program in its American Masters series called James Levine: America's Maestro. The show included great footage showing how James Levine gets the results he does from his musicians, and interesting insights from some of the people who work with him. If you missed it, you can watch it online, through June 16.

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Backstage with Two Boys

Monday, June 06, 2011

I have always relished the feeling of being “backstage.” There’s a crazy lovely thing that happens when you get to feel a sort of ownership for a huge historical building or site, be it a concert hall, a cathedral or a museum. When I was a little kid, I spent the summers at Tanglewood in the Berkshires, where my parents taught. This was a Tanglewood more or less unchanged from the days of Koussevitzky, where Bernstein and Copland were to be found eating in the cafeteria, and where Seiji Ozawa could be found zooming around in his sports car.

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Listening Room: Historic Live Performances from the Met

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Experiencing the Met's radio broadcasts is no longer an ephemeral experience, writes blogger Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. The Met, along with Sony, has begun to take some jewels out of the vault, including recordings of Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner operas.

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Opera Feroce Concocts a Pastry-Like Pasticcio

Friday, June 03, 2011

WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti takes a look at Opera Feroce's upcoming production of Amor & Psyche, operatic pasticcio and entrepreneurial singers.

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Two Unsung Singers: Anna Caterina Antonacci and Daniela Barcellona

Thursday, June 02, 2011

At the moment, there are few top Italian female singers known to international audiences, writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria. But two getting fresh attention and are well worth hearing: Anna Caterina Antonacci and Daniela Barcellona.

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In Memoriam: Giorgio Tozzi

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As the news of death of the great bass Giorgio Tozzi (January 8, 1923-May 30, 2011) has begun to spread, a few people have asked, “Where in Italy was he from?” The answer was Chicago, writes Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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Opera's Great Upheaval, Part II

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

With the Guggenheim's "Great Upheaval" drawing to a close, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti examines opera during World War I in the second half of this two-part series.

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Opera's Great Upheaval, Part I

Saturday, May 28, 2011

As the Guggenheim Museum's illuminating exhibition, "The Great Upheaval," comes to a close, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti considers the parallels between opera and art circa World War I in a two-part series.

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Four Essential (and Local!) Summer Festivals

Friday, May 27, 2011

Want to go out of town or keep it local? Do you crave fully-staged Strauss or Mozart with a single piano and seven singers? Olivia Giovetti breaks it all down in this guide to New York-area summer opera performances.

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Fifteen Essential European Opera Festivals

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There are the famous, evergreen festivals including Bayreuth, Edinburgh, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and Verona. All are great and deserve to be attended at least once. But there is so much more, in big cities and small towns.

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To Be a Good Singer, It Helps to Be a 'Lissner'

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"There are still great voices today, but they might reside in bodies that look more like those of the average person rather than an operatic Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt," writes blogger Fred Plotkin. "I have seen many pretty or handsome singers who bore me silly."

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Francesca Zambello to Join Washington National Opera

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

With her inaugural season at the helm of the Glimmerglass Festival less than six weeks away, director Francesca Zambello has been appointed artistic adviser to the Washington National Opera.

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Say Yes to the Dress

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

With the new and operatic Yves Saint-Laurent documentary now in cinemas, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti turns a sartorial eye to the bridge between high fashion and opera.

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Keeping it Real: Teatro Grattacielo Rescues Forgotten Verismo Operas

Monday, May 23, 2011

In my post about operatic Genoa, I made passing reference to the grattacielo (skyscraper) there that contained a 1000-seat cinema where opera was presented from after World War II until 1992. Among the many artists who sang there were Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas. This building is usually called the first skyscraper in Italy, a nation that still has very few buildings that merit this designation. This one, and the Pirelli Tower in Milan, are my favorites.

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Is That All There Is?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

All of this talk of rapture and apocalypse has reminded blogger Fred Plotkin of what is known in German opera as the Schlussszene: a great dramatic closing scene that only a word with three consecutive S's could convey. Do you have a favorite closing scene in opera?

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New York City Opera Seeks a New Home

Saturday, May 21, 2011

With NYCO's future outside of Lincoln Center a sure thing, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti considers the immediate reaction to the late-breaking news.

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A Young Lady's First Time and an Old Dame's Last Hurrah

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On WQX-Aria, Olivia Giovetti recalls her introduction to opera following Tuesday night's celebration of Joan Sutherland at the Town Hall.

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