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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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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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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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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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 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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Jessica Rivera unveils Mark Grey’s Fire Angels at Zankel Hall

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As the San Francisco Opera readies its new September 11-themed work, Heart of a Soldier, for a world premiere this fall, Carnegie Hall is unveiling its own premiere commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The luminous soprano Jessica Rivera, alongside pianist Molly Morkoski and Ensemble Meme (under conductor Donato Cabrera) gives a first listen of the Carnegie co-commission, Ātash Sorushān (Fire Angels) in her Zankel Hall recital this evening.

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Remembering Lee Hoiby, Distinguished Composer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lee Hoiby, a master of 20th-century art song and opera, died in New York City earlier Monday following a brief illness at the age of 85. The news was confirmed by Hoiby's publisher.

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The Diva (Part One)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One of the tasks I have set for myself in writing this blog is to help readers understand the many components of opera and provide correctives when necessary. You are, of course, welcome to disagree with me and, because opera lovers are an opinionated lot, I know some of you will. All I ask is that we get the terminology and history right so that our opinions and feelings can come forth in the proper context.

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At New York City Opera, Three Far-From-Monotonous Monodramas

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Upon assuming the post at New York City Opera two years ago, general manager and artistic director George Steel made it his mission to nudge the troubled company forward. How profoundly that mission resonated Friday night, writes Olivia Giovetti.

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A Rossini Debut and Some Welcome Returns at the Met’s Le Comte Ory

Friday, March 25, 2011

Theatricality abounds in Rossini’s operas. The composer trades in devices such as mistaken identity and hyperbole nearly as often as he does with coloratura riffs and grand ensemble numbers. So when Peter Gelb assumed directorship of the Metropolitan Opera in 2006, he couldn’t have made a better choice with pegging Broadway director Bartlett Sher to helm a new production of Rossini’s most famous work, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Sher, a relative neophyte to the genre, made magic out of the classic score and story. The production has since served as a vindication for some of the company’s recent artistic missteps.

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Reducing Exhaust Fumes, the Operatic Way

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

While the Met has a well-earned reputation for presenting some of the brightest stars in the operatic firmament, it has also recently garnered some harsh criticism for the number of promised artists backing out. Clearly something’s gotta give, but what that something is remains a gray area.

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