Heldentenor Jay Hunter Morris tells us about the lean times when the phone did not ring, as well as those thrilling moments when companies entrusted him with the most important roles in opera.
In its ongoing celebration of Verdi’s centennial year, the Los Angeles Opera offered a new production of Falstaff, the composer’s last and most brilliant opera — brilliant in every scintillating, sparkling sense of the word.
Poor Weber: opera companies, especially in England, do him anything but proud.
Acis and Galatea was one of Handel’s most popular works, frequently revived in his life time and beyond.
German tenor Werner Güra, who has made a speciality of the German lieder repertoire, opened this recital at the Wigmore Hall with Beethoven’s An Die Ferne Geliebte, the composer’s only song cycle and the first significant example of the form.
It’s been renamed “The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess,” it hails itself as “The American Musical” and further qualifies itself as “The Porgy and Bess for the Twenty-First Century.”
Richard Wagner wrote: "The voyage through the Norwegian reefs made a wonderful impression on my imagination; the legend of the Flying Dutchman, which the sailors verified, took on a distinctive, strange coloring that only my sea adventures could have given it.”
‘If she is adulterous, why is she praised? If chaste, why was she put to death?’
San Francisco Opera wraps up its fall season of five operas with what it insists is a new production of Rossini’s comic masterpiece.
On Remembrance Sunday, Semyon Bychkov conducted Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall with Roderick Williams, Allan Clayton, Sabrina Cvilak, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Chorus, Crouch End Festival Chorus and choristers of Westminster Abbey.
The mantle of tenor Peter Pears’ legacy hung heavily over his immediate ‘successors’, as they performed music that had been composed by Benjamin Britten for the man to whom he avowed, ‘I write every note with your heavenly voice in my head’.
One year since the launch of their project to create a contemporary book of Italians madrigals, vocal ensemble Exaudi returned to the Wigmore Hall to present an intermingling of old and new madrigals which was typically inventive, virtuosic and compelling.
Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Coliseum could give the ENO a welcome boost.
Many, many thanks to the Barbican Centre for commissioning Britten's Phaedra choreographed by Richard Alston Dance Company at the Barbican Theatre. Of the numerous Britten homages this centenary year, this is one of the most inventive. Absolutely, it makes sense to dance Britten, to find new ways into his music through physical, non-verbal expression.The worlds of dance and music don't mesh nearly as often as they should. so this was stimulating for everyone, though it was by far a better dance performance than a musical experience. But Richard Alston's danced Phaedra is something that will last, long after this centenary year has passed.
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, an effort shared with Houston Grand Opera and the Grand Théâtre de Genève, tends to emphasize emotional involvements against a backdrop of spare sets.
The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera, The Nose, based on Gogol’s short story of the same name, was a smash hit for the Metropolitan Opera company in 2010 and once again, this season.
There might not be much ‘Serenissima’ about Yoshi Oida’s 2007 production of Death in Venice — it’s more Japanese minimalism than Venetian splendour — but there is still plenty to admire, as this excellent revival by Opera North as part of its centennial celebration, Festival of Britten, underlines.
With an absorbing production of Peter Grimes and a freshly spontaneous La bohème, Canadian Opera Company has set the bar very high indeed for its current season.
Whatever you think of some of the Metropolitan Opera’s recent productions, you cannot fault the Gelb administration for fearing to take risks.
By Stephen Jay-Taylor [Opera Britannia, 4 November 2013]
If things had gone according to plan, this would have been the second outing for Berlioz’s trail-blazing “dramatic legend” given by a major London orchestra at the start of the 2013/14 concert season.
[Gramophone, 29 October 2013]
The conductor relinquishes his post as music director in 2015 following unconfirmed reports that Riccardo Chailly will succeed him
By Dean Southern [Classical Singer, November 2013]
On a July morning, in the beautiful Klimt-inspired Jugdenstil breakfast room of the Hotel Wiesler in Graz, Austria, I sat with Kammersängerin Christa Ludwig, one of the most notable vocal artists of the last half of the 20th century. Ludwig’s long and celebrated career encompassed both mezzo-soprano and dramatic soprano roles, as well as concert and Lieder performances, all of which are richly documented in her extensive discography.
By José Mª Irurzun [Seen & Heard International, 24 October 2013]
Attending the world premiere of an opera is always a special occasion, and even more so if it is the first opera by its composer. If one adds to all this the fact that the venue is the Theater an der Wien, whose history is filled with premieres of musical masterpieces, the cup of interest cannot be more full of curiosity and expectations.
[Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise, 25 October 2013]
Angela Meade and Jamie Barton both delivered tremendous performances in last night's Norma at the Met, causing some old-school pandemonium in the house. Meade sang with a degree of dramatic involvement that I hadn't yet seen from this greatly gifted soprano.
By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 26 October 2013]
Baden-Baden 1927 is the title Gotham Chamber Opera has given to its evening of four brief operas that premiered together at a festival in, yes, Baden-Baden on July 17, 1927.
San Francisco Classical Voice
Greer Grimsley returns to San Francisco Opera this week to sing the title role of The Flying Dutchman. Grimsley, a bass-baritone who made his company debut in 2002 as Scarpia in Tosca, returned as Monterone in the company’s 2006 Rigoletto and as Jokanaan in the 2009 Salome.
Prima La Musica [7 October 2013]
Read about the concert here, and about Stuart's reasons for making it happen here. If you've already booked, then I salute you! If you haven't, and you're in London and free this Thursday, this is my shameless attempt to change your plans.
Likely Impossibilitiess [13 October 2013]
I went to see Norma at the Met on Thursday in part because, I confess, I had never seen Norma.
Opera Chic [23 October 2013]
It wouldn't be La Scala without cries of dissension, but when Corriere della Sera last week outed Riccardo Chailly as La Scala's incoming MD (for an outward-bound Barneboim), the orchestra's grumbles out-grumbled everyone.
This is a part of the series of lectures and concerts, European Capitals of Music. Famous musical capitals provide the framework for this series of lectures with live music.
[The Telegraph, 15 April 2013]
Sir Colin Davis, who has died aged 85, was one of the grand and cerebral orchestral conductors of the English tradition. He inherited his baton directly from Sir Thomas Beecham and, regardless of fashion or popularity, stuck resolutely to understated elegance both on and off the concert platform.
Opera Europa - RESEO Spring Conference/Vienna [4 April 2013]
A strong statement for the support of culture was delivered by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the Opera Europa - RESEO Spring Conference at the Vienna State Opera. In a speech opening the conference, he declared that “Culture is the cement that binds Europe together.” He spoke of his particular affection for opera: “Opera is the illustration par excellence of the long dialogue between European cultures across national boundaries, across centuries. Opera is Verdi, whose bicentenary we celebrate this year, Verdi, drawing the inspiration for his libretti from Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Dumas, Schiller or the Duque de Rivas. Opera is the distilled expression of fundamental European values. It is Beethoven’s Fidelio, for instance, giving us a matchless chorus of homage to liberty and fraternity and love.”
By Louise Jury [The Evening Standard, 13 February 2013]
A celebration of opera which aims to bring its biggest stars to a wider audience is announced today.
By Daniel J. Wakin [NY Times, 6 February 2013]
In the impossible search to know exactly what the face of musical genius looked like, researchers in Salzburg, Austria, have made progress. Their subject was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a local boy.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 1 January 2013]
A new festival hall has been inaugurated in the small town of Erl in the Tyrolean mountains. This opening, celebrated by Hans Peter Haselsteiner, the President of the festival, featured an concert on December 26 with bel canto arias, two world premieres and Bartok’s opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle both staged and conducted by the festival’s intendant, Gustav Kuhn.
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 28 November 2012]
Yesterday, Conductor Riccardo Muti opened the Rome Opera, where he is “honorary conductor for life,” with a gala presentation of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. The country’s president and the city’s mayor were only some of the leading figures in attendance.
By Anne Ozorio [Opera Today, 5 Octtober 2012]
Exciting developments at Glyndebourne ! Many new initiatives which could transform Glyndebourne from a summer festival to a truly international, year-round opera experience.
“The Singer’s Appetite!,” created by Matthew Swensen and Paige Kiefner, is a food blogging website that publishes recipes (by Swensen himself or other credited individuals) of dishes inspired by the some of the most beloved singers of the past and present. Dishes include Chicken Tetrazzini, Bucatini di Caruso, and many others!
By Frank Cadenhead [Opera Today, 12 September 2012]
A record 278,978 people attended events of the 2012 edition of the famed Salzburg Festival in Austria, the largest number since its founding 92 years ago.