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Showing posts from August, 2008

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Fridays are coming up faster than I can find cute photos of animals wearing headphones, and yet the music I want to listen to keeps on stacking up.

This weekend I'll be listening to Bejamin Britten's Serenade Opus 31 / Les Illuminations Opus 18 / Nocturne Opus 60 with tenor Peter Pears. I've been on a Britten kick lately if you can't tell.

I'll also be giving some careful time to the Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall concert as I've only given it a perfunctory listen up until now.
I'll also be spending a solid block of time at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles to satisfy the rocker in me. I never know what I might find perusing the used bins.

So, what are you listening to this weekend?

Audiences Behaving Badly

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I recently read this post by Amanda Ameer on her wonderful blog Life's A Pitch who wrote about her experiences at the Mostly Maux Arts Festival in New York called Dressed to Kill the Art Form. It is a scathing look at audience behavior and how, for having the stereotype of placing so much emphasis on decorum and protocol, those who attend classical music performances can be as rude (or ruder) as audiences at rock concerts or worse, the movies.

We've all experienced audiences behaving badly. The coughing contests that seem to begin the moment the lights dim; the gentleman conducting the orchestra with a rolled up program; the cell phone that chirps out the Queen of the Night aria at a Strauss opera and the person who actually answers the phone to let the person calling know they are currently at an Strauss opera; the person who spends an entire opera typing away on their blackberry laughing at their own wit; the lady (I-kid-you-not) who sings along to the soprano for the entire …

Why Fly?

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Variety Magazine recently published this article about movies invading the opera world. The article makes reference to Paris Opera's recent premiere of The Fly (heading to Los Angeles Opera next month), Il Postino (also heading to our neighbors to the north) and Brokeback Mountain which will premiere at New York City Opera in the near future. This isn't the first time opera has looked to movies for inspiration and the article goes on to cite Dead Man Walking and A Wedding as other examples.


Personally I'm all for operatic adaptions to movies but I can't help wondering, why The Fly? Now I'm a big Cronenberg fan and loved Brundle-fly and his enzyme digesting vomit as much as the next kid on the block but I can't help but wonder; are we missing out on the classics? Where are the operas based on the films that have endured for generations?

Where is Citizen Kane? Casablanca? The Godfather? Gone With the Wind? Lawrence of Arabia? Seven Samurai? The Wizard of Oz?


I mean

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Friday again, so it is time to ask, what are you listening to this weekend? I'll confess -- I never did get to that Ferruccio Furlanetto recording I found in Mexico last week so that's on my list for this weekend. I will listen to this after my final few days of dedicated Olympic coverage and who knows, I might get to see some actual sports being played between all the profiles and fluff stories.

So, what are you listening to this weekend?
-Edward

Sneak Peeks

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There was once a time, not too long ago, that future opera seasons were closely guarded secrets and revealing an unannounced season, even just a tidbit, was a major no-no. This was always difficult because the next season always seemed to be more exciting than the one I was currently working on (I chalk this up to anticipation). And yes, I'm lousy at keeping secrets. Opera works so far in advance (more on that later) that it is not just one season I need to keep secret, but sometimes as many as four.

Luckily this is changing, and from time to time I get permission to let slip some information about an upcoming season. This is one of those times.

So, below is a clip from Otello at the Salzburg Festival earlier this month that features two singers who will be making debuts with us, not in 2009 but in 2010 and 2011.

The first, Stephen Costello, should be known to you by now as he's had a stellar year and rightfully so. In the video below Stephen sings Cassio and shows up in the firs…

Shameless Self Promotion

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I work in an office with lots of very talented individuals. One of those individuals is Dr. Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach. That's a long title and I'm a busy man so I just call him "Dr. Nic". After all, that is the name of the hack of a quack on The Simpsons and this is cool enough to begin with, but it gets even cooler when you shout "Hi, Dr. Nic" and he responds "Hi, everybody." This is something I suggest you do when you see him in public buying groceries, or filling up his car, or while waiting on his table when he is trying to have a quiet dinner.


Don't know what Dr. Nic looks like? You should.


Dr. Nic is host of our television show OperaTalk! with Nicolas Reveles. He's incredibly intelligent, charming and well spoken. He also has a face for television (which probably explains why I'm the one sitting here behind a computer writing this blog). Each of his OperaTalk! programs focus on one opera and cov…

What Are You Listening to this Weekend?

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Friday again, so its time to ask, what are you listening to this weekend? Yours truly is flying home this weekend so you can soon expect posts to return with regularity and I apologize for the cobwebs that have formed these past few weeks. Once I get home I'll be listening to this recording of Don GiovanniI happened to find for sale at a flea market in Mexico featuring our dear friend Ferruccio Furlanetto. Amazing what you can discover if you just stop long enough to look.

So, what are you listening to this weekend?

-Edward

Ten Questions With... Tenor Marcus Haddock Believes in the Geneva Conventions and Rocks Out to Whitesnake

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I'm in awe of opera singers. Being tone deaf and born with a lousy voice, unable to act or follow simple directions, I'm amazed by what they do on stage. And then they do it over and over again, night after night, city after city, with a new cast, new audience and new orchestra.



I'm also surprised how they can be contradictions of sorts and I remember a singer we had a few seasons back -- quite excellent and world renowned -- who confided in me they hated opera, and then proceeded to give me his best Homer Simpson snoring-on-the-couch impression. It was quite good. While I don't exactly share his sentiments, it was suprising to hear this.


Enter tenor Marcus Haddock. Marcus makes his Company debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca next season. Marcus isn't your stereotypical opera singer although he loves to sing. He also loves to ride his motorcycle. And he listens to Whitesnake (yes, that's them above -- back in the day when rock was big and hair was even bigger). I like…

What Are You Listening to This Weekend?

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It's Friday again. And that means it is time to find out what you are listening to this weekend. Yours truly is on vacation in Puerto Vallarta so I was originally planning on listening to the surf, the birds and the wind but in reality I'm listening to cars honking, people hawking, church bells ringing, donkeys braying and more thunder than is really necessary. Luckily the owner of the bed and breakfast I'm staying at mentioned how much he loved Rigoletto before I packed my bags so I brought him a copy to listen to. Later I'll be heading out to listen to some live Mariachi music which I know nothing about but with a good guide, adventurous ear and open mind I might actually fall in love. I discovered opera this way, so who knows what's in store.

So, what are you listening to this weekend?
-Edward

A Small Surprise

It's always nice when I get an email in my morning in-box from an artist. Even better when they send me music. Sylvie Valayre did just that this morning. My morning present is now yours. Here's Sylvie singing Violetta from La traviata. Enjoy!

- Edward




Bad Boy Don In Bid To Boink the Bride

No. I didn't come up with the headline. It is taken from the British tabloid The Sun who recently ran this article about Don Giovanni. The article, aptly called "Sex, death, booze, bribery, revenge, ghosts ... who said opera is boring?" is the type of coverage I love to read and I think opera deserves. They're right of course, opera is not boring, and in the right hands it can be a transcendent experience. But then if you're reading this, you already know this fact. Still, it is refreshing to see this type of coverage, and the headline got me thinking about other tabloid spiced headlines that can be used to describe various operas.

Soldiers in Sick Girlfriend Swap (Cosi fan tutte)

Two-Timing Tom Ditches Wife for Bearded Lady (The Rake's Progress)

Crazy Step-Mother in Baby-Killing Nightmare (Jenufa)

Raucous Russian Czar Loses Mind, Crown (Boris Godunov)

So have it, and post your best tabloid opera headlines here.

-Edward