Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
That got me thinking. Why not have such roads in San Diego?
With tongue very much in cheek, I hereby suggest themes from the following pieces so that we can have our own opera-related thoroughfares:
- Overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro on Pacific Highway, in order to serenade those on their way to getting hitched at the County Administration Center.
- Overture to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger on the I-8, in honor of La Mesa Village’s annual Oktoberfest.
- Overture to Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra (“The Thieving Magpie”) on the I-15 on the way to the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, where American magpies --- thieving or otherwise --- are in residence.
- Wagner’s "Forest Murmurs" from Siegfried on I-5 near Encinitas’ Quail Botanical Gardens.
- Puccini’s “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca at Third Ave. near downtown’s Civic Theatre, site of the San Diego Opera production that opens the season on Jan. 24.
Any other suggestions? Share them in the comment section below.
--- Valerie Scher
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The biggest issues with a rental production are – the set is someone else’s vision and not the companies and how will it look in our theatre. We can usually find a rental production that meets the quality standard we want to present on stage and often you can have a choice of traditional and abstract productions to choose. But sometimes there is a problem. After presenting our non-traditional “Madama Butterfly”, we wanted to find a traditional production (pretty little house on the hill) but were unable to locate one that we felt was appropriate. Many productions had been reduced to oversized shogi screens for the entire opera. We felt our production – even though non –traditional – was still more interesting than what we saw in other companies.
There is also the problem of making sure the sets fit our theatre. Before we make a final decision on renting a set, we “draw” the production into our theatre. As our backstage storage is limited, we also have to be sure we can store Acts Two and Three when Act One is on stage and have enough space left over to shuffle the sets and get Act Two in place before the 20 minute intermission ends. Or if there is a scene change, can we make that change in 4 minutes or less? And if the set has rear projection, do we have enough space so the projectors can project on the rear projection screen without other scenery (or artists) being in the way? And then there’s the sightline issue. Because the seating area in the Civic is so wide, we have to be careful that everyone can see the action on stage. We got surprised when our last Salome production had a wall on stage left that blocked some of the good stuff from the people sitting on the right side of the auditorium. In the original theatre it was not an issue because the seating was narrower. So now as we are considering a rental set, we draw in sightlines on the ground plans to see if there is an issue. Plus the sightlines are on the plans we give the director so he can understand where all the important stuff must be staged so the most people can fully see the action.
So we have many of the singers in place for our season. We have a budget and we have found a production that we like (or a director and designers for a new production). What’s next? We wait...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
San Diego Opera has won Best Live Theatre Company and Best Classical Music Group in Sign on San Diego's "Best Of" Readers Poll.
You can gloat in our glory and taunt the losers here.
A special shout-out to you, our readers who voted as well to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School.
Giant novelty sized foam hands for all.
There's more to it than any of us can imagine so we've decided to make a series about this topic. So without further ado, here's Part One of Fifteen Million of "Putting An Opera Together."
Edward asked that I write about how long it takes to put an Opera together and to keep it short... What!? When I consider the hundreds of decisions that have to be made to get an opera on stage, I do not believe “short” is possible but here goes.
~ Part II of "Putting An Opera Together" will run next week.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Soprano Sylvie Valayre (Tosca) will be in Leipzig in November and December for a run of Aidas. She'll also sing a few Turandots at the Staatsoper Berlin.
Closer to home tenor Marcus Haddock (Tosca) will take on Don Jose in Los Angeles Opera's Carmen, opening later next month.
Ace-of-bass Ferruccio Furlanetto (Don Quixote) is currently singing Zaccaria in Nabucco in Venice but you should save the money and come see him perform it here in 2010. After this he'll do a series of King Phillip II in Don Carlo at the Wiener Staatsoper as well as at La Scala.
Mezzo Denyce Graves (Don Quixote) will be chewing up the stage as Carmen at Washington National Opera next month and then performs a series of recitals before heading over to us.
Soprano L'ubica Vargicova (Rigoletto) sings Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann in Madrid and then performs a run of Marie in The Daughter of the Regiment in Hamburg.
Tenor Roberto Aronica (Rigoletto) is the Pinkerton of the season at the Met, an engagement he began earlier this month. He sings Hoffmann in The Tales of Hoffmann in Turin at the start of the year.
Baritone Lado Ataneli (Rigoletto) is currrently singing Rigoletto in Tokyo. He can also be heard next month as Germont in La traviata at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Scarpia in Tosca at the Wiener State Opera.
Tenor Anthony Dean Griffey (Peter Grimes) sings Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with the San Francisco Symphony next month before a series of fundraisers and holiday concerts, driving home the point he really is one of the nicest men in the business.
Soprano Patricia Racette (Madama Butterfly) is currently holding court at the Met as Cio-Cio-San, a role she will also bring to to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to round out the new year before performing it with us in May.
Tenor Carlo Ventre (Madama Butterfly) spends November as Radames in Aida in Leipzig with Sylvie Valayre and will finish up the year as Riccardo in A Masked Ball in Hamburg.
If you stop by and see them, which you should, tell them Aria Serious sent you.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I don't ever recall seeing this ad, but worth a look in our random series of opera selling things that isn't opera.
OK, I'm going to go stare at my reflection in the vending machine plastic window since it is convex and makes me look thinner, which, come to think of it, is an excellent marketing ploy.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Let's talk about bringing sexy back to opera.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Otherwise you can cue up your Tristan und Isolde DVD and play with your friends in the living room.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
For me, nothing. I have a side yard to clear, level and landscape so I'll be listening to something fast and loud to cover up the swear words I'll be muttering under my breath. I hate yard work.
Monday however, when I'm in traction, will provide me with enough time to catch up on my listening duties. I do have Pique Dame on deck, but that will wait until next week when I'm laying in the cool shade of my hammock in my new backyard.
So, what are you listening to this weekend?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Those attending the Met HD Broadcast of Salome this weekend in the hopes of seeing Finnish soprano Karita Mattila nude in what she calls a "slutty, two-second scene" will be sorely disappointed.
During the Dance of the Seven Veils while audiences in the theatre will see the much talked about full-frontal nudity, those watching the movies will see the camera go elsewhere.
According to Peter Gelb, via Culture Monster, he "decided early on the Salome broadcast would not feature nudity."
But never fear, we here at Aria Serious circumvented firewalls and risked downloading spyware while scouring the internet to find you a clip of a nekkid Karita Mattila.
OK, fine, we just Googled her via YouTube...
This is from a Paris Opera production in 2003. Those of you who are just here for cheap thrills can skip to the last 30 seconds but be warned -- you'll be missing out on one helluva performance. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Today begins the first of an occassional series focused on the Ensemble -- a tour journal if you will. For this post I picked on the new girl, mostly because she's new and doesn't know to remain motionless and therefore unseen when I walk into a room.
Rachel Copeland (that's her up above) is a lyric coloratura soprano from Oklahoma who's performed with Indianapolis Opera and Lousiana Lyric Opera to name just a few.
I've asked her what it like to be the new kid on the block, and what is the rehearsal process is like. Here's what she said:
Today was our first day of performances on the road! I feel like I’m completely a part of the San Diego Opera family now. It’s really exciting for me to be able to say that, and I’m thrilled to be able to represent San Diego Opera as their ensemble member.
Our rehearsal process was intense. We’ve actually been here for a month already (which I can’t believe – it’s gone by so quickly). Our rehearsal process started with a rehearsal at the house of our boss (also my host). That rehearsal ended, then, with a pool party and backyard grilling. I must say, this was a great start to the new chapter of my life. I could get used to singing and then eating some great fajitas and basking in the Southern California sun! After the first ‘relaxed’ rehearsal, we stepped into high gear. We had non-stop rehearsals from 9 – 5 six days a week for the next 3 weeks. Throughout the first week of musical rehearsal, all of the ensemble members came completely prepared. Believe me, I was happy about this because it allowed us extra time to explore musical nuances and really invest in our character choices rather than just plucking out pitches! And you may think that this doesn’t happen, but it does… much more frequently than I’d like to report.
We’ve staged 2 50-minute operas in the last 3 weeks with 2 different directors. They have really different directing styles, and so it has been rewarding to be able to have the variance. This is a longer rehearsal period than some of the other operas that I’ve performed in before. Because of the extra time, I’ve been able to appreciate seeing my fellow ensemble members take more emotional and physical chances (anyone who sees Chad, our tenor, in Rumpelstiltskin will really understand that!). I value this rehearsal period because I’ve gotten to know each ensemble member – how they react to nerves, how to count on them for support in challenging moments (personally and professionally!), how to respond to the acting that they share with me, and many more rewarding aspects of each of my new colleagues. In this rehearsal process, I’ve also been thrilled to have such amazing costumes and sets. I think it’s wonderful that San Diego Opera invests so much in these items for the educational tour. Having the wonderful costume staff make me look and feel like a hundred dollars really does help in feeling included into the San Diego Opera family! The most exciting and unique part of my experience here with San Diego Opera has been interacting with the amazing staff. I am so lucky to work with so many people who are genuinely thrilled that I am one of the newest members of the ensemble. No joke – every single person that I have met has made me personally feel welcome.
Back to our busy rehearsals, our last week was really used for fine tuning and costume rehearsals. This all culminated on Friday, our last dress rehearsal, though we had a great audience. Even my sister, who was in San Diego for a medical conference, was able to come and appreciate the finale of our rehearsal process! She hasn’t gotten to see me perform too much so she’s usually teary-eyed after hearing me sing. It’s great to feel her support! And, on a positive note, my brother-in-law was also there, and it was his first opera experience! I’m glad to report that there is now one more opera-lover in this world!
And now, here we are… the completion of our first day of actual performances! Here’s to what the rest of the year will be. If it’s anything like the first month, it will be an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
- Rachel Copeland
Monday, October 6, 2008
But gray hair at 40!!?? Come to think of it, at 40 I'd be happy for just some hair.
New York City Opera began its "Looking Forward" Season -- a season devoid of any staged performances while the New York State Theatre undergoes a major overhaul. All of this is happening when some are having second thoughts about incoming Director Gerard Mortier who seems to have his eye on other ventures. To top it off 11 staff members are laid off to kick off opening weekend.
Across the street in New York, Dr. Atomic just got a lot cheaper to see thanks to some generous donors. Now if I can just get them to subsidize my airfare.Drama down under at Opera Australia threatens to overshadow the drama on stage.
Rasputin: The Opera received its world premiere in Moscow.
Placido Domingo performed as a Mariachi at Mayan ruins in Mexico and became a talking dog in Beverly Hills Chihuahua, showing us there is no end to what the Maestro can do.
On a postitive note, classical music is alive and kicking.
And don't forget to vote for San Diego Opera as the best of just about everything in our local newspaper's reader poll.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Time permitting I will dive into the beautiful, haunting, surreal world of Daniel Johnston.
What are you listening to this weekend?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
This is frakkin brilliant.
Opernhaus Zurich mounted a production of La Traviata last night and turned Zurich's Hauptbahnhof into a living breathing set for the Verdi classic. Using the main hall, coffee shop and train platforms the performers moved through the station and mixed with commuters, workers and observers while performing the opera which was televised live and watched by 1/3 of all the households in Switzerland.
Talk about bringing opera to the people!
Looks like what we have here is an opera broadcast arms race and Zurich Opera just dropped the bomb.
A bunch of behind the scenes videos can be found on the official SF1 television site. Excerpts above and below. Enjoy!
Happy 40th Anniversary Maestro!
Now onto some Muppets...