Friday, January 29, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

This weekend seeing opera precludes listening to opera, but we're not complaining.

We'll start the weekend listening to "San Diego Opera Matters" at 9 AM on XLNC1 at 104.9 or online here. This week's topic - Mimi and other heroines.

Then we'll wear our garbage bag suits while working out in an attempt to fit into our tux. It's opening night of LA BOHEME.

Sunday well bask in the glory that is a day off, and perhaps listen to the new Magnetic Fields album while catching up on some much needed sleep.

Are you coming to LA BOHEME? What are your listening plans this weekend?






Thursday, January 28, 2010

Villazon Comes Out Swinging

After receiving criticism for his participation in ITV's program Pop Star to Opera Star, including the comment that the program is "vile trash" tenor Rolando Villazon responds to his critics with an essay that appeared in the London Telegraph.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Musetta

A wonderful profile on our Musetta in LA BOHEME, Priti Gandhi, will run in tomorrow's North County Times.

Through the magic of the interwebs you can read it here today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

LA BOHEME Artist Roundtable

For those of you who missed it last Thursday, we have our Artist Roundtable online now. You can watch it below.

Enjoy!

It's a Small Opera World Afterall

Our two soprano's in LA BOHEME - Ellie Dehn (Mimi) and Priti Gandhi (Musetta) we're friends before they even knew they were singing together.

San Diego News Network has the scoop.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Podcast Monday

On this week's Podcast, Dr. Nic explores how Puccini tells the story of LA BOHEME through music. It's a perfect primer for opening night this Saturday!

You can download the podcast here!

San Diego Opera Matters Rebroadcast

Due to technical difficulties with the storms in San Diego, last Saturday's "San Diego Opera Matters" program did not air in its entirety.

XLNC1 will air this show again on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 7 PM PST on 104.9 FM or online here.




While You Were Out

It's a special San Diego Opera version of While You Were Out as we had some wonderful stories hit over the weekend.

- Up first is tenor Piotr Beczala (he's our Rodolfo) as he talks about the in's and out's of his character and promises not to keep any secrets. You can read it here.

- Then there's our Mimi, the wonderful Ellie Dehn who's sudden engagement with us is profiled in this article here.

- Finally, there's our Musetta, the lovely Priti Gandhi, who talks about exploring her character in the craziness that is Tech Week. It's part 3 of 10 of The Opera Diary and you can read it here.

- For those of you in San Diego, be sure to pick up the current edition of Uptown News which has a wonderful 2010 season profile on us. (We'll post an electronic version once we find one).

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday! What a wet week. And quite a wild one too. We here at Aria Serious apologize for the lack of posts this week - just think of it as the calm before the storm.

As we always ask on Friday - what are you listening to this weekend?

We here at Aria Serious are going to spend our Saturday morning with Nic's newest installment of "San Diego Opera Matters" on XLNC1 (104.9 FM) or online here. This week's topic - tenor Piotr Beczala. Filled with interviews and clips this will be a great one. Piotr, by the way, really is as good as we've been promising (and an incredibly nice man as well - this counts, sometimes even more, especially in my world). San Diego Opera Matters airs at 9 AM PST just before the Met broadcast.

Saturday night our La boheme moves to the stage so we'll be at that rehearsal. This of course leaves only Sunday for listening to music, and truth be told, we're going to want silence. Next week is our first tech week of the season which means five nights of La boheme in a row before opening night on the 30th.

Share your listening plans in the comment section, and if you're coming to La boheme be sure to stop by and say "hello."
Make it a good one!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Downward Spiral

A new study from the non-profit group Americans for the Arts reported that while the number of arts institutions increased dramatically over the past 10-years, the percentage of people attending that arts has declined.

The study goes onto say that people are turning to the internet more and more for their arts consumption. It also notes that the "remote arts experience" is being made easier with programs such as the the Met's HD simulcasts.

You can read the article here.

It's that "remote arts experience" that has many of us worried. But a reminder - for all of you who can't wait to see La boheme at the Met, we have the same tenor, Piotr Beczala, singing Rodolfo with us. So why not come see him here? He'll be in 3D. Without those silly annoying glasses.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The LA BOHEME Artist Roundtable is Thursday

This Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 5:30 PM San Diego Opera will host our first Artist Roundtable of the 2010 season. On this night the artists of La boheme will get together to discuss Puccini's timeless masterpiece.

The Artist Roundtable is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Beverly Sills Salon of the Civic Theatre (2nd floor, 1100 3rd Ave. 92101).

Live elsewhere and can't make it? Live in San Diego and hate driving in the rain (it is forecast to rain)?

Don't worry. We'll be airing these on TV this year. And of course we'll have them up on Youtube a few days after the event as well (we'll post them here as well so you don't need to search for them).

If you do show up, stop on by to say "hi." We're the guy in the back taking notes.

The Meatloaf Seems A Little Tough

Meatloaf, rock legend, judge on ITV's Pop Star to Opera Star series and apparently sh*t kicker of conductors.



Podcast Monday

Tenor Piotr Beczala has quickly made a name for himself as one of the world's leading lyric tenors. Ian Campbell even calls him "the world's leading lyric tenor performing today." Well Piotr is here in San Diego for our La boheme and if rehearsals are any indication of how good he is then, yeah, he's really really good.

This week, Dr. Nic gives you an introduction to this exciting young voice.

You can download the podcast here.

Backstage at LA BOHEME

What's going on backstage at our LA BOHEME rehearsals? Our Musetta for these performances, the wonderful Priti Gandhi, explores the backstage world of "The Opera Gig" in the second part of her 10-part series.



While You Were Out

Over the weekend:

- Pop Star to Opera Star aired on ITV over the weekend and the feedback? Not so great. Based on the comments here from our friends across the pond, we were much better off watching the Chargers throw the game away.









Friday, January 15, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

What are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious posse will start our weekend by listening to Dr. Nic's new radio show "San Diego Opera Matters" on XLNC1 104.9 FM (or online here) starting at 9 AM PST. This one is on La boheme and whether or not it is the "perfect opera." What do you think?

After that we're moving onto Troilus and Cressida because we've never heard it before.

Time permitting we might watch the Chargers trounce the Jets but I might just do yard work and let the screams of my neighbors tell me how the game is going.

We have some gems from 2009 we want to revisit including The Middle East, The Gossip, and Animal Collective so that just might trump football. I know if my wife has any say it will...

Share you listening plans in the comments and please, make it a good one.

Sometimes I'm Happy and Sometimes I'm Sad

Since you're reading this you probably already know by now that music can have an adverse effect on your emotions. Well it seems there's a science to this -- scientists have discovered that the patterns of pitches in major keys mirror those of excited speech, whereas minor keys parallel subdued speech. That suggests that language shaped our musical expression of emotion.

Scientists, always taking away the "magic" out of life. Sheesh.

You can read full article here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Price of Doing It All? Part 2.

We touched on it yesterday, but this morning the New York Times ran another profile on Maestro Domingo's busy schedule and takes a look at whether or not he is an effective leader for the two Companies he runs.

Perhaps the price of doing it all is not doing it well enough...

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Talking Opera With Ian Campbell

Our friends over at Associated Content have posted a wonderful interview with our very own Ian Campbell.

You can read it here.

Wagner, Scientific Genius Ahead of His Time?

Or hiding the keys to a DeLorean tricked out with a Flux Capacitator?

While we're hoping for the latter, it seems the former is the truth.


Scientists have discovered that certain vowels are needed to make sung words more understandable. Called "vowel-pitch matching" they've discovered Wagner used this technique often, proving he had an understanding of this theory a hundred years before scientists even knew it existed.

You can read the full article here.


Still, if you see a DeLorean shooting by you at 88 MPH blasting Das Rheingold, it just might be you know who...

The Price of Doing It All?

The Washington Post ran an analysis this morning on Washington National Opera's growth and the hands-off leadership of the incredibly busy Maestro Domingo who is General Director of that Company, Los Angeles Opera, a conductor, a singer, an occasional voice actor and more... This analysis comes after National Opera announced a scaled down 5-opera season with a season budget reduced by roughly $5 million.

The one thing that struck me as odd was this statement in the article, which you can read in its entirety here:

WNO officials are no doubt relieved that they canceled the "Ring" when they look at the Los Angeles Opera, which went ahead with its own "Ring" plans and in December had to get an emergency $14 million bailout from Los Angeles County.

And for some reason it didn't dawn on me until now - two "Rings" from two different Companies, run by the same person. Wouldn't it have made more sense to do one "Ring" and divide the costs between Companies?

Of course, we here at Aria Serious aren't financial whizzes or Artistic Planners. We just love opera because it makes us feel warm inside...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Part of Me Died A Little Watching This...

But Villazon's 'fro made it worth the reduced lifespan.

Here's the official trailer to Pop Star To Opera Star, which we mentioned last week.

We'll be watching this. Mostly with the morbid fascination one watches a train wreck with. But then this is from the same guy who only watches the first few weeks of American Idol to see those horrible auditions that you know deep down inside are completely fake.


Happy Podcast Monday!

It seems everyone these days are talking about Avatar as a "game changer" in regards to the cinematic experience. In this week's Podcast Dr. Nic takes a look "game changers" in the operatic world. And we promise, no 10 foot tall smurfs.

Priti Gandhi Explores the Seedy Underbelly of Professional Opera

Our dear friend and Musetta for our upcoming production of La boheme, the wonderful Priti Gandhi, unveiled her new column in the San Diego Opera Union Tribune yesterday. Running for the next ten-weeks this weekly column will appear in the Arts section of the paper and follow the backstage developments of our productions of boheme, Nabucco and Priti's solo rectal at the North Park Theatre in March.

This means for the next nine Monday's we'll include a link to her Sunday piece. And it also means I better watch out what I say backstage.



Friday, January 8, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday! And if this week is any indication of how 2010 is going to be all we can say is it is going to be a BUSY year.

My grandmother used to always say "a busy person is a happy person," which goes to show she clearly was never as busy as we are today.

Joking aside, the 2010 season is shaping up to be an exciting one. Our BOHEME cast arrives on Tuesday and we can't wait.

To celebrate, and so I can talk to them intelligently , we're going to listen to LA BOHEME this weekend. I don't think I've actually listened to this opera for quite some time so I'm hoping this listen will be a refreshing one.

After that, we'll be listening to The Middle East, an alt-folk band from Australia that we found late last year and quickly became one of our favorite releases from 2009.

Share your listening plans in the comment section and make it a good one!

It Was A Super Night

... with all of our super supernumeraries gathered together for the open house last night.

Don't believe us? Take a look at the pictures below.

Cookies were served, opera bingo was played (no word on if you had to sing "bingo" if you won), costumes and set models were on display and smiles were had by all







A special thank you to our wonderful group of supers who helped us have an amazing kickoff to a what is going to be a great season!

The Songs We Don't Sing

Our lovely Joan, who works in our production department, sent me this article that we think is so good we have nothing else to say besides please read it. And "thank you Joan."

Songs We Don't Sing; and why we all need music, no matter our age...

I Think The Preferred Term is "Big Boned"

Famed opera director Franco Zefferelli, who clearly has never spent much time around women, finds himself soprano-less for his new production of LA TRAVIATA as soprano Daniela Dessi quit after being called "fat" by the director.

The soprano is threatening legal action. The director is unfazed; "she can threaten what she likes, but I am entitled to choose my singers and exercise my artistic freedom," Zefferelli said.

Seems like he can have his cake, and eat it too. Just not too much of it.

You can read the full story here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If You All Wanted To Chip In And Buy Me Something...

May I suggest this camping trailer inspired by the Sydney Opera House. Guaranteed to make even the pickiest of divas like camping.

Kudos to our friends at Vancouver Opera who brought this to our attention.




Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Electro Opera By The Knife Gets Release

We've been following this for some time, lamenting the price of airfare, and hoping our luck would allow us to see (or at least hear) The Knife's Darwin inspired electro opera "Tomorrow, In A Year."

Well, all good things come to those who wait as Pitchfork has announced The Knife's electro opera is coming to CD. Yay!

They have an interesting quote from The Knife frontman Olof Dreijer which is below:

"At first it was very difficult as we really didn't know anything about opera. We'd never been to one. I didn't even know what the word libretto meant. But after some studying, and just getting used to opera's essence of pretentious and dramatic gestures, I found that there is a lot to learn and play with. In fact, our ignorance gave us a positive respectless approach to making opera. It took me about a year to become emotionally moved by an opera singer and now I really do. I really like the basic theatrical values of opera and the easy way it brings forward a narrative. We've approached this before in the Knife but never in such a clear way."

See, opera changing lives in ways you could never imagine.

The album comes out in March, which isn't that far away, especially considering we're still addicted to The Knife frontwoman Karin Dreijer Andersson's solo project, Fever Ray.

You can read all about the announcement of the album here.

A Cast Change

Sad but exciting news today as we've announced a cast change for LA BOHEME.

Soprano Anja Harteros has withdrawn due to personal and private reasons. This was a hard decision for her as she considers San Diego Opera like family (the good kind of family). All of us here send Anja our love and wish her a speedy return to us. Anja returns to us next season to sing The Marschallin in DER ROSENKAVALIER.


But there is still some very good news here in that American soprano Ellie Dehn is replacing Anja. That's Ellie up above and if she sings half as good as she looks, we're all in for a treat. We've heard excellent things about her and when she auditioned for Ian Campbell awhile back he was immediately impressed with the voice and offered an engagement which she could not accept due to a conflict in dates. We'll try to get a "10 Questions" with her shortly as we're dying to welcome her to San Diego.

Rehearsals for LA BOHEME begin next week so expect lots of updates once the singers arrive.

I'm On a Mexican Radio...

San Diego Opera is pleased to announce a new hour-long weekly program on XLNC1 called "San Diego Opera Matters"

Hosted by Dr. Nic Reveles the weekly program will explore the San Diego Opera season and the history of opera with music, artist interviews and special guests.

"San Diego Opera Matters" premieres on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 9 AM before the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Carmen on XLNC1 (104.9 FM) and will run for 17-weeks.

We'll be sure to post the current week's topic in our Friday "What Are You Listening To This Weekend?" so you can tune in.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is The Golden Age of Opera Now?

One of my favorite things to do, when cornered by an opera crazy who is telling me all the great singers are now dead and gone, and continues to tell a story about a performance he or she saw in 1970 is for me to reply, "I wish I could've been there. I was negative two."

For me, to regale on the bygone days of opera is to consign it to the grave, to make it a museum piece. Opera is not a museum piece. It is a living breathing art form that changes based on its audience (for better or for worse - see Pop Star to Opera Star below).

So imagine our joy when we came across this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer which asks if the "golden age"of opera is now. I'd like to think so, at least I'd like to believe that the "golden age" for me is now. It surely is an exciting time.

Of course none of this will prevent me from telling my brood of clones about that great performance of NABUCCO I saw in 2010....

Pop Star to Opera Star

We here at Aria Serious are torn by the news that ITV in the UK is filming a new reality series called "Pop Star to Opera Star" where pop stars will tackle the operatic repertoire while being mentored by Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon.

While we here at Aria Serious love to see our favorite art form on prime time TV, we're also concerned that this lowers the artistic standard. In a Company that prides itself in attracting the best talent possible, do shows like this undermine our work or is it a much needed breath of fresh air?

One thing the show has going for it - Meatloaf (the singer, not the leftovers in your fridge) will be a judge.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Podcast Monday

Monday Podcast time, and its time to play catch up.

But that's good news because it means the holidays are still alive in spirit. Yes, this week's podcast (actually from two weeks ago) is all holiday themed.

So if you still have your Christmas tree up, your Menorah is collecting dust on the mantle, if you're still eating your way through your Kwanzaa and Tet leftovers, this Podcast is for you. Because what are the holidays without hearing your favorite opera singers dabble in music outside the opera repertoire? Anyone for the three tenors singing Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Bells? Or Leontyne Price singing O Tannenbaum?

You can download the Podcast here.

You're Super!

Or you can be...

If you've ever wanted to be in opera but can't sing you can still get on stage as a supernumerary (extra). Our super open house for the 2010 season is tomorrow - Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 6 PM.

Come on by and see if this is something you're interested in.

But you'll need to RSVP to get all the details - that super super phone number?

(619)533-7073

Isn't that super?

While You Were Out

Happy New Year! To celebrate the fact I could remember my passwords this morning, a bit of news from the opera world.


- There are too few women conductors in the world but we have one of them. San Diego Opera's Karen Keltner is San Diego News Network's artist of the month.