Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

What are you listening to this weekend?

We ask today because the Opera Offices are closed on Friday and Monday to celebrate Memorial Day.


We're going to spend Friday listening to The Makropulos Case because, frankly, we've yet to czech this one out (sorry, couldn't resist). After that however, we're listening to nothing this long weekend as we're heading up to the mountains again for a nice long quiet weekend of nature sounds. Although I will be humming some Iron and Wine while around the campfire. Seems inevitable.

Share your listening plans below and enjoy the long weekend.

Where In The World Are They Now: Ailyn Pérez

After making her acclaimed Company debut with San Diego Opera in Romeo and Juliet, American soprano Ailyn Pérez made her way to Berlin’s Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden for her role debut as Amelia in Simon Boccanegra. She reprised the role at Teatro alla Scala in Milan for performances opposite Plácido Domingo. Ailyn actually shared this role with another San Diego Opera favorite; the soprano Anja Harteros (who incidentally made her role debut of Amelia with us in 2005 and returns next season in another important role debut; the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier).

Ailyn then made an unexpected, and triumphant, debut at the Vienna Staatsoper as Violetta in La traviata. The performances were so successful that she was invited back to sing Adina The Elixir of Love in 2013.

The Salzburg Festival hears her Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni in the summer of 2011 and she takes her Violetta to Covent Garden in 2014.

You loved her Juliette and you don’t need travel to Europe to hear her since Ailyn returns to us in April 2011 to sing Marguerite in Faust.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Renee Fleming Gets Her Emo On While Channeling Her Inner Muse

As we've mentioned before, the lovely Renee Fleming will be releasing Dark Hope, a crossover album of indie rock covers. While the track listing has some great bands on it (Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Peter Gabriel, Leonard Cohen) we just weren't sure if Renee's vocals would add or detract from these songs.

Well, Renee appeared on "This Morning" talk show to perform "Endlessly" by The Muse. As we're not really Muse fans we still don't know what to think. She's faithful to the song, but then we never liked the song in the first place.

So we're reserving judgement until we can hear more of the album. And you can watch the performance below and make your own judgement.

Dark Hope comes out on June 8, 2010 which is also the date The Cure release a 3-disc reissue of their masterpiece, Disintegration. Choices! Choices! So we've decided we're going to purchase the album by the artist who wears the most makeup.

Robert Smith wins by a landslide...

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday! And time to ask: what are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious crew is heading up to the mountains this weekend, so we'll get into the mood by listening to Rusalka early Saturday morning. It's been a long time since we've listened to this opera, which is a shame - we love it very much.

And that's probably all the listening time we will get this weekend. Which is not a bad thing, considering the rest will be filled with some nice long hikes and campfire talks. And s'mores.

Share your listening plans in the comment section below. And make it a good one!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greer "Opera God" Grimsley

Greer Grimsley is the nicest man in the business, so you wouldn't expect him to play such wonderful villains. But he does, and does it convincingly. Greer comes back to us this coming to season to play the most villainous of villains in Faust; Mephistopheles.

He's on this month's cover to Opera News with a wonderful profile that you can read here.

And as a special bonus for you, a link to Greer singing "Kill da wabbit!" which he filmed when he was last here as Scarpia. And wow, what a Scarpia he was...

Monday, May 17, 2010

While You Were Out

Over the weekend:

- Beethoven in a dumpster. Conductor Carl St. Clair leaves Komische Opera in Berlin over production.

- Heading up to the Ring in Los Angeles? Here's a primer on composer Richard Wagner.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday is upon us and it is time to ask:

What are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious crew will start our weekend listening tonight as we walk down "America's best beer boulevard" and make our way to our local opera house (we love saying that) to see Seawolf and The Album Leaf in concert.
Saturday, we'll spend some time getting to know Der Rosenkavalier better. It's the one opera next season we don't know that well, but what we do know has some achingly beautiful music. We're looking forward to seeing this one live and in person next April and getting to know it better in the months in between.

Sunday, we'll spend some time in the hammock with the Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion LP. One of our favorites from 2009, still strong in 2010. We'll also make our way to the North Park Festival of the Arts to see what's going on.

What are your listening plans this weekend?

Share it in the comment section below, and please, make it a good one.

How Music Helps Create Mood

Music is a powerful force - it can set the listener in a specific time or place and it can telegraph the internal emotions of a specific character. In opera, the importance of music is front and center, in film and television, less so, but still equally as important.

The New Yorker's Alex Ross takes a look at TV's Lost and how music is used to set the mood in this already moody show.

Sadly, the Aria Serious crew gave up on Lost a few seasons back, having our hopes for a satisfactory resolution dashed by the finale of Battlestar Galactica (and the fact that our technical rehearsal schedule coincides with new episodes of Lost, January to May).

Monday, May 10, 2010

While You Were Out

Over the weekend:

- Finland's Savonlinna's Opera Festival needs you. They're commissioning an opera where the score, libretto, sets and costumes will be designed by the public.



- It's an exciting time for American opera - Moby-Dick premiered last week, and Amelia premiered this week at Seattle Opera.

- The Times is reporting that Rolando's Villazon's voice is "broken." Yikes!

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday once again, and once again time to ask:

What are you listening to this weekend? Since this weekend is Mother's Day we thought we'd listen to Il trovatore, and bask in the fact that although our mom might be a bit crazy, we could've had it much worse with Azucena as our mom.

We'll also spend some time listening to the Broken Bells debut cd which is 40 some odd minutes of pure pop perfection.

Nic's radio show "San Diego Opera Matters" airs on XLNC1 on Saturday at 9 AM PST on 104.9 FM or online here. This week's topic - Bizet's Carmen and its shocking premiere.

Share your listening plans in the comment section below. And call your mom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Giulietta Simionato Dies at 99

Further proof that classical music helps you live longer, Italian mezzo soprano Giulietta Simionato passed away yesterday at 99. She was a week short of the Century mark; her birthday would have been May 12.

A close friend of Maria Callas she made her American debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1954 and her Met debut in 1959 as Azucena in Il trovatore.

You can read a nice obituary about Giulietta here.

Clip of her from Don Carlo is below:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Whale Watching

A video review of Moby-Dick, the opera with some video of the actual performance:


Monday, May 3, 2010

While You Were Out

Over the weekend:

- The world saw Moby-Dick for the first time Friday at The Dallas Opera and reviews have been positive across the board. Moby-Dick migrates to us in 2012. You can read the NY Times review here.