Showing posts from April, 2011

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Happy Friday.

What are you listening to this weekend?

We'll be catching our last two performances of Faust (tonight and Sunday). It's really a special opera with a special cast. It's also the first opera we saw live many moons ago so it has a special place in our heart.

Saturday we'll finally catch up with a band we've wanted to see live for a long time - The Tree Ring. We've been loving their Generous Shadows LP when it came out a few months back but with opera season it's been hard to catch them (or anyone) in concert lately. They're playing in support of the Donkeys Saturday night at Sushi Gallery.

After that we'll put the iPod on shuffle and listen to what comes.

Have a great weekend and share your picks down below.

FAUST OperaSpotlight

A little delayed, but here nonetheless, our OperaSpotlight FAUST program

A Message From Salvatore Licitra

Salvatore Licitra has posted a message on his website announcing his cancellation with us.

As all of us here at the Aria Serious tower have helped a friend move at one time or another we know how debilitating even minor back pain can be. All of us here wish Salvatore a speedy recovery. We'll welcome him in 2013.

Dear Friends,

I am very sorry to inform you that due to a severe back injury I am forced to cancel my concert in Baton Rouge as well as my role debut as Don Jose in Carmen at the San Diego Opera. I suffered a disk herniation which came, of course, unexpected and probably is still an aftereffect of an accident I had in 2009. At the moment I am in a lot of pain and flying is not an option. I am glad when I manage to get on a chair! The doctors ordered me to rest for at least 25 days which destroys my wish to sing in Baton Rouge and at the San Diego Opera.

I put a lot of work into preparation for the debut and am very sad and upset about not being able to perform as scheduled. Ho…

10 Interesting Facts About Carmen

It was another long elevator ride from the parking garage where we cornered Dr. Nic and asked him to give us 10 interesting facts about Carmen. Sure, we might have hit the buttons so we stopped at every floor and refused to let him off until he shared what he knew, but in the end, it was worth it. With Carmen rehearsals now underway, today seems like a perfect time to share 10 Interesting Facts About Carmen:

1. Carmen was not a flop at its premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on March 3, 1875. It ran for 45 performances, well into June of that year.

2. Carmen was certainly a controversial subject for the usually tepid Opéra-Comique which only staged operas with sentimental, semi-serious plots, never tragedies.

3. The orchestra at the Opéra-Comique rebelled against the demands of the score and the chorus, unused to actually having to act onstage, threatened mass resignation.

4. Carmen was based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée who travelled extensively through Spain and heard stories simi…

CARMEN Cast Change

We have a cast change for Carmen. Our good friend Richard Leech will be returning to San Diego Opera to sing the role of Don Jose. Salvatore Licitra has withdrawn from these performances due to injury...

Cast Change Announcement – San Diego Opera

American tenor and San Diego Opera favorite, Richard Leech, returns to sing Don José in San Diego Opera’s upcoming Carmen.

San Diego, CA – American tenor Richard Leech, a longtime San Diego Opera favorite, has cleared his schedule and will sing the role of Don José in Carmen which opens on May 14, 2011 for four performances. Richard replaces Salvatore Licitra who has withdrawn from these performances due to the recurrence of a serious back injury. He has also canceled a scheduled concert with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Salvatore will now make his Company debut as Radames in Aida in the 2013 season.

Richard Leech made his San Diego Opera debut in 1988 as Faust, returning in Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther, La bohème, Romeo and Juliet, A Ma…

FAUST Review Roundup #2

Two more Faust reviews this morning.

Operwarhorses says - Costello, Perez, Grimsley and Mulligan Brilliant in Spectacularly Staged "Faust" - which is something we can get behind.

Local Arts Critic ChareleneBaldridge thinks Greer Grimsley just about steals the show.

You can read them both by clicking the links above.

Did you know all our reviews can be found here as they come in.

Did you go? Why not share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Podcast Monday

On this week's Podcast Monday, Dr. Nic sits down with Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez who just made role debuts in Faust on Saturday.

You can download the podcast here.


Countdown to Curtain Concludes

Voice of San Diego's Arts coverage - Behind The Scene - has been backstage with us all week following what it takes to present grand opera. From building a set to cast changes, from makeup to costume fittings, if you have ever wanted to know what it takes to make opera happen, grab a chair and a computer screen. We always talk about opera being greater than the sum of its parts and this series captures this better than anything we've ever seen.

Countdown to Curtain - A 10 Part Series

Part 1 - Opera as Turducken

Part 2 - What Went Before

Part 3 - The Maestro of Construction

Part 4 - Costume Handiwork

Part 5 - A Cast Change Scramble

Part 6 - Let There Be Spotlight

Part 7 - Remember Rule Two

Part 8 - Voices from Above

Part 9 - Last Chance for Fixes

Part 10 - The Intensity of the Nerves

While You Were Out - Review Roundup Edition

FAUST by Eric Shanower

Updated: We've included a short interview with Eric down below.
It was earlier this week that the Aria Serious crew invited comic artist Eric Shanower back to the Civic Theatre, this time to sketch the gothic tale of Gounod's Faust. Those of you who frequent us might remember the wonderful collection Eric did for us in January for Turandot. You can see these drawing here.

Eric is a two time Eisner award winner and a New York Times bestselling author who's ongoing epic work, The Age of Bronze, is a detailed retelling of The Trojan War. Eric is also known for his Oz novels and comics. We've included a link to his home page and if you love comics, good storytelling and incredible art you owe yourself a visit. Seriously.

But enough with talk, and onto what you really came here to see - Faust as seen through the eyes of Eric Shanower. We've asked Eric for a short interview and should he respond we'll update this post with what he had to say. Comic artists live complica…

Countdown to Curtain

Behind-The-Scene, Voice of San Diego's excellent Arts blog, has been continuing their series on what it takes to present live grand opera.

Their most recent segment focuses on what we do when there is a last minute cast change. No, we don't run around screaming bloody murder; although that might be fun to try one day. We're actually all quite calm and you can read about it here.

More segments are coming including a look at lighting Faust. And, since it is called Countdown to Curtain, we'll have them backstage as the curtain rises on Saturday.

So go visit Behind-The-Scene. Not only does it have a bunch of stories about us (with excellent photos) it's filled with other Arts news you should know about.

Whistling Opera

In the brutal, puckered, lip-smacking world of international competitive whistling, it pays to know your opera arias...

Special thanks to reader Bill Houle who brought this to our attention.

A Cast Change for the Saturday, April 23 Performance of FAUST

We have a cast change to announce for the Saturday, April 23, 2011 performance of Faust.

Acclaimed American baritone Brian Mulligan will make his Company debut on Saturday, April 23, 2011 when he sings the role of Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, replacing the previously announced Joshua Hopkins who is ill.

Brian Mulligan recently sang Valentin with San Francisco Opera and will sing it at the Metropolitan Opera in December.

His 2011 season has included a number of roles at San Francisco Opera including Albert in Werther, Ragueneau in Cyrano de Bergerac and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and in June he sings Klinghoffer in The Death of Klinghoffer with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In November he sings Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Washington Opera, having sung the role previously with English National Opera.

“It is always disappointing when an artist has worked hard rehearsing a role but is prevented by illness from singing, and I am sorry that Joshua is unable to appear on Saturday. B…

Stars in the Salon FAUST

For your viewing pleasure, the Stars in Salon for Faust which we filmed last week. Enjoy.

Podcast Monday

On this week's Podcast Monday we sit down with Greer Grimsley to talk about what it is like to sing all villians we love to hate. Do not adjust your bass. You can download the podcast here.

While You Were Out

Over the weekend some great San Diego Opera stories ran, but first the one that everyone is talking about...

- The Philadelphia Orchestra has filed for Bankruptcy.

Closer to home...

- Our tenor, Stephen Costello, continues exploring the rehearsals process of Faust in his ongoing opera diary series.

- Have you seen Robert Wilson's installation at the Timken museum yet? Ian Campbell went and San Diego City Beat was there to get his reaction.

- Life is not the pits when you're making beautiful music. A look at the role the orchestra plays in our production of Faust (and opera in general).

- Do you read the Voice of San Diego's Behind-the-Scene Arts Blog? You should. Not only is it a great read, but this week they're running a series of articles on what it takes to present grand opera - namely, our Faust.

The first installment "Opera as Turducken" explores all the forces at work in opera.

The second, "What Went Before" shows the scope of planning it take…

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?

Believe it or not the Aria Serious crew has nothing on tap for this weekend, so if you have a suggestion please post it below in the comment section.
We will be hitting up our local record store tomorrow in honor of Record Store Day so I imagine we'll savor the spoils from this.
We'll be back to opera next week, promise.

Make it a good one!

Stars in the Salon - FAUST

Just a reminder that the stars of Fasut will be gathering in the Beverly Sills Salon on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM to discuss the opera. Join us!

If you live elsewhere, we'll have it online a few days later - here and on Youtube.

If you have something you're dying to ask, post it below and we'll ask it for you.

10 Interesting Facts About Faust

A few weeks ago Dr. Nic shared with us 10 interesting things about Der Rosenkavalier, born out of an agonizing ride in the elevator where we stopped on every floor from the subterranean parking garage to the 18th floor.

Luckily we didn't have to recreate that experience to get 10 interesting facts about Faust...

1. There is a well-known Christmas carol hidden in Méphistophélès’ first aria, “Le veau d’or”, often called the “Golden Calf aria”.

2. The best known tune from Faust, Valentin’s aria “Avantde quitter”, was added in 1864, a couple of years after the premiere of the opera (1859) for performances in London. It was sung in English at those performances and the French version followed later.

3. Although the story of Faust is based on Goethe’s original verse play (1806), it only covers Part I of the poet’s version, avoiding the more philosophical depths of Part II.

4. The source of the story of Faust was an actual person, a Doctor Johann Georg Faust…

Podcast Monday

This week's podcast sees Dr. NicReveles sitting down with our very own resident conductor, Karen Keltner. They talk about French grand opera, and the opening night of Faust which is quickly approaching. You can find the podcast here. Enjoy!

While We Were Out

Over the weekend:

- An addition: Tenor Juan Diego Florez welcomed his son into the world an hour before singing Le Comt Ory at the Met on Saturday.
- A subtraction: We've just learned that composer Daniel Catan passed away on Friday. We staged his Rappaccini’s Daughter in 1994 introducing him to the USA. It was the first opera by a Mexican composer ever staged in this country.
- Whose language is it anyway? Should opera be performed in the language of the composer or in the language of the audience watching it?

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday! Time to ask what we always ask - what are you listening to this weekend?

It's a busy musical week for the Aria Serious crew. We have a performance of Der Rosenkavalier tomorrow evening we're not going to miss and then we're spend some time getting to know Faust better. We picked the Richard Leech recording because he was our first Faust we ever saw here in San Diego in the late 1980's.

We'll roundup the weekend with a listen of the stunningly beautiful chamber pop of Diego Garcia's debut LP Laura. And then we'll get our dance on with the new Cold Cave LP Cherish The Light Years.
Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one.

#OperaPlot Contest and a Company Debut Announcement

San Diego Opera and the Aria Serious crew are very pleased to announce that we'll be taking part in this year's #OperaPlot contest. What's an #OperaPlot you ask? And while we're at it what's with that funny # sign too?

The #Operaplot contest started a few years ago on Twitter where people were asked to submit their favorite opera synopsis in 140 characters or less. People laughed. People sent them around the interwebz. People voted and winners were awarded. These winners received prizes. Yay, prizes!

Last year the lovely Danielle de Niese was the celebrity judge of the #OperaPlot contest. This year bass-baritone Eric Owens has the honors.

But Danielle de Niese is still part of this year's contest! See, Danielle de Niese will be making a Company and role debut as Norina in Don Pasquale as part of our 2012 season. We decided it would be nice to offer two Orchestra tickets to the Friday, March 16, 2012 performance of this opera.

Then Danielle said "we should …


Is now online, but for some reason we cannot embed it in this post. So you can click here to visit Youtube where the video lives. Please enjoy!

Podcast Monday

Some of you had the chance to hear the lovely Patrizia Ciofi's Sophie yesterday - now you can hear her again, this time in a fun and casual interview which makes up this week's podcast. Enjoy!

While We Were Out

Over the weekend we opened Der Rosenkavalier. How was it? We thought it went over great but why not read the reviews. The San Diego Union Tribune thought that it "soared" and Out West Arts had a great time visiting old Vienna.

We'll have more reviews in the next few days that you can read on our review page (which will be updated shortly with the two links from above).

In other news:
- Ever wonder what it's like to sing in an opera? The San Diego Union Tribune spoke to our singers to find out just what it takes to fill a theatre up over a full orchestra.

- The Metropolitan Opera tour of Japan is now being questioned due to health concerns.
- There is a new Classical Music radio station in Los Angeles.

Der Rosenkavalier - In Photos

It's been a long technical rehearsal week but when the curtain rises on Sunday, it will have been worth it. Der Rosenkavalier is splendid. While we could sit here and write about how much we love this opera we'll let some pictures we took do it justice. All photos are by Ken Howard, 2011. Enjoy!

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Happy Friday! What are you listening to this weekend?

Do we even need to tell you what the Aria Serious crew will be listening to? Der Rosenkavalier, Der Rosenkavalier, Der Rosenkavalier.

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