Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Maestro Steuart Bedford

Some of you must surely remember our performances of Peter Grimes a few seasons back. Personally, for us, these performances were some of the greatest we've ever experienced in the opera house - not only do we love the opera, but our cast, our chorus, our staging really elevated the production to something incredibly magical.

And then there was the orchestra - led by Maestro Steuart Bedford - a Britten specialist who actually worked with the composer - the music went from pastoral seascapes to violent storms seamlessly. There are very few times we've heard the orchestra sound better. We don't think we've ever heard it with such force and power.

Maestro Steuart Bedford returns to conduct Salome next season. We're excited to hear this, he's never conducted this opera before but his deft work of Peter Grimes, especially the interludes between scenes, proved to us he's more than capable of conducting this piece.

In July's issue of Opera News magazine, writer John Allison caught up with the Maestro for a wonderful profile. You can read it here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The 2012 Operas: DON PASQUALE

We here at the Aria Serious tower are big fans of Don Pasquale. It was one of the first operas we ever saw, and as far as we can recall our first comic opera we ever saw; up until Pasquale opera was jilted lovers and dying of consumption or being buried alive in tombs - this one opened up a whole new world for us - we could laugh and smile through our operas now.

When this production first came around in 2002 we were wary at first - it's a Wild West update, and back then we were young and naive and full of principals and believed one should never update opera. And yet it worked so perfectly that we've since eaten crow and now take the stance that if the production remains true to the libretto and music, and the update serves to enhance the opera and not distract from it, then have it.

Now to clarify- this production is not an update. It's a geographic relocation - the opera still take place in the mid-19th Century, but no longer in Rome but in the American West.

Below you will find a clip to one of our favorite pieces in the opera - the famed Patter Duet in Act 3 being performed by John Del Carlo and Mariusz Kwiecien. This was filmed last year at the Met. If you like what you hear, you don't need to travel far to hear it live - John Del Carlo will bring his Don Pasquale to San Diego for our performances in March along with Danielle de Niese and Charles Castronovo.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Happy Friday. What are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious crew will forgo listening to a complete opera this week. Instead, we're going to spend some time with Danielle de Niese's new LP The Beauty of the Baroque. We're big fans of baroque and quickly becoming big fans of Danielle. We better be, she sings her first Norina with us in Don Pasquale in March.

After that we're going to catch up on some pop music releases including the new Bon Iver, Gang Gang Dance and John Maus.

Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two New Conductors to Debut in 2012

Italian conductors, Marco Guidarini and Antonello Allemandi, will make their San Diego opera debuts in the 2012 International Season.

Marco Guidarini conducts Don Pasquale which opens in March, and Antonello Allemandi leads The Barber of Seville in April.

Marco Guidarini was born in Genoa, Italy. He has conducted with Milan’s La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Deutscheoper Berlin, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Semperoper Dresden, the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and the companies in Palermo, Bologna, Nice, Santiago, Leipzig and Los Angeles, among others. He is the Music Director of a new Bellini Festival in Puteaux near Paris, where Bellini died.

Marco Guidarini’s symphonic work has included conducting the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, Orchestra Comunale di Bologna, Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, Haydn Orchestra Bolzano, Orchestra Sinfonica di Bari, the Orchestre National de France, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Suedwestfunk Baden-Baden, Orquesta Sinfonica de Valencia, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and many others. He is a former Music Director of the Opéra de Nice.

Antonello Allemandi was born in Milan, Italy. He is presently at La Scala Milan conducting The Italian Girl in Algiers. Recent appearances include the Metropolitan Opera, both the Deutscheoper and Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Hamburg State Opera, Semperoper Dresden the Opéra Comique in Paris, and companies in Cologne, Santiago, Turin, Pesaro, Parma and Pisa among others.

Maestro Allemandi has led orchestras throughout Europe, including Nouvelle Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de Montecarlo and Lille, Orchestre RSTI di Lugano, RAI Italian orchestras (Milano, Roma, Torino, Napoli), and the orchestra of the Accademia de Santa Cecilia. He was Music Director of the Orchestra Colon in Paris from 1991 to 1996.

In announcing these engagements, San Diego Opera General and Artistic Director Ian Campbell said: “I am excited to add these new conductors to our roster. They bring a new vitality and energy to the Company, and will stimulate all of us from orchestra to chorus and soloists, to audiences and staff. We always are looking for ways to continue raising the standards of the Company, and their inclusion continues to move us forward.”

He added: “In future seasons we welcome several other excellent conductors currently active at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, Paris Opera and the other great houses. These include Donato Renzetti, Karen Kamensek, Massimo Zanetti, Daniele Callegari and Yves Abel who join our Resident Conductor, Karen Keltner.”

Marco Guidarini and Antonello Allemandi replace Edoardo Müller who has withdrawn from the 2012 season and has no further engagements with the Company.

Müller began his association with San Diego Opera in 1980 conducting Verdi’s Giovanni d’Arco and in 2011 conducted both Turandot and Carmen. “Maestro Müller gave San Diego Opera many excellent performances for more than 30 years”, said Campbell, “and we all wish him well in the future.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Happy Friday! What are you listening to this weekend?

No plans?

May we suggest our production of Carmen which will air tomorrow, Saturday June 18 at 8 PM PST on KPBS radio (89.5 FM / 89.7 FM La Jolla) and online here at

We'll be tuning in from Los Angeles as were going to give ourselves an opera weekend and see The Difficulty of Crossing A Field at Long Beach Opera, one of our favorite Companies out there; and for our money, the most adventurous one operating today.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Opera Caravan

San Diego Opera and the Aria Serious crew are proud to offer the continuation of our Opera Caravan service, a car free way to experience our performances. For a few seasons now we’ve been hiring a charter bus to transport patrons who no longer wish to drive to our performances. And who can blame them, with the price of gas today, the traffic congestion and the parking lot hustle; sometimes just getting to the theatre is a Wagnerian effort.

We’re currently running Opera Caravans from two locations in town –

1,) From Carlsbad with a pickup at the Carlsbad Library (1775 Dove Ln.) for our Sunday (departs at noon) and Tuesday (departs at 6 PM) performances.

2,) From Rancho Bernardo with a pickup at the Remington Club (16925 Hierba Dr.) for all Sunday performances (departs at noon).

If you live in these areas and wish to join us, simply call (619) 533-7018 or click here to add the Caravan to your opera package.

Price is $25 roundtrip per person, per opera.

Don’t live in Carlsbad or Rancho Bernardo but still want to polish off that bottle of wine before coming to the opera? Let us know where you want the Caravan to depart from in your neighborhood, and the night which you attend and we’ll do our best to start a Caravan for you! Please keep in mind we need a certain number of paid participants to keep the price at $25.

Just post your request in the comment section below and we’ll add you to the list.

We’ll see you at the opera!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Danielle de Niese

The lovely Danielle di Niese is releasing a new album called Beauty of the Baroque and recorded a trailer for the album which you can see below. Danielle sings her first Norina with us in Don Pasquale. And she makes March seem so very, very, far away.

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday. The best day of the work week. What are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious crew will be listening to Faust. Our Faust to be precise. That's because KPBS radio will be airing a performance of our production of Faust this Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 8 PM PST. You can find KPBS on the dial at 89.5 FM (89.7 La Jolla) but for those of you in other places is where you want to set your web browsers. We hope you tune in.

After that we'll catch up on some recent purchases including the new Panda Bear LP .

Share your listening plans in the comment section and please, make it a good one.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The 2012 Operas: MOBY-DICK

We're very excited to be presenting the West Coast premiere of Moby-Dick as the second opera of our 2012 season.

We here at the Aria Serious tower are big fans of contemportary opera as we like to think we work in a living and breathing art form and not a museum (not that we have anything against museums). So when people ask us "what are you most excited about next season?" The answer without a doubt is "Moby-Dick."

We like the music which is beautiful and full of melody but it is also something new and current. The libretto tells a story that is incredibly relevant to the world we live in today. And we like the staging which will be like nothing our audiences have ever seen. We'll talk about Moby more during the summer but first, a little clip from the world premiere.

You might recognize the singer in this clip as our friend Stephen Costello. Stephen is booked during our performances but we have the wonderful Jonathan Boyd making his house debut in the role of Greenhorn for our performances. It will be excellent.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Technical Difficulties

For those of you who were listening to our broadcast of Der Rosenkavalier on Saturday, only to have it end early we're very sorry. It appears a technical difficulty in the studio prevented us from completing the opera broadcast. But don't fear, KPBS radio has decided to re-air the opera in its entirety on Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 8 PM PST. You can find the station at 89.5 FM or online at

We'll also remind you as we get closer to this airdate.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Happy Friday.

What are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious crew will be listening to our broadcast of DER ROSENKAVALIER on KPBS radio this Saturday, April 4, at 8 PM PST. That's on 89.5 FM (89.7 La Jolla) but for all of you outside of San Diego you can find it online at

We'll spend the rest of the weekend decompressing from the 2011 season and listening to a bit of the dreamy surf pop of Seapony.

Share your listening plans below and please, make it a good one.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The 2012 Operas: SALOME

Our 2012 season will open with Strauss's Salome. Scouring through the interwebs this morning we came across this lovely sampler of the opera from San Francisco Opera. This is the exact same production we will be using. Even the bass-baritone, Jochanaan, will be the same - Greer Grimsley. The Salome will be Lise Lindstrom, who we heard in Turandot this season.

We'll post clips of the upcoming singers and productions as we find them over the summer.

In the meantime, please enjoy.