Wednesday, August 31, 2011

10 Questions with Silvia Tro Santafé

Summer is coming to an end, so it's time to look at some of the artists who will make up our 2012 season. This means the return of our 10 Questions With...

Up first is the lovely Spanish mezzo soprano Silvia Tro Santafé who will make her Company debut as Rosina in our season closer The Barber of Seville.

Silvia specializes in the bel canto repertoire in particular Rossini. Other than bel canto, Ms Tro Santafé also focuses on Handel, Mozart, Massenet and 20th century French repertoire.

She took a few minutes from rehearsals in Naples to answer some questions for us. So, without further ado, 10 Questions With Silvia Tro Santafé.

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome to San Diego Opera! We're very excited to have you making your Company debut with us. Where are you right now and what, if anything, are you

Silvia Tro Santafé (STS): Well, at the moment I am in the middle of rehearsals for Semiramide in Naples singing the role of Arsarce for the first time and having a great time in a new production made by Luca Ronconi, and I am studying in my spare time the role of Pierotto in Linda di Chamonix for a new production in Barcelona Liceu. Then there is Deidamia by Handel in Amsterdam singing Ulisse and then straight onto a plane to San Diego for Barbiere.

SDO: In your own words, can you tell us a little about your Rosina in The Barber of Seville?

STS: Rosina is everything she says in Una voce poco fa, the first time she has a chance to speak for herself. I am a very nice sweet girl with spirit but if anyone crosses me or stops me from getting what I want they will see another side of Rosina they didn’t expect, ‘I will be a viper’ and I have ‘1,000 tricks I can do to get my way’. She is witty and super intelligent, maybe because she has spent so much time reading on her own. She is also beautiful and young, so how much of what she believes is part of her being young? In her own way she loves Almaviva, what happens next, Mozart tells us.

SDO: Is there a favorite moment of yours in this opera?

STS: When I discover that Lindoro is the Count Almaviva. We sing the terzetto and he asks me to marry him. Just at the moment everything is lost and I have been lied to, then everything happens.

SDO: Are there any dream roles that you would love to sing and why? And since we're
dreaming it doesn't even need to be in your fach.

STS: Eboli. I am Spanish, a mezzo soprano, I love her character. The only problem is I haven't lost an eye in a sword fight. But I am sure that can be organised.

SDO: What was your introduction to opera and how did you decide this was the path
you wanted to pursue?

STS: My mother and Grandfather were passionate about opera, we listened all the time at home to radio and recordings. I got involved in children choruses and kept going, master classes etc. I think it chose me, I cant remember making a choice.

SDO: Fill in the blank section: "If I was not an opera singer I would be __________"

STS: Psychologist. I think its the same experience but from the other side.

SDO: Two parter: What's your favorite part of being an international opera singer?
What's your least favorite part?

STS: Favorite: Travelling and meeting new people and seeing new places. Least favorite: away so long from home.

SDO: Some people say there is more to life than opera. We think they're crazy too.
But we'll humor them: do you have any hobbies?

STS: I love dancing. Coming from Spain life at home is full of friends family cooking etc. I love reading and Cinema, skiing, horse riding. I have just been snorkeling on holiday with my family in Mexico.

SDO: Do you have a book next to your bed? What is it?

STS: Javier Marias 'Los Enamoramientos'.

SDO: Name three bands or musicians on your iPod that aren't opera related.

STS: Duffy - Miguel Poveda - Claudio Baglioni

The Barber of Seville opens April 21, 2012 but you'll have a chance to hear more about Silvia as we have numerous interviews and podcasts planned for her in the coming months.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Podcast Monday

In this week's podcast, Dr. Nic takes a look at Opera Buffa and Don Pasquale. If you think Opera Buffa means singing shirtless, then this podcast is for you.

You can download it here. Enjoy!

While We Were Out

- Sad news to start with. The Aria Serious crew came back from vacation this morning to learn that tenor Salvatore Licitra was seriously injured in an accident over the weekend. His condition is listed as "stable, but extremely grave." Licitra was forced to withdraw from our production of Carmen earlier this year due to a back injury. He's scheduled to sing with us as part of our 2013. All of us here at Aria Serious and San Diego Opera wish him a speedy recovery. And dear readers, if you ride scooters or motorcycles, please wear a helmet.

- Moby-Dick had its Australian premiere over the weekend and we have lots of tidbits to share about it:

First, a wonderful and lengthy interview with composer Jake Heggie about the opera, his process and some very candid personal stories.

Then, a nice interview with their (and our) Ahab, Jay Hunter Morris. It's true we originally told him we wanted him to sing the role of the whale.

And still, another preview article about Moby-Dick.

Finally, the first review of the Australian performances.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

The trend of being closed on Fridays in August continues, making this our "Friday."

So it is time to ask: what are you listening to this weekend?

For the Aria Serious crew we'll be listening to nothing - we're heading into the Sierra backcountry for a week of camping and even our ipod and headphones are an added weight we don't want to carry. Plus we just want to get away from it all.

This means don't expect any updates next week, but we'll be back at the end of the month.

Make it a good one, and please, share your listening plans in the comment section.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whale Songs and Fatal Attraction

San Diego Opera is very pleased to announce our Community Conversation lecture series for the 2012 season. Six relaxed lectures will focus on Moby-Dick and Salome. Being the science geeks (and scuba divers) that we are here at Aria Serious you can bet we're excited about some of these.

All of these lectures are free and open to the public but do require an RSVP because these venues have capacity caps and these lectures do get full. You can RSVP here. And speaking of venues we have some great ones this year: Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, The San Diego Maritime Museum, Congregation Beth Israel and La Jolla Country Day School have all stepped up to provide us space and speakers for these exciting events.

Join us for one, or all. We'll be the giddy one in the front row.

Community Conversation lectures are as follows:

In Search of the Whale: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick
September 27, 2011, 7:00 PM
San Diego Maritime Museum, aboard the Berkeley - 1492 North Harbor Drive. San Diego, CA 92101-3309

Join Bart Thurber, Ph.D., Professor of English Literature at the University of San Diego and the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera, in a lively conversation about Herman Melville’s epic novel, Moby-Dick, the source of the new opera by Jake Heggie (composer) and Gene Scheer (librettist). Melville’s episodic work includes digressions into the mechanics of seafaring, a scientific study of whales, intimate descriptions of 19th century whaling and various (and, at times, divergent) genres. The novel’s many themes will be discussed, along with a close look at how this monumental novel was distilled down into a tight, gripping work for the stage.

Whale Sounds, Whale Music: Reflections of a Marine Biologist on Moby-Dick
October 11, 2011, 7:00 PM
Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute - 2595 Ingraham Street. San Diego, CA 92109-7902

In a conversation between Dr. Ann Bowles, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist with the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute and Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach with San Diego Opera, the connection between Melville’s book and current scientific study in conservation will be explored. Melville had no inkling of the conservation ethic, but his work exposes the painful tension between exploitation and conservation in a way that modern writers cannot because he described in exacting detail the collapse of the whale fishery from the perspective of the whalers. Dr. Bowles will interpret Melville’s observations and incidents like the sinking of the whale ship Essex and depredations of Mocha Dick, which inspired Melville to write Moby-Dick, in light of what we know about sperm whales today. The audience will step into the whales’ ocean world through the medium of their sounds, with the hope that this discussion will help San Diegans enjoy the lyrical battle between Captain Ahab and The Whale in Jake Heggie’s opera.

Moby-Dick: Science, Sound and Struggles Between Whales and Men
November 8, 2011, 7:00 PM
Birch Aquarium at Scripps - 2300 Expedition Way. La Jolla, CA 92037

In this partnership between Birch Aquarium at Scripps and San Diego Opera, marine biologist Dr. Aaron Thode, Ph.D. with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Dr. Nicolas Reveles, Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera, discuss the background of the upcoming San Diego Opera production of Moby-Dick. Based on the Herman Melville novel, the opera focuses on the obsessive relationship that Captain Ahab has with an albino sperm whale that he believes crippled him on a whaling expedition. For background on the opera and the book, Drs. Thode and Reveles will have a lively discussion about the science of whales as presented by the book and how modern science has grown in its understanding of this magnificent animal. The conversation will include information about Dr. Thode’s research on the sperm whale and marine mammal acoustics, including modern day conflicts between whales and fishermen.

A Whale of a Story: Moby-Dick and Reflections on the Book of Jonah
December 7, 2011, 7:00 PM
Congregation Beth-Israel - 9001 Towne Centre Drive. San Diego, CA 92122

Join Rabbi Michael Berk, Congregation Beth-Israel, and Dr. Nicolas Reveles, The Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera for an exciting discussion about two “whale stories”: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and the Book of Jonah. Melville’s great American novel is filled with quotes from scripture. Even some of the chapters of the book are cast in forms that would have been familiar to the Biblical authors. A key portion of the book is a sermon by the character ‘Father Mapple’ whose words draw a strong parallel between Captain Ahab and the Biblical Jonah. Come find out how these two great pieces of world literature speak to each other and to our lives with a relevance that is fresh, contemporary and undeniable.

Images of Salome: Eroticism, Horror, and Religion
January 18, 2012, 7:00 PM
San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park – 1450 El Prado. Balboa Park, CA 92101

Join Dr. John Marciari, Ph.D., Curator of European Art at the San Diego Museum of Art and Dr. Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera, in a survey of images depicting the biblical story of Salome and John the Baptist. From the Renaissance through the 20th century, from Cranach to Caravaggio to Beardsley, the story of the cunning princess and the beheading of the prophet John has inspired a plethora of bloody and suggestive works of art. What ties these pieces together? Why are artists attracted to the juxtaposition of the horrific and the erotic in their works? Are the same artistic impulses to be found in Strauss’s 1905 opera? Join these two experts in an engaging conversation about visual art and its effect on lyric theatre.

Strauss’s Salome: Fatal Attraction
January 25, 2012, 7:00 PM
La Jolla Country Day School, Four Flowers Theatre - 9490 Genesee Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037

Richard Strauss’s 1905 opera Salome, after the play by Oscar Wilde, is based on the Biblical story of a tragic convergence in the lives of John the Baptist, Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, his wife Herodias and her daughter Salome. In a free-wheeling conversation, Dr. Joseph Colombo, Ph.D. and Dr. Florence Gillman, Ph.D. and S.T.D., both professors of Religious Studies & Theology at the University of San Diego will give a vivid account of the life and times of Herod’s family with an emphasis on Herodias and Salome. Dr. Gillman is the author of Herodias: At Home In That Fox’s Den and will present some of her findings in research about this subject; Dr. Colombo will present images of Salome in art and film, from 19th century paintings to Hollywood. The conversation will be moderated by Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach, San Diego Opera.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Podcast Monday

We're a day late and we apologize - flu took us down. This week's podcast looks at the role of Ahab in Moby-Dick. You can download it here.

The Aria Serious crew is also working on a "10 Questions With..." interview with our Ahab, Jay Hunter Morris, who is currently rehearsing the role in Adelaide for the Australian premiere later this month. We'll post it once we get his answers back.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Podcast Monday

In this week's podcast, Dr. Nic takes a look at musical imagery and atmosphere in Stauss's Salome. You can download the podcast here. We hope you enjoy it!

While You Were Out

Over the weekend:

- Classical music and digital music. The future or the death of our favorite art form?

- Another week, some more NYCO news. Just days after announcing the music director position has been cut, NYCO's esteemed vocal coach has decided to move on.

- Next week we're giving a tour of our Scenic Studio. You can join us!

- Did you know we're on Twitter? If you like our weekend roundups you should know we post news like this every day here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

First, a bit of business - the San Diego Opera offices are closed on Fridays in the lovely month of August. We'll be back on Monday and our website is never closed for all your opera needs.

Since technically this makes today our Friday, it's time to ask what we always do: what are you listening to this weekend?

We're going to listen to Don Giovanni - we love this opera and we know it quite well, it makes for good music to hum along to (fine, sing along to) especially since we're patching stucco on our house all weekend. Then we will listen to internet radio. Gosh, we sure love internet radio.

Share your listening plans below, and oh - take tomorrow off. Tell them the opera said it was OK.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Podcast Monday

Not feeling it this Monday? We understand. But then we sat down with a cup of coffee and Nic's podcast, and suddenly Monday was looking much, much, better. This week, Dr. Nic explores great recordings of Don Pasquale, our third opera of our 2012 season.