Author Topic: General Opera News  (Read 131082 times)

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uffeviking

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General Opera News
« on: April 08, 2007, 06:49:51 PM »
Fans of the New York Metropolitan Opera might not be thrilled about the opinion expressed by Martin Bernheimer in this month's of Opera, but it feels so great to have a very knowledgeable person agree with my opinion, a simple opera lover!  :D

"The new regime at the Metropolitan Opera seems to have decided that opera needs hard-sell promotions to attract Everyman, or even anyman. The broadcasts invariably surround performances with dumbed-down self-congratulatory chatter, while advertisements, announcements and press releases gush overstated platitudes. Take the the case of Jenufa which returned on January 29. The Hollywoodish puff-machine described the vehicle as 'a lyrical and sharp-edged drama'. Karita Mattila, who again undertook the 'tour de force title role, was labelled 'electrifying' and 'glorious'. Anja Silja, cast as the Kostelnicka, had to be content with an all-purpose 'remarkable'. The harking and barking might have been justified had it sold a lot of tickets, but the house yawned with empty seats."

uffeviking

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2007, 07:01:06 PM »
Simmer down, New York friends, it's not only an American opera house receiving arrows, Germany's Leipzig Opera made the news in this month's Opera in a review written by Bernd Hoppe, who attended a Lohengrin performance:

"A blue curtain, dark as night, with a mysterious eye in the centre created the right mood for a mystical production of Lohengrin. However, the illusion was soon destroyed when the curtain became transparent and a white swan floated into sight above landing lights shining on the floor - an ugly, naked bird, bereft of all poetry and fit only for the oven."

Mahlzeit!  ;D

uffeviking

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2007, 10:23:59 AM »
Every spring Opera publishes a special issue listing most of the various musical festivals taking place all over the world. Most of them of course are operas, and of the multitude of temptations I would love to attend, there is one of special interest. Maybe our British friends will go there and then tell us all about it.

60th Aldeburgh Festival June 8 - 24. Thomas Adès is Artistic Director. Three events are scheduled, two operas and one recital by Simon Keenlyside. The Benjamin Britten opera Myfanwy Piper, based on the short story by Thomas Mann is directed by the Japanese actor, director and teacher Yoshi Oida. Now there is something out of the ordinary!

Offline Brewski

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2007, 10:26:50 AM »
Every spring Opera publishes a special issue listing most of the various musical festivals taking place all over the world. Most of them of course are operas, and of the multitude of temptations I would love to attend, there is one of special interest. Maybe our British friends will go there and then tell us all about it.

60th Aldeburgh Festival June 8 - 24. Thomas Adès is Artistic Director. Three events are scheduled, two operas and one recital by Simon Keenlyside. The Benjamin Britten opera Myfanwy Piper, based on the short story by Thomas Mann is directed by the Japanese actor, director and teacher Yoshi Oida. Now there is something out of the ordinary!

Yoshi Oida was the director of the Britten Curlew River I saw last night!  Very well done (see the Britten operas thread). 

--Bruce
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karlhenning

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2007, 10:27:57 AM »
The Benjamin Britten opera Myfanwy Piper, based on the short story by Thomas Mann

You mean the opera Death in Venice, Lis. Myfanwy Piper was the librettist.

uffeviking

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2007, 10:37:29 AM »
Karl, valuable friend of mine, you sure solved a puzzle and stopped my head scratching ever since I read the announcement in Opera! I had no inkling where that Britten opera with the foreign language title was coming from, and of course no idea which of Mann's output was this supposed to be. Possible, because I am no expert on either Britten nor Mann!



karlhenning

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2007, 11:05:09 AM »
Very glad to be of assistance, Lis!  Of course, I am a great distance from being anything like expert in Britten's work . . . but I am preparing to listen to Death in Venice for the first time, next week.

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2007, 11:54:32 AM »
Fans of the New York Metropolitan Opera might not be thrilled about the opinion expressed by Martin Bernheimer in this month's of Opera, but it feels so great to have a very knowledgeable person agree with my opinion, a simple opera lover!  :D

"The new regime at the Metropolitan Opera seems to have decided that opera needs hard-sell promotions to attract Everyman, or even anyman. The broadcasts invariably surround performances with dumbed-down self-congratulatory chatter, while advertisements, announcements and press releases gush overstated platitudes. Take the the case of Jenufa which returned on January 29. The Hollywoodish puff-machine described the vehicle as 'a lyrical and sharp-edged drama'. Karita Mattila, who again undertook the 'tour de force title role, was labelled 'electrifying' and 'glorious'. Anja Silja, cast as the Kostelnicka, had to be content with an all-purpose 'remarkable'. The harking and barking might have been justified had it sold a lot of tickets, but the house yawned with empty seats."


With all due respect to Mr. Bernheimer, who may have a point about Gelb's changes, I think the problem with Jenufa was frankly, the opera itself -- no one knows it.  I have no problem with "the Hollywoodish puff-machine" describing it as a "lyrical and sharp-edged drama" -- well, that's what it is!

I think Jenufa is a masterpiece, but my hunch is that many opera fans simply have not heard the score.  In the lobby before one performance, I heard a guy who was about to go in say, with great authority, "I'm not sure I'm going to like this, since I don't care for atonal operas." 

I rest my case. 

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
     ~ Gustav Mahler

Twitter: @brucehodgesny

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 04:08:26 PM »
Not sure if this is the kind of news everyone is after but tomorrow evening is the final concert of the Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition. The Polish Radio Channel 2 are transmitting it live and you can listen via webcast (you need Windows Media Player and I find these links work only on Internet Explorer):
(the Polish TV server - I find it more reliable)
(the Polish Radio server - it works. Sometimes)

That's tomorrow (or, practically, today), April 22nd 2007 18:00 - 20:00 CEST (UTC+2).

uffeviking

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2007, 04:23:20 PM »
Thank you, Maciek! If my figuring is correct, that would be 1.00 PM US tomorrow, left coast. I shall listen!

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2007, 12:16:50 AM »
FYI, it is 10:15 AM as I am posting this, and the concert will start in 8 hrs.
 
I don't know much about this competition but it has a web page (everything in Polish, as appropriate for an international competition ::)). I think you can listen to some of the singers there... (don't know, it doesn't work without Internet Explorer >:().

More info on the competition also here.

I'm sure there'll be lots of talking during the transmission. If I'm at home (which I doubt - I'm visiting my parents today, and they always make it very difficult to leave), I'll post summaries of anything important they say.

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2007, 08:28:36 AM »
Well, I'm a little late but no matter: so far, they're only reading the names of the prize winners etc.

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2007, 08:42:35 AM »
And now, apparently, the prize-giving is over and the concert is about to start...

UPDATE: The concert will start after a 20 minute intermission. :-\

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2007, 09:11:58 AM »
Finally, it has begun... 8)

uffeviking

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2007, 09:24:19 AM »
My Dear Maciek: Have you given any thought to the fact that some of us don't speak, read or write Polish? I went all over the site to find something that tells me where to click to LISTEN. Haven't found it yet!

HELP!!!!

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2007, 10:44:32 AM »
Which site do you mean, Lis? The webcast links should bring you to a page where you don't have to click anything - after a couple of seconds the broadcast should start by itself...? (at least that's how the first one works, the second one is more troublesome - I find there's no general rule on starting it :-\)

As for the second site - clicking on any of the images should open a new window with the media player but it seems there's no singing there, only talk. :-\

uffeviking

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2007, 10:51:32 AM »
I must have been at the wrong site! Now I got the right one, - I think! - but there are little birdies twittering and a man and woman discussing something.  ::)

Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2007, 11:11:47 AM »
Unfortunately, the concert is over... :'( It was VERY short. First about an hour of talk - most of it about the jury and the sponsors, hardly anything about the music or the prize winners. Then a long intermission, and then a very quick concert: each of the 6 six winners sang two arias (one by Moniuszko and one by a foreign composer). It was over in about 50 minutes!!!

Anyway, I recorded the webcast - still haven't checked how it came out - but I can upload it and post links here.

FYI, here is a list of the winners:

Maria Fołtyn Grand Prix - not awarded

in the female vocal category:

First Prize - Oxana Shilova, soprano, Russia

Second Prize - Kristina Kapustynska, mezzo-soprano, Ukraine

Third Prize - Małgorzata Olejniczak, soprano, Poland

in the male vocal category:

First Prize - Alexey Markov, baritone, Russia

Second Prize - Rafał Bartmiński, tenor, Poland

Third Prize - not awarded

Award of the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera: participation in an opera production - Małgorzata Olejniczak, soprano, Poland

Special Awards

Ada Sari Award for the best soprano: Oksana Shilova, soprano, Russia

Wanda Wermińska Award for the best mezzo-soprano - Krystyna Kapustynska, mezzo-soprano, Ukraine

Jan Kiepura Award for the best tenor - Rafał Bartmiński, tenor, Poland

Adam Didur Award for the best bass-baritone - Alexey Markov, baritone, Russia

Ignacy J. Paderewski Award for the best performance of a lied by this composer - Anna Markarova, mezzo-soprano, Ukraine

Marcella Sembrich-Kochańska Prize for the best Polish prize-winner - Rafał Bartmiński, tenor, Poland

Special Award funded by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association - Agnieszka Piass, soprano, Poland

Prize funded by the Polish Club of the Opera Fans „Trubadur”- Oksana Shilova, soprano, Russia

Offline knight66

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2007, 11:20:45 AM »
Sounds like the Eurovision Song contest went well this year, but poor old Finland got nerry a mention!

What does 'International' mean in this context as clearly the winners all come from a certain group of countries? I see you allowed Russia some first prizes....very wise.

Mike


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Offline Maciek

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2007, 11:28:24 AM »
Actually, since Moniuszko is required repertoire here, it seems no one from the Western countries was brave enough to even try... "International" means it's open to contestants from everywhere. It's not my fault if they are all sissies... :P

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