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Offline listener

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #380 on: February 11, 2010, 09:59:22 AM »
HONOLULU OPERA Celebrates 50 years
HOT at 50

Hawaii Opera Theatre / It began with a single performance of Madama Butterfly, half a century ago, in the McKinley High School auditorium. Since that debut, Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT) has grown into one of the nation’s leading opera companies, and offers a full Grand Opera featuring nine main stage performances per season at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall.

While the setting of HOT’s inception may have been modest–especially in contrast to the long, velvet curtains and rich red carpet inside the Blaisdell Concert Hall–insiders say local opera was a hit from the start.

“The initial reaction must have been one of great support and great recognition,” said Henry Akina, the general and artistic director of Hawaii Opera Theatre since 1996. “Certainly, 50 years of full and nearly full houses and community support show that opera has a concrete place here in Honolulu.”
Opera, local-style

First and foremost, the success of local opera is about musical performances infused with the character of those who live in–and share a love for–Hawaii.

“Lots of wonderful deep emotional, expression, lots of wonderful music, lots of movement and beauty onstage,” says Akina. “We place a high value on fellowship and ensemble…on the aloha spirit. That infects everything and everyone we work with, and this is a tremendous asset.”

That first performance at McKinley may have marked the beginning of HOT, but the people of Hawaii had for a century already embraced the art form. Opera began in 16th-century Italy as an exploration of Greek drama, and found its way to the Islands in the 1850s. When HOT was founded, it was as a subdivision of the Honolulu Symphony.

“The conductor of the Honolulu Symphony wanted to do opera in Honolulu,” says Akina. “He began planning how to do it as musical director of the orchestra, and invited the Canadian stage director Irving Guttman and an international cast to join him in this effort.”

Collaboration with the operatic world outside of Hawaii has been an essential component of HOT’s development. Akina, a Hawaii native who has directed opera companies in Germany, Hungary, France, China, Thailand, the U.S. mainland and Canada, said Hawaii’s remote location presents a slew of challenges for an industry that is simply not wholly sustainable on a local level.

“On the U.S. mainland and in Europe for instance, there are many more resources closer to other opera companies,” he said. “Like everything else in Hawaii, opera is dependent on communication with the outside world. I sometimes think that our future is absolutely dependant on how we create valuable relationships between Hawaii and the outside world. I would venture to say that that is only true of opera for our state.”

Despite challenges, HOT has long since found ways to thrive.

“The local opera audience has grown throughout its history,” says Karen Tiller, HOT’s executive director. “When you include these audience numbers with the capacity house of the performance schedule, a sold-out season reaches about 24,000.”
Opera o na kanaka

Honolulu’s devoted audience is not the homogeneous demographic that many assume it is.

“At a point early on in opera history, it was for the elite,” says Erik Haines, director of education and outreach at HOT. “Eventually, it became an art form of and for the middle class. You’ll find people from all walks of life attending the opera today.”

Part of that, opera scholars say, has to do with barriers to entry–like foreign language, for example–that have been removed.

“The full house at Blaisdell this afternoon was laughing and thoroughly enjoying Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro [performed in Italian],” says Lesley Wright, professor of musicology at UH-Manoa. “The excellent acting and singing of the cast [was] supported by well-chosen supertitles that translated the text.”

Others say that even if an audience can’t understand what is being said (or sung), the essence of the opera’s story still comes through.

“Music is a language,” says Haines. “[It] has the ability to communicate regardless of a person’s spoken language.”
The next 50

In celebrating its golden anniversary, HOT leaders find themselves looking ahead to the next 50 years. Akina, who was only 5 years old when HOT began, says he hopes to continue challenging audiences with new and exciting work.

“We are a professional company and I intend to make sure that the status is maintained,” he says. “I would not have become involved in opera or trained to be an opera stage director in Germany if I had not seen the work of the company in my youth, here in Honolulu.”

Today, HOT audiences can be found wearing sandals and shorts, suits and tuxes, or pearls and formal gowns. In addition to upcoming regular performances, like Wagner’s Die Walküre and Puccini’s La Bohème, HOT also presents “Opera for Everyone” night, where students have the opportunity to watch an exclusive presentation of the final, full-dress rehearsal for a discount.

“I believe opera is one of the most elaborate and exciting art forms man has created,” says Akina. “It has an almost 500-year history and is still going strong everywhere. Honolulu is no exception.”
Hawaii Opera Theatre, Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall, 999 S. King St., Fridays at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm, Tuesdays at 7:30pm, $20–$120, [hawaiiopera.org], [email: hottickets], 596-7858
Die Walküre: Feb 12, 14 & 16. Bohème: Feb 26, 28, Mar 2.
LINK http://honoluluweekly.com/entertainment/2010/02/hot-at-50/
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Offline listener

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #381 on: February 22, 2010, 09:05:25 PM »
METROPOLITAN OPERA NYC    2010-11
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
Published: February 22, 2010

Peter Sellars is in, Franco Zeffirelli is out — again.
Kathryn Cook for The New York Times

The Metropolitan Opera, which announced its plans for the 2010-11 season on Monday, said Mr. Sellars would make his directing debut at the house with “Nixon in China,” John Adams’s 1987 opera.

Meanwhile, a Zeffirelli production — “La Traviata” — will bite the dust.

The “Traviata” news is no big surprise. The Met has slowly been phasing out the lavish spectacles of Italian operas directed by Mr. Zeffirelli, which have been around for decades, to the outrage of his supporters and other traditional opera fans. This season, new versions replaced his longstanding “Tosca” and “Carmen” productions.

After condemnation of the new “Tosca” directed by Luc Bondy, the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, had said there was a “strong possibility” that the Zeffirelli production would reappear next spring because of technical issues related to a simultaneously running “Ring,” a new production of the Wagner cycle directed by Robert Lepage. That idea is now off the table.

“We were able to figure out a way of technically reconfiguring slightly the way in which we set the ‘Tosca’ on the stage,” Mr. Gelb said, “so we can make it work.” He added, “It was always our intention to bring it back if we could,” referring to the Bondy “Tosca.”

But have no fears about the Zeffirelli “Bohème”: that cash cow will be back next season with 17 performances and myriad casts.

And more cash will be asked of Met-goers. The cost of an average individual ticket will rise by 11 percent, while subscriber tickets will go up an average of 6 percent. The Met said it had not made “across the board” increases in four years, although individual categories have gone up. It boasted that about one-third of tickets would cost less than $100 and said that discounts for students, under-30s and last-minute buyers would continue.

Seat prices now range from 476 seats at $20 in the family circle to $375 for the 48 seats in the first row of the center parterre. Next year the range will be from $25 to $420. (Gala tickets can go for hundreds of dollars more.)

The Met had to scale back some of its ambitious plans for this season because of the recession. But Mr. Gelb said that while administrative cost cuts remained in effect, “We are not skimping on our presentations” for the coming season.

The season will open on Sept. 27 with “Das Rheingold,” the first installment of the “Ring,” conducted by James Levine, the music director.

A modern-dress “Traviata” will be directed by Willy Decker, whose production was first seen at the Salzburg Festival in 2005, and was to have featured the soprano Anna Netrebko at the Met. Ms. Netrebko said last summer that she was pulling out so that the role did not become routine and to avoid competing with her DVD performance recorded at Salzburg. Marina Poplavskaya will sing Violetta.

Ms. Poplavskaya sang the role in Amsterdam, the only place the Salzburg production has previously traveled. “It’s a very athletic and dramatic performance that’s required,” Mr. Gelb said.

Mr. Zeffirelli’s production dates from 1998.

Ms. Netrebko has signed on for a reprise of Norina in “Don Pasquale” by Donizetti.

Next season has seven productions new to the house, including four created exclusively for it: the first two installments of the previously announced “Ring” cycle, “Das Rheingold” and “Die Walküre,” directed by Robert Lepage; “Le Comte Ory” by Rossini, directed by Bartlett Sher, now a regular at the Met; and “Boris Godunov,” starring René Pape in his first Met Godunov — one of the premier singing-acting bass roles.

The number of new productions is in line with the offerings of recent years. There will be 21 revivals, also a typical number.

Like the Rossini work, “Nixon in China” has never been performed at the Met. Mr. Sellars directed the first production, as well as the first production of Mr. Adams’s “Dr. Atomic” (and created the libretto). His “Dr. Atomic” was to have played at the Met last season, but the Met changed its mind and found another director. It took “Nixon” 23 years to reach the Met; Rossini composed “Ory” in 1828.

Along with Mr. Decker, two other directors will be making their first appearances at the house: Peter Stein was assigned “Boris Godunov” (Valery Gergiev will conduct) and Nicholas Hytner will bring in his “Don Carlo,” a co-production with the Royal Opera in London, where it had its premiere in 2008. Mr. Hytner is artistic director of the National Theater in London.

The “Don Carlo” has an especially strong cast: Roberto Alagna, Ms. Poplavskaya, Simon Keenlyside and Ferruccio Furlanetto. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a rising figure, will conduct. It received generally positive reviews in Britain.

Two notable conductors will make Met debuts. Simon Rattle, music director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, will lead Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” and William Christie, a highly regarded Baroque specialist, will conduct Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte.”

The season will mark the 40th anniversary of James Levine’s conducting debut at the house, in “Tosca.” Mr. Levine has led nearly 2,500 performances there, the Met said. The anniversary of the actual day, June 5, 1971, will be commemorated by a Levine performance of “Don Carlo” while the company is on tour in Japan, the Met said.

link  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/arts/music/23met.html?ref=arts
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 05:50:18 PM by listener »
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Offline UB

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #382 on: February 26, 2010, 08:36:32 PM »

Today at 7 p.m. Berlin time there is the premiere of Peter Eötvös' opera "Die Tragödie des Teufels". It can be heard live on Deutschlandradio.

If that is not enough new music, the opera is followed by a recent - 2008 - 35 minute Percussion concerto by Friedrich Cerha.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

jlaurson

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #383 on: February 26, 2010, 11:43:42 PM »
Today at 7 p.m. Berlin time there is the premiere of Peter Eötvös' opera "Die Tragödie des Teufels". It can be heard live on Deutschlandradio.

If that is not enough new music, the opera is followed by a recent - 2008 - 35 minute Percussion concerto by Friedrich Cerha.

The Tragedy of the Devil is a strange opera, alright. I very much like Eötvös; Tri Sestri is awesome and his South American Opera is like modern-day Puccini, except good. But "Tragedy" was an experience akin to touching a Marcel Duchamp sculpture: You sense you are very close to great art, and yet you're still reaching into a toilet. It's "simple complexity"; inoffensive white noise. Not enough for outrage and not enough for appreciation.

Offline knight66

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #384 on: March 06, 2010, 03:17:41 PM »
The tenor Philip Langridge died yesterday. I have seen no obits at all yet, too soon possibly. Just the announcement.

Mike
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Offline yashin

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #385 on: March 06, 2010, 06:42:36 PM »
I have seen the announcement on some website. This is very sad news indeed. What a beautiful voice and such an elegant looking man.  I treasure his Vere and his Grimes recordings -both the cd and especially the Video of his Grimes. Deifinitive in these roles is such a subjective term but he 'owned' these roles for a long, long time.
I also recall him in the terrific Boris Godunov from the Liceu, Barcelona that appeared on DVD not so long ago. And i think he played Laca in katya Kabanova...
Very sad news.

Offline knight66

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #386 on: March 07, 2010, 12:14:49 AM »
I was never very fond of his singing, the tone too dry for me. But I admired his ability and artistry. He managed his voice well and had a very successful 70th birthday concert. I think he was married to Ann Murray.

Mike
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Offline knight66

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #388 on: March 07, 2010, 08:35:36 AM »
A nice summation of his steady carear. It seems a little odd to me that the British in particular value a voice so devoid of glamor. Perhaps we can congratulate ourselves that we are content to have a singer explore more than sheer beauty of tone. Robert Tear is another such singer.

Mike
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Offline Guido

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #389 on: March 07, 2010, 01:25:07 PM »
His Dies Natalis (Finzi) is one of the most beautiful and sensitive things committed to record. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who doesn't think he was a sensational singer. It's my favourite of the 8 versions I have heard of this piece (yes even more than the famous original recording with Wilfred Brown).
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Offline knight66

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #390 on: March 07, 2010, 01:57:51 PM »
Langridge in fine form on home territory

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgxskbGbJ5o

Mike
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Offline listener

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #391 on: March 10, 2010, 01:18:56 PM »
NEW YORK CITY OPERA INCLUDES FELDMAN AND SCHOENBERG 2010 - 2011 season
 
(New York, NY, March 9, 2010)  New York City Opera General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel today announced the company’s 2010-2011 season, which spotlights American composers and 20th-century works within a mix of world premieres, New York premieres and new productions. Offering audiences the opportunity to experience new and rarely performed operas as well as modern interpretations of traditional repertoire, the 2010-2011 season will also feature the launch of a concert series showcasing the non-operatic works of several of the composers of this season’s operas. Taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the recent renovation of the company’s home, the David H. Koch Theater, the concert series expands the repertoire and programming of City Opera and casts new light on the season’s productions. 
 
Among the artists to be featured during the season are soprano Lauren Flanigan as Myra Foster (a role created for her) in Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon, soprano Stefania Dovhan (who debuted as Donna Anna in City Opera’s 2009 production of Don Giovanni) as Adina in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, soprano Mary Dunleavy as Christine in Strauss’s Intermezzo, baritone Louis Otey as Sam in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, and soprano Cyndia Sieden in Morton Feldman’s “Neither.” Joining them will be a host of debut artists, continuing City Opera’s mission of nurturing young singers, while the concert series will bring talents including Christine Brewer, Kristin Chenoweth, Raúl Esparza, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson to the City Opera stage.
 
“With this season, we take another step forward on an exciting journey for New York City Opera,” stated George Steel. “I’m thrilled that we have three new productions, that we’re presenting four premieres of works by American composers—all of them New Yorkers—and that we’re exploring new programming possibilities, both with our triple bill of mini-operas and with the new concert series. Most of all, I love the incredible range of compositional styles this season: from the transparent simplicity of Donizetti to the opulent middle-period Richard Strauss to the blend of the popular and classical worlds in Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz—all this topped off by the delicious trio of Schoenberg, Feldman and Zorn. This is what City Opera was made to do, and what makes City Opera unique.”

The fall season will feature two operas that present contrasting takes on dysfunctional domesticity: Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place – a work never before performed in New York, in a new production directed by Christopher Alden – and Richard Strauss’s Intermezzo. Adding to the excitement of the fall season will be a concert program, performed twice, that will illuminate A Quiet Place by celebrating the range of Leonard Bernstein, including music from the Kaddish Symphony and Mass to On the Town and West Side Story.
 
The new capabilities of the renovated David H. Koch Theater, including an enlarged and adjustable orchestra pit coupled with a new fire curtain that provides an acoustically reflective surface, transform the theater into an ideal concert hall for special programming.  City Opera’s Fall Gala, An Evening with Christine Brewer, on Thursday, October 28, stars one of the world’s most sought-after sopranos and takes advantage of this increased flexibility of the renovated theater. The evening will include selections from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Puccini’s Turandot and Richard Strauss’s lieder, with Ms. Brewer joined by the New York City Opera Orchestra and Music Director George Manahan.
 
The spring season will open with a revival of Jonathan Miller’s production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love.  This is followed by an audacious triple bill called Monodramas: Arnold Schoenberg’s “Erwartung” (Expectation), Morton Feldman’s “Neither” (with a libretto by Samuel Beckett) and John Zorn’s “La Machine de l’être”, a program that epitomizes City Opera’s mission through both its innovative format and progressive repertoire.  As its final production of 2010-2011, City Opera will present the New York premiere of Stephen Schwartz’s first opera, the psychological thriller Séance on a Wet Afternoon.
 
This season’s new concert series continues through the spring with John Zorn & Friends, featuring the experimental music master with avant-garde innovators Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Mike Patton, Marc Ribot, Dave Douglas, Uri Caine and Zorn himself; and Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz, a program of the composer’s songs from his acclaimed Broadway shows and film scores.  Scheduled to appear are two major stars of screen and stage, Kristin Chenoweth and Raúl Esparza.
 
For the whole family, City Opera presents a special matinee concert, a benefit performance of Where the Wild Things Are, based on the beloved children’s book by Maurice Sendak, with a score by Oliver Knussen set to a libretto by Sendak himself.
 
VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab, City Opera’s annual showcase of new American operas, will continue in the 2010-11 season in its 12th edition.

comlete press release at  http://pressroom.nycopera.com/pr/nycopera/news/20th-century-opera-takes-center-154809.aspx
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Offline listener

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #392 on: March 11, 2010, 11:37:53 AM »
 BBC NEWS
Anna Nicole story made into opera

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is to stage the world premiere of an opera about the life of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, who died in 2007.

The work, by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and writer Richard Thomas, will be "a major event in the UK arts calendar" the ROH said.

Thomas was a co-creator of the controversial production Jerry Springer: The Opera.

Smith died aged 39 of an accidental prescription drug overdose in Florida.

Oil tycoon

At the time of her death, Smith - a stripper who went on to find fame as a model and actress - was embroiled in a long-running legal battle to claim a share of the estate of her late husband.

Billionaire oil tycoon J Howard Marshall was 89 years old - 63 years her senior - when they married.

Thomas said the opera would end with Smith's death rather than the court battle over the disposal of her remains and custody of her daughter that followed.

Anna Nicole will have its world premiere at the Covent Garden venue on 17 February 2011 with Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek in the lead role.

Other highlights in the ROH 2010/11 season includes the Royal Ballet's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a co-production with the National Ballet of Canada, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

The UK premiere of Philip Glass's In The Penal Colony, based on a short story by Franz Kafka about an execution machine, will be seen in September.

And world renowned soprano Angela Gheorghiou will star in the title role of Adriana Lecouvreur, based on the life of the tragic French actress, in November.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/entertainment/arts_and_culture/8560635.stm

Published: 2010/03/10 16:16:58 GMT

© BBC MMX
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Offline Guido

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #393 on: March 21, 2010, 05:33:16 PM »
Sorry - I realise that this isnt exactly news, but is Lesley Garrett as crap as I think she is? I just thought I'd check her out on Spotify having never really heard her before... How was she ever a lead soprano with the ENO? What recordings is she good in?
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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #394 on: March 21, 2010, 06:38:32 PM »
I rented a couple of DVDs from Netflix of Handel ENO productions with her (Serse and Ariodante, I think, it's been a while) and was surprsed at how not bad she was, compared to her more recent and famous recordings.
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Offline knight66

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #395 on: March 21, 2010, 11:35:03 PM »
Once upon a time she was a perfectly good Handel singer. Then TV and a recording contract took the place of the stage. Her discs could not really be called recitals, as she moons round most of the material managing to make it sound like crossover even where the music is from the standard repertoire.

It is many years since she was involved in a full scale live opera. On TV I heard her croon her way through Casta Diva, it was poor in so many ways. A couple of her early discs passed through my collection like s**t through a pipe.

The most recent disc I am aware of is her Papagena in the marvelous Mackerras English language Magic Flute. In the dialogue she uses her eeh by gum cheeky northern lass persona where for once it is acceptable though just as irritating. She sings the part well, but that part has so little in it, I could just about manage it myself.

I am sure I have conveyed my feelings without having to expand further...my advice; avoid all of her solo discs or appearances.

Mike
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 11:36:44 PM by knight »
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Offline Guido

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #396 on: March 22, 2010, 04:13:57 AM »
Once upon a time she was a perfectly good Handel singer. Then TV and a recording contract took the place of the stage. Her discs could not really be called recitals, as she moons round most of the material managing to make it sound like crossover even where the music is from the standard repertoire.

It is many years since she was involved in a full scale live opera. On TV I heard her croon her way through Casta Diva, it was poor in so many ways. A couple of her early discs passed through my collection like s**t through a pipe.

The most recent disc I am aware of is her Papagena in the marvelous Mackerras English language Magic Flute. In the dialogue she uses her eeh by gum cheeky northern lass persona where for once it is acceptable though just as irritating. She sings the part well, but that part has so little in it, I could just about manage it myself.

I am sure I have conveyed my feelings without having to expand further...my advice; avoid all of her solo discs or appearances.

Mike

OK cheers! Good summary. I got the exact same feeling that she makes everything sound like crossover!
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Online mc ukrneal

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #397 on: March 22, 2010, 04:49:38 AM »
Once upon a time she was a perfectly good Handel singer. Then TV and a recording contract took the place of the stage. Her discs could not really be called recitals, as she moons round most of the material managing to make it sound like crossover even where the music is from the standard repertoire.

It is many years since she was involved in a full scale live opera. On TV I heard her croon her way through Casta Diva, it was poor in so many ways. A couple of her early discs passed through my collection like s**t through a pipe.

The most recent disc I am aware of is her Papagena in the marvelous Mackerras English language Magic Flute. In the dialogue she uses her eeh by gum cheeky northern lass persona where for once it is acceptable though just as irritating. She sings the part well, but that part has so little in it, I could just about manage it myself.

I am sure I have conveyed my feelings without having to expand further...my advice; avoid all of her solo discs or appearances.

Mike

Come on. Tell us how you really feel!  :P
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jlaurson

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Re: General Opera News
« Reply #398 on: March 24, 2010, 07:08:37 AM »
Technically this isn't quite opera news, but close enough. And if there is a thread "General Symphonic Orchestra News", I didn't find it. (Or look.)

In any case, this is the story that just broke:


Lorin Maazel succeeds Christian Thielemann in Munich
, with plenty comment.