Monday, May 30, 2016

New Releases

Recent releases from the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD.

The Merry Widow with Renée Fleming

La Donna del Lago with Joyce DiDonato--my recent favorite

Macbeth with the ever fabulous Anna Netrebko

Falstaff with Ambrogio Maestri

Rusalka with Renée Fleming

Otello also with Renée Fleming and Johan Botha

Opera releases not from the Met include Manon Lescaut from the Royal Opera in London with Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann.

From Vienna is La Fanciulla del West with Nina Stemme and Jonas Kaufmann

Here is the recent release of La Forza del Destino

From La Scala Milan we have Jonas Kaufmann's fabulous Puccini recital

or if you prefer a CD

Also new with Jonas Kaufmann is this CD of Aida

And Cecilia Bartoli has this lovely box set with three operas

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Meistersinger stream Preview

This will stream on July 31 and perhaps for a few days after. It's possible that I will love it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera 2016-2017


Saturday, October 8, 2016
Benjamin Britten – Violin Concerto
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5
Michael Christie, conductor  and Karen Gomyo, violin

Saturday, November 12, 2016 
Giuseppe Verdi – Dramatic moments from La Forza del destino, Otello, and Un ballo in maschera
Pietro Mascagni – Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana
Giacomo Puccini – La Bohème Act I Finale
Gioachino Rossini – Semiramide
Ottorino Respighi – The Pines of Rome
Christoph Campestrini, conductor, Katherine Whyte, soprano, Adam Luther, tenor

Saturday, January 21, 2016 
Gioachino Rossini – Italiana in Algeri Overture
Joseph Haydn – Symphony No. 101, “Clock”
Antonio Vivaldi – “The Four Seasons”
Andrés Cárdenes, conductor and violin

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Takemitsu – Quotation of Dream
Johann Sebastian Bach – Double Keyboard Concerto
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 7
Andrew Grams, conductor, Peter Serkin, piano, Julia Hsu, piano

Saturday, March 4, 2017
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 4
Ludwig van Beethoven - Violin Concerto
Michelle Merrill, conductor Chee-Yun Kim, violin

Saturday, April 29, 2017 
Giuseppe Verdi – La Traviata
José -Luis Gomez, conductor


Perhaps this is new or I just didn't know about it, but there is also a pops series.

Saturday, November 26, 2016 
Classical Mystery Tour – Featuring a full Beatles cover band: Roll up for the “Classical Mystery Tour” on Thanksgiving Weekend. All your Beatles memories performed LIVE by the Sacramento Philharmonic and members of the original cast of Broadway’s Beatlemania! Fab Four Hit after Fab Four hit!
Martin Herman, conductor

Saturday, January 14, 2017 
The Music of David Bowie : A Rock Symphony: Few artists have redefined rock. David Bowie was the one – and only. To mark the first anniversary of his passing, the Sacramento Philharmonic presents a symphonic salute. “Changes,” “Space Oddity,” “Fame,” Heroes,” Rebel Rebel,” nearly 20 classics. The best of Bowie – from A to Ziggy. Are you ready? Then “Let’s Dance”!
Brent Havens, conductor

Saturday, April 8, 2017 
Pet Sounds Live: A Beach Boys Celebration: The sun-melt harmonies – and all the good vibrations. Conductor Jeff Reed recreates the music of The Beach Boys. Every endless summer smash hit, and wouldn’t it be nice to hear those path-breaking “Pet Sounds” in a 50th anniversary tribute?
Jeffrey Reed, conductor

Tickets for both of these series are now on sale.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lucia di Lammermoor from ROH

Conductor: Daniel Oren
Designer: Vicki Mortimer

Lucia: Diana Damrau
Edgardo: Charles Castronovo
Enrico: Ludovic Tézier
Arturo: Taylor Stayton
Raimondo: Kwangchul Youn
Normanno: Peter Hoare
Alisa Rachael Lloyd

The notorious Lucia di Lammermoor from the Royal Opera Covent Garden played last night in my local movie theater.  It was a not to be missed.

This is Lucia with all the details left in and then more details added.  The stage is divided into two sections for every scene, allowing the character Lucia to be on stage throughout the opera.

The opera begins at the haunted fountain where Enrico and his cohorts are searching for clues to an intruder and ultimately find a message from Lucia to Edgardo hidden in the fountain.  The ghost of the fountain is there, but the men do not notice her.  On the other side of the stage Lucia is in her dressing room preparing to go out disguised as a man.

We are still at the fountain when Lucia enters with her maid, also disguised as a man.  She sees the ghost who goes up to her and kisses her.  Lucia seems to be the only one who notices the ghost.  She sings "Regnava nel silenzio" and describes the ghost to Alisa.

Edgardo arrives for the love duet.  They undress each other and fuck while singing bel canto, to mysterious effect.  I wonder if the porn industry has thought of this.  Edgardo must leave for France, and they exchange rings.

For Act II Scene 1 the stage is still split:  on the left is Lucia's bedroom and on the right is her bathroom.  Privacy isn't a feature here.  Lucia gets suddenly out of bed and runs to the bathroom to throw up.  Ah.  She is pregnant.

Brother comes in and whines about his situation.  The time is spent trying to persuade Lucia to marry Arturo.  Since they know about her exchange of letters with Edgardo, they have intercepted everything and created fakes.  There is now a second ghost inside the castle whom we presume is Lucia's recently deceased mother.  Again only Lucia seems to see her.  They interact.  Does this mean Lucia is mad from the beginning?

Arturo, Lucia, Enrico, Raimondo

Arturo has arrived and after much arguing, Lucia signs the marriage contract.  Then suddenly Edgardo arrives.  At first he and Lucia mime happiness and information about her pregnancy.  Then Enrico shows him she has signed the marriage contract with Arturo, and Edgardo is enraged.  He takes back his ring and storms out.

Act III Scene 1 the scene we normally see here is on the right, while on the left is Lucia's bridal chamber with her new husband.  She seems playful, encouraging him to undress her while she undresses him, something she seems to show great skill at.  Eventually she binds and gags him on the bed.  She stabs him in the middle of the chest, something that is generally fatal, but then he jumps up and starts running around the room.  The maid ends up strangling him.  Remember Lucia still has to sing the mad scene.

The stress is too much for Lucia and she miscarries her baby.  Blood is everywhere.

Scene 2 is in a room with a pool table where the men are celebrating.  On the left people are cleaning up the dead body.  Then begins the mad scene "Il dolce suono."  The words are acted out.  When she sings to Edgardo, a ghost form of him appears.  The fountain ghost also appears, and mother is on the other side, trying to comfort Lucia.  The living characters still don't see the ghosts.  Lucia tells Edgardo they can marry now.  The glass harmonica enhances the eeriness of the scene.

There is too much business for Diana to result in a particularly well sung mad scene, but it is by far the maddest.

Scene 3 has the real Edgardo back at the fountain.  He sings "Tombe degli avi miei" while on the right Lucia commits suicide in the bath.  When the men come to tell Edgardo Lucia is dying, he runs off to join her in death.  He sings "Tu che a Dio spiegasti l'ali" and cuts his own throat.

Suddenly everyone else sees the fountain ghost.

This is sort of unfair to Diana.  Charles has far less to do and sings marvelously.

Revivals of productions don't usually involve very much rehearsal.  In Vienna I've heard there is none at all.  Maybe they take a walk around the set for a few minutes.  I don't see how anything like that is possible here.

If I want the production to explain the opera, that is certainly what happens here.  It is time to meditate on the value of ambiguity.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Opera Today

It is with fascination that I avail myself of the fruits of modern technology.

Practically immediately after they finished singing it, Coloraturafan posted a film of a concert version of Verdi's Otello from Cincinnati, starring singers I was not familiar with but whose names I had heard:  Gregory Kunde, Tamara Wilson and Egils Silins.  It turned out to be exciting and beautifully sung.

And now I am listening to an audio of Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala in Lohengrin in Dresden.  This performance also included Evelyn Herlitzius as Ortrud.  I'm only about halfway through it, but Anna's diction is excellent.  Sunday's performance was on Wagner's birthday, so afterward they all appeared in the square and sang a bit for the crowds.  He's very good, but she is astounding.  No one gets that much intensity into her singing.  It is my suspicion that Netrebko wanted to do a traditional Lohengrin.  It was a small price to pay.

And then there is the "O sole mio" by Cecilia Bartoli, performed as an encore to a recital in Bad Kissingen just a couple of days ago with the theme Melodie italiane.  We should all have noticed that as she approaches her 50th birthday, she has finally done crossover. 

I might want to also have a life.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Posted yesterday

Sweetie, perhaps I will love only you.

Footnote.  I suppose only I will truly love this.  I cannot explain why.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Gregory Kunde

This is Gregory Kunde, winner of the International Opera Awards Male Singer.

If you watch a lot of films on YouTube of Gregory Kunde, you will see that until recently he has focused on bel canto, a field where he blends into the crowd.  Now suddenly he has begun to appear as a spinto tenor, and it turns out he is amazing.  We'll probably never know why he waited, but we welcome him heartily.

Sorry.  Otello has been removed.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Request for Streaming from Salzburg

The operas for this summer from the Salzburg Festival are:

Thomas Adès The exterminating angel with Anne Sofie Von Otter, Charles Workman, Eric Halfvarson,  John Tomlinson, Thomas Allen

Richard Strauss Die liebe Der Danae.

Faust with Piotr Beczala, Ildar Abdrazakov, Maria Agresta, Tara Erraught

West Side Story with Cecilia Bartoli .

All 3 Mozart/da Ponte operas will play.  Don Giovanni is very much the same as last year.  Nozze di Figaro also streamed last year.

Manon Lescaut with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.

Otto Nicolai il Templario with Juan Diego Flórez and Joyce DiDonato

I always want to see things I haven't seen before.  My choices are:

Manon Lescaut for Anna
West Side Story for Cecilia
The Exterminating Angel
Il Templario for Juan Diego and Joyce
Die liebe der Danae to get a better idea of it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Maestro is stepping down

Nicola Luisotti will end his tenure as Music Director of the San Francisco Opera in the summer of 2018.  This gives us two more years.  I hope they find someone as good as our last two.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Noch einmal Netrebko

On the occasion of her premier as Elsa in Lohengrin.  She makes me want to go shopping.