Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Metropolitan Opera in HD for 2019-2020

Turandot by Puccini (October 12),  We open our season with Christine Goerke.  This should be fantastic.
  • Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production Franco Zeffirelli
  • Turandot Christine Goerke
  • Liù Eleonora Buratto
  • Calàf Roberto Aronica
  • Timur James Morris 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sopranos from Platea Magazine

Top row:  Anna Netrebko (m2-HD), Pretty Yende (y3-HD), Anja Harteros (m4)
Middle row:  Lisette Oropesa (y4-HD), Sondra Radvanovsky (m1-HD), Sabine Devielhe (y5)
Bottom row:  Nadine Sierra (y1-HD), Lise Davidsen (y2), Angela Meade (m5-HD)

Platea magazine is in Spanish.  They have subdivided these sopranos into mature and young and ranked them within each category.  Mature 3 is Nina Stemme who is missing from the picture.  I have heard Lise Davidsen only on YouTube and Sabine Devielhe not at all.  You will notice some people are missing, like Diana Damrau and Sonya Yoncheva.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

La Serva Padrona

Ferruccio Soleri | Stage director
Sigiswald Kuijken | Conductor

Donato Di Stefano | Uberto
Patrizia Biccirè | Serpina
Stefano Di Luca | Vespone

I tried to watch this version of Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, 1733, roughly comtemporary with Handel's Orlando, but it was just people standing around singing with no translations.  The music is charming, but I wanted to know what was going on.

So I turned to this DVD from Accademia Barocca de I Virtuosi Italiani.

Conductor:  Corrado Rovaris
Stage Director:  Henning Brockhaus

Carlo Lepore | Uberto
Alessandra Marianelli | Serpina
Jean Meningue | Vespone

We are at the beginning of the rococo.  This one staged the opera as though we were at a circus where Uberto was the manager and Serpina one of the acts.  She refuses to get his chocolate and then threatens to marry a nasty military man who will probably beat her.  The third character seems to be a mime.  The music is still charming with the usual mixture of arias and recitatives.  There was a huge war over this in Paris in the days when there was still opera rioting.  It had something to do with Jean Jacque Rousseau.  Serpina tricks Uberto into marrying her, turning la serva into la padrona.  From our perspective it doesn't seem like much to get excited over.

Calefax Reed Quintet

This ensemble, seen last night at CSUS, is a quintet consisting entirely of reed instruments, specifically:

Oliver Boekhoorn, oboe (English horn in at least 2 pieces and soprano recorder)
Ivar Berix, clarinet
Raaf Hekkema, saxophone (alto and soprano?)
Jelte Althuis, bass-clarinet
Alban Wesly, bassoon

They are from Amsterdam in the Netherlands and invented this particular arrangement of instruments.  There's a lot of this going around.  If you call it a Woodwind Quintet, the instruments are flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn.  There is repertoire for this set of instruments.  Calefax create arrangements for themselves and have started to print them.

They played an interesting set of repertoire taken from pieces for organ, piano, orchestra, etc., including a fugue by Cesar Franck and Gershwin's An American in Paris.  I won't pretend to expertise in this area, but I wasn't completely sold on the resulting sonority of their particular instruments.  There is too much overlap in the pitch range and overall sound.  Any standard ensemble has a default expected tone which I did not experience here.

This isn't a criticism of their playing which was excellent.  I'm not sure who composed it, but their encore number was choreographed with each player moving about the stage.  This was fun.  They might consider playing in different formations to see how it affects the sound.  Just saying.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Classical Music Grammy Nominees For 2019 Plus Winners

The Grammys are scheduled for Feb 10, 2019.  I have highlighted the winners.


Best Orchestral Performance

All from the USA.
  • "Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1"
    Manfred Honeck, conductor (Performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • "Nielsen: Symphony No. 3 & Symphony No. 4"
    Thomas Dausgaard, conductor (Performed by the Seattle Symphony)
  • "Ruggles, Stucky & Harbison: Orchestral Works"
    David Alan Miller, conductor (Performed by the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic)
  • "Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4"
    Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (Performed by the San Francisco Symphony)
  • Winner:  "Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11"Andris Nelsons, conductor (Performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra

 Best Opera Recording

From many places, many styles.
  • John Adams, "Doctor Atomic"
    John Adams, conductor; Aubrey Allicock, Julia Bullock, Gerald Finley & Brindley Sherratt; Friedemann Engelbrecht, producer (Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra; BBC Singers)  CD
  • Winner:  Mason Bates, "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs" Michael Christie, conductor; Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Edwards Parks, Garrett Sorenson & Wei Wu; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (Performed by the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra) CD
  • Lully, "Alceste"
    Christophe Rousset, conductor; Edwin Crossley-Mercer, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro & Judith Van Wanroij; Maximilien Ciup, producer (Performed by Les Talens Lyriques; Choeur De Chambre De Namur) CD
  • Strauss, "Der Rosenkavalier"
    Sebastian Weigle, conductor; Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Günther Groissböck & Erin Morley; David Frost, producer (Performed by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Chorus) DVD
  • Verdi, "Rigoletto"
    Constantine Orbelian, conductor; Francesco Demuro, Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Nadine Sierra; Vilius Keras & Aleksandra Keriene, producers (Performed by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra; the Men of the Kaunas State Choir) CD

 Best Choral Performance

  • Chesnokov's "Teach Me Thy Statues"
    Vladimir Gorbik, conductor (Performed by Mikhail Davydov & Vladimir Krasov; PaTRAM Institute Male Choir)
  • Kastalsky's "Memory Eternal"
    Steven Fox, conductor (Performed by the Clarion Choir)
  • Winner:  McLoskey's "Zealot Canticles"
    Donald Nally, conductor (Performed by Doris Hall-Gulati, Rebecca Harris, Arlen Hlusko, Lorenzo Raval & Mandy Wolman; The Crossing)
  • Rachmaninov's "The Bells"
    Mariss Jansons, conductor; Peter Dijkstra, chorus master (Performed by Oleg Dolgov, Alexey Markov & Tatiana Pavlovskaya; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Chor Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)
  • "Seven Words From the Cross"
    Matthew Guard, conductor (Performed by Skylark)

 Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

  • Winner:  "Landfall"
    Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet
  • "Beethoven, Shostakovich & Bach"
    The Danish String Quartet
  • "Blueprinting"
    Aizuri Quartet
  • Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring Concerto for Two Pianos"
    Leif Ove Andsnes & Marc-André Hamelin
  • "Visions and Variations"
    A Far Cry

 Best Classical Instrumental Solo

  • Bartok's "Piano Concerto No. 2"
    Yuja Wang; Simon Rattle, conductor (Performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker)
  • Biber's "The Mystery Sonatas"
    Christina Day Martinson; Martin Pearlman, conductor (Performed by the Boston Baroque)
  • Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46; Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26"
    Joshua Bell (Performed by the Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields)
  • Glass, "Three Pieces in the Shape of a Square"
    Craig Morris
  • Winner:  Kernis' "Violin Concerto"
    James Ehnes; Ludovic Morlot, conductor (Performed by the Seattle Symphony)

 Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Two of five are countertenors. None of the usual bunch.
  • "ARC"
    Anthony Roth Costanzo; Jonathan Cohen, conductor
  • "The Handel Album"
    Philippe Jaroussky; Artaserse, ensemble
  • "Mirages"
    Sabine Devieilhe; François-Xavier Roth, conductor
  • Schubert, "Winterreise"
    Randall Scarlata; Gilbert Kalish, accompanist
  • Winner:  "Songs of Orpheus — Monteverdi, Caccini, D'India & Landi"
    Karim Sulayman; Jeannette Sorrell, conductor; Apollo's Fire, ensembles

 Best Classical Compendium

  • Winner:  Fuchs, "Piano Concerto 'Spiritualist'; Poems of Life; Glacier; Rush"
    JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Tim Handley, producer
  • "Gold"
    The King's Singers; Nigel Short, producer
  • "The John Adams Edition"
    Simon Rattle, conductor; Christoph Franke, producer
  • "John Williams at the Movies"
    Jerry Junkin, conductor; Donald J. McKinney, producer
  • Williams' "Piano Concerto; Oboe Concerto; Seranade to Music; Flos Campi"
    Peter Oundjian, conductor; Blanton Alspaugh, producer

 Best Contemporary Classical Composition

  • "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs"
    Mason Bates, composer; Mark Campbell, librettist
  • "Air Glow"
    Du Yun, composer
  • "Great Scott"
    Jake Heggie, composer; Terrence McNally, librettist
  • Winner:  "Violin Concerto"
    Aaron Jay Kernis, composer
  • "Vespers for Violin"
    Missy Mazzoli, composer


Best Engineered Album, Classical

  • "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs"
    Mark Donahue & Dirk Sobotka, engineers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Performed by Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edwards Parks, Jessica E. Jones & Santa Fe Opera Orchestra)
  • "Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1"
    Mark Donahue, engineer; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Performed by Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • "John Williams at the Movies"
    Keith O. Johnson & Sean Royce Martin, engineers; Keith O. Johnson, mastering engineer (Performed by Jerry Junkin & Dallas Winds)
  • "Liquid Melancholy — Clarinet Music of James M. Stephenson"
    Bill Maylone & Mary Mazurek, engineers; Bill Maylone, mastering engineer (Performed by John Bruce Yeh)
  • Winner:  "Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4& 11"
    Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Performed by Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra)
  • "Visions and Variations"
    Tom Caulfield, engineer; Jesse Lewis, mastering engineer (Performed by A Far Cry)

Producer Of The Year, Classical

  • Winner:  Blanton Alspaugh
  • David Frost
  • Elizabeth Ostrow
  • Judith Sherman
  • Dirk Sobotka

Here is a post script due to the presence of Renee Fleming.

Best Musical Theater Album:

  • Winner:  “The Band’s Visit” — Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Katrina Lenk & Ari’el
    Stachel, principal soloists; Dean Sharenow & David
    Yazbek, producers; David Yazbek, composer & lyricist
    (Original Broadway Cast)
  • “Carousel” — Renee Fleming, Alexander Gemignani, Joshua Henry,
    Lindsay Mendez & Jessie Mueller, principal soloists;
    Steven Epstein, producer (Richard Rodgers, composer;
    Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist) (2018 Broadway Cast)
  • “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” — Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper, Ben Daniels, Brandon
    Victor Dixon, Erik Grönwall, Jin Ha, John Legend,
    Norm Lewis & Jason Tam, principal soloists; Harvey
    Mason, Jr., producer (Andrew Lloyd-Webber,
    composer; Tim Rice, lyricist) (Original Television Cast)
  • “My Fair Lady” — Lauren Ambrose, Norbert Leo Butz & Harry
    Hadden-Paton, principal soloists; Andre Bishop, Van
    Dean, Hattie K. Jutagir, David Lai, Adam Siegel & Ted
    Sperling, producers (Frederick Loewe, composer; Alan
    Jay Lerner, lyricist) (2018 Broadway Cast)
  • “Once On This Island” — Phillip Boykin, Merle Dandridge, Quentin Earl
    Darrington, Hailey Kilgore, Kenita R. Miller, Alex
    Newell, Isaac Powell & Lea Salonga, principal soloists;
    Lynn Ahrens, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Stephen
    Flaherty & Elliot Scheiner, producers (Stephen
    Flaherty, composer; Lynn Ahrens, lyricist) (New
    Broadway Cast)