Friday, September 19, 2014

JDD Does it Again – Stella di Napoli

Yes, yes; I am still around—just not blogging very much, because my day job has been so much more demanding lately (darned day job—always interfering with my passions). This was going to be a Gratuitous Friday post but (as often happens with blog posts) it grew into so much more!

Recently, a young friend asked me to coach her for a musical theater audition; I said yes, of course I will! (I was both flattered and fascinated!) As we were working (on an aria from the MikadoI forgot how fun that music is), I found myself not quite channeling Joyce DiDonato (I would never presume) but sharing thoughts and advice I picked up from watching JDD's master classes. I decided to do my young friend a favor and introduce her to the magic of Joyce DiDonato. So I stopped talking and gave her links to all of JDD's master classes, so she could learn directly from the Yankee Diva. 

I realize that in the past few months, I’ve spent more time listening to JDD talk that listening to her sing. So, I finally acquired what just may be the vocal album of the year. Stella indeed! What an awesome album cover! But best of all is the creamy, flexible, and expressive vocalism inside. And new operatic treasures to behold (behear?) The only downside is I downloaded it instead of buying the CD, so I am probably missing out on some good liner notes, more photos, and some translations. On the other hand, with music and singing this beautiful, who needs to be distracted by reading a CD booklet?

Anyway, here's WarnerClassics' official promo video. We get Joyce talking (yay!) and Joyce singing (SIGH!)

And here is the recording session for L’Amica ancor non torna. (I love the clarinet solos, and so does JDD, you can just tell. But I think the composer missed a great opportunity for some sexy mezzo/clarinet duetting.) Is it my imagination or is her voice getting richer, fuller, and deeper? While you're pondering that, go get this album. Or if you already have it, go listen to it again! Now!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday's Something Else (Lakmé is in a Trance)

nicked today's post title from dehggial, who writes the nifty blog opera, init? My petty theft is only semi-appropriate, since this post will appear on Friday in most parts of the world. It’s also only semi-appropriate because it’s not as far off-topic for this blog as it may seem.

Regular readers of my posts and the occasional chat threads will not be totally surprised by a trance arrangement of the Flower Duet from Lakmé. Especially not after discussions of Reggae Vitellia, House Vitellia, Big Band and/or Blues Vitellia; plus a few other odd (imagined or real) fusions of opera and dance music.

I love discovering pieces/songs in my music library that I had no idea I owned. I was listening to this trance album today (Thursday). Yes, some opera fans are dance music fans, too—even though we do realize that most trance music sounds like most other trance music. But about four minutes into this song, I started thinking, “That little vocal riff sounds so familiar!”

If you don’t like dance music, or classical music turned into dance music, or classical music generally messed with at all, you’ll probably hate this track.

If you need to cleanse your aural palate, here's a more traditional version.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Opera from Salzburg (and beyond) on Medici.TV

I tuned in to this afternoon just in time to see the curtain calls (live) for Il Trovatore. But not to worry, it will be available in archive very soon. Some additional exciting opera performances from the Salzburger Festspiele are (or will be) on this month. And they feature some of our favorite singers, including DR, LP, and MS.

I like what I've seen/heard so far of Don G. First of all, any production with Brando and Luca is going to look and sound good. And when Donna Elvira enters a muddy, torn wedding gown, immediately heads for the bar, skips the glass and goes straight for the bottle, you know it's going to be an interesting ride! (Not to mention Anna poking Ottavio in the chest with the knife that offed her father...she seemed to actually be holding the knife (trying to get it away from DG) when it killed her dad. I am interested to see where they go with that!)

Mozart: Don Giovanni

Lenneke Ruiten (Donna Anna) 
Anett Fritsch (Donna Elvira) 
Valentina Nafornita (Zerlina) 
Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Don Giovanni) 
Luca Pisaroni (Leporello) 
Tomasz Konieczny (Il Commendatore) 
Andrew Staples (Don Ottavio) 
Alessio Arduini (Masetto)

Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic 
Philharmonia Chor Wien 
Wiener Philharmoniker 

Christoph Eschenbach conductor
Sven-Eric Bechtolf stage director
Rolf Glittenberg set designer
Marianne Glittenberg costumes
Friedrich Rom lighting
Ronny Dietrich dramaturgy
Walter Zeh chorus master

Verdi: Il Trovatore

Anna Netrebko (Leonora) 
Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Azucena) 
Diana Haller member of the young singers project (Ines) 
Francesco Meli (Manrico) 
Plácido Domingo (Count di Luna) 
Riccardo Zanellato (Ferrando) 
Gerard Schneider member of the young singers project (Ruiz) 
Miloš Bulajić member of the young singers project (A Messenger) 
Raimundas Juzuitis member of the young singers project (An Old Gypsy)

Members of the Angelika Prokopp Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic 
Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus 
Wiener Philharmoniker

Daniele Gatti conductor 
Alvis Hermanis stage director, set designer
Eva Dessecker costumes
Gleb Filshtinsky lightings
Ineta Sipunova video
Gudrun Hartmann associate director
Uta Gruber-Ballehr associate set designer
Ronny Dietrich dramaturgy
Ernst Raffelsberger chorus master

And Coming Soon:

Schubert: Fierrabras

Broadcast date : Aug. 25, 2014, 1 p.m. EST

Julia Kleiter (Emma)
Dorothea Röschmann (Florinda)
Marie-Claude Chappuis (Maragond)
Michael Schade (Fierrabras)
Georg Zeppenfeld (King Karl)
Markus Werba (Roland)
Benjamin Bernheim (Eginhard)
Peter Kálmán (Boland)

Members of the Angelika Prokopp 
Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic
Wiener Philharmoniker 

Ingo Metzmacher conductor 
Peter Stein stage director
Ferdinand Wögerbauer set designer
Annamaria Heinreich costumes
Joachim Barth lighting
Ernst Raffelsberger chorus master

This Just in from Switzerland:

There's also a quite nice concert performance of  Beethoven's Fidelio from the Verbier Festival. Nicely sung, and OKly acted. The singers did their best, I guess, but it looks like, with a little stage direction, they could have done so much more with the drama. I'd love to see a stage director have a bit of input in concert performances of opera. Although EN seems to be the biggest name there, I thought he was well outshone by Messers Gleadow and Jovanovich (hooray for North American singers) and Frau Brimberg (another exciting sound from Sweden.) The ingenues, the phantom baritone (Don F.), and M. Minkowski all did a great job, too. 

Ingela Brimberg (Leonore)
Brandon Jovanovich (Florestan)
Evgeny Nikitin (Don Pizarro)
Robert Gleadow (Rocco)
Sylvia Schwartz (Marzelline)
Bernard Richter (Jaquino)
Charles Dekeyser (Don Fernando)

Collegiate Chorale 
Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra 
Marc Minkowski 

La Forza del Friday – It's Back!

I was actually looking for the ROH Manon Lescaut with JK, and I came across this instead. But don't tell anyone, just go watch it! It's got JK, AH, LT, and German subtitles!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Purcell: Dido and Aneas Times Two

A video of a semi-staged performance featuring Stephanie d'Oustrac and Nicolas Rivenq with William Christie and Les Artes Florissants (with gowns by Lacroix, sweetie. Lacroix!)

…and a concert performance from 2009 on Concerthuis 4, with the wonderful Ann Hallenberg as Dido and Thomas Dolie as Aneas. (Unfortunately, I cannot get this broadcast to play all the way through. I don't know if it's a local internet issue, or a question of trying to listen to it in the wrong country. I am hoping my readers in the UK and Europe may get to hear the whole thing.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another Gratuitous Daniel Behle Post

So, Daniel Behle just got a recording contract with Decca (who hasn't, you ask? Well, JK for one...) And since it's the year of the Gluck, he has a brand new recital of Gluck arias, both rare and familiar. The first video is a promo clip with some chatting and rehearsal moments. 

The second video is a complete performance of “Quercia annosa sull'erte pendici” from Antigono (no, I've never heard of it either.) Finally, we have an audio-only clip of a more familiar aria (unfortunately for him—and I do love you, Daniel—he has a ton of heavy competition on this one, including (to name but two) the recent La Monnaie performance by Stéphanie d'Oustrac, and an awesome Richard Croft recording. But we won't write him off for that. He has a lot to offer, and (hopefully) many more years of singing ahead of him!

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