Sunday, October 4, 2015
Friday, September 25, 2015
|Michaela Schuster, photographed by Nikola Stege|
Sunday, September 20, 2015
|Nave of the Auenkirche, Berlin-Wilmersdorf|
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Accademia di Santa Cecilia on board with the project. Under Pappano's baton, the orchestral contributions to this album do much to set it apart. This is no mere window-dressing or accompaniment, no mere setting for the voice; this is drama and commentary at once, blood and bones and breath. Kaufmann's work is also very fine, and, in places, nothing less than hair-raising. Although the album includes several of the most famous staples of the dramatic tenor's repertoire, it is in the lesser-known pieces, and in some unexpected moments, that Kaufmann's artistry is most interesting, and most effective.
Friday, September 11, 2015
After pondering Lieder puns for far too long, Gentle Readers, I present to you the first post in a planned series exploring my library of art song discs, and the reasons they've made it into my modest collection. These reasons vary from careful selection, to discount-bin serendipity, to my inability to resist a mezzo-soprano singing Mahler. In the case of Thomas Quasthoff's A Romantic Songbook, it's a case of me looking at DG's First Choice series and declaring internally, "Why yes, this is indeed the thoughtfully curated and expertly performed German Lieder disc I need in my life!" Thanks to Quasthoff's mastery, and the subtle, surprising, knowing accompaniment of Justus Zeyen at the piano, this CD is often what I want for an unhurried, cliché-free tour of the German art song repertoire of the long nineteenth century.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
|Happy Families? Figaro's matrimonial entanglements|
(L-R: Miller, Maliakel, Smith, de Bettancourt)
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I recently had the pleasure of attending OperaRox Presents’ first full-length production, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (1786), at the National Opera Center. OperaRox, OperaRox Presents’ parent organization, is an online community of opera enthusiasts and professionals, who not only seek to nurture their own love of opera, but also to share it with the world. Armed with only a piano and few props in the intimate Scorca Hall, they created a new Nozze—a daunting feat considering the opera’s long history and audiences’ familiarity with the production. The director’s note in the program cites eccentric attempts to liven up the opera with novelty settings and concepts, but OperaRox had a different approach:
This space, and frankly, our budget as a fledgling DIY company, dictated another approach. There are no wigs, corsets, topiaries, or pyrotechnics in our Nozze; just a small stage with a piano, a few chairs, and a brave young cast you don’t have to squint at through binoculars. (Amber Treadway, “A Note from the Director”)This necessary minimalism of the production serves as its heart and the young and talented cast is its voice.
Posted by Lucy at 12:32 PM
Sunday, August 23, 2015
cf. William Berger). But Turandot, with its disturbed characters, disturbing libretto, and unquiet musical undercurrents, manages to an unusual degree to transcend its own surface narrative, at least for me as a listener. It has also benefitted from what has to be one of the great vocal lineups of opera recording history.