Sunday, December 30, 2007

To Do List: (1) Get stabbed at a Masked Ball, (2) Sing a long aria, (3) Then die

Un Ballo in Maschera
by Giuseppe Verdi

Amelia- Michele Crider
Gustavo- Salvatore Licitra
Anckarstrom (Renato)- Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Ulrica- Stephanie Blythe
Oscar- Kathleen Kim
Ribbing (Samuel)- Hao Jiang Tian
de Horn (Tom)- Andrew Gangestad
Conductor- Gianandrea Noseda

With a production that is nearly 20 years old it's usually difficult to add freshness to it. However, when you have three great, world class singers singing in one place at the same time, it does add a sort of lightness and vivacity to an old set.
The three real stars of the evening sadly didn't include the soprano, which is usually the case. Michele Crider held her own, and with her huge voice it's hard to forget her, but she was slightly out done by her peers despite her soaring second act aria and touching portrayal of the distraught Amelia. It's a little something called "star power" that just didn't shine through. Of course, I'm thoroughly spoiled by sopranos such as Aprile Millo and Birgit Nilsson who can not be outdone in this role. Salvatore Licitra, who plays Amelia's "lover", is a different story. He had a magnificent presence and his voice crystal clear, which makes him one of the three real stars of the evening. By some confusing and unimportant turn of events my mother ended up in the Family Circle Standing Room for the first act. She came down at intermission and the first thing she said was "Oh my gosh, you can hear every syllable the tenor sings all the way up there!" And every high note, too. Every wonderful high note that came almost effortlessly and filled the house with sound.
Stephanie Blythe is another singer that can fill the house with sound. I could hardly believe the size of her voice! Her low notes were so exciting and I couldn't stop myself from whispering "Ooooo yes, chest voice!" The curtain opened on her lair and you knew immediately which one was the power horse mezzo! It's called star power, it's called stage presence, call it what ever you like, but Stephanie Blythe had it! She was chilling as the fortune-teller and her singing hardly required her to open her mouth! She'd open it a crack and you could hear her voice from the nose bleed seats!
My personal favorite highlight of the entire evening was Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Renato (You say potato-or Anckerstrom- and I say Renato) or, more specifically, his "Eri tu." I was slightly surprised because his voice was not as large in the house as I imagined it. Or maybe I was imagining it wasn't big? Surrounded by all those huge voices maybe it just sounded small. I'm convinced that he only took one breath each act and man he could hold those notes forever! My mother and I were rather upset that this wasn't such a "romantic" role because this guy really deserves it. It's sort of like "Well, what's the soprano doing with the other guy if she can have him? Oh well... maybe I can have him instead?" With a baritone who is so extremely handsome, it's hard to believe that he could become so unlikeable in the end. But that's how the opera goes, the baritones never win. Dmitri Hvorostovsky was so sinister yet calm as Renato, it was almost scary. When he discovered that Amelia was...well... Amelia in the second act he sings "Ameeeeeeeeliaaaaa!" Oh my GOODNESS did it sound EVIL. And yet... it was SO GORGEOUS. Evil has never looked or sounded so good. Speaking of sounding good, I waited the entire performance for "Eri tu" and was not disappointed. It's such a wonderful aria and Dmitri pulls it off so so SO well. =)
Kathleen Kim as Oscar was a dream. She's so cute and light. She flies all over the stage and her voice is very ring-y. She got better as the night went on and by the end of the evening she proved herself to be a wonderful singer-actress who I would definitely like to see more often.
One note on the conducting... I felt that some arias, particularly Oscar's two little arias and "Di tu se fedele", were taken a little too slowly. They're both supposed to be light, fluffy arias and are not supposed to be dragged out. The singers tried to sing as slowly as Maestro Noseda was conducting, but I'm sure it was a tad difficult.
Over all, great show. I left with little wings on my heals and I sighed all the way home, hoping to see more performances that were that exciting.

Happy Listening!!! =) (Sorry this was so long! So many feelings for one performance!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From all of us at ScoreDesk... Have a happy holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And Suddenly I've Found How Wonderful A Sound Can Be!!

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most beloved opera composers to ever live, Giacomo Puccini. He is the man whose music changed my life and I am forever indebted to him. He is also the man on my pin that I wear on my uniform blazer every day to school. My friends scrunch their faces to try and figure out who that is. “A dead guy, right?” They ask, knowing my love of history and…well…dead music people. “Yeah, a dead music guy.” They nod, “Who is he?” I don’t want to explain the whole Boheme/Rent connection for the billionth time so I just smile and say “Giacomo Puccini, which in Italian means ‘the man who changed my life.’” Suddenly they don’t seem so interested, but I don’t care because when I wear that blazer I know the whole world can see that me, a high school student, loves Puccini and loves opera. I don’t just love him for La Boheme; I love him because his aria “Nessun Dorma” made me catch the opera bug.
Puccini showed me that opera isn’t about snotty old people and fat Italian singers who break glasses with their high notes and wear breast plates, so now I’m here to show my peers that opera isn’t about any of that. Maybe if they see me with that pin they’ll see that young people can like opera also and they don’t have to be embarrassed about it. Well… that probably won’t happen, but I can try can’t I?
At one family dinner I was talking to my grandfather about “Turandot” and my aunt laughs and says “Don’t worry, dear, it’s just a phase!” I smiled at her and said “Oh, I’m not worried.” I wouldn’t say this is a phase, but a life-long passion that I’m desperate to share with others. Since my friends don’t seem interested, I made a blog instead. I think it’s been pretty successful so far. I’ve gotten the point across that I love opera, haven’t I?
So thank you, Puccini, for everything you have done for me and probably for so many other people. Oh yeah, and happy birthday! =)

Happy Listening!!! =)

Monday, December 17, 2007

ROFLOL He said "Pottarotti!"

The Best and Worst of Opera: 2007

from England, or else the Met would take up the entire "best" column. =P Just kidding, other people can get some room, too.
I like the descriptions of the "Pottarotti"s of the world (i.e. Paul Potts, Katherine Jenkins, etc.) who warble an aria into a microphone and start saying things like "I would like to sing Madama Butterfly." Sorry, dearies, the opera houses' doors are CLOSED, even if you will bring in 3274892374892384792348230 more fans to the houses. It makes no difference, we don't like mikes at the Met or at any other beautiful opera house in the world (and there are a lot of those!).

Happy Listening!!! (and i know of some cool things to listen to)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rumor Patrol Part II: The Truth Revealed!!!

It was announced yesterday (and today by the New York Times) that the New York State Theater will remain dark for the 2008-2009 season of the New York City Opera. The NY Times article says that allllll those singers will NOT be unemployed for a whole year, there will be various concert performances at different locations, rather than full scale productions.

Renovations for the City Opera (courtesy of the NY Times):

  • a larger and movable orchestra pit (said to improve acoustics??)
  • new stage lighting
  • an audiovisual system
  • refurbished seats and new carpeting
  • upgraded box office and lobby
  • removable sound system: acoustical paneling

Okay, sounds good to me, but will it all sound good in the end? We have yet to find out!!!

Happy Listening!!!!! =)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sliced Bread and the New York City Opera

Metropolitan Opera On Demand... it's the coolest thing since the Metropolitan Opera Live on Rhapsody.... which is the coolest thing since the Metropolitan Opera Live Saturday Matinee Broadcasts... which is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Basically, the Metropolitan Opera is kick arse cool. I'm sorry, there's no other way to put it.

RUMOR PATROL: There's a little rumor that could create a huge problem. The New York City Opera might decide to leave the New York State Theater dark in 2008 and 2009. They might wait until Gerald Mortier comes in the fall of 2009 to start their 20th century themed season. The matter might be decided this week at a meeting for the opera board members. If they don't decide then, the answer will come soon.

Happy Listening!! =)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Norma "wasn't a fit" for Renee Fleming

To my disappointment Renee Fleming decided that she will never ever sing Bellini's Norma. Ever. Did I mention she said never? The BSO concert version at Tanglewood has no been replaced by "Eugene Onegin" and the Met will have to find someone else for their 2011 new production. The people at Score Desk are rather upset.
HOWEVER, (and there is always a "however") we are super duper proud of Renee for not becoming one of those sopranos who decides "I can sing whatever I want and it doesn't matter that I can't sing it properly!" We live in a world where Mimis sing Toscas and Adinas become Violettas. It's really nice to know that we have people like Renee Fleming who know when enough is enough and a role just isn't right. If Renee keeps up the good judgement she could be singing in her prime for the next ten years at least! Now that she dropped Norma she can move on to other things we would like to hear her in... say Anna Bolena or Marie in "Die Tote Stadt"?? Well, we will see what happens.

Happy Listening!! =)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Surprising Agreements and a BONK on the Head

I never thought this would happen in my lifetime, but I was always hoping it would. The New York City Opera and New York City Ballet have FINALLY come to an agreement. There will be renovations to improve the acoustics of the New York State Theater to the happiness of everyone who has ever loved City Opera. Good newssss!!!!

Sometimes things happen at the opera that are totally unexpected and have nothing to do with the action onstage at all, but they affect the mood of the entire night. On Saturday I saw "Le Nozze di Figaro" and in the second act, as we probably all know, the Count is in a tizzy because he thinks the Countess is hiding a lover in her dressing room. That's the simple version. Anyway, he goes to her desk/vanity and starts tearing it apart! Makeup, jewelry boxes, and an assortment of other things start flying around the stage while the Count is searching for the key to the dressing room. Suddenly, (the entire audience sees it) a ROUND little jewelry box thing starts rolling downstage. Everyone, except the performers and the orchestra, sees it coming, but we can't do anything to prevent it. The tension rises as it rolls closer to the orchestra pit. And closer and closer and closer and closer... *GASP* *bonk* Riiiiiight onto the head of the cellist. The conductor STOPS THE MUSIC and Simon Keenlyside and Anja Harteros turn in slight confusion. The audience is laughing hysterically and the poor cellist is holding her head like "whaaaaaat?" After a few moments of laughter and applause Simon Keenlyside gestures to La Contessa as if to say "It was her fault!" More laughter. After a long pause the music starts again and the opera resumes.
Later in the act I look down in the orchestra pit. The cellist is nowhere to be seen!!! I still don't know what happened to her, but she didn't come back to the opera! As much as I want her to be okay it was still REALLY funny. But I hope she's okay. =)

PS. I'm still clinging hopelessly to the Solti recording.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ah tutti contenti!!

Le Nozze di Figaro
~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

November 24th, 2007

Figaro- Bryn Terfel
Susanna- Ekaterina Siurina
Conte Almaviva- Simon Keenlyside
Contessa Almaviva- Anja Harteros
Cherubino- Kate Lindsey
Marcellina- Marie McLaughlin
Don Bartolo- Maurizio Muraro
Don Basilio- Greg Fedderly

Usually in reviews you say "but the performer that impressed me the most" or "the performer that really stole the show," but in the performance of Le Nozze di Figaro you just didn't have that. It's not a bad thing at all, in fact it's a fabulous thing! The entire cast worked so well together and they were all so wonderful that it blended together perfectly.
Bryn Terfel as Figaro is about as perfect as it gets. It's said that these are his last Figaros before he moves to the Count, so I'm very glad I caught them! He's the best Figaro around, in my opinion, and I'm sure he'll be a great Count. Speaking of Counts... Simon Keenlyside was amazing. His voice is so beautiful and his interpretation was very interesting. He played the Count not just as a vain, good looking jerk, but also as a complete idiot! He made the Count seem like a big oaf who in the process of trying to kick Figaro's behind, tripped and fell on his face. Yes, it was intentional! This, in turn, I think made the Countess look stupid. She's trying to win back a vain loser! It makes such a dignified part look like a different person. It's funny how such a small change in personality can change the mood of the entire opera! Anja Harteros as the Countess was a great choice. Her voice is gorgeous and HUGE. She drowned out all the women in the final scene. Her two arias sounded amazing and I really hope the Met has her signed up for more in future seasons!! (hint hint, Peter Gelb!!) Ekaterina Siurina was our beautiful Susanna. Not only is she a lovely girl with an amazing voice, but she really embodied her role.
Another amazing singer was Kate Lindsey, who I first saw as Siebel in Faust at the Met in the Parks this summer. I was so impressed with her and I've been looking for her all season. I'm ecstatic that she ended up in this Figaro!! She's so cute, but she didn't appear girly at all in this trouser role, she played the hormonal adolescent very well. Marie McLaughlin, Maurizio Muraro, and Greg Fedderly were hysterical in their respective parts. These three roles are obviously the funniest in the show and the singers really brought it out.
Philippe Jordan was a perfect conductor. After all the times I've heard that darned overture I thought it would never sound fresh and new, but I was proved wrong. I noticed things, little things, that I didn't know were there before. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beauty of the conductor and the beauty of the opera!!! You learn something new about every role and every note each time you hear a new interpretation.

Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attach myself to the perfectly perfect Solti Figaro for the next 24 hours. =)

Happy Listening!! =)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Dreaming of an Onegin Christmas!!!

Word has reached my ears that the perfectly perfect "Eugene Onegin" telecast/moviecast from last season is going to be released on DVD just in time for Christmas!! It can be pre-ordered now on!! It's numero uno on my Christmas list!!!!

Happy Listening!!! =)

Monday, November 19, 2007

So much for promising myself I would go... Renee Fleming's La Traviata this season. And, of course, she conveniently decided that these were going to be her final Met Traviatas.

=( =( So, when my grandchildren ask "Grandma, did you ever see Renee Fleming as Violetta?" I will have to solemnly shake my head no. It's not completely my fault! By the time I got back from Italy every single seat for every single performance was sold out. The entire run! I'm not even kidding! Alright, I guess I'll just have to deal with her Desdemona ONLY. Well, yea, that's still pretty amazing. Seeing one of the greatest sopranos of this generation in one of her calling cards is, yes, pretty spectacular. =)

Oh, and by the way, Aprille Millo=life.

Happy Listening!! =)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Celine Dion + Maria Callas= ?!?!?! CONFUSION ?!?!

According to the amazing La Cieca, Celine will be playing our divine Maria Callas in an upcoming "biopic"????? Okay, maybe she just wants to and its not actually going to happen. Who knows, with Bocelli at the Met and a Charlotte Church Butterfly in place (just kidding!) anything is possible! =)

In other news...
Has anyone noticed that Aprile Millo has a beautiful blog? Well she does! It's wonderful and I check it all the time to see her new pictures and videos and see what news she has next!!! =) Yea, work it, Aprile!!!!!! =) It's called Operavision and the link is here. Enjoy because I do!!!

Happy Listening! =)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

So I saw Bocelli at the Met today... wait... WHAT??!?!

Okay, so I didn't see him. But somebody did. Andrea Bocelli was auditioning, yes auditioning, yesterday for his bffaeaeaeae Peter Gelb. Don't freak out, they're not thinking of putting him in an opera, but they are considering letting him have the house for a off-season piano recital. A recital which I will not be attending. =)

Yes, I saw the words "Bocelli" and "the Met" in the same sentence and I almost fell out of my chair. If they were hiring him for an opera, I would be the first to give Mr. Gelb a piece of mind, but a piano recital is okay. I mean, Bocelli has so many fans that Carnegie Hall might not be big enough!!!
Plus, didn't someone say something about bringing more people to the Met? Well, I guess this is one way!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dame Joan, Dame Gwyneth

Two great ladies celebrated their birthdays yesterday.

One is, in my opinion, one of the best sopranos who ever lived. Dame Joan Sutherland!!!

The other is not known for this part, but the first time I heard her she was the Marschallin alongside Brigitte Fassbaender and Lucia Popp. It's an understatement when I say she left a lasting impression!

Happy Listening! =)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bellini's Belated Birthday

Since my internet was conveniently down for the past few days, I couldn't wish the brilliant composer or Norma, I Puritani, and others a Happy, Happy Birthday!

Well, here's my birthday tribute to the great Vincenzo Bellini!!!!!

Montserat Caballe singing "Casta Diva" (btw, she's just about the greatest Norma there ever was)

And the luscious "A te, o cara" from I Puritani starring Juan Diego Florez (I'm not im love with the soprano-or his wig/hat- but I love this clip)

Happy Listening!! =)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Madama Butterfly at the Met

Cio-Cio-San- Patricia Racette
Pinkerton- Roberto Alagna
Suzuki- Maria Zifchak
Sharpless- Luca Salsi
Production- Anthony Minghella
Conductor- Mark Elder

Before the overture even started, all the lights went dark. Even the orchestra pit was dark. The curtain come up and a woman comes over the "hill" and the back of the stage. She has two fans and when she reaches the middle of the stage you see that there are two long red scarves flowing from the back of her dress. The orchestra lights come on and the music begins. The audience sits there gaping at the dancing before the action even begins.

That's what an opera performance is all about. There is an awe in the audience before anyone even sings a note. Gorgeoussssssss!!!!!!
Although, as many of you know, Roberto Alagna is not my favorite singer I enjoyed his performance. His singing was good and so was his acting. He moved very comfortably, despite his very unlikable character. He succeeded in making Pinkerton more likable than most tenors do. I'm not quite sure how he did it, but I didn't find myself screaming "Jerk!" like I do with most Pinkertons. Maybe that's a good quality of Mr. Alagna??
Patricia Racette was really fantastic. Her "Un Bel Di" had tears in my eyes, at least. It's just so heartbreaking that she has so much hope and then... well, you know. Patricia Racette is a powerhouse! No wonder everyone speaks so highly of her. That final scene was so haunting. The puppet (we'll get to that...) has the blindfold on and she stabs herself. The lights turn red and the people in black come on and take long red scarves from her dress. They spread it out as Pinkerton runs up the hill screaming "Butterfly!" Oh, so effective! Puccini was brilliant! My friend and I both had the sniffles during that part.
So, the puppet. Yes, Butterfly and Pinkerton's child was played by a wooden puppet. It was distracting at first, and I would never quite forget that there were three people dressed in black maneuvering it, but it was interesting. After a while it didn't really make a difference whether it was a puppet or not, in my opinion.
I'm sorry that this production is completely sold out, because I wanted to tell you all to go out and get tickets! Maybe next season? Well, if they revive it in future seasons, which I'm sure they will, everyone must go see it. It's magnificent!

Happy Listening! =)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lucia Di Lammermoor at the Met

Lucia- Annick Massis
Edgardo- Marcello Giordani
Lord Enrico Ashton- Mariusz Kweicien
Raimondo- John Relyea
Arturo- Stephen Costello
Alisa- Michaela Martens
Conductor- James Levine
Production- Mary Zimmerman

Okay, the sets weren't bad. I particularly enjoyed the mad scene staircase and the wedding ceremony. Both were very beautiful. The rest of the sets were a little "eh." It's better than some other Lucia's I've seen come from the Met (=O). The stage direction is what really got to me. Every minute Enrico puts his hand on another singers shoulder and after a while I wanted to yell "just stand in place!" There was some unnecessary movement during arias. It looked too forced, the acting was fine, but the direction looked like they didn't know what else to do. When Edgardo crashes the wedding he goes around kicking down all the chairs. For a minute it looks like he's just doing it for fun. Don't get me wrong, Marcello Giordani was ferocious in that scene. WOOF was he ferocious.
I really did like Annick Massis, although I think that some people's reviews of her were too praising. She was very good and her high notes were ringing and shining brightly and her coloratura is like nothing else, but it just lacked some special quality that, say, Beverly Sills or Joan Sutherland had. Her chest voice was booming and delicious, but like I said it lacked a "je ne sais quoi" that I like so much in particular singers. Her mad scene was amazing and the glass armonica was totally creepy. Her high notes and coloratura were, like I said, amazing and really gleamed in the mad scene. Marcello Giordani was brilliant as usual. He sounded so much better last night than he had in the opening night broadcast. He was just beautiful, acting and singing. Mariusz Kweicien and John Relyea were vocally outstanding and played their parts well. Kweicien as malicious as his character needed and Relyea as compassionate.
Two minor roles that really stole the show were Arturo and Alisa. Stephen Costello's 5 second part was stunning. He opened his mouth and we all leaned forward in our seats. It was incredible, I've never heard anything like it! I'm happy he is Edgardo for part of the run because he deserves it! Another stunning performance was Michaela Martens as Alisa. She's another one where she opened her mouth and we shot awake. Okay, that first scene is not exactly the most exciting, but when she came in the second scene her mezzo voice filled the house. During the sextet and the finale of the wedding scene she was the only female voice you could hear. I kept watching Annick Massis's mouth and then realized that it wasn't Lucia who was pounding out those gorgeous notes, it was her maid!
James Levine's conducting was flawless as can be expected. It took him a little while to make his entrance, which caused some nervous shuffling and giggles. Once he was out there he had total control, and he was workin it!!!!! Go Levine, go Levine, it's your birthday, it's your birthday. =)
My advice to Mary Zimmerman: You are very energetic, next time don't direct (let's be frank) an opera with only two exciting scenes. This opera doesn't require much movement, don't force it and next time maybe do something like Le Nozze di Figaro which is non-stop action!!

Happy Listening! =)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Giordani-miester strikes again!!!!!!

The WONDERFUL and OVERWORKED Marcello Giordani again covered a role he wasn't supposed to be singing this season. Peter Gelb was booed last night when he came out to announce that Roberto Alagna would not be singing Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. Thankfully Marcello Giordani was ready in the wings!!!! Twice in one month, oh my goodness! Bravo, Marcello!!!!! Not only is he one of my favorite tenors of today, but he's one of the most reliable tenors.

Marcello Giordani: He will play your role, too!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Have a VERDI Happy Birthday!!!

In honor of, you guessed it, Giussepe Verdi's birthday I am going to give to all of you a few of my personal favorite selections from his many wonderful operas.

First up is Joan Sutherland as Violetta in La Traviata

Then we have the Brindisi from La Traviata featuring Carlo Bergonzi and Joan Sutherland

And here we have the famous "Va, Pensiero" from Nabucco at the Arena di Verona

And even though Edita Gruberova looks "other worldly" Luciano Pavarotti still rocks the socks off of this quartet from Rigoletto

And of course, the "La Donna e Mobile" with the master

"Ah si ben mio-Di quella pira" from Il Trovatore as sung by Carlo Bergonzi (because Pavarotti can't dominate all Verdi roles!! Oh... wait... too late!!!!)

One of my favorite Amelia's (but not looking her best) is Katia Ricciarelli! Here alongside Placido Domingo in "Teco io sto" from Ballo

The glorious Eva Marton singing "Ritorna Vincitor" from Aida

The famous yell during Renata Scotto's Luisa Miller

The "Lacrimosa" from Verdi's Requiem

The finale of Falstaff

"Gia nella notte" from Otello with Renee Fleming and Placido Domingo (of course)

And finally, a little parody from our friend Vera Galupe Borszh

I'm sorry this is so long, Verdi just wrote too many operas!!!!!!

Happy Listening!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Tenor Earns His Brownie Points and an Audience Member Converts!

Romeo and Juliette
by Charles Gounod
The Metropolitan Opera

Romeo- Joseph Kaiser ********
Juliette- Anna Netrebko
Mercutio- Stephane Degout
Gertrude (nurse)- Jane Bunnell
Tybalt- Marc Heller
Stephano (page)- Isabel Leonard

Let's start with the convert. I have officially converted to the other side of the Anna Netrebko train tracks. Sure, she had that train wreck "Casta Diva", but you all have to see this woman live! Yes she trashed herself around in her skimpy costumes on stage, but her voice was absolutely beautiful! Those recordings you hear and the videos you watch of her really don't mean anything! The real voice is heard in the house! Some singers sound better on recordings, but Anna sounds better in person. MUCH better in person. Go buy tickets! You won't be disappointed! Sure, she will never have my favorite voice and she will never be my favorite singer, but suddenly she has really proved herself. Brava, Anna!

********So, last night the lights go down and we see the ominous spotlight go to the left side of the stage. A man in a suit comes out and the tension builds. We know that man...
"Hello, I'm Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera." *applause* (I'm thinking "O God, who cancelled?? ANNA?????")
"Anna Netrebko is FINE."
*laughs from the audience*
"In fact, every member of our cast is fine," ("Oh my God, Domingo?!?!?") "except for our tenor, Joseph Kaiser." *groans and chattering*
"He woke up with a cold this morning, so we got the fantastic tenor, MARCELLO GIORDANI!!" *cheers and applause*

Wow, does Peter Gelb loooooove Giordani now! My question is, where was Alagna? He sang this role a few nights ago and he's still in New York for Butterfly!! Oh well, I'm glad we got Giordani, I don't like Alagna. Marcello Giordani sounded absolutely gorgeous last night. He sounded much better than he did in the opening night broadcast. His high notes were mind blowing and even though he only had a few hours to learn the staging, he didn't seem that uncomfortable. The prompter was heard at least twice before the first intermission, but he hasn't performed this role in years, so it's understandable. Bravo, Marcello! I'm so glad he stepped in. (PS. His high C's were louder than Anna's. No other Romeo so far has accomplished that!)
Anna Netrebko sounded so fantastic. I realized why I didn't like her voice. Some of her vowels sound funny sometimes, but I didn't notice half the time. Especially during the balcony scene (in my opinion) she sang so wonderfully that my fellow audience members sank into the background and all it was was her and Romeo on stage. It was so cool! Her acting is also incredible. I don't even have to go on about that, everyone already knows she's a stage animal. =)

Here cooooooomes the new kid in town! Isabel Leonard as the page knocked my socks off! She's a graduate of the Juilliard School and this role is her Met debut. She received a huge ovation at the curtain calls and she totally deserved it! This hotsy-totsy new mezzo might just be the new big star, so watch out for her. That's I-S-A-B-E-L-L-E-O-N-A-R-D who grew up right here in New York. Brava, girlfriend!
Now for Maestro Domingo's conducting. I think I passed out for a moment when he first came out into the orchestra pit. I started shaking I was so overwhelmed. Think about it, I was just 100 feet from one of the greatest tenors on the face of the earth. =0 Boggles my mind. His conducting was good. I just felt that he separated the orchestra from the singers. He kind of made a pillow for the singers so they could sing on top of the orchestra. There was no blending of strings and voice, you either noticed only the singing or only the orchestra. Which was okay at some points, because some of those musical interludes are so amazing (Go Gounod!) and some of those vocal lines are outstanding!

Finally, the technical glitch. GASP! A technical glitch at the Met? Is that possible? Well, let's just say that by the end of the performance some poor schmo was cleaning out his desk. During the balcony scene the backdrop is the night sky with a galaxy (or something that looks like a galaxy...) in the center. Apparently the galaxy was supposed to change into another pretty space picture... but instead we got a blank white light, distracting us from the singers for a moment, and then the new space picture. My mom and I looked at each other saying "Are we seeing a slide show? Oops, Peter Gelb just fired someone!"

Happy Listening! =)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Homer of Seville (and the groupies of opera)

I have to say that I was a little offended that most of the groupies were old women... what about the young people? Well, gotta keep up the stereotypes, right? =P
I thought that it was such a funny episode! At one point there is this exchange between Mr. Burns and Homer Simpson:
Burns- "Homer you're a star!"
Homer- "Yeah!"
Burns- "An opera star!"
Homer- "...oh..."
hahaha I had a good laugh about that one. After Homer's "freak accident" he realizes that he has a miraculous tenor voice... but only if he sings on his back. So, at the end of La Boheme he pushes the dead Mimi off the bed and lies on it so he can sing his final "Mimi!"s. Quite hilarious.
Yes, Mr. Placido Domingo does make an appearance. Not a very flattering appearance, but funny all the same. Homer even says "Out of all the Three Tenors, you are my second favorite! No, wait, I forgot about the other guy... You're my third favorite, sorry!" I thought that was pretty funny too.
The main premise of the episode is to demonstrate how far some groupies will go to be with the stars. It's quite weird, I'm not going to lie. The president of Homer's fan club tries to kill him after he denies her. Sounds like many operas, doesn't it?

At the end Homer says one final hysterical line that I think does us opera fans some good:
"I'm quitting the opera, it's just too popular!"


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Homer of Seville

I just want to let you all know that tomorrow evening the new Simpsons episode will be titled "The Homer of Seville." Homer Simpson thinks he's a tenor and takes lessons from none other than Placido Domingo himself! Yes, Domingo is playing himself in this episode. Needless to say, I'll be hooked to the TV tomorrow night. I'll be back to tell you how it was, if you don't catch it.

Happy Listening!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Angela Gheorghiu Gets FIRED and more other news

Let's do the "other news first."
It has been announced that, to many people's dismay, Isabel Bayrakdarian has taken (ahem) a 9 month hiatus. Her replacement will be soprano Lisette Oropesa who will sing Susanna at the premiere of Le Nozze di Figaro and at least one other performance. Ms. Oropesa is a member of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Very impressive. Maybe I'll see her then? If I'm not seeing her, then I might be seeing Ekaterina Siurina or our lovable TBA in the role of Susanna.

ANGELA GHEORGIU HAS BEEN FIRED FROM THE CHICAO LYRIC OPERA. Ms. Gheorghiu was fired from the production of La Boheme because she "missed 6 out of 10 rehearsals, including a piano dress rehearsal and both staging rehearsals with the orchestra." She apparently also missed a critical stage-orchestra rehearsal. Ms. Gheorghiu also violated her contract when she left unanounced to go to New York. Oh, and one more thing, La Gheorghiu was spotted at the premiere of Gounod's Romeo et Jiuliette at the Met. And who was staring as the leading man that night? None other than her husband, Roberto Alagna. Coincidence? I would think not. =O Scandaloussssss

Lucia Madness and Other News

I'm extremely overjoyed to announce that a part of Natalie Dessay's mad scene can be heard on youtube. It's not a video (that has been removed from youtube, sorry), but you can hear how well she did. This is the famous "Spargi d'amaro pianto."

In other news, it has been announed that Anna Netrebko's Met I Puritani is set to be released on DVD in January!!!!!!! This is very exciting news! Now I'm just waiting for them to announce that Onegin and Barbiere are being released. Those were by far my two favorite broadcasts. To not release them would be a crime on the Met's part.

I've just been notified that the long awaited LA Opera production of La Traviata with La Fleming and Mr. Bean (I mean, Rolando Villazon) is going to be released on October 30th. Oh wow, that seems awful close to my birthday =0 well if that isn't an interesting coincidence... Maybe this year I'll give myself a late birthday present?

Monday, September 24, 2007


Happy 2007-2008 season!!!!!!! I'm listening to the opening night Lucia courtesy of the Met website. I'm now listening to Margaret Juntwait (my faaaaavorite announcer!!!!) interview Blythe Danner about opera and acting in opera. What a star studded event, eh? We also heard from tenor Marcello Giordani.

I'm not going to say anything about the singing because I want to wait until at least the mad scene/sextet is done.

****Quickie update: Remember that tenor Stephen Costello I told you all about who is taking over one of the Edgardos? Well, he just had a cameo in Lucia as Arturo and oh my gaaaawwwwd this kid is amazing!
***Another update: Sextett just started!!!! I'm absolutely in love with this part of the opera... Too bad it's only a meager attempt =O. oops. The highlight of the sextet HAS to be Levine's conducting. Marcello Giordani, I really hate saying it, has sounded like he's been struggling the whole opera. Dessay isn't delivering as I expected either. WOAH Dessay interpolated a little high note just now at the end. Have to say, the sextet was a let down. Too bad, it's one of the greatest sections in all of opera.
Relyea is sounding better than he usually does on these UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL live webcasts. I'm glad because no one else is deliveringggg! Where's the fabulous Dessay I keep hearing about? Where's my lovely Giordani? Maybe I'll like Dessay better in the house? We'll see.
The finale of this act is so fastttt! bravo Levine! It's so exciting this way! Faster faster faster faster!!!! Crash those symbols! Woah, Dessay is going for every high note she can! I give the girl props. Giordani could barely keep up with the tempo, but whatever.
****Placido Domingo is being interviewed!!! I'm smiling just listening to him. His accent is AMAZING. He's conducting tomorrow, by the way, Gounod's Romeo et Juiliette. It's one of his favorite operas apparently (???? really?). He likes french operas and he likes the challenge of conducting an opera. I love this guy. He's amazing. <3's>
I mean, I love Marilyn Horne, but how long is this intermission??? Unbearableeeeee
*quickie note: This bartione, Kwiecien, is getting on my nerves a little bit. The two lead men (Enrico and Edgardo) are just not happening tonight! What's happening? The ending of that duet was bleck. No gusto, no high notes (not that I wanted either of them to even attempt one!), no nothing! Oh well... I hope this gets better.
***pre-mad scene notes: Relyea sounds fantastic. That little ensemble bit also sounded excellent. I'm putting too many notes here, but a full review is a good review!
Dessay appears at the stop of the stairs in a blood-stained wedding gown. She comes down the stairs. OH MY GAWWWWD THAT GLASS HARMONICA IS SCARY! So cool, but scary. That instrument could make anyone go crazy. She's lying on the steps ON HER BACK. She's going Anna on us!!! Ah! (i can see the stimulcast on the Times Square screen here) Now she's swaying like a loonie bin. Oh wait, she IS a loonie.
So far I give Dessay an A+. Brava! Her singing is clean and is ringing. Her laugh is totally scary, though.
This glass harmonica will not let me sleep tonight, I swear. It's totally scary.
LA DESSAY IS NOT LYING ON THE PROMPTERS BOX! Is anyone else getting the impression that Mary Zimmerman is a weirdo? A Lucia set in the 1920's? The prompter's box?
Now Lucia is hallucinating and Dessay is going over to Raimondo like "Oh hey, you're my lover right? No? Well that's okay, I'll just pretend you are." FLAWLESS COLORATURA. If I may say so myself.
Holy gosh. Dessay just screamed at the top of her lungs. I seriously got chills. That was totally mad-scene-alicious!
SPARGI D'AMARO PIANTO: sitting on the staircase, great ornamentation on the second verse! Chest voice dominationnnn on one of the notes. She's such a great singer, that Dessay! =O lying on the ground AGAIN. These sopranos like this for mad scenes.
HERE COMES THE BIG FINISH TO THE MAD SCENE. high note omggggggggg! What a screamer!!!
Audience....going....MAD for Dessay. (i personally prefer Dame Joan, but who doesn't?) WHAT A GREAT MAD SCENE! It makes up for everything that came before.
Well, since the rest of the opera really doesn't matter (lol), I'm going to bed.
This is probably a terrible post to read, but I had fun! I always do!
Happy listening!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

TBAs at the Met

After lots of joking around about the many many TBA casting this season, we finaly hear who they are!!!!!

As Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor on October 25th is Stephen Costello.
The Lady Macbeths will be both Maria Guleghina and Andrea Gruber. La Guleghina, however, will be getting the bulk of the Macbeth's and even the moviecast!! =O

Lucia di Lammermoor opens this Monday, September 24th. (so excited!)
Macbeth opens on October 22nd. (way to cut it close, guys, good job.)

See the Met website for more details.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ponselle in the Discards???

I was at my local library today (conveniently located next door to my house) looking through CDs when I cam across a lovely "L'Elisir d'Amore" featuring Luciano Pavarotti and Kathleen Battle. Naturally, I plucked it from the shelf and skipped my way to the check-out desk. Next to the desk there is a shelf labeled "Discards: 50 cents each, 3 for $1". Usually, there is nothing there for me, but today a particular book caught my eye...

The title was "ROSA PONSELLE"

The biography of Rosa Ponselle was on the Discard shelf! I was speechless! I actually asked the librarian if it was a mistake. When she she said it wasn't I happily took it off their hands. It just shocked me that Rosa Ponselle was being "discarded"!!! I'm sure this isn't foreshadowing the doom of opera, but it sure as heck surprised me!!

(PS. 5 days until the opening of the Met season!!!! =) yay!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Don't leave Renee alone!!!!

As much as I absolutely adore Renee Fleming to no end, I still find this clip extremely funny.

Don't leave Renee alone!!!

The thing is, if you haven't seen the clip of the crazy guy going on about Briteny Spears (here) then you probably won't find it as funny as you normally would.

This video (made by the amazing La Cieca) is so over the top Renee-bashing-to-the-max that you can't do anything but just laugh at it. It's totally ridiculous and hysterically funny. Mind you, this is coming from a total Fleming-lover!

Happy watching! =)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

La Divina

Maria Callas
December 2, 1923- September 16, 1977

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rolando Villazon (Is everything okay?)

Health reasons!


He's obviously been having some trouble. It's been said "thyroid problems", this problem, that problem. I'm seriously getting worried!!!! Not "oh, he'll be gone soon" worried... just worried about his health!!!!

Get well soon, Mr. Villazon! We'll miss you! (especially if Roberto Alagna is singing the Romeos)

Monday, September 10, 2007

One reason to smile.

Well, despite all the terrible things that have occured this summer, I would like to send out a big, huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, and Eugene Onegin in the world, Sir Thomas Allen!!!!! If you have never heard this man sing.... you must. It's just amazing, especially his Count, in my opinion. I'm listening to his Onegin right now (with Mirella Freni) and at some parts I just stop what I'm doing and stare at my speakers in amazement.

Happy Birthday, Sir Thomas!!!!! =)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti 1935-2007

I'm sorry to inform all of you that the inevitable has occurred.
Within the span of about two months we have lost two of the greatest operatic icons of all time.
Cause of death: pancreatic cancer and failed kidneys
reaction from the desk of Score Desk: devastation

We have lost possibly the greatest tenor of all time. He died in his home in Modena, Italy, surrounded by his family and friends, at the age of 71. I can't find myself able to say anything more. I'm just heartbroken by the death that occurred this morning and by the deaths in July.

New York Times Obituary:
Anthony Thommasini's tribute:
Metropolitan Opera Press Release:
Tributes on Opera Chic (including statements from many of Pavarotti's colleagues):

It's a terrible day in operatic history.

Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


It's good to be back.... but not when I come back to news like THIS!!!!

ROME (Reuters) - Luciano Pavarotti's health has deteriorated and the 71-year-old singer is in a "very serious condition," Italy's AGI news agency reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.
Pavarotti, who was released from hospital on August 25 after undergoing more than two weeks of tests and treatment, was being attended to at home by cancer specialists, AGI said.

I hope everyone here realizes that if he dies, the world will have lost two of the biggest opera icons (and best opera stars) to ever grace us mortals with their presence in a span of about 3 months!!!!!!!!!!!
They're droppin' like flies and WHO CAN SAVE US NOW??????

I'll bring some good news soon....I hope....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Brief Vacation

As of tomorrow I'm going to be on vacation in Italy. I'll be back in September Therefore, unless I really master mobile-blogging, I probably won't be posting. If something important happens, I'll find a way to mobile-blog it. I'll have to figure that out.
Don't worry, this trip won't be totally non-operatic. At the great Arena di Verona I will be seeing a performance of Aida. I will definitely be reviewing that when I get back. =) I'm very excited to see Italian opera (especially Verdi!) IN Italy WITH Italians! What an experience!

As a final note, I shall leave you with this...
and this...
(because I can't just choose one!)

Happy Listening =)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pavarotti in Hospital, Ugh.

Luciano Pavarotti was hospitalized in Italy today while suffering from "a high fever." An Italian newspaper reports that he has pneumonia, but his doctor has not commented. He is in stable conditioned and is being closely monitored. He is expected to be released in a few days...

But these days we should all be pessimistic and suspect the worse. =) Just kidding, I hope he feels better soon.

*******UPDATE: According to OperaChic, Pavarotti will be discharged no later than Tuesday and possibly even Monday. This is good news!

Monday, August 6, 2007


Now Anna Netrebko's complete Norma train wreck can be seen on youtube!!! Cabaletta and everything! Eeeeek some one get this girl some oxygen because she can't seem to be breathing enough!
Excuse me, but who said she could breath during that first phrase?? =) And what part of the word "NORMA" calls for pouty lips and attempts at sex appeal?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Isn't that cute?

This is a picture my five year old cousin drew for me after Beverly Sills died. She knew i was upset and apparently knows who La Sills is. Heehee I have taught her well! I had actually just forced her to watch the New York City Opera Manon which she actually enjoyed, especially the death scene. That little piece of head you see to the right of the picture is a piece of Henry Price's head. Yes, she drew him too, but just because he was Des Grieux and she thought they were in love in real life. Isn't that cute? =)

The Great Norma Race

In a world where giving a recital and making a CD means singing everything you can't or wouldn't sing full out in the opera house, "Casta Diva" is king. Well, priestess I guess. Lately many sopranos, and some mezzos, have tried their hand at this extremely difficult aria. And let's face it, some people just aren't cut out for it. Here today we have the gorgeous Ms. Anna Netrebko in a thoroughly despicable rendition of this heavenly aria. The pitch is all over the place, phrasing in non-existent and, well, maybe Bel Canto just isn't her style.
We also have Cecilia Bartoli, the mezzo-soprano, singing this aria. Hm, well there seems to be nothing strange about that so let's proceed.
Let's find out first hand what is wrong with both of these renditions. Nebs is just totally rediculous. I actually had to laugh when I heard it. As much as I like Anna, what is she doing singing Norma???? Of course, every house in the world would crawl around on its hands and knees if she said she wanted to sing Norma somewhere. Her pitch was off, she breathed in very strange places and frankly she sounded like a drunk Dame Joan. Okay, okay, harsh I know, but consider it! Her vowels and her lack of (some) consonants remind us of the lovely Dame. She's only drunk because I'm sure Joan Sutherland wouldn't be caught dead singing the aria like that. Sorry, Nebster, but this was a lost cause.
Ms. Cecilia Bartoli's "Casta Diva" was refreshingly on pitch. The problem was that Cecilia had no idea when the climax of the aria was. She sang every note as if she was singing about paint drying. This might have to do with the fact that (1) she's a mezzo and (2) her voice is the size of my fist. Itty-bitty mezzo voices don't sing "Casta Diva." It just shouldn't happen. Some manager at Decca or wherever I'm sure thought it was a marvelous idea. "What would you like to sing today, Ms. Bartoli?" "Hm, I'm kind of in a Norma mood. Can we do that?" "Of course! Step this way and you'll be singing Casta Diva into the microphone in no time!" Oh, I would have liked to be there for that recording session. I can see Cecilia's face as she's singing it, too. Fun stuff.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sixty Years Ago Today...

So I haven't been writing for a while. I've been, I'm sorry to say this, waiting for another singer to die. Oops, that wasn't nice, but it's true. It's the closest thing we have to news and gossip these days.
Anyway, since no one has died this week I decided to celebrate an anniversary.

Sixty years ago today Maria Callas made her "official debut" at the Arena di Verona in La Gioconda. At tonight's performance at Arena di Verona they will be handing out postcards with pictures of Maria Callas in various roles.
Happy Anniversary to La Divina and the opera world!!

(On a low note, let us remember that a month ago tonight our dear Beverly Sills left us. I just needed to put a damper on things, yes.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Yes, We Mourn

Just to sum up the opera world's heartbreak from the past month...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

No News is Good News (aka another RIP)

It has been reported that renowned (but underappreciated) bass Nicola Zaccaria died last Tuesday. The cause of death is Alzheimer's and he was 85.
He's perhaps known more for his roles in most of Callas's recording than for his voice, but it's sad nonetheless.

(You see what you started, Bubbles??)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Teresa Stich-Randall dies in Vienna

American soprano Teresa Stich-Randall died this past Tuesday in Vienna. Stitch-Randall was best known for her interpretations of Mozart. She was 79.

Another sad death in the opera world. It seems to be mostly American singers though, doesn't it? I mean, except for Regine Crespin every opera death so far this month has been of an American singer. Tragic, just tragic!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Replacements, lacking the surprise factor

A press release from the Met says that there have been quite a few cast changes for the 2007-2008 season! Some of them don't come to a surprise to any of us.

Pay attention, this may be confusing:

Angela B. Brown will replace Maria Guleghina in Aida on September 29, October 4 an 16. Ms. Brown will sing, as scheduled, on November 2, 5, and 8. Micaela Carosi will replace Ms. Brown on October 30.
Maija Kovalevska will replace Krassimira Stoyonova as Micaela in Carmen on February 9, 8, 13. Ms. Stoyonova will sing all other performances. Lucio Gallo will sing (role debut) Escamillo in all performances next season.
Matthew Polenzani will sing Romeo in Romeo et Jiuliette opposite Anna Netrebko on the December 27 and 31 performances. Rolando Villazon will sing all other performances.
Neil Shicoff will not be singing in Peter Grimes at all this season. Since I'm guessing he backed out, Anthony Dean Griffey, will sing the entire run.
Isabel Bayrakdarian will be replaced by Ekaterina Siurina in the role of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro on November 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, and December 1. Ms. Bayrakdarian still holds her performances on October 2, 6, 10, and 13.
Maria Guleghina is replacing Andrea Gruber as Lady Macbeth on October 22, 26, 31, and November 3. Andrea Gruber is still scheduled for May 9, 13, and 17.
Maria Guleghina is not singing in the November 12, 16, 19, and 23 performances of Norma. Instead, Hasmik Papian will sing the Bellini opera. Ms. Guleghina is still scheduled for November 26, 30, December 4, and 7.
As Lady Macbeth we anxiously await the wonderful return of the lovely TBA, on January 5, 9, 12, and 15.

Run, everyone, and check your subscriptions! If you don't have a subscription, make sure that if you buy tickets you know which cast you're getting. It could be a very confusing process.

I, personally, was not at all surprised that they gave away at least some of Andrea Gruber's Lady Macbeth. Excuse me, but her vocal decline is painfully obvious. Come, come, we all heard that Turandot broadcast! I will be perfectly happy to see Maria Guleghina as Lady Macbeth. Most people don't seem surprised at Neil Shicoff either backing out or getting pushed out. Something to do with assuming in advance that he would not show up for rehearsals? What ever the case, the Met decides who stays and who goes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jerry Hadley 1952-2007

Jerry Hadley died today at 11:20am just two days after doctor's took him off of life support. What a tragic end to such a talented artist. Rest in Peace, Mr. Hadley.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jerry Hadley

The New York Times just reported that last night acclaimed American tenor Jerry Hadley shot himself in the head. This is a shocking attempted suicide. Doctors told the press that he has severe brain damage and they are not sure if he will survive.

We opera lovers have had a tragic week already, how much more can we take? This blog has turned into the "Mourn Desk." We need good news, and fast!

****UPDATE**** Jerry Hadley has been taken off life support and will be "will be kept comfortable until his passing."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tributes to Beverly Sills

All over the Internet, from YouTube to the Metropolitan Opera Website, there are tributes to our wonderful Beverly Sills. Undoubtedly one of the best loved opera singers ever, Ms. Sills deserves every single one of these tributes.

Anthony Thommasini from the New York Times:;ex=1183780800&en=0782032e05d606bb&ei=5087%0A

Remembering Beverly Sills (nytimes):

Metropolitan Opera:

New York City Opera:

Statements from the Sills family:

The Beverly Sills website:

Carol Burnett remembers her friend:

Baltimore Sun:,0,4136001.story?coll=bal-artslife-music
New York Daily News:

The New York Times Obituary:;amp;ex=1183694400&en=673cd76be1b69dbf&ei=5087%0A

Beverly Sills was laid to rest yesterday (July 4th) with only a small service and burial. We are all praying for her family and those who knew her best. We all know that she's singing beautifully in the opera house in the sky.

Regine Crespin 1927-2007

Regine Crespin reportedly died today in a Paris hospital. She was 80 years old.

What is with this??? Are we going to lose every great singer within the span of a month??? I heard that Pavarotti's health is also failing, and no news is good news with Marilyn Horne... This is so upsetting. I can't take much more of this!!!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Beverly Sills (May 25, 1929 – July 2, 2007)

Beverly Sills died yesterday at approximately 9pm. The cause was an aggressive form of lung cancer, although she never smoked. Ms. Sills was an extraordinary coloratura soprano and gave 110% of everything she had into every role she ever played. I'm very sorry I never got the chance to see her perform live or see her at all. I feel like I know her through her recordings and everything I have heard about her. She is and will always remain one of my favorite sopranos of all time. She was a great advocate for the arts even after she retired from the stage. Ms. Sills was first the general director of the New York City Opera, then was a Chairwoman of Lincoln Center, and finally was a Chairwoman on the Metropolitan Opera Board of Directors. On top of all this she had two disabled children, Meredith (Muffy) and Peter (Bucky).

I sincerely hope that Bubbles's last moments were peaceful and that she is in a better place. We love you, Bubbles!!!!

Beverly "Bubbles" Sills


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bubbles Gravely Ill

It was reported today that our beloved Beverly Sills is gravely ill.

She is now at a Manhattan hospital. reported that she is suffering from cancer, although in 1974 she underwent successful cancer surgery. One source said that she had lung cancer, although that hasn't been proven. Her daughter, Muffie, is by her side.

Bubbles, you are in our prayers and please get better!!!

(The full story can be found at, but as this story progresses I will be bringing you all the breakthroughs.)

******UPDATE: Bubbles's publicist confirms illness: (from
"It's grave. This whole matter of this discovery of cancer has been just about four weeks now. Up until that she had no idea," publicist Edgar Vincent said. He did not release details on the nature of her cancer.
Sills was in a New York hospital for a broken rib suffered from a fall. Otherwise she would be home, Vincent said."

******UPDATE: Apparently Beverly Sills is supposed to be going home to her New York apartment today. I've only heard this from a few sources, and they say that she's going home to spend her last days there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

World Peace and Renee Fleming
I'm totally and completely convinced that this one video will create world peace. Every person who has any sort of power in this world should listen to this before going into any conferences or before deciding whether to go to war. There would be a lot fewer problems!
I also think that to enjoy this to the full extent, you should read the words/translation along with it, it makes it a ton more meaningful:

Glück, das mir verblieb, Joy, that near to me remains,
rück zu mir, mein treues Lieb. Come to me, my true love.
Abend sinkt im Hag Night sinks into the grove
bist mir Licht und Tag. You are my light and day.
Bange pochet Herz an Herz Anxiously beats heart on heart
Hoffnung schwingt sich himmelwärts. Hope itself soars heavenward.
Wie wahr, ein traurig Lied. How true, a sad song.
Das Lied vom treuen Lieb, The song of true love,
das sterben muss. that must die.
Ich kenne das Lied. I know the song.
Ich hört es oft in jungen, I heard it often in younger,
in schöneren Tagen. in better days.
Es hat noch eine Strophe-- It has yet another verse--
weiß ich sie noch? Do I know it still?
Naht auch Sorge trüb, Though sorrow becomes dark,
rück zu mir, mein treues Lieb. Come to me, my true love.
Neig dein blaß Gesicht Lean (to me) your pale face
Sterben trennt uns nicht. Death will not separate us.
Mußt du einmal von mir gehn, If you must leave me one day,
glaub, es gibt ein Auferstehn. Believe, there is an afterlife.
(courtesy of

I have something else that has been on my mind... Fleming-bashers. You people love to hate La Fleming, and love to hate her voice (and choice of, er, repertoire). I have wondered why for a long time, and also wondered why people are bashers at all. I don't claim to be innocent of bashing, because I often bash Mr. Roberto Alagna and Ms. Angela Gheorghiu. The thing is, I don't outwardly bash their amazing ability to sing things I probably never could, I just insult their intelligence and attitudes. =) I just feel that people are yelling and screaming at Renee for no good reason. They don't like what she's singing. Okay, well then don't listen!!! It's the quickest and most efficient way to avoid a singer! I really respect Ms. Fleming for not giving in to these people. She still sings what she wants, and that's the whole point, isn't it? You sing because you love it, don't you? Yeah, it's great if you're famous and all that, but you sing because you want to. Renee Fleming's got fame, fans, and a hell of a voice! That means, yes, she can do and sing what ever she wants! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll listen to Renee any day of the week! Bashers, I think, want singers to sing exactly what they (the bashers) want and exactly how they want. So every basher wants something different; no swooping, no sobbing/gasping, no this, no that, and what ever else they say. When she puts emotion, or "too much emotion" ie. the gasping and sobbing, into songs and arias that means that she's singing the way she feels, which I think is wonderful. Going totally overboard is not so good, but if I was as famous as Renee and could sing like her and I wanted to put emotion into my songs, I'd go right ahead and do it! She has a right to sing because she loves it and put emotion into it! If she wants to make a jazz CD, fine! Don't buy it! See if she cares! She likes jazz too, is that so terrible? She likes to sing jazz, is that so bad? Apparently it is, but as long as you don't have to listen to it, does it really matter that much? In Renee Fleming's defence, I say let her sing what she wants how she wants, because some people out here want to hear her sing. I think this goes for every singer and every singer's group of bashers. Let them do what they want, for goodness sake. I'm going to have to swallow these words one day, I know it, but I'm sick of people hating on Renee because you can distinguish her voice from every other lyric soprano in the history of the world! Thank you for listening to these insane rambling about bashers and why it's a "no-no", so with that, I'm going to go watch the above youtube video a million times.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Daddy won'tcha help me?"

Well... who ever thought these two styles would cross over? No matter, they do it outrageously well! This video had me laughing for a long time after it was over. You might have to watch it multiple times, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it! =)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Stupid Things People Do At The Opera

The famous yell during the telecast of "Luisa Miller" with Renata Scotto. Some guy decided (right before she starts her big aria) to scream "Brava! Brava Maria Callas!" Well, as much as we all love Ms. Callas, we don't want her named screamed during a live telecast! The best part is Renata just stares the heckler down during the first part of the aria! =) Brava Renata!!!

Another stupid thing someone did was walk off the stage at La Scala. This "unnamed tenor" was booed... just like Pavarotti and Callas. Still, he felt the need to walk off and have his unnamed replacement walk on stage in jeans. =)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oh My God, Met in the Parks!!!!

Well, I have to say I am extremely impressed. Blown away and utterly speechless!! Met in the Parks is the most brilliant idea ever! I know it's been going on for many many years now, but it's like a revelation for me.

Last night was Gounod's Faust, and let me tell you this is no light opera. With seemingly inclement weather everyone waited anxiously to see if the sun (or stars) might make an appearance. Oh well, no stars (only clouds) but the stars on the stage were just as bright!!
The cast was as follows:

Faust- David Pomperoy
Marguerite- Katie Van Kooten
Mephistopheles- James Morris
Valentin- Hung Yun
Siebel- Kate Lindsey
Marthe- Jane Bunnell
Wagner- Keith Miller

Like the absolute brilliant person that I happen to be, I either forgot or was too lazy to prepare myself for seeing this opera. I never read the synopsis, got a CD, or read a libretto at all! However, before we left I cleverly printed out a translated libretto from and used it the whole way through. It was very helpful. We only made it to the end of the second act, though, because my brothers complained of the cold. I said "If those singers can stand up there and sing in this cold, then we can sit hear and listen to them in it!" We still ended up leaving. I brought a friend along to her first opera ever! She was so excited because I, obviously, tell her all about it. She was not disappointed in the least. She had the most wonderful time, I was so happy!

Now comes the tricky part... The actual performance...
Well, let's see. It was truly magnificent. All the singers sounded wonderful. James Morris especially, but he's one of my favorites so I'm kind of biased. I never heard any of the other singers in my life, but I love them! Katie Van Kooten was extraordinary as was David Pomperoy. Why aren't they singing more during the actual season? And if they are, why haven't I heard about/seen them!!! In any event, they were all charmingly beautiful. The entire experience was wonderful.
We did have a little help from the weather with dramatic effect. It seemed that every time Mephistopheles appeared there was a big flash of lightning (although it wasn't raining and we heard no thunder). There was drama in the scene, out came the lightning. It made it even more special!
I plan to go every year from now on, and I advise everyone else to go as well! You will not regret this, I promise!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Richard Strauss

Today is the birthday of composer Richard Strauss. He wrote some of the best loved operas (or operatic moments) including Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier. This season the Met also produced his lesser produced work, Die Agyptische Helena.
In celebration of this great composer's birthday, here are some clips of some of his great operas:
Renee Fleming singing the finale to Capriccio.
The "presentation of the rose" from Der Rosenkavalier as sung by Lucia Popp and Birgit Fassbaender.
The "composer aria" from Ariadne auf Naxos as sung by Tatiana Troyanos.
The amazingly sublime final trio from Der Rosenkavalier. This is considered to be some of the most beautiful music in all of opera (arguably to some people). I will also ask you to ignore Renee Fleming's dress and just focus on her singing. This trio is sung by Hiedi Grant Murphy, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Renee Fleming. If you have never heard or seen this, please watch this!!!
Montserrat Caballe singing the final scene from Salome. This is pretty intense.
Singing a scene from Elektra is Eva Marton and Leonie Rysanek. This is also very intense!!

Hope you enjoyed! A big happy birthday to Richard Strauss!!