Monday, March 31, 2008

Be Jealous. Because I Am!!! And Other News

Hearing about anything exciting that happens at the Met makes me want to drop out of school and just live in the Met. Not a bad life. I'll make friend with the Grand Tier Restaurant people, get great food. I'll steal an usher outfit and show everyone how well I know my way around. Plus, you get paid to watch the opera! Usher!!!!!!!!!!! (Dream college job.)
If anyone would like to support me in my new life style feel free to let me know. If you knows someone who knows someone who can get me a little space where I can live in the Met, that's cool. If a friend of a friend can arrange to get me free tickets every night that would be pretty great also.

What prompted this ramble? Well, hearing about the fabulous tribute to Franco Zefferelli is one thing. The 347th performance of Boheme is another. Oh wait, they're the same thing. A star studded event that cut right in the middle of the performance, after the famous and illustrious Act II. Some of the guests were (just to name a few) Rosalind Elias, Richard Stilwell, Lucine Amara, Eva Marton, Leona Mitchell and Justino Diaz. Nice. I was there in spirit of course, but it's not the same. Oh yeah, I heard the actual performance was good, too. Just if you were wondering.

In totally unrelated and random news:
So I have two major crushes in the opera world. It's bad, because they're both married. There's also the age thing. Whatever. Brad Pitt is old(er), too. =P So anyway, my two major crushes are:

Juan Diego Florez. You don't even know. No, you really don't know. Julia Trappe is lucky she got there first. So, JDF is staring in Rigoletto in Peru right now. I'm temporarily moving my home from the Met to Peru. Opera Chic has a couple of videos showing the ever amazing Juan Diego in the ever amazing role of the Duke of Mantua. *sigh* Dear Peter Gelb, give this man a Rigoletto. I seem to be ordering Peter Gelb around a lot lately. Still, Juan Diego deserves it.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Married before I got there. Oh, well. It started with the Onegin last season where my friend and I dubbed him "white haired guy." For a while that's all we talked about and our other friends thought we were nuts. Well, she got over him. Umm... me? Not so much. He's still one of the best barihunks in the business and the NY Times knows how to tell it to you straight. He's just fabulous. Really, really fabulous. (P.S. In the first video of him I really wish they didn't make him wear a wig... oh well)

Quick Recap:
I'm dropping out of school and living at the Met (it's a secret of course). I'm then taking a vacation to Peru and seeing JDF in Rigoletto. I'm stealing some one's job as an usher at the Met. Oh, and I also told you me two secret (not really, it was quite obvious) operatic crushes.
Get it?
Got it?

Happy Listening!! =)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Knock on Wood, Don't Break a Mirror, and Just DON'T GIVE THEM BACK LUCK!

The Met announced that FINALLY Ben Heppner and Deborah Voigt will be together (as in singing at the same time) in Tristan und Isolde. It's a miracle, I say. Here's what the Met says:

"Deborah Voigt and Ben Heppner, originally scheduled to star in all six
performances of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde this season, are scheduled to sing
together on Friday night. Illness has prevented them from taking the stage
together until this final Tristan of the season, conducted by James Levine. To
celebrate their very first full performance together—anywhere—of this epic
opera, the Met will stream the performance live on its website."

As it says, at 7pm tonight go to the Met website and the Tristan will be streaming LIVE. Yes.
We need to quarantine these two or something, though, because they can not get sick. Can't. Can not.

Happy Listening!! =)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Let's Get Ready for HDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, this list isn't official, but I'm going to put it here anyway so that we can plan our lives around it. Alright? Cool.

Saturday, October 11, 2008, 1:00 pm
Franck; Mattila, Komlósi, Begley, Kaiser, Uusitalo

Saturday, November 8, 2008, 1:00 pm
Dr. Atomic
Gilbert; Cooke, Arwady, Finley, Fink, Owens

Saturday, November 22, 2008, 1:00 pm
Le Damnation de Faust
Levine; Graham, Giordani, Relyea

Saturday, December 20, 2008, 12:00 pm
López-Cobos; Fleming, Schade, Hampson

Saturday, January 10, 2009, 1:00 pm
La Rondine
Armiliato; Gheorghiu, Oropesa, Alagna, Brenciu, Ramey

Saturday, January 24, 2009, 1:00 pm
Levine; de Niese, Murphy, Blythe

Saturday, February 7, 2009, 1:00 pm
Lucia di Lammermoor
Armiliato; Netrebko, Villazón, Kwiecien, Abdrazakov

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 1:00 pm
Madama Butterfly
Summers; Gallardo-Domâs , Zifchak, Giordani, Croft

Saturday, March 21, 2009, 1:00 pm
La Sonnambula
Pidò; Dessay, Flórez, Pertusi

Saturday, May 9, 2009
La Cenerentola
Benini; Garanca, Brownlee, Alberghini, Corbelli, Relyea

Right off the bat count me in for Cenerentola, Sonnambula, and Faust. The rest I'm planning on seeing anyway. My new season resolution (since my new year starts with the season/school) is to see all the HD transmissions and to see as many operas as possible!!!
I'll let you know when the official list is out. =)

Happy Listening!! =)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ben's in, Deb's Out...

And the Met Tristan is in chaos.

Otello 3/1/2008: Curtain Call Photos

I'm not sure why they're so blurry. It's either the lack of flash or my hand shaking like a leaf. I had to stop my natural instinct which was to clap like a crazy person. So I compensated for screaming (a little too loudly) brava after brava. Fond memories...
Happy Listening!! =)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Les Indes Galantes

I'm always happy to be learning about whatever opera I can get my hands on. I love it when some one says "Oh, listen to this, it's my favorite." It's even better if I've never heard of it before. Obscure operas are treasures and who doesn't love treasure? Hearing a new singer that blows you away is the same way. It's a new discovery that you're so happy you made. Hearing a new opera and a new singer (both that are amazing) at the same time can be overwhelming, but in this instance I'm not sorry it happened.
I have to thank Sarah Noble at Prima la Musica (one of my favorite blogs) for posting this hysterical clip from the opera "Les Indes Galantes" and, as she promised, it's been stuck in my head all day. Needless to say, the conductor dancing at the end makes it. I don't know what's more ridiculous the production or how well the cast pulls it off! The fabulous singer I discovered was Patricia Petibon, the soprano that's kicking butt in her headdress in the slip. She's spectacular, really. Search for her on youtube, I'm sure you'll find other amazing things she's done.
Despite some of the ridiculous dances in the production, the opera itself is great. I love the music. It's one of those productions that's hard to watch, wonderful to listen to, but once you've started watching you can't stop!!!

How many opera's have you seen like that? Hard to watch, but great to listen to?
Or better yet, how about the other way around? Hard to listen to, but beautiful production?

Happy Listening!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Heppner Talks About His Health

Poor Ben Heppner. Getting misdiagnosed by TWO New York doctors? It's rough stuff. I just hope he gets better.

In the meantime, I think they should let Gary Lehman sing the HD transmission, but Robert Dean Smith is scheduled. I would have thought Gary Lehman deserved it. After all that...

Happy Listening!! =)

This Weekend's Excitements

Well, yesterday there was the NYCO's Madama Butterfly Live from Lincoln Center on PBS. I came in at the end of Act I and found the two stars in wonderful voice. James Valenti not only possessing a beautiful tenor voice, he also possesses a lovely tenor physique!!!! No exaggeration needed. Shu-Ying Li as Cio-cio San looked and sounded graceful and wonderful. Susan Graham was the host. I was slightly surprised as I was expecting Renee Fleming, opera's new Katie Couric and the Met's poster girl. Susan Graham looked like she stole Ms. Fleming's wardrobe stylist and her hair. Fleming let Susan borrow her hair since she sorta likes the new corn-row Shakira style hair from the Met's Thais.

Speaking of Renee Fleming...
"I'm a Pilates nut. I found that it's really changed my body. After two children you think you will never in your life have a flat stomach again, and I'm here to tell you that Pilates can do it."
was among other fascinating comment's regarding geography, courtesans, and being booed at La Scala.

This weekend, to my disappointment (although I wish him will), Juan Diego Florez is in Peru for his wedding. =( =( Around this time last year Mr. Florez and Julia Trappe were married in a "private and secretive ceremony" in Vienna. Now they are both in Peru for a- I am guessing- religious ceremony. All I have to say is: Ms. Trappe, you're lucky you got to him first.

Unless you're not too tired from this Saturday's Tristan and Isolde HD transmission I recommend these two wonderful television programs that air this Sunday. Two of the John Adams episodes have already aired, but tune in anyway, it's such a great show!!! Let it be known that since watching the movie "1776" at age ohhhh I would say 8 or 9, I have been enthralled by this point in American history and by the story of John Adams. Also, since the age of 8 or 9 I've also been enchanted by all things Jane Austen.
Well-rounded? Yes, you could say that.

Happy Listening!! =)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wagner Makes Me Bang My Head Against the Prompters Box

Well, not me, but Gary Lehman.

At the beginning of the third act of Tristan und Isolde Mr. Lehman was laying on a pallet. It slowly to quickly slide down the severely raked Met stage. His head slammed audibly onto the prompter's box. The audience "gasped, and some screamed," says SarahB who was there last night. Mr. Lehman's costars and some stage managers ran to his rescue and, after helping him stand, escorted him off stage. The curtain closed and after ten minutes an announcement was made that Gary Lehman was feeling better and wished to restart the scene. Needless to say, he got a large ovation at the end of the night. What a trooper!
Note: Deborah Voigt was the Isolde last night.

This is quite a bit worse than the incident at the Figaro this year. Simon Keenlyside (the Count) was throwing things off of the Countess's desk and one of the objects proceeded to roll right off the stage and bonk a cellist right in the head. She left at the end of the act and didn't return the rest of the performance. Ouch.

I want to see the HD transmission more than ever. Lord knows what will happen then!!!

Happy Listening!! =)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anthony Minghella 1954-2008

I saw on the Met website "In Memoriam: Anthony Minghella 1954-2008" and I thought it couldn't possibly be THE Anthony Minghella. Not the one who directed the amazing Madama Butterfly? No... How could that be?

Sadly, it's true. The indisputably talented and admired director died today of a brain hemorrhage after surgery for tonsil cancer, says the New York Times. It's so tragic because 54 is so young to die.

My only consolation is that he made such beautiful art while he was here. From "The English Patient" to "Truly Madly Deeply" to Madama Butterfly everything he did was effecting and beautiful. The production of Madama Butterfly was enough to bring me to tears. The whole stage was like a canvas and Anthony Minghella just spread beautiful paint all over it. Whether it was the wall of flower petals or the little puppet people every aspect was graceful and (allow me to use it again) beautiful!

Anthony Minghella

Rest in Peace

Sunday, March 16, 2008

And THAT'S What Friends Are For

Me: I don't understand the whole stereotype! Opera isn't all about fat Italian women in breast plates screaming high notes!
Friend: Yeah, that's only the good operas.

"A Friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway."

Happy Listening!! =)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ugh, Wagner Makes Me Sick...

Well, not me, but it seems to make every one else sick. First, Ben Heppner catches a virus and can't sing Tristan. Then, the audience gets sick of the cover Tristan and he gets booed. Finally, Deborah Voigt falls ill during her performance of Isolde. In fact, it was right in the middle of the love duet. Yikes.
According to the AP Voigt had not been feeling well at the beginning of the day, but didn't want to "disturb" the management and she wanted "to be very supportive of Mr. Lehman," the cover for Tristan. (Wait, I'm confused as to where Mr. MacMaster went...) So, during the love duet Ms. Voigt suddenly ran off the stage, leaving her Tristan confused and shocked. Mr. Levine kept the orchestra going, but the curtain soon closed. After a few minutes an announcement was made that Deborah Voigt was ill. The cover Janice Baird came to a heroic rescue! Both singers received enthusiastic applause at the end of the act.

I just hope everyone gets well soon. It's terrible to have both lead singers sick at once.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gasp Heard 'Round the World: Part II (and Other News)

"Among major companies, the Metropolitan Opera has been particularly responsible about ensuring that worthy backup singers are on hand should a scheduled cast member have to withdraw."

Ouch. Thus began a painful review by Anthony Thommasini. It was probably not an pleasant one to write, although no where did I see mention of any booing. I'm sure it's unpleasant for any critic to write a review of a performance where a singer was booed, but in New York especially where a singer hasn't been booed that harshly in years. My sympathies, Mr. Thommasini.

In Other News:

Despite some other shocking (call me strait-laced) comments during the [rather shocking in itself] interview with *cough* Playboy, Anna Netrebko said one of the most intelligent things I've ever heard her say in an interview. I'm not saying she's not educated, just that some of the things she chooses to say are...questionable. What she said was wonderful and I think that every critic, fan, basher, director, conductor, and singer should read what she said:

"Sometimes you read that a singer is a miracle, the best, and you go to the opera and it's just a normal singer-good, but still... Sometimes I wonder why they write about me that way. It's harder to go onstage and sing when people expect a miracle from you. I'm not Mary. I'm just a singer."

Happy Listening!!! =)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Gasp Heard 'Round the (Opera) World

Some one was booed at the Met?!?!??!?!!

The Met?

As in the Metropolitan Opera House?

Unheard of! Insane! Ridiculous!

Discussions concerning the "softies" and "too nice" Met audience have been had. Last night they were abruptly silenced when at the curtain calls of the season premiere of Tristan und Isolde tenor John MacMaster was booed by some members of the audience. Some does not necessarily mean unheard. It was (according to La Cieca) the worst booing incident in 37 years. That's pretty rough.
Having heard some of the Sirius broadcast myself I can say that MacMaster was obviously not *gulp* at his best. However, no matter what anyone else may say, I thought that Deborah Voigt sounded wonderful! I personally think she is amazing. Her voice sounded great from what I heard and although I didn't hear Michelle DeYoung I heard she all but stole the show.

Still, this booing.... What are we, La Scala? =)

Happy Listening!! =)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Top Twenty What?

Even worse than last year's BBC Music Magazine's list of top twenty sopranos is this year's top twenty tenors. (Here in ascending order.)

20. Sergey Lemeshev
19. Wolfgang Windgassen
18. Alfredo Kraus
17. Anthony Rolfe Johnson
16. John McCormack
15. Franco Corelli
14. Peter Schreier
13. Juan Diego Florez
12. Carlo Bergonzi
11. Tito Schipa
10. Peter Pears
9. Nicolai Gedda
8. Jon Vickers
7. Beniamino Gigli
6. Lauritz Melchior
5. Jussi Bjoerling
4. Fritz Wunderlich
3. Luciano Pavarotti
2. Enrico Caruso
1. Placido Domingo

You might as well put Anna Netrebko on the list.
Really? Really, guys? My first problem is having Alredo Kraus 18th and Franco Corelli 15th. Those two would be in my top 5, at least Corelli would. Where's Di Stefano? Where's Tucker? Del Monaco? Martinelli? It's appalling that they would exclude these singers!
I would tweak the top 5 there, too. Domingo is my favorite tenor, but I would put Caruso and Pavarotti above him. If not, then at least put Pavarotti above him. Also, I'd rather have some one like Gigli, Bergonzi, or Corelli instead of Wunderlich.

Here's the list of top 20 sopranos:

20. Elly Ameling
19. Rosa Ponselle
18. Renata Tebaldi
17. Christine Brewer
16. Elisabeth Schumann
15. Karita Mattila
14. Gundula Janowitz
13. Galina Vishnevskaya
12. Régine Crespin
11. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
10. Emma Kirkby
9. Kirsten Flagstad
8. Margaret Price
7. Lucia Popp
6. Montserrat Caballé
5. Birgit Nilsson
4. Leontyne Price
3. Victoria de los Angeles
2. Joan Sutherland
1. Maria Callas

At least I agree with most of this. Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland in the top 2, fine. But I would have Sills, Tebaldi, and (if I was picking out of this list) Caballe as the rest of the top 5. It's almost comical to me that they would leave out people like Beverly Sills, Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto, and Zinka Milanov. To replace some of the people they did put in, but I don't believe they should have, I would put Aprile Millo, Renee Fleming, Jeritza, Pasta, and te Kanawa.
Many of the sopranos deserve to be on the list, but not exactly in that order. Tebaldi number 18? Rosa Ponselle number 19? Something is not right.

I hate these kind of lists. They're never done right. Well, it can never be done right because everyone has their own opinion. However, when you skip people like Corelli or Sills, it's a real crime.

Happy Listening!! =)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

No Exchanges for Subscriptions??

It certainly put a damper on my plans when the Met decided to rain on my parade and not allow subscribers to exchange tickets. I can't understand why suddenly they decide not to let us see what we want! That's how I get most of my favorite operas/singers into my subscriptions. Usually there is only one or maybe two of my favorites in a subscriptions and I sneak some other ones in that I really want to see. That's how I saw Boheme, Madama Butterfly, and how I'm going to see Fille.


Happy Listening!!! =)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Joyce DiDonato shows us the beauty of the stage, and Jillian the beauty of fashion

Joyce DiDonato's photo skills are almost as good as her vocal skills. She presents to us a gorgeous photo of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's stage from a different angle than we're used to. Can she get any more fabulous?

Jillian Lewis should have won Project Runway. No questions, no comments, no concerns. Her clothes are so fabulous and women actually want to wear them!!!! I looove Christian, don't get me wrong, he is FIERCE, but who would actually wear that stuff? (Besides Victoria Beckham, course.) I loved Jillian from the start and I think it's a crime she didn't even get runner up! All three were amazing, but Jillian is my favorite! Wah!

Happy Listening!! =)

PS. More details later (I'm too tired again), but the Met's 125th anniversary gala is something I always thought would be a cool idea. Personally, I'd like to see the old Tosca, Turandot, and some of the old old ornate sets. But I mean, Chagall is cool, too! =P

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pav tribute FINALLY

I neglected to mention yesterday that their will be a tribute to Pavarotti in the form of a free concert of Verdi's Requiem. On September 18th (pre-season!) James Levine will conduct the Met Orchestra along with Barbara Frittoli, Olga Borodina, Marcello Giordani, and James Morris to remember the anniversary of Pavarotti's death. A few weeks late, but whose counting? It's free!

Also, the Met announced which HD transmissions it's putting onto DVD. From the 2006-2007 season the only other one is The First Emperor. From this season we can look forward to Hansel and Gretel, Peter Grimes, Manon Lescaut, Macbeth, and La Boheme all on DVD! Because we really need another Boheme for our collections.

Happy Listening!!! =)

PS. I really need to know if any one listening to Saturday's matinee broadcast heard the obnoxious[ly loud] "brava"s during curtain calls. Please some one tell me!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

THE MET'S 2008-2009 SEASON!!!!! The 125th Season.

I gave a little preview before of the Met's new productions, but here's THE WHOLE LIST of next season's exciting and much anticipated operas.

OPENING NIGHT; Monday, September 22nd, 2008:
Renee Fleming in a gala performance (a la Volpe) featuring Ramon Vargas and Thomas Hampson. La Traviata Act II, Manon Act III, and the final scene of Capriccio.

THE 125th ANNIVERSARY GALA; March 15th, 2009:
(Also honoring Placido Domingo's 40th year with the company)
Details not given. Gasp.

Doctor Atomic: (Premiere) Starring Gerald Finely as J. Robert Oppenheimer; Production by Penny Woolcock
La Damnation de Faust: Starring Marcello Giordani, Susan Graham, and John Relyea; Production by Robert Lepage
Thais: Starring Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson; Production by John Cox
La Rondine: Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, and Samuel Ramey; Production by Nicolas Joel
Il Trovatore: Starring Salvatore Licitra, Dolora Zajick, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky; Production by David McVicar
La Sonnambula: Starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez; Production by Mary Zimmerman

Wotan: James Morris/Albert Dohmen
Fricka: Yvonne Naef
Brunnhilde: Christine Brewer/Lisa Gasteen
Sieglinde: Waltraud Meier/Adrianne Pieczonka
Siegmund: Johan Botha/Plácido Domingo
Siegfried: Christian Franz/Jon Fredric West

Adriana Lecouvreur: Conducted by Placido Domingo; Starring Maria Guleghina, Olga Borodina, and Marcelo Alvarez
La Boheme: Conducted by Frédéric Chaslin; Starring Anna Netrebko, Ramon Vargas, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Paul Plishka
Cavalleria/Pagliacci: Conducted by Pietro Rizzo; Staring Andrea Gruber, Roberto Alagna, and Nuccia Focile
La Cenerentola: Conducted by Maurizio Benini; Starring Elina Garanca, Lawrence Brownlee, and John Relyea
Don Giovanni: Conducted by Louis Langrée/Lothar Koenigs; Starring Krassimira Stoyanova/Tamar Iveri/Barbara Frittoli, Susan Graham/Petra-Maria Schnitzer/Soile Isokoski, Isabel Leonard/Isabel Bayrakdarian, Matthew Polenzani, and Erwin Schrott/Peter Mattei
L'Elisir D'Amore: Conducted by Maurizio Benini; Starring Angela Gheorghiu/Nicole Cambell, Rolando Villazón/Joseph Calleja, and Bryn Terfel
Eugene Onegin: Conducted by Jiři Bělohlávek ; Starring Karita Mattila, Thomas Hampson, and James Morris
La Gioconda: Conducted by Daniele Callegari; Starring Deborah Voigt, Olga Borodina, Ewa Podles, Carlo Guelfi, and James Morris
Lucia Di Lamermoor: Conducted by Marco Armiliato; Starring Diana Damrau/Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, and Mariusz Kwiecien
Madama Butterfly: Conducted by Patrick Summers; Starring Patricia Racette/Cristina Gallardo-Domâs, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft
The Magic Flute (English): Conducted by Asher Fisch; Starring Nicole Cambell, Cyndia Sieden, Rodion Pogossov, and Eric Owens
Orfeo ed Euridice: Conducted by James Levine; Starring Stephanie Blythe, Danielle de Niese, and Heidi Grant Murphy/Ying Huang
The Queen of Spades: Conducted by Seiji Ozawa; Starring Maria Guleghina, Felicity Palmer, Ben Heppner, and Vladimir Stoyanov
Rigoletto: Conducted by Riccardo Frizza; Starring Diana Damrau, Joseph Calleja, and Željko Lučić/Roberto Frontali
Rusalka: Conducted by Jiři Bělohlávek; Starring Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe and Kristin Sigmundsson
Salome: Conducted by Mikko Franck; Starring Karita Mattila and Joseph Kaiser
La Traviata: Conducted by Paolo Carignani; Starring Anja Harteros, Massimo Giordano, and Željko Lučić
Tristan und Isolde: Conducted by Daniel Barenboim; Starring Katarina Dalayman, Michelle DeYoung, Peter Seiffert, and Rene Pape

I'm really excited because I can pronounce everything correctly this year!

New Productions Comments: Well, they're trying Trovatore again. We'll see how that one goes. I'm super duper excited for Thais, Rondine, and Sonnambula. Not that the others don't look fabulous, I'm just a little partial towards those three.
Repertory Comments:
Excited For: Rusalka, Queen of Spades, Adriana Lecouvreur, Don Giovanni, and Salome.
Eh: The staples. As in everything we've all seen before. Still going to see them!

I'm very excited about the main production of next season:

YEA. WORK IT RENEE (love the hair). Thais is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Oh no, not that again!

Happy Listening!!! =)

This is a serious question: Did anyone who heard Saturday's matinee broadcast hear any obnoxiously loud "brava"s during curtain calls? Really, I need to know.


Besides the BEASTLY looking Renee Fleming there are other amazing pictures of next years new production at the Met! Renee with cornrows (shown above), Natalie Dessay walking off a diving board, Marcello Giordani as the black rider, and other pictures give us a look at next years treats!

I hereby establish BEASTLY as a compliment. It was made thus for Renee Fleming, but can be used in other circumstances. synonyms: amazing, beyond amazing, crazy good, all around fantastic, out of this world...etc.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pippo 1921-2008

It has been confirmed by numerous sources that the great and legendary tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano died earlier today. He had suffered for a long time and while this news is not completely unexpected it is still heart breaking. He truly was legendary and loved by so many opera fans.

There are a number of tributes all over the blogosphere and the Internet. Who can be surprised, when such a great man has passed? His famous collaborations with Maria Callas and even his separate recordings are treasures of the opera world.

Rest in Peace, Pippo.

Giuseppe Di Stefano

Sunday, March 2, 2008

March 1st: A Play-by-Play PART II

LET BE KNOWN FROM THIS MOMENT FORTH THAT OLGA BORODINA IS OFFICIALLY ADDED TO MY LIST OF "THE COOLEST MEZZO'S EVER." That list also includes Frederica von Stade, Stephanie Blythe, Marilyn Horne, Joyce DiDonato, and a few others.

Olga was also my first mezzo ever. She was Laura in "La Gioconda" last season, which happened to be my first opera. (I didn't have the blog then, sorry.) I thought she was cool then, but I wasn't exactly rooting for her so I didn't notice her all that much.

Her Carmen made me laugh a lot. I didn't remember Carmen being this funny. Her singing was so amazing. The "Habanera" was, well, the Habanera! The Seguidilla and her little dance for Don Jose were fantastic. This is one of the first times I've had a strong urge to sing along. Don't worry, I controlled myself! There are so many sing-able tunes in Carmen. What a masterpiece. She was very believable and her emotions were so real. Just before Act III a man came in front of the curtain to many groans and grumbles. "I'm not making a casting change," he assured us, "But Ms. Borodina is suffering from some allergies and she hopes you understand." Okay. So, she didn't sound any different than the other two acts. She still sounded amazing, so I wasn't sure what the point of it was. Anyway, Olga Borodina rules.

Marcelo Alvarez was great vocally, but his sudden falling in love with Carmen looked completely out of the blue. His rage and hatred looked great, though. The "Flower Song" was lovely and he sounded very clear and crisp.

One of the biggest ovations of the night went rightfully to Krassimira Stoyanova. I usually dislike Micaela a lot, but I realized how beautiful her music was. What a marvelous soprano she is! It's a wonder I haven't heard more of her. Her big aria was so beautiful and she got a huge ovation after the aria and at curtain calls.

Lucio Gallo is not my first choice for Escamillo. His "Votre Toast" was mostly drowned out by the orchestra and the high notes sounded pushed and loud. It got better as the night went on, but he doesn't have that much to sing after that.

I forgot to mention this in "Otello", but the chorus sounded great yesterday. During both performances they were stunning. The orchestra, too! Sublime, as usual. Of course, what else do you expect from the Met?

So yes, me and my uncle were waiting for a while in the lobby before Carmen started. They kicked us out of Fiorello's (just kidding, they said we needed to be out by a certain time because they had reservations) at around 6:15, so we stood around the lobby for a while. I'm starting to get bored when a familiar looking man comes from the house into the lobby. It hits me "Oh my gosh, that's Peter Gelb!" I whisper to my uncle. I couldn't move I was so shocked, I just stood there and galked. My uncle nudged me "Go talk to him!" Too late, he walked out, watching me stare stupidly at him. He strolled across the plaza and out into the street. He didn't come back. I knew then that there were no casting changes. I felt really special seeing him. He runs the place! He's pretty important!

Happy Listening!!! =)

March 1st: A Play-by-Play

Since you can't buy 3 Standing Room tickets at once one of the places was far away from the other two. None of us wanted to be by ourselves, so we squeezed into two places. That was uncomfortable. Plus, we had 3 very tall people in front of us. Still, I moved all around to see everything that happened on stage.
The minute Renee walked on I started shaking. Just shaking, nothing else. My friends grabbed my hands and said, "Oh my god, it's really really her!" They were just as amazed. Of course, the second she started singing I was almost on the floor in tears. I'm pretty over dramatic. Still... I mean think about when you first saw your favorite singer ever in the whole world. Wasn't it pretty intense? We had some classic Renee moments in there, where you just go "of that's SO Renee! The "quella parole orrEEEEENDA" for instance. There's one where i fell onto the floor (figuratively, of course). The "Ah, Emilia addio!" after the "buona notte" as another one. Her final goodbye to her friend was so touching and that note was, oh, flawless. Her acting really led the opera, if it wasn't for her half the people in the house would have been snoring. She led the cast vocally and dramatically. The Willow Song and Ave Maria brought me to tears. I'm pretty sure most other people were teary-eyed by the end also. The last scene was so intense, she was screaming when he was strangling her and everyone was on edge. And she fell off the bed and down the stairs. Ouch. It looked like it hurt and, despite her awkward position, she didn't move a muscle the whole rest of the opera. Renee Fleming is/was (yes, me and my friends have officially made it a compliment) BEASTLY.
I enjoyed John Botha. I wasn't thrilled by his singing, since I was brought up on Domingo's Otello, and his acting was just blah. Desdemona asks "You are crying?" ... I didn't see any crying, moaning, or whatever else she says he did. He just put his head against the wall. And him thrashing on the ground was nothing short of awkward. Whatever, I still enjoyed it. When he smacked Renee across the face I wanted to yell "Excuse me, no one slaps Renee around!" But I remembered "Oh duh, it's just a performance." Silly me.
I'm not sure what people's problem is with Carlo Guelfi. He sounded and looked fine in the house. He wasn't AMAZING, but I don't think he deserved some of the harsh criticism he got. It's probably one of those "sounds great in the house, but not on recording/broadcasts" situations.

Post on Carmen later...

Happy Listening!!! =)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I just saw peter gelb walking out of the opera house. Wow that was really cool. He basically stared at me galking stupidly at him. Oh well, hes amazing so im allowed to be amazed.
More on Otello and Carmen later!!!

Otello act 1/2: okay im blogging from my phone. So far its just beyond belief even in standing room. Everyone sounds good especially renee of course. I cried when she came on the stage but thats a different story. Johan botha, while far from my favorite, is doing extremely well so far. Carlo guelfi is really amazing as iago. i keep hearing that he growls a lot but i only heard it once. He must be sick or something, not because he sounds bad, but because he keeps wiping his nose. Hm... Anyway, the chorus and orchestra are, as expected, fantastic.
Never let anyone tell you that u have a great view from standing room. Im in the second row in the orchestra and its hard to see. Cant write a lot more but i will go into detail later. Renee is fabulousssssssss!!!!!!!!!

Happy listening!!! =)