Sunday, June 29, 2008

Met Futures

One of my favorite blogs, Sieglinde's Diaries, is back in business and I have some very exciting news! =)
The Met Futures Page has been around for about 8 years and it is so much fun to have. You can see when new productions are coming, who is singing what and when! It has been very helpful to me in the past. So Sieglinde has been asked to join Bradley Wilbur in maintaining the Met Futures Page.
There are so many amazing things in store for the Met. As unpredictable as the Gelb Era is, I hope that these productions stay mostly as they are. Hopefully there won't be any drastic changes to these exciting seasons.

There are a few things that alarmed me slightly. One major new production is the new Luc Bondy Tosca that will premiere opening night of the 2009-2010 season. I've only seen that Zefferelli Tosca once and I'm not sure I want to give it up yet.
In the 2010-2011 season there will be a new La Traviata for the Met. It's the Salzburg production, directed by Willy Decker. Having never seen the Zefferelli and having seen clips of the Salzburg production, I'm hesitant about this new production.
Those are the only changes that really caught my not-so-positive attention. The rest of the lists look fantastic and it makes me long for the future seasons to come!
However, let's hope the 2008-2009 season doesn't go by too fast. We don't want to breeze through this incredible new season!!!!

Happy Listening!!! =)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heard Today In the Ballet Studio... (And One Big "In Other News")

A continuation of the different opera arias/scenes I hear played on the pianos in our beautiful dance studios.

"Quando M'en Vo" from... well we all know. It was bound to come up eventually.
What I call the "Gypsy Chorus" from Act III of La Traviata. When the ladies (usually with tambourines) come out at Flora's party. We used this for frappes.

Big news. I was kind of shocked, but not at the same time. I figured that eventually they would rehire him because he's such a star, but I thought they would punish him a tad bit longer.
He is going to appear in Carmen and Simon Boccanegra alongside Placido Domingo.
Alagna is forgiven. Let's just hope that either the loggionisti keep their mouths shut, or Roberto learns to suck it up.

Happy Listening!!! =)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ballet Boot Camp Part II

Well, I'm not sure how much I will post in the next few weeks, but I'll do the best I can. Most of my day is made up of jetes and pirouettes, so I might be too tired some nights or I might just not have time! Sorry!
Anyway here are some of the arias I've heard used as ballet music for the barre and center work:

"Merci, jeunes amies" from Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani
"O luce di quest'anima" from Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix
"Non piu mesta" from Rossini's Cenerentola
That song from H.M.S. Pinafore that goes "I am the captain of the Pinafore (and a right good captain, too...)" I'm not sure if that's what it's called, though.

I'll be sure to update because everyday I hear at least one opera aria. It makes me very happy because most/all of the girls don't realize that they're listening to masterpieces of the some of the world's greatest composers.

Happy Listening!!! =)

PS. Speaking of Cenerentola.... here's a clip that I love...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ballet Boot Camp

Today, after my end of the year performance at my dance school (wish us luck!) I'll be off to "ballet boot camp" (it's not actually called that, it's just what I've dubbed it) for four weeks. They're allowing us to bring our computers, which was very exciting for me, but I'm not sure how often I will be posting. I will post as often as possible, but we'll see what happens.

I've already forgotten one person's birthday. On Friday it was Jacques Offenbach's birthday. By far my favorite aria of his is the Doll Song from Les Contes d'Hoffmann. (PS. check out that high A flat on Dessay's clip!!)

I'll leave you with a clip I found a while ago and posted about, but I can't get it out of my head. Please enjoy!!!!
I will post as soon as I am able!!!!!

Until then,
Happy Listening!! =)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Opera Exam: Dellaaaaa Triviata (Answers for Part II)

Opera Trivia!!!!!!!
I told you this one was way easier. Josiah got them all right. Yayy!!! Butttttt, it wasn't in five paragraphs... Just kidding! =)
1. Giuseppe di Stefano
2. Marcello, Colline, Schaunard
3. Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel
4. Amina
5. Donna Elvira
Now that I know you can do it, I'm going to make them a little harder. Stay tuned for more from... THE OPERA EXAM!!!!!!!
Happy Listening!!! =)
PS. I had my last regents today. YAY!!!!! Summer is finally here!!!!!
PPS. I completely missed Eva Marton's birthday yesterday. She is one of my favorites, too. Sorry Eva!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Salut, Gounod Chaste et Pure...

Gounod's birthday was actually yesterday, but in my regents frenzy I neglected to do a tribute post.

The man who brought us Faust, Romeo et Juliette, and that fabulous no-not-the-one-that-everyone-knows "Ave Maria" celebrated his 190th birthday yesterday.
I find it interesting that Richard Wagner refused to listen to Faust. I never really understood why, because that music is just so beautiful. "Salut, demeure chaste et pure" with the high C just makes me sigh every time. And how about that baritone aria! That's not too shabby either!!! Note to world: In every good opera there's a great baritone.
Romeo et Juliette which was at the Met this season is a beautifully tragic opera, but it's only to be expected (it's Romeo and Juliet!!). My favorite aria has to be Juliette's Waltz "Je veux vivre." I find it quite amazing. Some of my other favorite's are the tenor aria just before the balcony scene and Stephano's "Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle?"

Well, thank you Gounod for all the beautiful music and enjoyment you have given us.

Happy Birthday!! =)

Happy Listening!! =)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Opera Exam: Dellaaaaa Triviata!!! Part II

Opera Trivia!!!!!!!!!!!! Part II
I'll try to make it a little simpler this time...
So as if the SAT II's weren't enough, tomorrow through Thursday I have the New York State Regents. To take a break from studying I decided to keep you all on your toes and shoot out a few more opera related questions. I demand a seven paragraph DBQ essay for each question. Got that? I need sources, too, don't forget. Oh yes, and do it all in three hours.
1) With whom did Maria Callas make a concert tour in 1973 and 1974, the last public appearances of her career?
2) Name Rodolfo's three roommates in Puccini's La Boheme?
3) The first nationwide broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera took place on December 25, 1931. Name the opera. (Hint: It's on the Met Calendar if you have one...or maybe I'm the only one...)
4) What is the name of the title character in Bellini's La Sonnambula?
5) To whom does Leporello read his catalogue of Don Giovanni's conquests?
Okay, were those easy enough? So get back to me with your [seven paragraph] answers. Maybe next time they'll be a little harder. =)
Happy Listening!! =)

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Opera Exam: Dellaaaa Triviata (Answers to Part I)

As today concludes the first week of finals (for me at least) I will give the answers to the rather difficult Part One of The Opera Exam.

1) Scott Joplin was the composer of A Guest of Honor.

2) Gluck, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Gounod, and Beethoven were the six composers whose names appeared above the stage of the Old Met.

3) Gounod's Faust was the opera Richard Wagner refused to listen to.

4) Armand Castelmary was the first person (of a surprising number) to die on the stage of the Met. He died during a performance of Martha in 1897.

5) Alessandro Stradella was a 17th century composer who was also the title character of an opera by Friedrich von Flotow.

Those were tough, I'll give you that. I'll try not to be so hard next time. I'll get questions up either tomorrow or Sunday.
Until then...

Happy Listening!! =)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gustavo Dudamel: Classical Music's Hair God

[In collaboration with Olivia of Orchestra Ring]

Here is a tribute to the wonderful, fabulous, intense, and dancing (??) conductor prodigy with hair that rocks the house down!!!!! Like Olivia says, he looks like a hair commercial.

He has such an intense conducting style. I've really never seen anything like it. You would think by the way he moves on the podium that the music is FORTISSIMO the entire time. It really shows how into the music he is, which I think is fabulous. He really becomes a part of the music and after seeing him you can't question the importance of the role of the conductor. (Trust me, some people are convinced orchestras don't need one. Psh.)

(Can't you just see it? "Garnier Fructis....")

He has this special way of communicating with an orchestra. He never says "Do it this way", but says "Let's do this." In other words, it's not HIS way, it's OUR (the orchestras and his) way. The work as a team, or as a family. He refers to the orchestra as "my best friends, my brothers and sisters." Aw!

Gutavo Dudamel is currently the principal conductor for Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony, as well as the music director of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. In 2009 he will become the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Dudamel performed for the pope in honor of His Holiness's 80th birthday in April. He was seen this season at the Metropolitan Opera conducting "Hansel and Gretel" and I really hope he comes back soon. Note to self: Opera glasses on Dudamel at all times.

I happily await a Loreal, Garnier Fructis, or Pantene commercial featuring Maestro Dudamel. Wouldn't he be perfect? *sigh* He IS perfect. Hmm, is someone developing a crush? Well, sorry everybody he's married *shrugs* to the beautiful Eloísa Maturén, who he married in 2006. (Ooohhh so close!) Why is it that I always have to mention people's personal lives...

Thus concludes my joyous tribute to the mastery of Gustavo Dudamel. May his conducting majesty reign over us for many years to come.

Happy Listening!! =)

(Thanks, Olivia!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

From Empress to Countess, Egypt to Don Juan: My Favorite German Composer, Strauss!!!!!

Today is the birthday of the all-powerful Richard Strauss. I celebrated by watching Der Rosenkavalier (with Kiri te Kanawa, Anne Howells, and Barbara Bonney) and it reminded me of how much I absolutely adore the final trio. From the moment the Marschallin says "I promised myself that I would bear this calmly" (loose translation, I don't speak German) I had tears coming down my cheeks. It's heart wrenching!
Oh and how about that "Presentation of the Rose"???? Talk about some of the most beautiful music written in the stratosphere of the soprano/mezzo soprano range! It's tough to sing along to, let me tell you... But, oh, is it beautiful!!!!
"Di Rigori Armato" is also a gorrrrgeous tenor aria from the first act of Rosenkavalier. I love it most, of course, when the great Pavarotti sings it. =)

Another marvelous Strauss opera is Capriccio. A "one act wonder" that some people steer away from because, seemingly, it has no plot. Indeed, it has a plot and a very profound one! Music or words, which is more important? The best part of it is.... you never really find out. =) Tricky, tricky, Strauss!!!! Undoubtedly the most miraculous part of this opera is the final scene.

Some other Strauss wonders are Die Agyptische Helena, Don Juan, The Four Last Songs, and so many other things you must discover for yourself. Strauss is a force of nature!

Happy Birthday, Richard Strauss!!!

Happy Listening!! =)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Opera Exam: Dellaaaa TRIVIATA

OPERA TRIVIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Part ONE, of many)

As final exams are approaching at lightning speed I took a little time out of my studying (which was probably not a good idea) to find out what a final exam in an opera class would be like. I'm not talking "Introduction to Opera" in colleges or anything like that, I'm talking "I Go to the Opera At Least Three Times a Season and I Know Every Singer in The 'Golden Age'" opera exam.

Questions Courtesy of "Triviata: The Opera Trivia Game" (I'm not kidding)

1) Name the composer of the opera A Guest of Honor, which premiered in New York in 1903.

2) Name the six composers whose names appeared above the stage of the Old Met after the remodeling in 1903.

3) What major opera did Richard Wagner refuse to listen to?

4) Who was the first singer to die on the stage of the Met? During what performance?

5) What 17th century Italian composer is the title character of an opera by Friedrich von Flotow?

Answers will come in the next "Opera Exam" post. These posts will last (at least) until the end of finals.
Good luck!!!

Coming Soon: A Tribute to Dudamel. (get excited)

Happy Listening!!! =)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tomorrow: The SAT II's, The Next Day: The World

Tomorrow are the SAT II's (aka every students nightmare) which are some of the hardest tests I/we will ever take in my/our life/lives. I've decided (psh) to take the Global History and the Chemistry exams...The chem was probably a mistake, but we'll see what happens!!!!!!
I'm about to go study for a billion hours, so I'm not allowed to post anything super significant until they are done and I've recovered (give it a day or two).
I promise I'll be back with some great things ie. Dudamel Tribute, Opera Exam, etc. (I mentioned those before, I think.)

Until then...
Happy Listening!!! =)

PS. Wish me luck!!!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jan Peerce, Cecilia Bartoli, and Robert Merrill

These three super spectacular (and beastly famous) singers celebrate their birthdays this week!!!!!! Cecilia and Robert Merrill have their birthdays today, and Jan Peerce had his yesterday.

So, I go to look for Jan Peerce on youtube, and all I seem to find are songs I've never heard of. I see "If Ever I Should Leave You" and songs of that sort, but hardly any operatic arias. (Don't get me wrong, that "If Ever" is gorgeous!!!!) I come across a certain, obscure aria called *cough* "Vesti La Giubba." I also saw "Salut! Demeure chaste e pure", "Scenes from La Traviata", and the "Rigoletto Quartet". I was reminded of what a rare and wonderful voice Jan Peerce possessed. What a guy, what a guy.
To make a nice transition.... Here's a clip of Jan Peerce and Robert Merrill together!!!
Robert Merrill... How to begin to describe this unbelievable singer? Well he's funny, touching, lovable, heartbreaking, and so many other things. I have to say, I have the Traviata with him (and Joan Sutherland) and I must say I don't think I've ever heard such a beautiful baritone. You just sit there and marvel at the greatness of this one man. I can't get over it! He's just amazing.

Cecilia Bartoli- Owner of the famous "Cecilia faces." Isn't that why we love her? Well... that's not the only reason! Maybe because she is a fierce singer who can throw off coloratura like nobody's business. Her lovely mezzo has everything we look for in our "COOLEST MEZZO'S EVER." (Cecilia is, needless to say, on that list.) I grew up with her "Se Tu M'ami" album. I've heard "Caro Mio Ben" no one knows how many times. Am I complaining? No.

Happy Birthday to our birthday singers!!!!

Happy Listening!!! =)

Coming Soon:
A Tribute to Gustavo Dudamel (you know... the guy with the hair)
The Opera Exam (part one of many)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Flicka!!!!!!!!! (with some "Tristan" notes)

First off: Happy first day of June! One step closer to summer!

Second: Happy Birthday, Frederica von Stade, an original member of my "Coolest Mezzo's Ever" list.
Flicka (her loving nickname) is one of the most adorable Cherubinos, Octavians, Hansels, (to get out of the pants roles) Angelinas, Rosinas, Rusalkas (?), or mezzos ever! I look up to her so much and she's just a delightful singer! She's funny, gorgeous, and has a voice like gold. Did I mention that she's gorgeous? I love her! She's a fabulous actress also, and she's adorable!

Third: How many saw the Tristan und Isolde on PBS?? *searches crowd for hands*
Cool! Well, I watched it too! Although you all know that Wagner is not my fach, I really enjoyed the telecast! Deborah Voigt is the best, she was just amazing. The tenor was really great as well, considering the "last minute" circumstances of the performance. I have no complaints about any of the singers...
But what was with the split screen?!?!?!?!?! I didn't get it. The screen got smaller and I sometimes couldn't see what was happening! I won't go on about it...
Susan Graham was a delightful host, although I found her a little stiff (nerves?). She was very cute, even when Jimmy Levine was stroking her neck ("vocal cords"). That got a little weird. But he's a genius (they're both geniuses), what can you do?
Amazing telecast!!!!!! Go Debbie Voigt!

Happy Birthday, Flicka!

Happy Listening!