Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lauren Flanigan Will Lease $3.6 Million Harlem Mansion For Music

Headmistress: Soprano Lauren Flanigan
"It's a throwback to a time when Harlem was still a rural village and not yet legally part of the city. An old clapboard house, widely considered to be the oldest single-family home still occupied in Harlem, has been sold for $3.6 million to a new owner who plans to turn it into a home and practice facility for struggling young musicians, the Daily News has learned. The famed wooden property, at 17 E. 128th St., dates back to 1864 and is one of the few surviving frame houses in the neighborhood. It was landmarked by the city in 1982. The new owner, San Francisco-based e-commerce executive Jack Stephenson, told the Daily News that he plans to lease the property to his friend, famed opera singer Lauren Flanagan [sic]. Flanagan will turn the house into a new location for Music & Mentoring House, a not-for-profit organization providing upscale affordable housing and mentoring to students studying in the arts.'She takes music students in a gives them room and board, feeds them, makes their beds and
The new Harlem location for Music & Mentoring House
 is in the center with the green stairs.
gives them instruction in music,' Stephenson said. 'There are boot camps and classes on how to get by in the business and she invites many famous friends like Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the musical Wicked to come talk to them.'....The stunning French Second Empire-style home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, six working marble fireplaces and a country kitchen that leads outside into a garden. The house has remained the same, even as the neighborhood has grown and evolved around it and still has its original veranda, a pair of doudle-leaf Itlaianate doors, wood-framed windows and a sloping mansard roof." [Source] For an in-depth study of the past property owners, including Carol Adams who was once a famous member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, click here. More photos of the house can be found after the jump.

Monday, July 27, 2015

MET On Demand Skips Popular Streaming Providers For Roku

Opera On Demand: A snapshot of the MET Roku channel
Rather than joining powerful on-demand Internet streaming media provider Netflix, which has 26 million subscribers worldwide and is available to viewers in North America, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and parts of Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland and United Kingdom), the Metropolitan Opera has decided to create their own subscription service channel on Roku. Typically Netflix partners with content providers to license streaming rights for movies or television shows. Perhaps the blockbuster company had no interest in negotiating with the MET for their content? Or maybe the opera company thought their revenue stream could potentially be higher going their own route? It's not clear what the motivation might be in choosing to go with Roku. Users must first purchase a Roku plaer. Three options of players are available: Roku 1 (Basic Player) - $49.99; Roku 2 (Lightning Fast Performance) - $69.99; and Roku 3 (Fully Loaded) - $99.99. The second step will be to pay the $14.99/month subscriber fee for the MET Opera on Demand channel. Roku recommends a minimum download speed of 3.0 Mbps for HD content from your cable service to get optimum quality when viewing streams. The Roku Streaming Player does give full access to free channels such as AthiestTV, Crackle, Jewelry Television, and YouTube. Other premium channels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Vudu must be paid for separately. "Met Opera on Demand delivers instant streaming of more than 550 full-length Metropolitan Opera performances on

Juan Diego Flórez Sports Car Is Tradition Selling Italian Songs

Is that a Fiat or a Ferrari? Juan Diego Flórez sells it either way 
on the cover of his latest album.
The new release for Juan Diego Flórez, Italia, features the tenor leaning on a convertible sports car as the cover art. It's not the first time the classical music industry has used this idea in promotion. Giuseppe Di Stefano and Franco Corelli released albums of Neapolitan songs with them prominently enjoying the comforts of luxury automobiles. This concept wasn't limited to male singers. See what soprano happily sprawled across the car hood for one of her Decca recordings, as well as the cover art for the tenors mentioned above, after the jump. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Palm Beach Opera Hires Singers For Administrative Roles

David Walker
"Now that Palm Beach Opera has stabilized its finances, the company has turned its attention to surmounting the challenges facing most arts groups these days — expanding its audience and raising more money to support its programs. Two recent hires play into those goals. Jourdan Laine Howell signed on in September as education and community engagement manager. David Walker will begin work Aug. 3 as director of institutional advancement. The two were hired because of their 'experience, personality and drive,' General Director Daniel Biaggi said. There’s no doubt about the drive. Howell resolved to pursue a doctoral degree in music when she was a freshman in high school. She achieved her goal in December, after earning undergraduate and master degrees in vocal performance. (Stage fright steered her into a career as an educator. Walker pursued two master’s degrees in arts administration while holding down intern and consulting
Jourdan Laine Howell
jobs — and successfully battling prostate cancer. He had an 18-year international career as a countertenor before transitioning to arts management in 2010. He left performing to become an administrator because the art form needed him, he said. While he was singing, 'I discovered that many in top leadership had business or artistic acumen,' he said. 'Rarely did they have both.'He’s held a number of development jobs, most recently at North Carolina Opera in Raleigh. During his two-year tenure, the fledgling company’s contributed income increased by 58 percent. 'I see no weaknesses in David,' said Dr. Stephen Prystowsky, the company’s former board president. [Source]


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wagner On A Sousaphone Accompanies KKK Marchers To Rally

A man cleverly uses a sousaphone alongside marching members of the Klu Klux Klan. The choice of slumbering, almost cartoonish music, is perfection. He even slips in "Ride of the Valkyries" by Richard Wagner! Check out the Vienna Philharmonic playing the full version as it was originally intended in the opera Die Walküre.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Seán Curran On Dance For Edwardian "Salome" At Santa Fe Opera

Alex Penda (aka Alexandrina Pendatchanska) in
 a costume designed by Christian Lacroix in
2013 for a Salome production directed
 by Vincent Boussard.
"'You don’t want to end up hating her,' said Seán Curran, choreographer for Santa Fe Opera’s new production of Salome, describing the character with all the veils. Curran has worked on several SFO productions, including 2011’s The Last Savage and Oscar in 2013. 'Why does she ask for what she asks for?,' he said, referring to Salome’s request for the head of Jochanaan (John the Baptist). 'She’s a teenage girl.' Oscar Wilde’s play, the basis for the opera’s text, suggests that she had a sexual yearning for the prophet. In April, the opera flew Curran to Paris to work on the dance. He spent 48 hours in a studio with Salome’s director, Daniel Slater, and their Salome, Alex Penda, who lives in the city. Slater has chosen to set the production in 1905 Europe, the year Richard Strauss’ opera premiered in Dresden. 'It’s very Downton Abbey — Edwardian,' Curran said. 'There are no biblical references. All the slaves become servants. As for the 'Dance of the Seven Veils,' he said that 'it feels like Art Nouveau — like a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.' Curran said Strauss made his job easier. 'Salome is one of the great operas. The music evokes so much emotion — it does the storytelling for you. Strauss does tonal painting. You can see the color of the grass. You can hear the wind. It’s visceral, violent, sexual music to me.' At the rehearsal studio, Curran led a warm-up with Penda — as a way of easing her into the movement but also as a way for him to begin to understand the singer as a dancer. 'Alex has played this part before,' Curran said. 'I directed and choreographed it for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Danny has never seen or directed the show.' Slater is a director who likes to be involved in every aspect of a production. He knew that Strauss was influenced by the theories of Sigmund
Edwardian Steampunk: Choreographer Seán Curran
 looks like he could be in the current production
 of the SFO Salome.
Freud, which were coming into vogue in Vienna’s intellectual circles at the time of the opera’s origin. 'Slater wanted a psychological take on the dance,' the choreographer said. 'There was an image of an iceberg and the psyche. Here is a woman only exhibiting the tip of the iceberg until she starts to dance. Alex has a fearless physicality,' Curran continued. 'She understands the difference between energy and effort. She’s not afraid to look awkward or ugly.' Together with Slater, they developed movement motifs — 'the silent scream,' 'the mourning section,' and 'the daddy dance.' 'We wound up with a hybrid. My ingredients, Danny with the big picture, and Alex’s contributions.' Curran’s previous experience with the opera gave him an understanding of the physical requirements for the soprano, not just the emotional aspects. 'Salome has to dance. She has to knock it out of the park and then sing nonstop for the last 10 minutes of the opera. You have to have the body of a sixteen-year-old and the lungs of a forty-year-old to do this part.'" [Source] Read about The Santa Fe Opera founder John Crosby and his affinity for Strauss and Salome by clicking here. Watch Alex Penda in the trailer for Nayo Titzin film Unveiling Salome and a video interview with David Robertson who is conducting the SFO Salome, after the jump.

Friday, July 17, 2015

World's Best Tenors Captured On Film By Johannes Ifkovits

High C: The cover and back inlay for the book World's Best Tenors captures the artists 
singing the infamous note. (Photo: Johannes Ifkovit)
Opera Rifko Verlag, the publisher that designed the book Die Oper Kocht featuring opera singers in the kitchen cooking, releases a new book dedicated to the greatest kings of the high-C's living today: Die weltbesten Tenöre (World's Best Tenors). The duo team of photographer Johannes Ifkovits and stylist Evelyn Rillé created an essay that highlights 44 opera tenors from around the globe that had time or willingness to participate in the project. The Festival Castell de Peralada featured an exhibition of the book with large images surrounding the grounds of Palau Robert in Barcelona, Spain. Inside the book, portraits of legendary tenors like Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Atlantov, René Kollo stand alongside their hot young counterparts like Pavol Breslik, Giuseppe Filianoti, and Michael Fabiano. The book will soon be available for pre-order here. More photos after the jump. 
(Click to enlarge image)
Strumming His Guitar: Juan Diego Flórez captured by photographer Johannes Ifkovits

Rubber Ducky You're The One: Funny guy Rolando Villazón relaxes in the tub for his portrait by Johannes Ifkovits

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Joyce DiDonato Headlines Bastille Day Concert At Eiffel Tower

Bryn Terfel and Joyce DiDonato during a rehearsal in Paris
"She's no stranger to singing at major outdoor gatherings broadcast to a television audience of millions around the world, as she did last year when she performed the national anthem at the final game of the Major League Baseball World Series. Tonight Joyce DiDonato is an American in Paris, singing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower for Paris' annual Bastille Day classical gala, the Grand Concert de Musique Classique. Performing alongside the likes of Bryn Terfel (the duet 'La ci darem la mano' from Mozart's Don Giovanni), Lang Lang and Gautier Capuçon. The 2014 extravaganza was headed by the beloved homegrown soprano Natalie Dessay, but this year's vocal pyrotechnics come from the Kansas-born mezzo-soprano who received a major award from French classical music magazine Diapason d'Or for
Purchase Joyce DiDonato's new album here.
her last album of rare Italian arias, Stella di Napoli. There will certainly be an American flavour to proceedings, with Bernstein and Gershwin on the programme. Erato is proud of its strong French routes and early championing of French music and artists - but also of its international outlook today. Joyce singing for the people of Paris and viewers around the world in front of the Eiffel Tower could sum up perfectly Erato and Warner Classics' vision today. The concert will finish, as it does every year, with a spectacular fireworks display. Vive la France, vive la musique!" [Source] See the program and star-studded roster after the jump.

Netrebko, Florez, El-khoury To Sing At Lebanon's Beiteddine Festival

The Venue: Beiteddine Palace lies 45 km southeast of Beirut and is situated
 900 meters above sea level. Click to enlarge the panoramic photo.
"For the first time in the Arab World, the prodigiously gifted soprano Anna Netrebko will perform at Beiteddine Art Festival in Lebanon, an event scheduled to take place between 27 July and 5 September. Considered one of the biggest international stars, Netrebko has appeared in all the world’s great opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, London’s Royal Opera House, La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Berlin State Opera, and the Mariinsky Theatre. Netrebko will be one of the few notable international and regional artists to take a stage the Beiteddine palace, on the outskirts of Beirut, in what is considered an anniversary (30th) edition of the annual festival. Other musicians include tenor Juan Diego Florez, Lebanese composer, singer and songwriter Marcel Khalife, singers Kadim Al-Sahir and Reham Abdelhakim among others. The festival will open on 27 July with the Bel Canto tenor Juan Diego Florez and guest soprano Joyce El-Khoury, accompanied by the Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini Orchestra, under the baton of Christopher Franklin. Internationally acclaimed Lebanese musician Marcel Khalifé and Al-Mayadine Ensemble will take to the stage on 5 August, reviving his most famous songs, such as Rita wal Boundoukiyya, Oummi. Khalife's works have been critically acclaimed both in the Arab region and the world over. On 8 August, the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Chamber Choir of Armenia and the Hover Chamber will be conducted by Eduard Topchjan and the programme will feature well known classical music works. Soprano Anna Netrebko with guest tenor Yusif Eyvazov will perform towards the festival's end, on 27 August. A number of
Beiteddine Palace is a masterpiece of the early 19th century Lebanese 
architecture built by Emir Bechir Chehab II around a small 
Muslim-Druze hermitage. Click to enlarge.
other well known musicians will be featured in the anniversary year of the festival, including Rebecca Ferguson who will perform the greatest hits of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, and David Gray who has established himself as one of the UK’s leading rock artists. Launched in 1985, the Beiteddine Art Festival 'came as an act of faith in Lebanon’s cultural role and power of creativity, a call for normality amidst the chaos and madness of war. It was born and has grown in very difficult times and made it against all odds,' we read on the festival's website. 'As of 1987, when Nora Joumblat and an Executive Committee took over the organisation of the Festival, it gradually gained regional and international recognition' and throughout the years it hosted hundreds of important international artists and spanning across music, performing and visual arts. All events take place within the 200-year old Palace in the Chouf mountains, considered to be a jewel of Lebanese architecture." [Source]

Monday, July 13, 2015

Leading Ladies Of The Late Jon Vickers In Opera Performances

Jon Vickers (center) and Leontyne Price (right) are seen talking with producer Richard Mohr
during the recording of Verdi's Aida for RCA in 1961 at the Rome Opera.
With the most recent passing of the heroic tenor Jon Vickers, we look back at the outstanding roster of female partners he had on the opera stage and in the recording studio. During an era when operatic pairings like Callas & Di Stefano, Tebaldi & Del Monaco, and Nilsson & Corelli were commonplace, the Canadian powerhouse voice of Jon Vickers sang with voices as far-ranging as Teresa Stratas to Gré Brouwenstijn. Find more astounding clips featuring Katia Ricciarelli, Renata Scotto, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé, Maria Callas, Jessye Norman, and many more, after the jump.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Natalie Dessay Rejoins Philippe Cassard For "Fiançailles pour rire"

The Happy Couple: Natalie Dessay and Philippe Cassard
make a musical "marriage" made in heaven for Erato. 

Pre-order the disc by clicking here.
"For their second Warner Classics album of French song - a follow-up to the Debussy CD they released in 2011 - soprano Natalie Dessay and pianist Philippe Cassard have adopted the title of Francis Poulenc's song cycle Fiançailles pour rire (A betrothal for fun). Poulenc's compact, charming and touching cycle, composed in 1939 to poems by Louise de Vilmorin, is programmed with some of the best-loved mélodies in the repertoire, such as Fauré's 'Après un rêve', 'Mandoline', and 'En sourdine', Duparc's 'Invitation au voyage' and 'Au pays où se fait la guerre', and Chausson's 'Le temps des lilas' and 'Chanson perpetuelle'. In 2013, Natalie Dessay announced that she was leaving the opera stage, but since then her inimitable vocal and dramatic talents have been showcased in the music of Michel Legrand - in concerts of his songs (and the Warner Classics CD 'Entre elle et lui') and in a semi-staged version of Les parapluies de Cherbourg (available on a Warner Classics DVD) - and in further live recitals with Philippe Cassard....On this new disc she can also enjoy the company of some old friends: in Chausson's 'Chanson perpetuelle' she is joined by the Quatuor Ebène (who welcomed her as a guest artist on their best-selling Fiction album back in 2010) and by the bass-baritone Laurent Naouri - who is, as it happens, her husband. Naouri also duets with her on the final track of the album, Poulenc's haunting 'Colloque', a setting of words by Paul Valéry. 'There can be no doubt as to Natalie Dessay's intelligence as an interpreter and her finesse as a musician,' wrote the French magazine Diapason when the Debussy album was released, also praising Philippe Cassard for playing that was 'warm and eloquent, and not prone to the
Single Lady: Dessay last month in a monologue of Howard Barker
 directed by Jacques Vincey with sets by Mathieu Lorry-Dupuy.
 She will reprise the character at the Festival Paris Quartier
d'été starting July 21, 2015.
mistiness of would-be Impressionism or to outbursts of sentiment.' 'Dessay has a real relationship with Cassard,' wrote the American magazine Opera News, 'He is the rare pianist, in Debussy's songs or in his piano music, who understands that Debussy wrote genuine contrapuntal lines that are not meant to be negated by washes of pedal.' The magic of the Dessay-Cassard partnership was captured by The Telegraph after they gave a recital at Wigmore Hall in London in 2012: 'The second half began with Chabrier's hesitantly beautiful 'Chanson pour Jeanne' [also on the new CD] and Chausson's rapturous 'Le temps de lilas'. But the highlight was Dessay's veiled and shimmering account of Duparc's masterpiece 'L'Invitation au voyage', in which her vision of Baudelaire's 'luxe, calme et volupté' dissolved into the deep velvet cushioning of Philippe Cassard's wonderfully soft-textured pianism ... Like Shakespeare's Cleopatra, Dessay makes hungry where most she satisfies. Her singing never moves straight forward; it avoids the obvious, the clear-cut, it treats words as if they were paint. And in her throat, these mélodies remain a mystery, a realm in which shadow counts for more than light.'" [Source, Source] The complete track list is after the jump.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dorothea Röschmann Delivers Mozart Arias For Sony Classical

"20 years after her critically acclaimed début at the Salzburg Festival as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro, Dorothea Röschmann releases her first solo Mozart CD including, among others, famous arias from Don Giovanni and Le Nozze Di Figaro. Dorothea Röschmann is in the prime of her voice and referred to 'as one of the leading Mozart Sopranos today' (Der Tagesspiegel). The CD track list reflects her at her best and is also a dream come true for Dorothea: 'Mozart is the reason I wanted to do opera,' she says. 'To be able to embody Mozart figures on stage, that was my dream. His characters are real human beings, with sadness and joy and wit. It’s the whole picture that you get. It sounds strange, but singing Mozart really is a dream come true.' (Dorothea Röschmann interview with the Guardian). The album is recorded with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding." [Source] Click here to pre-order Mozart Arias. Release dates for the album: Germany & France (September 11, 2015); UK (November 6, 2015). Track list is after the jump.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Katherine Jenkins To Make "Carmen" Her First Stage Role In Opera

Katherine Jenkins showing baby bump last week at
Wimbledon with husband Andrew Levitas.
 
"Mum-to-be Katherine Jenkins has signed up to sing all the arias from Bizet's Carmen at next year's Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Katherine Jenkins will perform her first ever full opera at next year’s Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, when she takes on the classic arias of Carmen. The mezzo soprano, who has never sung a full opera in one concert before, will appear at the festival for the first time since 2010. She will be treating the audience at the opening night of the 2016 Eisteddfod to a concert version of Bizet’s Carmen, the tale of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier seduced by the fiery gypsy. The singer said: 'I’m really excited as it something I always wanted to do. I studied Carmen at the Royal Academy of Music before I graduated. It’s special as it was written for a mezzo soprano. I’ve always talked about doing this and it will be the first time fans will be able to hear all the arias in one evening. I do usually include several operatic arias in my concerts but I have never condensed and performed all the arias from a single opera into one concert. It’s something I’m really looking forward to; it’s going to be a special Llangollen evening. It’s always been a dream of mine to perform Carmen. Carmen is such a wonderful character and it’s one of the most popular operas and every aria is special. It’s going to be a wonderful night, something I hope everyone will really look forward to.' Katherine, 34, is now planning on taking a break until the New Year as she, and husband, Andrew Levitas, are expecting their first baby in the autumn. She said: 'I have always said I want

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Montserrat Caballé Health Remains Major Factor In Court Case

Soprano Montserrat Caballé, seen here in a wheelchair while visiting Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery 
back in 2013 with her daughter by her side, remains plagued by court issues in Spain while she remains ill.
"A Barcelona court is to send a medical examiner to the home of opera star Montserrat Caballé in order to verify whether her health problems really are preventing her from attending a hearing to ratify the deal she signed with the public prosecutor and the Tax Agency over fraud worth €500,000. The 83-year-old soprano’s lawyer has claimed that her mobility problems have stopped her coming into court to sign off on the agreement, in which she will admit to having defrauded €500,000 in tax in 2010. In exchange, she will receive a lighter, six-month sentence that will allow her to avoid jail time. The judge in the case has now agreed to a request from the public prosecutor to send a doctor to verify her claim. Several weeks ago, Caballé’s lawyer filed a request for his client to appear in court via videoconference to ratify the deal. While common practice for witnesses and medical examiners when making court statements, it is unheard of in the case of the accused. The judge will rule on the matter once the medical report is available. The case open against Caballé is the result of a complaint filed against her last year by the public prosecutor, which accused the singer of failing to present a tax declaration for 2010 after falsely claiming that she was living in Andorra, when, in reality, her main residence was Barcelona. After arduous negotiations, the soprano admitted to the charges and paid back the €500,000 defrauded, which allowed for the punishment to be reduced to a six-month sentence for tax crimes. The soprano has twice been summoned to formally sign off on the deal in recent months. On the first occasion, she presented a medical certificate to excuse her. But on the second, on May 12, she failed to offer any explanation for her failure to show up. However, her lawyer did appear to announce that there was a 'lack of confidence' between himself and his client, and he stated that he would no longer be defending her. Almost a month later, Caballé appointed a new attorney, who has since presented medical reports to back up the fact that the singer’s delicate health meant she has been unable to attend a hearing." [Source]

Angela Gheorghiu Makes "House Of Cards" Debut In Opera Scene

Heard But Not Seen: Angela Gheorghiu's voice
makes an appearance in House of Cards.
(Photo: Gabriel Hennessey/EMI)
The Netflix series House of Cards could be an opera without music. The leading couple, Claire (Robin Wright) and Francis "Frank" Underwood (Kevin Spacey), have been described as Lady Macbeth and Iago. For three seasons, this duo has made drama fly around a fictionalized version of Washington, D.C., on the streaming hit show. But it was in Season 2, Chapter 26, "Hail to the Chief," that we got an operatic injection. We see Frank attending a concert version of Madama Butterfly. Filmed at Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric in Baltimore, the scene captures a soprano (played by soprano Annie Gill) in profile singing "Un bel dì vedremo" from Act 2 of the Puccini opera. The track playing is the voice of Angela Gheorghiu. Next we see feuding villains Frank and Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney) have a face-to-face meeting in the basement of the opera house. During their conversation the love duet "Bimba dagli occhi pieni di malìa" from Act 1 can be heard faintly in the background (decidedly NOT Gheorghiu this time). As the two are wrapping up their non-productive negotiations, Tusk says, "When they put you in that box, barely bigger than a coffin, remember how beautiful the music was tonight." Frank shoots back, "Puccini's such a downer. I prefer something more optimistic." In Puccini's masterpiece, Cio-Cio San asks Pinkerton if it's true that in America they catch butterflies and pin them to boards. He says yes, so they don't fly away. The U.S. Navy Lieutenant has complete dominance over the 15-year old Japanese girl.  Is it possible that Raymond feels "pinned" and helpless under the power of Frank during this episode, knowing he must submit to his destiny? Read more about the episode here. Watch a music video of Angela Gheorghiu singing "Un bel dì vedremo," as well as three other classical bits of music used in the three seasons of House of Cards, after the jump. [Source, Source]
Raymond Tusk receives his invitation to a "Madame" Butterfly from Frank Underwood

Annie Gill lip synching Puccini's "Un bel dì vedremo" from Madama Butterfly

Adrianne Pieczonka Brings Strauss And Wagner Lieder To Delos

Voice & Piano: Pieczonka departs from recording
arias with orchestra to lay down lieder tracks
 with Juilliard's Brian Zeger. (Photo: Bo Huang)
"Praised for her 'impeccably pure and iridescent voice' (Financial Times), soprano Adrianne Pieczonka is primarily known for her vocally opulent and interpretively intense performances in operas by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner - though her vocal and stylistic versatility enables her to be at home in dramatic roles by Verdi, Puccini and others. In this - her first release with Delos - she blesses us with a captivating and varied program of songs by Strauss and Wagner. Particularly fond of the art song genre (and of the soprano voice), Strauss created 158 of them throughout his long life, and many of his dozen songs heard here are among his true masterpieces. The opera specialist Wagner, on the other hand, wrote far fewer songs than Strauss. Best-known among them are the five songs of the ecstatically romantic Wesendonck-Lieder, also considered a masterpiece among Lieder cycles. Adrianne delivers this varied and sumptuous fare with conspicuous emotional depth and luxuriant vocal tone. Collaborating with technical finesse and interpretive sensitivity is pianist Brian Zeger, one of the great piano collaborators of our time." [Source] Click here to listen to Adrianne Pieczonka perform the track "Du meines Herzen Krönelein, Op. 21, No. 2" by Richard Strauss. The album will be released in the United States on July 10. Order your copy by clicking here. Cover art and track list are after the jump.