Sunday, March 1, 2015

Anna Netrebko Visits PBS Studios During Three Tenors Fundraiser

Soprano Anna Netrebko stopped by the PBS studios during her performances of Iolanta at The Metropolitan Opera to talk about the three tenors: Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti. She also discussed her thoughts on open-air stadium concerts; being a child of the theater; what helps her create characters; and advice that she is definitely not sharing with young singers. Watch the video after the jump.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Joseph Calleja Is Judge On Corinthia Hotel Residence Panel

Somebody's Watching You: A possible room for the winner
"Corinthia Hotel London has announced that its fourth annual Artist in Residence programme is opera. Also announced is the prestigious panel of judges who will choose a winning idea from a range of artist applications. The selected artist will be awarded a month residency at the hotel, over which time they will develop and realise their vision. The finished project will launch in September. A selection of artists have been approached to submit ideas for the project, with one final ‘wild card’ position still remaining. Corinthia Hotel London’s General Manager Renaud Gregoire will select one final applicant from open submissions to join the other artists. The esteemed judging panel for 2015 is made up of: Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House; Joseph Calleja, internationally acclaimed award-winning tenor; Susanna Eastman OBE, Chief Executive of Sound and Music; Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of the Barbican Centre; Justine Simmons, Head of Culture, The Mayor’s Office; Imogen Tilden, Classical Music Editor at the Guardian; Jenny Waldham, 14-18 NOW Director; Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Graham Vick CBE, Artistic Director of Birmingham Opera Company, and Renaud Gregoire, General Manager of Corinthia Hotel London. On joining the panel, Joseph Calleja said 'I was delighted to be asked to be on the panel and am very excited to be involved in such a creative venture. The Corinthia’s Artist in Residence programme is a great way to nurture emerging opera talent. The nature of this enterprise means that it also has the potential to address preconceptions and reach new audiences. It’s a wonderful opportunity and I can’t wait to see what ideas they come up with.'" [Source] See a photo of the tenor Joseph Calleja performing at the Corinthia Hotel London, and one with a special friend in one of the hotel rooms, after the jump.

Forte Tenors Invigorate "Game Of Thrones" With Opera High Notes

"Forte Tenors' operatic twist on the Game of Thrones theme song...will give you the right amount of goosebumps before HBO debuts Season 5 on April 12. And, yup, that's High Valyrian you're hearing as Forte Tenors, a group made famous as finalists on America's Got Talent Season 8, are taking a brave stab at the fictional language on top of the composer Ramin Djawadi's music. Members Josh Page, Sean Panikkar and Hana Ryu are including the song on their album, The Future Classics, ​which PledgeMusic will sell online later this year​. For now, you can add this to your workout playlist by purchasing it on Loudr, iTunes or Amazon." [Source] Enjoy the full video after the jump.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Diana Damrau Makes Late Entry Into Kristian Schuller MET Photos

(Click on all images to enlarge)
When the MET announced its 2015-16 season, their online brochure featured gorgeous photographs by Kristian Schuller for their new productions. One conspicuous omission was no photo of any artist for the new production of Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles featuring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecień. Perhaps because it is a co-production originally created by English National Opera? Although the Manon Lescaut is a co-production with Baden-Baden Festival and Kristine Opolais made the brochure deadline. Whatever the reason, the MET has released the promotional photo featuring the soprano as Leïla. A photo of Diana Damrau working with Kristian Schuller, as well as other high resolution images by the photographer for the new season, after the jump.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mirella Freni 80th Birthday Celebration Begins At La Scala

Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, kicked off an early 80th birthday celebration of soprano Mirella Freni on Wednesday, February 25, with a conversation that included music critics Elvio Giudici and Alberto Mattioli. The evening was free to the public and included videos with audio clips documenting her career. [Source] In an interview prior to the evening, Madame Freni recounted the tale of how at the age of 2 she would forgo playing games to listen to music on the radio. And when asked at age 5 by her mother what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied "a great opera singer." It was actually her Uncle who would play the piano and teach her songs for fun. That passion eventually grew and that's when she decided to study music. She debuted professionally in her hometown of Modena on February 3, 1955, at the age of 19 as Micaela in Bizet's Carmen. This is a role she would go on to sing all over the world and love so much that she named her daughter Micaela. She talks about all of her favorite roles and the secret to her long career was probably the ability to say "no" to certain offers. Read the whole interview by clicking here. Be sure to check out the birthday tribute with biography, photos, and audio clips, by clicking here. Friday, February 27, marks the official birthday of the soprano. Brava! See a wonderful archival photo of Mirella Freni from La Scala, and video of the evening in conversation with the soprano,  after the jump.

"Aida" With Kaufmann And Harteros Gets 8-Month Lead Time Hype

Australian magazine Limelight discusses the most recent recording of Verdi's Aida for Warner Classics, featuring Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Ekaterina Semenchuk, and Erwin Schrott under the baton of Antonio Pappano, due in October 2015. Those lucky enough to be in Rome can attend a concert on February 27 of the opera with the cast. Tickets available here. "Over the past two decades the number of studio recordings produced by the world’s biggest record labels of grand operas has dwindled. However a new studio recording of Verdi’s epic masterpiece Aida being produced by Warner Classics and featuring an all star cast proves that the tradition of recording large scale operatic works in the studio is still alive. What’s more, the new recording, due for release in October this year, will boast an authentically Italian provenance with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano at the helm. Pappano, who since 2005 has been Music Director of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, featured on this new recording, is a seasoned hand with Verdi repertoire. This will be the conductor’s second studio recording of a Verdi opera, after his 2002 release of Il Trovatore. His Warner Classics catalogue also contains an award-winning Santa Cecilia version of Verdi’s monumental Requiem. Pappano has assembled an extraordinary cast of similarly experienced Verdi performers, although two notable leads will be making their Aida debuts. In the title role, German soprano and former Cardiff Singer of the World champion
Anja Harteros has firmly established her Verdi credentials having appeared in productions of La traviata, Il trovatore, Simon Boccanegra, La forza del destino, Don Carlo and Otello. This will however be her first time performing the role of the Ethopian princess. Starring opposite Harteros will be superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who is no stranger to Verdi’s heroic leads himself, although this too will be the tenor’s Aida debut in the role of the Egyptian warrior Radamès." [Source] Read the full article here. See an interview with Maestro Pappano, and a video of the recording session, after the jump.

Diana Damrau Fans Flames With Vocal Pyrotechnics For Erato

The artwork and track listing was previously revealed for Diana Damrau's forthcoming release Fiamma del Belcanto. Now the Warner Classics label gives us an inside look at the recording process in a new EPK. "In her first recital album devoted entirely to Italian opera, soprano Diana Damrau takes the golden age of bel canto, the early 19th century, as the starting point for an exploration of theatrical and musical passion that leads to the high-octane verismo drama of the 1890s. Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini and Leoncavallo are lit up by her coloratura pyrotechnics and dramatic prowess." [Source] Watch the EPK in full, and see two new publicity photos for the album, after the jump.

New Orleans Tenor Bryan Hymel Returns Home To Celebrate

Tenor Bryan Hymel (center) with conductor Emmanuel Villaume (right) during the recording session for Héroîque
"Bryan Hymel returns to New Orleans for a free mini-recital and major label CD-release party at Loyola University on March 1. The superstar tenor and New Orleans native is fresh from similar events in London and Paris where he previewed material from Héroïque, his debut recording for WarnerClassics. Hymel's New Orleans appearance will be the first CD promotional event in North America, with further appearances planned for Philadelphia and New York (where he is a Metropolitan Opera regular). 'I can't wait to sing these French arias in New Orleans -- it's the kind of repertoire that makes me think of the old French Opera House in the Quarter,' Hymel said. 'It fits my voice, and it fits my throat. Maybe it's genetic. It's New Orleans music from the era when the city was the capital of opera in the U.S.' Sadly, the French Opera House went up in flames a century ago..." [Source] Click here for more information about the album Héroïque. Watch Bryan Hymel recording a high note shattering version of 'Amis, amis, secondez ma vengeance,' from Guillaume Tell, and a behind-the-scenes video of the recording session that features his wife, Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou, after the jump.
New King of the High C's: Bryan Hymel recording his album of French arias in Prague

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jessye Norman Staggering 1979 Performance Of "Vier Letzte Lieder"

"Une magnifique interprétation des 'Vier letzte Lieder' de Richard Strauss par la soprano Américaine Jessye Norman et Wolfgang Sawallisch à la tête de l'Orchestre de la Suisse romande. Ce concert du 19 Septembre 1979 est donné à l'occasion de la manifestation Telecom 79." [Source] Watch the video performance after the jump.

Anna Netrebko In Mexico City For Concert At Palacio De Bellas Artes

See a video of the press conference, featuring soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Yusif Eyvazov in Mexico City for a concert this evening at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, after the jump. More about the press conference can be found here and here. As a bonus, there is also a video of the soprano singing "Vieni, t'affretta" from Verdi's Macbeth with conductor Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

World Sopranos Announced For Cardiff Singer Competition 2015

Competitors have been announced for the 2015 Cardiff Singer of the World. The list of sopranos inlcudes Nadine Koutcher (Russia), Aviva Fortunata (Canada), Anaïs Constans (France), Kelebogile Besong (South Africa), Regula Mühlemann (Switzerland), Lauren Michelle (USA), and Céline Forrest (Wales). Watch videos featuring all of these women after the jump. Learn more about all the singers in the competition by clicking here. Sopranos Soile Isokoski and Kiri Te Kanawa will be on the jury for the competition, the full list is here. Cardiff Singer of the World will take place June 14-21, 2015.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jolly Rancher Bites Gets A Lift From Wagner's Valkyries

A new commercial for Jolly Rancher's Bites candy features the "Ride of the Valkyries" from the opera Die Walküre by Richard Wagner. The bite-sized gummies are available in watermelon, green apple and cherry flavors. Check out their website for more information by clicking here.