Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Opera Singers Killed In Alps Germanwings Flight 9525 Crash

The late Oleg Bryjak seen here in Los Angeles
 with Plácido Domingo.
"A stunned German town mourned 16 students who went down aboard Germanwings Flight 9525 on their way home Tuesday from a Spanish exchange, while the opera world grieved for two singers who were returning from performing in Barcelona - one of them with her baby. 'This is surely the blackest day in the history of our town,' a visibly shaken Mayor Bodo Klimpel said after the western town of Haltern was shocked by news that 16 students from the local high school and two of their teachers had been on the plane. They had just spent a week in Spain. Also among the passengers were two German singers who had been in Barcelona to perform in Richard Wagner's Siegfried at the city's Gran Teatre del Liceu - bass baritone Oleg Bryjak, a member since 1996 of the ensemble at Duesseldorf's Deutsche Oper am Rhein opera house, and Duesseldorf-born contralto Maria Radner. 'We have lost a great performer and a great person in Oleg Bryjak. We are stunned,' said Christoph Meyer, director of Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Radner took the Germanwings flight with her husband and baby, Liceu director of communications Joan Corbera said. He added that the theater's employees will hold two minutes of silence on Wednesday in the singers' honor." [Source]
Contralto Maria Radner, seen here performing in Wagner's Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House 
under conductor Antonio Pappano, was among the crash victims. (Photo: Clive Barda)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Anna Netrekbo In Dramatic Photos From Opernhaus Zürich "Bolena"

Stunning images have emerged from Anna Netrebko's performances of Giancarlo del Monaco's production of Anna Bolena at Opernhaus Zürich. The cast includes Ismael Jordi, Luca Pisaroni, and Veronica Simeoni. The opening night performance took place March 20, 2015. For ticket information, click here. Full cast list and more photos, after the jump.



Doritos Capitalizes On The Popularity Of Duet By Delibes



Doritos, promoting their "Go For Bold" campaign, created a commercial for the Super Bowl that uses a duet from the opera Lakmé by Delibes. The piece, "Viens, Mallika, les lianes en fleurs....Dôme épais, le jasmin," comes from Act I of the opera and is commonly known as the "Flower Duet." Read more about the opera by clicking here. See several interpretations featuring sopranos Anna Netrebko, Sumi Jo, Joan Sutherland, Renée Fleming, Diana Damrau, Montserrat Caballé, and more, after the jump.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ángela Maureen Marambio Will Pay Tribute To Maria Callas In Concert

Soprano a Soprano: Ángela Maureen Marambio will
 honor Maria Callas with favorite arias 
"Un concierto lírico imperdible efectuará la destacada soprano viñamarina Ángela Maureen Marambio junto al pianista Pedro Urrutia, en un 'Tributo a María Callas' programado para este sábado 21 de marzo, a las 19:30 horas, en el Foyer del Teatro Municipal de Viña del Mar, ubicado frente a la Plaza Vergara. 'Invitamos a los seguidores del Bell Canto a disfrutar del talento de Ángela Maureen Marambio, soprano formada en el Conservatorio Izidor Handler quien ha deslumbrado al público en grandes escenarios del mundo, como el Royal Opera House de Londres, y en esta ocasión nos deleitará con un homenaje musical a la gran María Callas,' señaló la alcaldesa Virginia Reginato. Esta presentación, forma parte de la VI Temporada Música en el Foyer, ciclo desarrollado por el Departamento de Cultura de la Municipalidad de Viña del Mar, y contará con entrada liberada al público, con invitación, por lo que la organización se reserva el derecho de ingreso al recinto una vez completada su capacidad. En la ocasión, la soprano Ángela Maureen Marambio interpretará las aclamadas arias 'Casta Diva' de la ópera Norma de V. Bellini; 'Una voce poco fà' de la ópera El Barbero de Sevilla, de G. Rossini; 'Intermezzo,' de Cavallería Rusticana, P. Mascagni; 'Ebben, ne andrò lontana,' de la ópera La Wally, de A. Catalani; 'Tu che le vanità,' de la ópera Don Carlo, G. Verdi. Luego será el turno de 'Preludio' de La Traviata, G. Verdi; 'Merce, dilette amiche,' de la ópera I Vespri Siciliani, de G. Verdi; 'Suicidio' de La Gioconda, compuesta por A. Ponchielli; 'Preludio' de Macbeth, G. Verdi; 'Vissi D’arte,' de la ópera Tosca, G. Puccini; para finalizar con 'La mamma morta,' de la ópera Andrea Chénier, U. Giordano. Ángela Maureen Marambio, soprano chilena, estudió piano y canto en Viña del Mar, Santiago y Nueva York. En los años 1999, 2001 y 2003 ganó el Premio APES, en 2002 el Concurso Francisco Viñas, España y el 2003 el Concurso BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Realizó su debut internacional en el New York City Opera. Se ha presentado en todo el mundo en teatros como La Scala, Berlin Staatsoper, Royal Opera House de Londres, Los Ángeles Opera, New York City Opera y La Bastille de París, por citar algunos. En su destacada carrera ha trabajado junto a directores como Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Placido Domingo y Fabio Luisi. Igualmente, ha participado en producciones de óperas como Don Carlo, Simon Boccanegra, La Bohème, Cosí fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Corsaro, Turandot, Otello y Carmen, entre otras." [Source] Watch videos of Ángela Maureen Marambio, after the jump.

Enjoy St. Patrick's Day With Irish Tenor John McCormack

Monday, March 16, 2015

MET Cover Tenor Taylor Stayton Takes Center Stage At PBO

Tenor of the High Seas: Taylor Stayton
shows off his top C's in Florida
"Life is good for tenor Taylor Stayton. Wearing baggy shorts, t-shirt and a boyish smile, he was celebrating his 30th birthday last Friday when he arrived for an interview at Palm Beach Opera’s production center in West Palm Beach. On Friday and Sunday, he will make his role debut as Tonio in the company’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera The Daughter of the Regiment....Not many tenors are up to portraying Tonio. That’s because of the nine high Cs in his first act aria 'Ah, mes amis…Pour mon ame.' It’s the aria that rocketed Luciano Pavarotti to stardom when he sang it in 1972 at the Metropolitan Opera. 'The thing is, it’s like a secret among us tenors,' he said. 'If you have a high C, it’s not that difficult'....But it wasn’t just his facility with high Cs that persuaded Palm Beach Opera to cast him. Beauty of voice, tone and line are paramount in bel canto opera. 'His voice has such a lyric quality that the parts that aren’t high Cs are also beautifully sung,' said Scott Guzielek, director of artistic operations. As a teenager, Stayton sang, played guitar and performed in school musicals and choirs. He grew up listening to bands such as Aerosmith, The Beatles, Steely Dan and The Band and still loves classic rock. He was steered into opera at Ohio State University. In addition to performing with smaller companies, he’s covered several roles at the Met. One memorable night in 2011 he wound up on stage as Percy in Anna Bolena alongside soprano Anna Netrebko, when Stephen Costello fell ill in the middle of the show. 'Within five minutes, they threw me into costumes and makeup,' he said. 'It was better that way. If he’d canceled two days before I would have had to sit for two days and gotten my nerve up.' In April, he will return to the Met to cover Costello in The Merry Widow. At this stage of his career he prefers comic roles. 'That’s my personality,' he said." [Source] Click here for more information about the Palm Beach Opera production of Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment by clicking here.

Buy Kiri Te Kanawa Former Twin Ponds Lane Home For $2.2 Million

Gate Not Included: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as Donna Elvira
 in Joseph Losey's film of Mozart's Don Giovanni
"Soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has performed in the world's best known opera houses, and she called an Oyster Bay Cove Colonial home in the 1980s, when performing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The house with six bedrooms, five bathrooms and a half bath is now on the market for $2.2 million. Seller Judith Tytel, who bought the house from the New Zealand opera singer more than 25 years ago, says she remembers viewing it during an open house and seeing opera posters in the kids' rooms. 'She bought the house when she came to sing for long periods of time for the Met and in the United States in general,' Tytel says."...."A rare and gracious 3 story Colonial set on almost 4 acres in a quiet cul-de-sac. Once owned by the soprano Kiri Te Kanawa. This magnificent home boasts formal rooms filled with many original details, including 6 fireplaces, french doors, and wide plank floors. Other features include bluestone patio & pool. New roof, windows, and doors." [Source, Source] See a photo of the home, after the jump.

Mary Garden Rocked The Amphitheatre Before The Beatles

One With Nature: Mary Garden singing at Red Rock
"This week marks the 100th anniversary of touring acts playing live concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver's iconic venue of the West. Shortly after internationally acclaimed opera singer Mary Garden crooned 'Ave Maria' on Stage Rock this week in 1911, she gushed: 'Never in any opera house the world over have I found more perfect acoustic properties.' 'I predict that someday, 20,000 people will assemble there to listen to the world's greatest masterpieces,' she wrote. Garden's sentiment proved prophetic. The dramatic twin fins of monolithic sandstone that harbor a historical record dating back 250 million years have hosted a much shorter but equally inspiring record of musical performances in the past century. 'It makes your hair just stand up when you think about the artists who've been here,' says Erik Dyce, who has shepherded Red Rocks marketing for Denver's Theatres and Arenas Division for the past 23 years. 'This place is a temple. It's overwhelming when the venue overpowers the artist.' Red Rocks has well served Denver, which acquired the venue in 1941 for $50,000 and quickly elevated the 868-acre park and venue to its crown jewel in an already impressive trove of mountain parks. Culturally and financially, Red Rocks plays an important role for the city, contributing $1.85 million in tax revenue last year. This week, Denver leaders merged the Theatres and Arenas Division, of which Red Rocks is a part, with the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, saving Denver's strapped general fund $1.2 million a year." [Source] For more information about The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Jethro Tull, The Carpenters, Jimi Hendrix, and many more that have performed throughout the history of Red Rocks, click here. Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden's setlist for May 10, 1911, included "Ave Maria" and "Annie Laurie." Learn more about the soprano and her singing, after the jump.
The Red Rocks Amphitheater as it appears today for Rock and Jazz concerts in Colorado.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

ID Channel Combines Things Some Fear Most: Opera And Kidnapping

The Investigation Channel is airing a commercial for their series House of Horrors: Kidnapped. The spot opens with a man seated with his back to the camera and he slowly drops the needle on an LP. An operatic soprano voice starts to pulsate across the screen. The man slowly turns up the volume as the camera begins to pan down to the basement floor beneath him which indicates he may be hiding his latest victim there. The tagline: "One man's home, can be someone else's hell." It would take some investigating to find actual criminals that were also lovers of opera. In the meantime, learn more about the series by clicking here. Watch the spot after the jump.

Revisiting Dario Argento's "Terror At The Opera" From 1987

Smoking Gun: Cristina Marsillach as Betty as Lady Macbeth
A decade before his film, The Phantom of the Opera (1998), Dario Argento found himself in the opera house shooting another sort of slasher film. Terror at the Opera, or just Opera as it would later be called, featured a glimpse of soprano obsession not seen since the film Diva (1981) and the much later Las Hijas De Danao (2014). The plot of Argento's bloody film is as follows: "A young opera singer (Betty) gets her big chance when the previous star of a production of Verdi's Macbeth is run over by a car. Convinced the opera is bad luck she accepts, and becomes the target (in Argento's unmistakable style) of a psychopath - a man she has been dreaming of since childhood." [Source] The horror film's soundtrack includes original compositions of Brian and Roger Eno, Claudio Simonetti, Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor, The Group Steel Grave, The Group Norden Light, as well as opera contributions from the following: "Vieni t'afretti" from opera Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi performed by Maria Callas; "Casta Diva" from Norma composed by Vincenzo Bellini performed by Maria Callas; "Amami Alfredo" from La Traviata composed by Giuseppe Verdi performed by Maria Callas; "Sempre libera" from La Traviata composed by Giuseppe Verdi performed by Maria Callas; "Un bel dì vedremo" from Madama Butterfly composed by Giacomo Puccini performed by Mirella Freni; Macbeth (excerpt) composed by Giuseppe Verdi performed by Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz (as Elisabetta Norberg Schulz) soprano, Paola Leolini Soprano, Andrea Piccinni (as Andrea Piccini) Tenor, Michele Pertusi Baritone, with "Artouro Toscanini" Symphonic Orchestra of Emilia and Romagna. Watch the film, read more about Dario Argento, and see the cast list, after the jump.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Multi-Cultural Coloratura Soprano Will Represent Armenia At Eurovision

Mary-Jean O'Doherty at the Paris Opera Awards
"Opera singer Mary-Jean O'Doherty who is representing Armenia in the 2015 Eurovision contest is revealed to be an Australian citizen. She will enter the upcoming Eurovision song contest as a member of Armenian supergroup, Genealogy. However, talented Opera singer Mary-Jean O'Doherty has been revealed to be an Australian citizen who was trained while living in Sydney. While actually born in Houston, Texas, the performer was born to an Australian father and a Greek-Armenian mother, giving her a very global heritage. Due to her heritage and the fact that ARIA Award-winner Guy Sebastian was announced as the Australian representative last week, Mary-Jean was eligible for selection elsewhere. She was personally picked by the first lady of Armenia, Rita Sargsyan to join the group made up of six members, all from different continents. Only formed this year in support of the annual singing competition, Mary will perform alongside Armenian native Inga Arshakyan, Vahe Tilbian from Ethiopia, American Tamar Kaprelian, Stephanie Topalian from Japan and French-born Essaï Altounian. Mary completed her studies in the States and graduated from high school and college in North Carolina, before receiving a Bachelor Of Music degree in voice and flute performance. She moved back to Australia to continue her music career where she won the ABC Symphony Australia Young Vocalist Award in 2007. The next year she was the first ever recipient of the Australian International Opera Award. Genealogy released the single earlier this week that they will be performing at the competition in Austria this May, 'Don't Deny' which has been received positively by critics." [Source] Watch three performances by the soprano after the jump.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tenors Anyone? Opera Singers That Love The Game Of Tennis

Love All: Grigolo (left) and Flórez go head-to-head on the court during some time off from the MET.
Tenors Juan Diego Flórez and Vittorio Grigolo took a break from their current performing schedule at the Metropolitan Opera to hit the courts for a friendly game of tennis. Mr. Flórez, a Rossini specialist who starred in the MET's first performances of the composer's La Donna del Lago, posted the image of the two men on his Facebook page. This isn't the first time that the worlds of tennis and opera have come together. Two instances are here and here. And tenor Lawrence Brownlee has proclaimed his enthusiasm for tennis; soprano Amelia Farrugia keeps stamina up for the stage by playing tennis in downtime; baritone Michael Chioldi has been known to pick up the racket to stay in shape;  soprano Julianna Di Giacomo grew up playing tennis; tenor Enrico Caruso didn't fair so well lasting through one set; soprano Kiri Te Kanawa keeps busy with a myriad of sports that includes tennis; bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes built his physique on the game of tennis; soprano Mary Garden had advice for her friend and tennis player Bill Tilden; and tenor Ivan Kozlovsky kept his health up with the sport. It's not the only sport that cross-pollinates opera with athletics, click here for more. See more photos of opera singers with tennis champions after the jump.
Tennis champions Rafael Nadal (left) and David Ferrer on the stage of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

MET Brochure Photographer Kristian Schuller Attends "Manon"

Kristian Schuller, the star photographer of the 2015-16 Metropolitan Opera season brochure, was spotted at a performance of Massenet's Manon. This time he was on the other side of the lens as he was captured by Rose Callahan for the website "Last Night At the MET." For more images from the current season of fashion of the eclectic crowd that attends performances, click here. A favorite accessory seen this winter at the Metropolitan Opera performances was fur! Click here and here to see a variety, ranging from full-length to scarves, of the fur that was seen at the opera house. Visit Kristian Schuller's official website to see some stunning fashion photography by clicking here.

When Rosa Ponselle Was A Wedding Singer At Paterno Castle

Society Gal: Rosa Ponselle had friends in high places
"Rosa was rethinking her own life. Early in 1936 she ended her relationship with Russo because they argued, because he did not repay the $13,000 or more than she had lent him, and because Carmela and their father distrusted him. When the Metropolitan Opera tour took her to Baltimore in Carmen that spring, she met Carle A. Jackson, the mayor's son. Their romance, covered in articles in the Baltimore papers that survive in the clipping files of the public libraries in Baltimore and New York, quite naturally attracted the attention of the press. 'Opera star' meets 'prominent socialite' at 'Bori's farewell performance at the Lyric Theatre in Baltimore,' as the papers described it. But they tell only part of the story, for Jackson was the headstrong thirty-year old divorced father of a child, while Ponselle, who had turned thirty-nine the previous January, was facing personal and career challenges that were no less daunting than those of her earliest years at the Metropolitan. Whatever else it was, this was not 'love's young dream' but rather the free association of sophisticated adults. According to all accounts the two fell in love almost on sight and, after a courtship that lasted through that summer, were married on December 13, 1936,
Rosa Ponselle with sister Carmela (left)
in Ponselle's penthouse at 90 Riverside Drive. The man who officiated was New York State Supreme Court Justice Salvatore A. Cotillo, who knew both Rosa and Carmela well, for in November 1934 they had sung at the wedding of his daughter Helen to Carlo Paterno, another of the Ponselle sisters' circle. That ceremony, at 'The Castle,' the Cotillo mansion overlooking the Hudson River in Westchester County, had been amply covered by reporters. Now they were back in force for Ponselle's wedding. She wore 'a gray crushed velvet gown with a cowl and carried a muff of lavender orchids' because lavender was 'her favorite color,' she said. The soprano was giving away by 'her father, Benjamin Ponzillo of Meriden, Connecticut.' Carmela was the maid of honor, while Riall Jackson, the groom's brother, served as best man. The Metropolitan Opera tenor Richard Crooks sang 'Oh, Promsie Me.'" [Source] See more glamorous and rare photos of Rosa Ponselle, as well as some audio samples from 1934, after the jump. 
The castle of real-estate developer Charles V. Paterno, where the wedding was held in 1934,
with the George Washington Bridge in the background.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Renée Fleming & Matthew Polenzani Perform At Cardinal Funeral

Longtime friend to Cardinal Egan, opera star Renée Fleming pays him honor in song
during the funeral Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City today.
The Mass of Christian Burial took place today for Edward Michael Cardinal Egan. As a musician himself, he was a great lover of opera. One of the singers most associated with His Eminence was soprano Renée Fleming. She sang at the Midnight Mass Christmas Eve service and the Mass of Installation for then Archbishop Egan in 2000. He also was by her side when the Richard Tucker Park was inaugurated in 2012. It was only fitting that she would perform at his funeral services. She sang a stirring rendition of Schubert's "Ave Maria" and César Franck's "Panis Angelicus." She was joined on the latter by fellow Metropolitan Opera star, tenor Matthew Polenzani. Other music during the service included Chopin's Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4, Schubert's Stabat Mater, Perosi's “Introito” from Messa di Requiem, and Barber's Adagio for Strings. View the entire program for the services by clicking here. More pictures of Renée Fleming and Cardinal Egan together, after the jump.