Sep 162014

Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel in Sweeney Todd - Photo by Chris Lee, 2014

After the suc­cess of Sweeney Todd in con­cert with the New York Phil­har­monic in March of this year, Bryn Ter­fel and  Emma Thompson return  in their roles for thir­teen per­form­ances at the Lon­don Coliseum.

It will be the first musical under the new col­lab­or­a­tion between Eng­lish National Opera and the GradeLin­nit Com­pany, which will see sev­eral semi-staged music­als and one fully staged musical a year for the next five seasons.

Emma Thompson first came in to the spot­light in Lon­don as the first cast in the Me and My Girl revival in the mid-80s. Now after 25 years away she returns and the meat-pie maker, Mrs Lovett. Of her per­form­ance earlier this year, the New York Times said,

Could she sing? Could she ever; the per­form­ance was by vir­tu­ally all meas­ures a tri­umphant one. Scut­tling around the stage with a vari­ety of silly walks, jab­ber­ing in a per­fect cock­ney accent, and singing with impress­ive range and assur­ance (some more care­ful, less char­ac­ter­ful stretches in her higher range not­with­stand­ing), she put a lively per­sonal stamp on the role.

…con­tinue reading.

Sep 152014

don_quixote_osipova_vasilievIvan Vasiliev has been forced to pull out of the Don Quix­ote per­form­ances at La Scala with Tamara Rojo.

The cast­ing has already suffered some upsets as The Vasiliev-Osipova coup­ling was to share per­form­ances with Leonid Sara­fanov and Svet­lana Zakhar­ova. When Zakhar­ova with­drew for unknown motives requir­ing her to be in Moscow dur­ing this period, the dream team were split up and Nat­alia Osipova was paired with Sara­fanov (the per­form­ances will be broad­cast), and Rojo paired with Vasiliev. Now local boy Clau­dio Cov­i­ello will step in again for Vasiliev, as he did when the Rus­sian sud­denly put his back out minutes before cur­tain up on Roland Petit’s Notre-Dame de Paris eight­een months ago. …con­tinue reading.

Sep 142014

Jessye Norman - 80th Annual Metropolitan Opera Guild LuncheonOn Fri­day, Novem­ber 21, the Met­ro­pol­itan Opera Guild’s 80th Annual Lunch­eon presents Brava, Jessye! to salute the legendary Jessye Nor­man, who recently wrote about her life in a mem­oir titled Stand Up Straight and Sing!

A per­en­nial high­light of the opera sea­son, the Lunch­eon will bring together a host of artists and other luminar­ies to hon­our the sumptuous-voiced sop­rano and her long and cel­eb­rated career, includ­ing The Hon­or­able Mario Cuomo, Julie Tay­mor, Maes­tro Kurt Masur, Arthur Mitchell and Deborah Voigt, in addi­tion to opera fans and an array of New York’s soci­ety, busi­ness, and civic lead­ers. Brava, Jessye! will be high­lighted by a spoken trib­ute from Toni Mor­rison, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose work Nor­man has unceas­ingly cham­pioned. Pro­ceeds from the event will bene­fit the Guild’s edu­ca­tion pro­grams in New York City and through­out the country.

This will be the Guild’s 80th Annual Lunch­eon. Since the time of our first Lunch­eon we have honored many extraordin­ary Met artists, from Bruno Wal­ter, Mar­jorie Lawrence, Ren­ata Tebaldi and Birgit Nils­son to Joan Suth­er­land, Leontyne Price, Luciano Pav­arotti and Plá­cido Domingo. The remark­able Jessye Nor­man is very much part of this grand tra­di­tion, and we are delighted to have this oppor­tun­ity to salute her and cel­eb­rate her con­tri­bu­tions to the world of opera.

said Guild Pres­id­ent Richard J. Miller, Jr. …con­tinue reading.

Sep 132014

Steve Barakatt

You may not have heard the name of Cana­dian com­poser Steve Barakatt, but how many com­posers have had a com­pos­i­tion played in space? This happened on 20 Novem­ber 2009 when Barakatt’s UNICEF Inter­na­tional Anthem, Lul­laby, was played on the  inter­na­tional space station.

Lul­laby was com­posed for the 20th anniversary of the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child. The first record­ing included the Orchestre Phil­har­mo­nique de Radio France, Nana Mouskouri, Angélique Kidjo, Helmut Lotti, Leon Lai, Agnes Chan, Maxim Ven­gerov, Richard O’Neill, Miri Ben-Ari, la Maitrise de Radio France and The choir of the City of Prague Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, under the baton of Myung-whun Chung. …con­tinue reading.

Sep 122014

Magda Olivero's funeral, Milan 2014 - 2Magda Olivero’s funeral was a life affirm­ing mix of emo­tions. She was a prac­tising Cath­olic, and three dif­fer­ent priests who had been close to her for many years spoke about this very spe­cial woman.

A Czechoslov­akian priest knew Olivero from the 1960s when he took over the church in Solda. This was where she had a hol­i­day home with her hus­band, at 2,000-meters, in the moun­tains near Bolzano. She sang dur­ing the Fer­ra­gosto Mass on 15 August every year for 42 years, though for sev­eral he was unaware that this signora with a mar­vel­lous voice also had an inter­na­tional singing career. He was with her when her hus­band died more than 35 years ago. …con­tinue reading.